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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

   Missouri is losing millions of dollars from the 1998 tobacco settlement because of a legislative loophole that allows smaller tobacco companies to keep a competitive edge in the state.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Missouri is the only one of the 46 states involved in the settlement that hasn't acted to stop smaller tobacco companies from recouping the money they pay into a settlement escrow fund.  
   Big tobacco companies say that gives the smaller firms a six-dollar per carton pricing advantage. Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer says it cost Missouri almost $70 million in settlement funds this year and could cost the state as much as $2 billion over the next decade.   For the fourth year in a row, the Columbia Republican has introduced legislation to close the loophole.  
   The state House is considering a similar bill.  Right now, both bills are in committee.
 

Police: 2 dead after car crashes into Texas crowd

Thursday, 13 March 2014 02:13 Published in National News
   AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Police say two people have died after a car drove through temporary barricades set up for the South By Southwest festival and struck a crowd of pedestrians.
   Lt. Brian Moon says the two victims were confirmed dead at the scene in downtown Austin, along a block where several clubs are located. Moon says 21 others were transported to various hospitals, most with minor injuries. He says five to seven had more serious injuries.
   The fatal crash happened around 12:30 a.m. Thursday.
   Police say the driver has been taken into custody.
 

Ground broken on Belleville 9-11 memorial

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 04:07 Published in Local News
   BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Ground has been broken for a September 11 memorial in southern Illinois.
   The Belleville News Democrat reports the ceremony was Tuesday in Belleville on city-owned property near a firehouse. The September 11 Memorial Walkway of Southern Illinois will be built. Organizers hope to have the project finished by Sept. 11 of this year.
   The centerpiece of the memorial will be a 7,100-pound steel column from the World Trade Center.
   There also will be a Flight 93 Memorial, a timeline of the terrorist attacks and a memorial in the shape of a pentagon.
   Organizers have raised $80,000 for the project. They hoped to raise $100,000 before breaking ground.

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