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   City leaders in Ballwin are overwhelmingly opposed to the City of St. Louis rejoining St. Louis County. The Ballwin Board of Aldermen Monday night passed a resolution opposing reunification. The vote was 6-0 with Alderman Mike Boland abstaining.  Boland says he wants to know both sides of the issue before casting a vote.  
   Mayor Tim Pogue says there are concerns that the high quality of services the city of Ballwin provides to residents would be reduced or cost more under unification.  Several residents expressed concerns to the board that problems in the city of St. Louis would creep out to their community more easily with reunification.
   The City of St. Louis hasn't been part of St. Louis County since 1876.  
   Both St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley have said they favor reunification. 
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 02:22
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   SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn's state budget address this week could be the most crucial of his political career.
   His pitch to lawmakers comes as Illinois grapples with a major financial dilemma: Whether to extend a temporary income tax increase. And Quinn is facing a serious re-election challenge from Republican venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, who already refers to Quinn as "the worst governor in America."
   It's the first major fiscal issue since Rauner won the GOP nod.
   Quinn is expected to reveal plans for when the tax sunsets and leaves a roughly $1.6 billion revenue hole, making deep cuts likely. The speech in Springfield on Wednesday will also be his opportunity to deliver a message to critical groups, like unions, that've been displeased with him and that he'll need come November.
 
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 02:19
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois lawmaker wants to increase penalties for gun owners who illegally carry firearms into schools.
   State Rep. Deborah Conroy is introducing a proposal that would make carrying guns into Illinois schools a felony. That includes pre-schools up to colleges and universities. Currently, first and second-time offenders are charged with a misdemeanor.
   Another measure introduced by the Democrat from Villa Park increases fines for carrying guns into prohibited places from $150 to $500. Fines currently go to a state mental health fund.
   Conroy says this proposal is about providing more money to cover mental health services. She says the current amount is too low.
   The bill is in a House committee with other proposals changing the concealed carry law passed last year.
 
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 02:15
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CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has picked up a major labor endorsement for his re-election during a campaign that's already focused on union influence.
 
Service Employees International Union in Illinois said Monday it was backing the Chicago Democrat because of his stance on the minimum wage and integrity in Springfield.
 
Quinn faces what's expected to be a tough challenge from Republican businessman Bruce Rauner.
 
The Winnetka venture capitalist made fighting "government union bosses" a theme during the GOP primary. Unions also made the unusual move of endorsing a Republican in the primary: state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale.
 
Quinn has traditionally enjoyed union support. However, public employee unions disagreed with his signing of a pension overhaul that cuts benefits for state employees and retirees.
 
SEIU represents roughly 170,000 workers in Illinois.
Monday, 24 March 2014 15:59
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - The largest airline at Lambert Airport is preparing to expand.

 

On September 20, Southwest Airlines will introduce new, non-stop service from St. Louis to San Francisco. Additional flights to Washington DC and Los Angeles are also being added. Flights to DCA will increase from two to three starting on November, 2nd. Service to LAX will also increase to three daily flights.

 

Southwest is currently Lambert Airport’s largest carrier. They handle 91 daily departures to 33 non-stop destinations.

Monday, 24 March 2014 15:40
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's auditor is raising concerns about state payments to subsidize child care costs for lower-income families.
 
Auditor Tom Schweich criticized the state Social Services Department for not having enough quality control over the payments. The findings were included in an audit issued Monday of nearly $12 million in federal funds received by Missouri.
 
Schweich found that one-third of the payments reviewed by his office were not supported by proper documentation or were not in compliance with department guidelines.
 
The audit also questioned five welfare cases where benefits were paid to recipients who might not have been eligible for the program.
 
In a response included with the audit, the department says it "partially agrees" with Schweich's conclusions on the child care payments. It agrees with the audit's welfare findings.
Monday, 24 March 2014 15:39
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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois couple is accused of criminal neglect of a disabled person in the death of a blind man who authorities say weighed just 60 pounds.
 
   The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County prosecutors charged 49-year-old Richard R. Young and 32-year-old Elizabeth Young of Belleville on Monday.
 
   The charges allege that as Billy Ray Young's caretakers, the defendants failed to maintain the 52-year-old disabled man's medical, nutritional and hygienic needs.
 
   Billy Ray Young's body was found March 11 in the defendant's home.
 
   Relatives say the man was blind and mentally and physically impaired, and that he had been cared for by his mother until she died in 2001.
 
   Richard and Elizabeth Young don't have a listed home telephone number. Online court records don't list their attorney.
 
Monday, 24 March 2014 15:35
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CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois' Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says he has no plans to campaign with the GOP state lawmaker hoping to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in November.
 
Kirk told reporters Monday that he's going to be "protecting his relationship" with Durbin and won't launch "into a partisan jihad."
 
Durbin is the Senate's No. 2 Democrat.
 
State Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove won the GOP nomination last week. His family owns a chain of ice cream shops. Oberweis says his name recognition will help his U.S. Senate campaign. However, Oberweis has been under fire in the past, including for remarks about immigrants.
 
Kirk and Durbin have worked together and have had a public friendship, particularly after Kirk suffered a stroke in 2012.
Monday, 24 March 2014 14:41
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - The St. Louis Department of Health says a local group is getting new funding to reduce childhood obesity.

 

The Transdisciplinary Center on Health Equity Policy Research and Practice, at the Moorehouse School of Medicine, is giving a St. Louis group two grants. The grants are worth $60,000.

 

One grant will fund an educational program on healthy and active living to parents of children under the age of 6, while the other grant will help collect and assess information related to policies, disparities and outcomes for programs such as Head Start and Parents as Teachers.

Monday, 24 March 2014 14:33
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois woman living in public housing and on government aid has pleaded not guilty to charges she bilked the U.S. government of more than $1 million from hundreds of bogus tax returns.
 
The Belleville News-Democrat reports 45-year-old Dorresa Braggs of Belleville entered the not-guilty plea Friday to a 12-count indictment in East St. Louis.
 
The charges against the mother of three children range from making false statements to the Internal Revenue Service's investigations arm to aggravated identity theft.
 
Authorities allege she used her computer as a tax preparer to electronically file false tax returns from at least 2010 through the summer of 2012. The indictment alleges she claimed false business expenses for clients and at times falsified W-2 forms to overstate wages and federal income tax withholdings.
Monday, 24 March 2014 14:25
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