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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

Death penalty declines nationally, increases in Missouri

Thursday, 19 December 2013 10:21 Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Use of the death penalty declined nationally in 2013, but the punishment has seen a resurgence in Missouri.
 
The Death Penalty Information Center on Thursday released a report showing that 39 people were executed in the U.S. in 2013, just the second time in 19 years that fewer than 40 were put to death.
 
Missouri has executed two men in the past month - Joseph Paul Franklin on Nov. 29 and Allen Nicklasson on Dec. 11. The executions were the first in Missouri since 2011, and the most in a single year since five in 2005.
 
Meanwhile, the number of new U.S. death sentences so far this year is 80, up three from 2012 but down from 315 in 1996. Three death sentences were imposed in Missouri in 2013.
 

Mount Olive teachers appear to have a new contract

Thursday, 19 December 2013 10:10 Published in Local News

It appears the teachers in a small Illinois school district could soon have a new contract.

 

The Mount Olive Board of Education approved a contract agreement that was reached with the teachers' union on Saturday. Teachers were back in the classroom on Monday after spending a week on the picket line. Under the agreement, four teacher will have their retirement benefits reinstated. The contract also eliminates a two-tier salary system. That plan meant new teachers would make less money than current teachers in the district.

 

Teachers are also getting their first pay raise since 2009.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Church officials have defrocked a United Methodist pastor from central Pennsylvania who officiated his son's gay wedding in Massachusetts.
 
The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon had already been suspended. On Thursday, he met with church officials to determine whether he would continue as a pastor.
 
Schaefer was told to resign from the clergy by Thursday if he could not follow the denomination's Book of Discipline. But Schaefer says the book discriminates against gay people and says he wouldn't voluntarily surrender his credentials.
 
Church spokesman John Coleman says officials decided to defrock him.
 
Schaefer left the short meeting with church officials without commenting but planned to address the matter later Thursday.

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