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One of the busiest fire departments in the St. Louis area may lose almost half of it's firefighters by the end next month.

The East St. Louis Fire Department gets a substantial part of it's funding from a federal grant. That grant is about to run out. The firefighter's union says that means 22 of the department's 53 firefighters would be let go.

Mayor Alvin Parks says the city is reapplying for the grant, but it could be denied. Parks told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that happens, the city would only need to lay off 10-15 firefighters because of a tax increase that took effect in January.

The firefighters union says they're already short on personnel and resources, unable to send more than 6 firefighters to any one fire scene.

The firefighters are making their case with Youtube video, which had nearly 40,000 hits in the first two days since it was posted.



According to their video, East St. Louis firefighters answer a lot of calls. About half of all 9-1-1 calls in East St. Louis last year, 950 calls were for fires.
Thursday, 14 March 2013 02:49
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St. Louis Community College officials are doing what they can to prepare their staff for emergencies, including the frightening prospect of an armed intruder. College staff, students and emergency responders practiced their reaction to a simulated mass shooting at the Forest Park campus Wednesday.

Campus Police Chief Richard Branahan says the school has been holding the drills for the last four years. "Because of all the things that have happened, and all of the school shootings in the past," Branahan said. "This is just part of continuing training we're doing with the officers throughout the district."

St. Louis Police, Fire Department, paramedics and even the FBI participated in Wednesday's simulation.
Thursday, 14 March 2013 01:46
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Senate has advanced a proposed one cent sales tax to fund state and local transportation projects.

The tax would need approval by Missouri voters and would automatically go to another statewide vote after 10 years. It's expected to generate nearly $8 billion over a decade, with 10 percent dedicated to local transportation needs.

Senators gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday.

The legislation requires the Highways and Transportation Commission to develop a list of projects before the tax goes on the ballot. The commission would prepare an annual status report for the governor and the Legislature.

When the increased sales tax is in effect, Missouri's gas tax would be frozen and existing roads could not be become toll roads.
Thursday, 14 March 2013 00:56
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The Rams have lost their top wide receiver to the New England Patriots. The NFL Network is reporting that Danny Amendola agreed to terms Wednesday evening on a five-year, $31.5-million deal that includes $10-million in guaranteed money. That’s $6.1 million a year -- about $2 million more than Rams best offer.

Earlier in the day, Wes Welker announced he was leaving New England for a free agent deal with the Denver Broncos. That opened the door for Amendola.
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 23:58
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