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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

   The first and busiest Ronald McDonald House in the St. Louis area is open again after a five-month, $1.5 million renovation.  

   The 20 bedroom mansion on West Pine in the Central West End opened its doors in 1981.  It provides lodging for families who live more than 50 miles from the hospital where their seriously ill children are being treated. Families are asked to contribute $5 a night.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the three St. Louis area Ronald McDonald Houses served nearly 1,700 families last year, with almost half staying at the West Pine home.

   According to the charity, major renovations at the West Pine house include: rehabbing both kitchens and most bathrooms, adding new carpet and furniture in the bedrooms, and replacing the entire HVAC system.

   More information about the house, and Ronald McDonald Charities of St. Louis can be found on their website: www.rmhcstl.com.  

   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn's budget office says most state workers whose salaries are paid by federal money are back on the job, but more layoffs could come if the federal shutdown continues.

   Roughly 100 workers were issued temporary layoffs last week, including employees with the Department of Military Affairs, the Illinois Department of Employment Security and Labor Department.

   Quinn's budget office says temporary layoffs for more than 70 employees expired Wednesday. The U.S. House has approved back pay for some workers.

   More than three dozen workers are still off the job, including Labor employees who conduct work site safety inspections. More state layoffs could be issued next week.

   Quinn has sent U.S. House Speaker John Boehner a letter, urging the shutdown's end and predicting hundreds more layoffs if the shutdown continues.

 

   Normandy officials say it's too soon to say whether the cost of hundreds of students transferring out of the unaccredited district will lead to major budget cuts.  

   Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Mick Willis, told board members Wednesday night that staffing levels, the number of buildings the district can operate and the number of services it can provide are largely driven by the number of students enrolled in the district.

   "We have to pay a lot of attention to enrollment, what those numbers look like," Willis said.  "And then where we should be relative to those enrollment numbers."

   A final budget recommendation will be made to the board in June, after property tax revenues are determined.

   Parents who attended Wednesday's board meeting were more concerned about the district's progress toward accreditation.

 

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