CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has selected former Chicago schools CEO and 2002 gubernatorial candidate Paul Vallas as his running mate in 2014.
The Chicago Democrat announced Vallas as his pick in an email Friday.
Quinn says he's known Vallas for 30 years and "he's never been shy about fighting for education, reform and opportunities for working people."
Vallas is currently the school superintendent in Bridgeport, Conn., where he's been fighting to keep his job in a court battle waged by his critics.
Vallas ran Chicago Public Schools from 1995 until 2001.
He lost the Democratic nomination for governor in 2002 to Rod Blagojevich (bluh-GOY'-uh-vitch). Vallas then was superintendent of schools in Philadelphia and New Orleans.
Quinn's current lieutenant governor, Sheila Simon, is running for comptroller next year.
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - A new crime laboratory is now open in St. Louis County, several weeks later than anticipated and costing about $2 million more than projected.
Police officials told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1cIioXh ) that the lab that opened this week will help cut backlogs.
The lab has been at the center of problems. The delay came after Gregory Sansone, a partner in a subcontracting company called SM Mechanical, temporarily lost a heating and cooling license after his business partner quit. That halted work for several weeks.
Sansone was county police board chairman, and there was concern about whether his firm should have received the contract in the first place. It was paid $3.7 million for the work. Sansone resigned, as did two of the four other members.
Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones is weighing in on the felony charges leveled this week against state Representative Steve Webb.
Jones issued a statement Friday saying, “As elected officials, our actions must be held to the highest standards and the strictest letter of the law. The allegations against Rep. Webb are egregious.
Although as a nation of laws we believe that every individual is innocent until proven guilty, the allegations alone besmirch not only Rep. Webb's name and reputation, but also unfairly tarnish the large majority of outstanding public servants who always obey the laws they are elected to craft.
Rep. Webb must now search his conscience and take whatever action is necessary to preserve the integrity of his caucus, his colleagues and the institution of the Missouri House.
I also trust the good people of Missouri will realize this is an isolated incident and not at all reflective of what I know to be the ethical and lawful behavior of the many, many men and women who serve honorably in the Missouri House of Representatives.”
The City of St. Louis Red Light Camera Safety Program remains open and fully operational. That is the message from city counselor Patty Hageman.
Hageman says this week's court decision regarding the Ellisville program does not affect the City of St. Louis.
She advises that If you receive a red light camera ticket in the City of St. Louis, you need to pay it or contest it in court.
Unlike Ellisville, the City’s program allows vehicle owners to refute that they were driving at the time of the violation.
Hageman expects the state Supreme Court to eventually clarify procedures that cities must use for issuing citations.
Since the inception of red light safety cameras in the City of St. Louis, officials say violations at camera intersections have decreased by nearly two-thirds.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A newly released report says a funding gap exists between the transportation system that Missourians demand and the one the state can provide with current funds.
Missouri Department of Transportation officials outlined more than $70 billion of wants, needs and projects Thursday in unveiling a draft of the agency's latest 20-year plan.
But MoDot said that the amount is significantly greater than the estimated $17.3 billion of funding available over the next 20 years. One of the most expensive proposed projects - improving Interstate 70 between Kansas City and St. Louis - would cost from $2 billion to $4 billion.
MoDot talked to Missourians statewide about what they wanted in developing the draft.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate adjourned its fall session today without voting on tax breaks for Archer Daniels Midland Company or the newly merged OfficeMax and Office Depot.
Sen. Tom Cullerton is sponsor of the bill to give up to $53 million in tax breaks to Office Depot Inc., which emerged from the merger of Naperville-based OfficeMax and Florida-based Office Depot.
He expects lawmakers will return to Springfield in December to deal with the state pension crisis. Cullerton says some legislators wanted to wait to give out tax breaks until after they'd passed pension reform.
Sen. Andy Manar is sponsor of the ADM bill. He says he feels progress has been made on the $30 million ADM bill.
The incentives are aimed at getting the companies to keep their headquarters in Illinois.
MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) - A St. Louis-based coffee company has announced it is acquiring Henderson Coffee Corp. in Muskogee.
Ronnoco Coffee is purchasing the Oklahoma company. Terms of the sale were not released.
Ronnoco CEO Scott Meader said in a statement to the Tulsa Word that the purchase is part of his company's plans to expand through the region.
Henderson Coffee Corp. provides coffee, tea and related products and equipment to restaurants, casinos and convenience stores in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. Ronnoco roasts, blends, grinds, packages and distributes coffee, tea and other beverages in 16 states in the Midwestern U.S.
St. Louis-based Ronnoco Coffee has acquired Henderson Coffee Corp. in Muskogee.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Florissant home health care worker is charged with third-degree abuse for allegedly using a belt to beat a group home resident who soiled a car as the pair returned from a shopping trip.
KMOV-TV reports that 23-year-old Daniel Bonner was charged Tuesday with a misdemeanor offense in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
He is accused of assaulting a man with mild retardation and schizophrenia in late September while working at a group home managed by Preferred Alternatives Inc. in St. Charles. The company says Bonner has since been fired. Online court records don't list an attorney for Bonner.
The group home resident was treated at an area hospital for cuts and bruises.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's fourth- and eighth-graders are doing about the same on math and reading tests as they were two years ago and about average when compared with the rest of the country.
That's according to the 2013 Nation's Report Card, which was released Thursday. The results come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, which is given to a sample of students.
Among fourth-graders, 39 percent scored at or above the NAEP proficient level in reading and 35 percent in math. The percentages were similar among eighth-graders, with 36 percent scoring at or above proficient in reading and 35 percent scoring at or above the proficient level in reading.
Missouri education commissioner Chris Nicastro says the state still has "work to do."
The future of a troubled state lawmaker is unclear. Democratic Missouri State Representative Steve Webb was charged yesterday for theft and campaign finance violations.
Prosecutors say that Webb solicited donations for an event in Washington DC, instead, he deposited that money in a personal account. Shortly after the charges, the AP reported that House Minority leader Jake Hummel said Webb told his office he planned to resign. Later Wednesday, Webb told reporters he had no plans to step down.
Thursday, Hummel released a statement saying standing by his previous comments, that Webb told him he planned to resign. Hummel continues that for the sake of his family and constituents, Webb should resign. Webb represents portions of North St. Louis County, including Florissant.