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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A former southwestern Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal that included a fellow judge's cocaine death is headed to federal prison for two years.
 
U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade on Friday also fined former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook more than $75,000 on heroin and gun charges. Federal prosecutors had requested an 18-month sentence. Cook's attorney suggested a 6-month term was appropriate.
 
McDade last month rejected a deal between the two sides, calling an agreed-upon prison term of 18 months insufficient.
 
On Friday, the 43-year-old Cook entered an open plea, meaning the judge would decide his sentence.
 
McDade calls the two-year sentence appropriate given the negative affect on the public's confidence in the judiciary.
Friday, 28 March 2014 14:28
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - The Illinois State Police are in the midst of a statewide safety crackdown.

 

The push is in memory of State Trooper James Sauter. The southern Illinois resident was killed one year ago today in an accident near Chicago. He was in his squad car, when a semi truck rear-ended his car. “Operation Sauter” will target commercial vehicles cracking down on speeding, drunk or distracted drivers, and seatbelt violations.

Friday, 28 March 2014 14:27
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - Drivers will want to avoid the eastbound lanes of the Blanchette Bridge through Friday afternoon and evening.

 

MoDOT crews have closed three of the eastbound lanes as well as both ramps from Fifth Street onto eastbound 70 for emergency joint repair. Officials expect to have the lanes reopened by 10 tonight.

 

MoDOT is advising drivers to use 64, Route 364, and Route 370 as alternates.

Friday, 28 March 2014 14:25
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years.
 
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports the Illinois House voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate.
 
Illinois banned hunting of the nocturnal animal in 1972. Bobcats were on the threatened species list from 1977 to 1999.
 
But supporters say the population has made a comeback.
 
Republican state Rep. Wayne Rosenthal of Morrisonville is the bill's sponsor.
 
He says the bobcat population is growing in rural, non-farming areas of western and southern Illinois.
 
The hunting and trapping season would occur sometime between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15. A hunter would be allowed to kill one bobcat per year.
Friday, 28 March 2014 12:23
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HANNIBAL, Mo. (AP) – It wasn’t loud noise or an argument that led to a peace disturbance call at Hannibal City Hall, it was a person’s unpleasant odor.
 
The Hannibal Courier-Post reports that several city hall workers on Tuesday called police to complain that a person who came into the building smelled so bad they wanted him removed. The northeast Missouri town’s municipal code allows people to be cited for peace disturbance because of a “noxious and offensive” odor.
 
The man agreed to leave the building. A short time later, workers at a neighboring business called police, the same person had gone there, the smell following with him.
 
The person left that building, too, at the urging of police. No arrest was made.
Friday, 28 March 2014 12:20
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Cardinals now own their top minor-league team.
 
The Cardinals on Friday closed on the purchase of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. As part of the deal, the city of Memphis, Tenn., acquires AutoZone Park and will lease the stadium to the Cardinals. Both are buying from Fundamental Advisors LP, the sole bondholder of the Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation.
 
Financial terms were not disclosed. Plans for the purchase were first announced late last year.
The Cardinals say the purchase agreement includes a significant investment in AutoZone Park, but did not elaborate.
 
The Memphis franchise has had financial struggles in recent years. The team drew more than 800,000 fans when the stadium opened in 2000, but has drawn fewer than 500,000 in recent seasons.
Friday, 28 March 2014 10:46
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BOONVILLE, Mo. (AP) - The ranch in central Missouri where the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses are raised is becoming a popular stop for visitors.
 
Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville had 24,000 visitors last year, an increase of 33 percent from 2012. John Soto, supervisor of the ranch, says he expects the numbers to keep climbing.
 
He credits Budweiser's famous Super Bowl ads in part for the interest. And he notes it's the only place in the country that offers a behind-the-scene look at the animals.
 
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that for $10, visitors are able to see horses ranging from foals just a few days old to breeding stallions and pregnant mares, as well the breeding facilities. A VIP tour for groups also is offered.
 
Friday, 28 March 2014 10:42
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FARMINGTON, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri woman has been fined $500 after pleading guilty to a rare charge - bigamy.
 
The Daily Journal newspaper in Park Hills, Mo. reports that 28-year-old Michelle Declue pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor on Thursday and the judge issued the fine.
 
Court documents show that Declue was married in December 2010 in St. Francois County. Late last year, her husband told deputies that he had recently discovered his wife had married in October 2008 in St. Clair County, Ill., and never dissolved that union.
 
St. Francois County prosecutor Jerrod Mahurin says the marriage in Illinois nullifies the Missouri union.
 
 
Friday, 28 March 2014 09:40
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O'FALLON, Ill. (AP) - Police in southwestern Illinois are investigating the theft of several used vehicles from a dealership in O'Fallon.
 
Authorities say the theft happened sometime before dawn Friday at the Auffenberg dealership when someone forced their way into a used-car building and stole keys to the vehicles.
 
Police did not immediately say how many vehicles are missing. There's no immediate word about any suspects or arrests.
Friday, 28 March 2014 09:37
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