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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A bipartisan committee of lawmakers has approved a plan to deal with Illinois' $100 billion pension problem. The measure now moves to the House and Senate for consideration.

The Associated Press confirmed with six members of the 10-member panel that they had signed the measure Monday after arriving in Springfield for a special session.

Leaders announced the plan last week. It comes nearly five months after a special committee was formed to tackle the problem.

The proposal pushes back workers' retirement age on a sliding scale, has a funding guarantee, adds a 401k-style option and reduces the employee contribution.

It also would replace the current 3 percent annual cost-of-living increases. Retirees would continue to receive that rate up to a certain amount of annuity payments, based on years of employment.

Monday, 02 December 2013 16:38
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St. Louis Police are expanding the hot-spot police efforts to a pair of south city neighborhoods.

The increased patrols started at 10 AM and are focusing on Tower Grove South and Gravois Park. The hot spot program focuses additional police coverage on areas that have seen an up-tick in crime. In October, police focused on the Lewis Place and Fountain Park neighborhoods in north city.

In just a week, officers found three guns and made more than 20 arrests. Residents in the area should expect to see more uniformed and plain clothes officers.

Monday, 02 December 2013 16:01
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - It is the opening day for a Missouri special legislative session called in hopes of persuading the Boeing Co. to produce the 777X plane in the state.

Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri faces a Dec. 10 deadline to submit an offer to Boeing.

Nixon has proposed an incentives package worth up to $150 million annually. It would be funded through four existing Missouri programs that help finance job training, infrastructure improvements and reward companies for expanding their payrolls.

Any incentives approved by Missouri likely will face competition from other states.

Monday, 02 December 2013 14:47
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - A former employee of a southeast Missouri bank faces sentencing Feb. 18 after pleading guilty to embezzling nearly $400,000 from the bank.

The Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic reports that Leslie Ann Eastwood Kirby pleaded guilty to federal charges Thursday at U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau.

Kirby formerly worked as supervisor of tellers at First Midwest Bank in Poplar Bluff. She admitted taking $397,000 from the bank from 2007 through early this year. An internal audit uncovered the discrepancy.

 

Monday, 02 December 2013 13:19
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The trial for the man accused of murdering 7-year-old Willow Long has been postponed again.

Justin DeRyke was set to appear in court next week, but the defense says they need more time to prepare. DeRyke is accused of murdering his niece. The new trial date is February 10.

DeRyke remains in the Effingham County Jail under a $5 million bond.

Monday, 02 December 2013 13:13
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BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) - An investigation is underway after a man's body was found in a burning home in eastern Missouri.

The Daily Journal newspaper in Park Hills, Mo., reports that firefighters were putting out a house fire Saturday at the Lake Timberline development in St. Francois County when they found the body of 35-year-old Dustin Towey. Authorities say he died of smoke inhalation.

Authorities have not disclosed a cause for the fire.

Monday, 02 December 2013 12:28
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Homicide detectives are on the scene of a fatal stabbing in Soulard.

Police say a man was found in a pool of blood in his apartment that is just a block away from Pontiac Square Park in St. Louis city. The victim has not been identified and no motive has been released.

Monday, 02 December 2013 12:27
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St. Louis is about to turn 250, and several events are planned for the big anniversary. Organizers of a group called stl250 announced their plans today at the Missouri History Museum. The festivities start on New Year's Eve at a First Night event in Grand Center. Other highlights include a birthday celebration weekend starting Friday, February 14th with an appearance by Pokey LaFarge on Art Hill, and a historical reenactment of the city's founding on February 15th at Laclede's Landing. More information can be found at stl250.org

Monday, 02 December 2013 12:11
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A metro-east sheriff already accused of harassing a former female employee is now facing a second lawsuit. The new suit names Madison County and Sheriff Robert Hertz.  In Wednesday's court filing, Madison County Sheriff's Captain Eric Decker claims Hertz violated his rights by searching his phone records and personal records.  The day before, Hertz's former secretary, Jaimie Linton, had filed a lawsuit alleging the sheriff had created a hostile work environment. Hertz denies the all of allegations. 

Monday, 02 December 2013 08:07
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Police are searching for the boyfriend of a young mother who was murdered in East St. Louis.  Police say 25-year-old Montrell Cooper is wanted for questioning in the stabbing death of 25-year-old Michelle Rowling.  Rowling was found dead Saturday night inside her apartment at the Gomper's Housing Complex. Cooper has  been arrested for assaulting Rowling in the past, including a 2012 conviction for stabbing her.  Friends say Rowling had recently expressed concern for her safety, posting a message on Facebook saying if anything should happen to her, she wanted friends to tell her children and her mother that she loved them.

Monday, 02 December 2013 08:05
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