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CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge has sentenced an Illinois man to 30 years in prison for convictions on narcotics and firearms charges.

Thirty-five-year-old Joel Rivas was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve. The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the sentence Thursday.

Rivas was convicted in July of drug charges, including conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and illegally possessing two guns.

The former Elgin resident was living in Chicago when he was arrested in 2010. That's when authorities say they found cocaine, marijuana and guns in an Elgin storage unit.

Prosecutors claimed that Rivas and another man, Ismael Miranda, distributed wholesale amounts of cocaine and marijuana to customers in Illinois between 2007 and 2010.

The 36-year-old Miranda pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 16:10
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A suspect is in custody after police say he carjacked a visitor at a local hospital and then robbed a bank.

Around 1 PM the suspect stole a car at St. Anthony Medical Center. A short time later, a car matching the description of a the stolen one was used during a bank robbery.

Police say the suspect drove from the hospital and robbed the Arsenal Credit Union. Police managed to stop the suspect in the stolen car on Interstate 55 in south county.

The suspect is in custody, but he has not been identified. 

 
Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:13
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WHEELING, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he's not discouraged that lawmakers came away from two days of their fall veto session without tackling any of the major issues on their agenda.

The Chicago Democrat says the days were valuable for discussion to "lay a foundation" on the state's pension crisis and same-sex marriage.

However, neither issue came up for a vote before lawmakers left town.

They'll be back next month. Quinn says that'll be the time to take votes.

A bipartisan panel has been tasked with coming up with a solution to Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension problem, but the panel has been stalled on a plan that would save an estimated $138 billion.

Meanwhile, advocates and opponents of legalizing same-sex marriage both held rallies this week in Springfield.

 

Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:08
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans a conference call next week to discuss the Missouri River after public meetings had to be cancelled.

The Army Corps cancelled five meetings in early October during the federal government shutdown. It says budget uncertainty and a long lead time required to schedule meetings prevents rescheduling them this fall.

Officials are accepting public comments on a draft operating plan for the Missouri River. Monday's conference call will include an update on current conditions in the river basin and plans for regulating reservoirs next year.

 

Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:05
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says his administration is withdrawing a proposal for rolling back an expansion of the food stamps program.

Since 2009, the state has qualified for a waiver allowing able-bodied adults without children to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program despite failing to meet federal work requirements. Officials had proposed changing eligibility rules to waive the work requirements only in counties where the unemployment rate is higher than 10 percent.

Nixon said Thursday he is directing the Social Services Department to withdraw the proposal. The governor says there now is greater certainty about federal funding for food stamps after last week's budget agreement.

Missouri had about 915,000 people receiving food stamps in August. That's down from a peak of nearly 962,000 in December 2011.

 

Thursday, 24 October 2013 12:26
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Lawmakers are working to change a small mistake in Illinois' new pet "lemon" law.

Democratic state Sen. Dan Kotowski, the legislation's sponsor, told a Senate committee that there was an error in the legislation that was passed by both houses last spring.

The amendment to the law allows owners to return a pet or be reimbursed for veterinary costs if it is discovered an illness was not disclosed by the seller. The original legislation said pet stores would have to pay owners up to twice the cost of the pet to offset treatment costs. Kotowski told a Senate committee that number should be changed to require reimbursement to match the cost of the pet.

The measure passed the Senate and now heads to the House.

 

Thursday, 24 October 2013 12:24
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   Normandy Schools Superintendent Ty McNichols will outline proposed budget cuts at Thursday night's school board meeting.  But Wednesday, district officials briefed employees about the plan as the struggling district tries to cover transfer costs for hundreds of students.  

   Teachers learned yesterday that 103 of the district's 650 employees will lose their jobs by the end of December.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that layoff notices will go out next month.  

   District officials say class sizes could go as high as 29 students and Bel-Nor Elementary School is expected to close.

   The district is projecting a $6.8 million shortfall this school year because of the added cost of the state mandated school transfer program.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 04:43
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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says he plans a "significant down payment" toward his goal of fully funding the state's school funding formula.

   The Democratic governor told a gathering of public school leaders Wednesday he's working to fund the K-12 school formula by the time he leaves office in January 2017.

   The current year's budget provides almost $3.1 billion in basic aid to elementary and secondary schools. State officials project the current funding level would be $556 million short of the target for next year's budget.

   Nixon also said he wants to expand access to early childhood education and will continue implementing accountability measures such as the Common Core education standards.

 
Thursday, 24 October 2013 03:32
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Department of Transportation is announcing two webinars for the public to weigh in on the agency's next five-year transit plan.

   Secretary of Transportation Ann Schneider said Wednesday the online meetings will take place on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29. Each is from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

   They will address plans for building or repairing highways, bridges, airports and train routes for 2015 to 2020.

   IDOT engineers will host the webinars designed to give residents and businesses a chance to better understand and discuss project priorities.

   The webinars are in addition to 16 informational meetings and feedback sessions IDOT hosted earlier this year throughout the state.

   Participating in the webinars requires reserving space online.

   ---

   Online: Multiyear transportation planning: http://tinyurl.com/pwthj5p

 
Thursday, 24 October 2013 02:59
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Opponents of gay marriage have rallied outside the Illinois Capitol a day after thousands of supporters rallied for the legislation.

   The "Defend Marriage Lobby Day" began Wednesday with a morning prayer service outside the Capitol. Attendees clustered around a large wooden cross that had been placed at the Lincoln statue. Some participants carried pictures of the Holy Family - Jesus, Mary and Joseph - and posters emphasizing their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

   The event included pastors who hope to influence moderate Republicans and socially conservative members of the House Black Caucus.

   Same-sex marriage legislation passed the Illinois Senate in February, but gay activists say they're a few votes short in the House.

 
Thursday, 24 October 2013 02:44
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