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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Although the future of Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois won't be in question for two more years, state and local officials are preparing a plan to keep the facility open.

Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon was at Southwestern Illinois College on Friday to meet with area governmental leaders, residents and base representatives to discuss quality-of-life issues. The resulting information on the quality of local schools and the business climate will be compiled in a report on Metro East's strengths and weaknesses.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports Simon indicated similar meetings will be held for communities near Great Lakes Naval Training Station north of Chicago and the Rock Island Arsenal. She says a combined report will be written to help formulate a strategy to protect Illinois' three major military bases.

Sunday, 19 May 2013 03:33
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Governor Jay Nixon began the year with ambitious priorities to start of his second term but ran into a wall of opposition from the Republican Legislature.

Nixon pushed for Medicaid expansion, campaign contribution limits and a longer school year. But those proposals were either soundly defeated or never given a chance during the legislative session that ended Friday.

Instead, lawmakers launched an investigation into Nixon's administration for allegedly infringing on people's privacy rights through new drivers' license procedures.

The Democratic governor fared better when it came to his budget priorities, including increases to education funding. He also was successful in securing additional funding for mental health, domestic violence shelters and export initiatives.

Nixon and Republican leaders also found common ground on replenishing an insolvent fund for injured workers.

Sunday, 19 May 2013 03:32
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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Two commuter trains packed with rush-hour commuters collided in an accident that sent more than 60 people to Connecticut hospitals, severely damaged the tracks and threatened to snarl travel in the congested Northeast Corridor.

 

   Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said five people were critically injured and one was very critically hurt in Friday evening's crash on the Metro-North Railroad, which serves the northern suburbs of New York City.

 

   Passengers described a chaotic, terrifying scene of crunching metal and flying bodies when the two trains, carrying about 700 people, collided shortly after 6 p.m.

 

   Amtrak, which uses the same rails, suspended service indefinitely between New York and Boston.

 

   Malloy said there was no reason to believe it was anything other than an accident.

 

   The National Transportation Safety Board was sending a team to investigate.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown leaves the starting gate this afternoon in Maryland and the trainer for Kentucky Derby winner Orb says he thinks his horse is ready.

 

   If he can defeat eight rivals in the 1 3-16-mile Preakness, at Pimlico, it would set up a Triple Crown try in the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.

 

   Orb, the even-money favorite today, extended his winning streak to five with a thrilling victory in the Derby two weeks ago, when jockey Joel Rosario patiently guided the colt from 17th to first in the final half mile over a sloppy track.

 

   In the Preakness, Orb will break from the No. 1 post, a spot that has seen only one winner - Tabasco Cat in 1994 - since 1961.

 

   The latest forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of rain with temperatures reaching the low 70s.

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