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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

Federal government ends extended jobless benefits

Saturday, 28 December 2013 10:53 Published in National News

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (AP) — The end of unemployment checks for more than a million jobless Americans has driven people to consider selling cars, moving and taking minimum wage work after already slashing household budgets and pawning personal possessions.

The change affected 1.3 million people on Saturday and will affect hundreds of thousands more who remain jobless in the months ahead.

The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress want to continue the program but the extensions were dropped from a budget deal earlier this month. Republican lawmakers have balked at the program's $26 billion annual cost.

Greg and Barbara Chastain of Huntington Beach, Calif. say they have exhausted their state unemployment benefits since losing work in June and now may uproot their family and move to save on rent.

Pro-gas interests decry NY inaction on fracking

Saturday, 28 December 2013 10:51 Published in National News

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — As another year closes with a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York and no timetable for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to decide whether to lift it, drilling interests have all but given up on the state for the near future.

Cuomo has said he wants his health and environmental commissioners to take all the time they need to decide whether fracking can be done safely. Dozens of towns have enacted their own moratoriums in case the state does approve fracking.

Industry and landowners hoping to profit from leases are suing in state courts over town bans and the state's stalled regulations.

But many landowners want Cuomo to ban fracking. Organic dairy farmer Kathie Arnold says the risks of pollution and increased truck traffic outweigh any short-term financial gains.

Illinois top speed limit increasing to 70 mph on Jan. 1

Saturday, 28 December 2013 10:49 Published in Local News

CHICAGO (AP) — Drivers in St. Louis southern Illinois suburbs will soon see their top speed limit increased to 70 miles per hour.

The Illinois Department of Transportation says about 87 percent of interstate highways and 98 percent of rural interstates under its jurisdiction will be increased to 70 under the new law taking effect January 1st.

IDOT officials say crews will start installing 70 mph signs and removing 65 mph signs in early January.

Transportation officials urge motorists to obey posted speed limits. They say the 70 mile per hour speed limit will be in effect on segments of Illinois interstates that can accommodate the higher speed while maintaining safety.

About 28 percent of the Illinois Tollway's 286-mile system will be increased to 70 miles per hour.

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