SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois fire officials are offering tips for a safe holiday season.
The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal says there were a dozen fires linked to holiday decorations, Christmas trees and other recreational materials in December 2012. That resulted in more than $85,000 of damage.
State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis says one of the keys to safety is to avoid overloading extension cords. His office also recommends using lights that have a label of an independent testing laboratory and knowing whether they're designed for indoor or outdoor use.
Fire officials say if you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it's watered. Also, make sure the tree isn't blocking an exit and is at least three feet away from a heat source.
WASHINGTON (AP) — John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and a trusted Democratic operative, will join the White House staff as a senior counselor to President Barack Obama, two persons familiar with the move said late Monday.
Podesta will take his place at the White House at a critical time for Obama as his health care law tries to shake itself off from a disastrous enrollment rollout and as the president seeks to re-establish his agenda going into a midterm election year.
Podesta is the founder and former president of the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank with close ties to the White House.
The New York Times first reported Podesta's move. The two persons familiar with the development confirmed it to The Associated Press on the condition they weren't named because the announcement was not official.
Podesta, 64, is well respected in political circles both as a strategist and a policy thinker. He would likely step into the role played by Pete Rouse at the White House, who is expected to leave soon after serving as a counselor and, for a time in 2010, as acting chief of staff for Obama.
When the new members are inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame next summer, former Cardinal's manager Tony La Russa will be among them. The third winningest manager in the major leagues was voted in Monday at Baseball's winter meetings in Orlando.
Mangers Joe Torre and Bobby Cox were also voted in unanimously.
La Russa skippered the Cardinals from 1996 to 2011, retiring after the Cards won the World Series. Before coming to St. Louis, he steered the Oakland A's and Chicago White Sox.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be July 27, 2014 in Cooperstown.