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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A federal appeals court will hear arguments Oct. 3 over a push by gun rights advocates to let Illinois residents immediately tote firearms in public under the state's fledgling concealed-carry law.

Mary Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association want the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene after failing to sway a federal judge in East St. Louis to allow immediate concealed carry.

The Illinois Legislature passed the last-in-the-nation concealed-carry law July 9 against Gov. Pat Quinn's objections, giving Illinois State Police 180 days to set up the permit process and an additional 90 days to process applications.

Shepard and the rifle group consider that "foot-dragging."

The state counters the legal challenge is moot, and that the permitting process should be allowed to run its course.

 

Monday, 26 August 2013 14:23
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CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says the outline of a pension reform proposal from a bipartisan panel is "positive indeed."

However, the Chicago Democrat was less clear about whether he's fully behind it or not, saying he wants to see final details.

He told reporters Sunday after an unrelated event that the panel tasked with coming up with a way to address the state's nearly $100 billion pension problem has made progress.

Pensions have been Quinn's top issue. He recently halted lawmakers' pay after lawmakers missed another one of his deadlines to solve the issue.

The pension committee is considering a plan that would, among other things, end automatic 3 percent cost-of-living increases for retirees. Increases would instead be linked to the rate of inflation.

Committee members say the details are preliminary.

 

Monday, 26 August 2013 14:10
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri lawmaker arrested for possessing marijuana says he is resigning from a Democratic campaign position but not from office.

Rep. Jeremy LaFaver said Monday he is stepping down as chairman of the House Democratic Victory Committee, which raises money for House candidates.

But LaFaver told The Associated Press he is not resigning from the House, because he believes he can still be an effective lawmaker.

The Missouri Republican Party has said LaFaver should resign.

LaFaver was arrested Sunday after a traffic stop in Boone County for possessing a marijuana pipe and up to 1.2 ounces of marijuana. He has apologized for the incident.

LaFaver sponsored an unsuccessful bill this year that would have lowered penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Monday, 26 August 2013 13:34
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A suspect is back in custody after police say he escaped a St. Louis hospital.

Why was he in the hospital? He was shot in the face during an attempted burglary.

The owner of an East St. Louis towing company was patrolling the company grounds when he saw two burglars. The owner shot one of the men in the head before calling police. One suspect was arrested, the other taken to SLU hospital. While the injured suspect was in the hospital, he managed to escape and fled to his girlfriend's apartment. Police quickly found him and arrested him again.

The suspect will need reconstructive facial surgery, but is expected to survive.

Monday, 26 August 2013 12:24
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Richard "Dick" Thien, a veteran journalist who played a pivotal role in developing USA Today for Gannett Co. Inc., has died. He was 73.

Thien died Friday of natural causes at Missouri Baptist Hospital in suburban St. Louis, his son, Mark Thien, said Monday. Thien was a two-time cancer survivor.

In 1981, Gannett's CEO, Al Neuharth, chose Thien to be one of five prototype editors for USA Today, the nation's first national general-interest newspaper that made its debut the following year. USA Today immediately made a splash with its colorful look, frequent use of graphics and shorter, tighter stories, setting a trend followed by many newspapers around the world.

Thien was described in the book "The Making of McPaper: The Inside Story of USA Today," as "a gruff, cigar-chewing type who barked like an old-time city editor."

The Associated Press named Thien one of the 12 best editors in the country in 1986. It was among many awards he won in a career that spanned more than four decades.

Thien grew up in St. Louis and graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1963.

He worked at newspapers in several states and was a longtime coach in the Chips Quinn Scholar program for young minority journalists. He also taught journalism at the State University of New York in Binghamton, the University of Kansas and at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he earned a master's degree in journalism in 1998.

Thien was a first lieutenant in the Army in the 1960s.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Elaine, three children and three grandchildren. A funeral service is Friday at Kutis Affton Chapel in suburban St. Louis.

 

Monday, 26 August 2013 12:15
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   The father of Florida teen Trayvon Martin is hoping his son's death can become a message of peace.  '

   Tracy Martin spoke to several hundred people who gathered at Forest Park Sunday night for PeaceFest 2013.  The annual event focuses on ending violence on St. Louis streets.  

   Martin told festival-goers men have key role to play in bringing peace to a community.  "We as men, we need to go back into the communities and start mentoring the kids," Martin said.  "And just show them that they are loved and that their lives do matter."

   Yesterday's festivities were sponsored by A Better Family Life, a local organization that focuses on bring about positive change for families and neighborhoods. 

 

Monday, 26 August 2013 02:10
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   St. Louis restaurateur Jim Mattingly is being remembered fondly by friends, family and customers after dying suddenly Sunday morning of an apparent heart attack.  Mattingly was 64 years old.

   The north county native founded the popular Mattingly's Restaurant in Florissant with his mother in 1971.  A second location was later opened in St. Charles. 

   The public visitation will be held at Hutchens Mortyary on Graham road Wednesday from 1:00-9:00 p.m.  A funeral service at North County Community Church Thursday at 10:00 am.

   The family is asking that instead of flowers, donations be made in Mattingly's memory to the Greater St. Louis Area Major Case Squad, 700 North 5th Street, Belleville, IL 62220.

 
Monday, 26 August 2013 00:59
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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - An environmental group is heading to court in another attempt to overturn the way Missouri officials have implemented a 2008 ballot initiative about renewable energy.

   The initiative requires investor-owned utilities to tap renewable energy sources for at least 5 percent of their electricity by 2014, with that amount gradually rising to 15 percent by 2021.

   In 2011, the Legislature blocked part of an administrative rule that would have required the electricity from renewable energy sources to be produced or sold in Missouri. The result is that utilities have been able to purchase credits for renewable energy produced by others.

   A lawsuit filed this past week on behalf of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment challenges the legal basis for the Legislature's action.

 
Monday, 26 August 2013 00:42
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   There's good news for I-70 drivers.  The Blanchette Bridge is back to five lanes in each direction.  

   MoDOT reports that crews finished work well ahead of this morning's deadline, opening all lanes on both spans Saturday.  

   Transportation officials say drivers should expect occasional lane closures middays and overnight as crews finish work on the underside of the bridge structure.  

   The bulk of the work on the $64 million project has been completed two months ahead of schedule.

 
Monday, 26 August 2013 00:35
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A budding rift over the use of protected rivers and streams in south-central Missouri for baptisms is over before it really got started.

Republican U.S. Representative Jason Smith raised concerns in a letter this week to Ozark National Scenic Riverways superintendent William Black about permits required for baptisms. The riverways is part of the National Park Service, providing oversight for sections of the Jacks Fork and Current rivers, along with creeks and streams near those rivers.

Smith questioned why a government agency would get in the way of river baptisms, a tradition of rural Missouri life.

Black responded in a letter to Smith Thursday saying the permit issue was a misunderstanding, and that he was clarifying policy to ensure that no permit is required.

Sunday, 25 August 2013 09:23
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