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CHICAGO (AP) - A Cook County judge has ruled that Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to halt lawmaker pay over the pension crisis is unconstitutional and has ordered Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to pay them immediately.

Judge Neil Cohen made the ruling Thursday.

He says the state Constitution makes it clear that lawmakers' pay can't be changed while serving they're serving their terms.

Quinn used his line-item veto to cut money for legislators' salaries from the state budget because they hadn't fixed Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension crisis.

House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton sued, saying Quinn's actions were unconstitutional and violated the state's separation of powers. They asked a judge to order paychecks be issued.

 

Thursday, 26 September 2013 14:49
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Mizzou fans may want to avoid Interstate 70 if they are heading down to Columbia for the game this weekend; MoDOT will be closing sections of the highway in St. Peters.

Crews will close two left lanes of westbound 70 between Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Route 79 starting at 9 PM Friday. One lane will open Sunday at noon, but the far left westbound lane will remain closed through Friday, October 4.

This work is part of a project constructing a diverging diamond interchange.

The project also includes the construction of an additional westbound I-70 lane between Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Route 79.

Visit the project website: www.modot.org/stlouis/I-70andMidRiversMallDriveDivergingDiamondInterchange.htm

Plan ahead -- for ways to avoid work zones, call 1-888-ASK-MODOT or visit our website at www.modot.org/

 

Thursday, 26 September 2013 13:41
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A St. Louis man is behind bars after he allegedly tried to sell stolen items on Craigslist.

KMOV reports that Michael Perez allegedly broke into a pair of cars in Wildwood on Sunday. One of the victims called police after he saw what he believed was his radar jammer for sale on Craigslist. The man set up a meeting with Perez and when Perez arrived for the sale, police arrested him. Officers say they determine the radar detector had been stolen.

A search of the suspect's home revealed other stolen property including cash, jewelry and electronics. Perez now faces multiple charges related to the thefts. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013 13:15
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A job fair is just getting underway in Collinsville Thursday.

The fair runs from 1 PM to 5 PM at the Gateway Convention Center. Some of the companies looking to hire; AAA, Clearwave Communications, Illinois state Police, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Special School District of St. Louis County.

Thursday, 26 September 2013 13:15
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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A former southwestern Illinois Boy Scout volunteer already imprisoned for molesting boys has been sentenced to 25 more years for sexual misconduct.

Fifty-six-year-old Jon Demers was sentenced to the new prison time this week after pleading guilty to three felony charges, including predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

St. Clair State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said the latest case involved a 12-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy in 2009.

Monday's sentence will run simultaneously to a six-year term the former Collinsville man got after being convicted in March of 12 sex-abuse counts involving a boy.

Demers was a Belleville Boy Scout troop committee member and merit badge counselor, but his status with that organization has been revoked. He also was a civilian employee of Scott Air Force Base.

 

Thursday, 26 September 2013 13:12
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Senator Dick Durbin and other Democrats are asking energy drink companies not to market to children. The Illinois Democrat and his colleagues sent letters to 17 energy drink companies asking that they voluntarily list, on the label, the amount of caffeine in a product as well as any adverse events associated with consuming the drinks.  Earlier this year, Senator Durbin co-authored a report entitled “What’s all the Buzz about?” which highlighted the inconsistencies in the labeling and classification of energy drinks. The report found high levels of caffeine in the energy drinks that exceeded what is considered safe in soda by the Food and Drug Administration. The report also found that adolescent consumers are frequent targets for the marketing pitches of energy drink companies. Product design and placement on store shelves help to create product images that appeal to children and teens. 

 

Thursday, 26 September 2013 10:31
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The theft of a police chief's gun used in a 2009 Illinois murder will be investigated by a special state prosecutor.  The Southern Illinoisan reports that a Jackson County judge has signed off on having a prosecutor with the Illinois attorney general's office review the case. Authorities say the gun taken from Carbondale Police Chief Jody O'Guinn's car in 2009 was used months later in the death of Deaunta Spencer of Carbondale.  Witnesses said Matthew Jones shot Spencer during an altercation. Police say they found what they believe to be the murder weapon blocks from the scene. Jones pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced last year to 35 years in prison.

 

Thursday, 26 September 2013 09:07
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Missouri and Illinois have a mutual interest in the most recent crew of the International Space Station. The Russian Soyuz arrived yesterday at the Space Station with two Russian astronauts and American Mike Hopkins. The Missouri native is also a former captain of the Fighting Illini football team. Hopkins was born in Lebanon, Mo. and grew up in Richland. While attending the University of Illinois to earn a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering he captained the U. of I. football team in 1991.  Hopkins, a Colonel in the Air Force, will remain at the space station until mid-March. Officials at the school say he is the sixth alumnus to become an astronaut. A schedule of the sightings of the ISS can be found at: spotthestation.nasa.gov .

Thursday, 26 September 2013 08:00
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A traffic stop on I-64 in Illinois has led to the arrest of three men and the recovery of marijuana, an assault-style weapon, a handgun and $25,000. Illinois State Police say the men aroused suspicion when they were stopped on Tuesday because they appeared nervous while being questioned. That prompted a search of their vehicle. Authorities say the men, ranging in age from 19 to 27, were headed from Georgia to Colorado to buy marijuana when they were pulled over on Interstate 64 in Nashville, Illinois.  The driver is charged with possessing marijuana and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. The passengers are facing a marijuana-possession charge.

 
Thursday, 26 September 2013 07:29
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois will receive nearly $540,000 in federal funds to expand the availability of fresh, locally grown produce.

   Agriculture Director Bob Flider said Wednesday the money will come from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. It will be split among 12 projects focused on local produce.

   Flider says Illinois' "fertile soil and favorable climate" are good for growing a variety of crops. He says the grants will help encourage production and make nutritious food available to more people.

   Illinois is known for growing corn and soybeans. But it's the nation's largest pumpkin and horseradish producer in the nation and is among the top states for such crops as asparagus, cauliflower, green peas and lima beans.

   The state has more than 117,000 acres of specialty crops which produce $137 million in sales.

 
Thursday, 26 September 2013 03:10
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