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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A long-delayed project to close a huge levee gap and improve drainage in southeast Missouri is moving forward.

The Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday announced plans for public meetings to discuss a proposed environmental impact statement for the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project. Meetings will be Aug. 27 in East Prairie, Mo., and Aug. 28 in nearby Cairo, Ill.

The levee holds back the Mississippi River from agricultural land in the Missouri Bootheel region, but it has a 1,500-foot gap.

A $100 million project that also includes drainage improvements in the Missouri towns of Charleston, East Prairie and Sikeston was given the go-ahead in 2006 but halted a year later over concerns raised by environmentalists. A federal judge agreed to put the project on hold.

 

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 17:21
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois' auditor has found that the state's prison systems have lost 240 computers.

Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland released the audits on Tuesday. Lee Enterprises newspapers reports the audits found 156 computers were unaccounted for at the Illinois Department of Corrections and 84 computers were lost at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.

Holland called the losses problematic because it increases the risk of exposing confidential information. Corrections and Juvenile Justice officials told auditors they would investigate the missing computers.

In June the auditor found more than 250 computers unaccounted for at Southern Illinois University.

State officials estimate the value of the missing SIU and prison computers at $639,000.

 
Tuesday, 06 August 2013 17:19
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An alleged sexual predator turned himself in on Monday.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's office say 30-year-old Justin Williams admitted to having sexual contact with a teen. Officers say Williams surrendered to authorities because he felt bad for the victim. According to investigators the victim confirmed Williams story.

He now faces charges of statutory sodomy and endangering the welfare of a child. Williams remains in jail.

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 17:17
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The second phase of the lottery to place transfer students is underway.

Students who did not get selected for any of their first three choices are being asked to provide three additional choices. There are 300 students in this additional lottery round. Officials with the Cooperating School Districts hope to have all students place by later this evening.

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 15:30
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Low-interest loans are now available to some residents and business owners in St. Louis and St. Charles county who were affected by storms between May 29 and June 10.

The funds are coming from the US Small Business Administration. Homeowners could receive as much as $200,000 to replace homes or land. Businesses and nonprofits could as be eligible for up to $2 million in loans to repair or replace land, property, or other business assets. Loan rates start as low as 1.8%.

More information is available from the SBA's Customer Service at 1-800-659-2955 or www.sba.gov/disaster.

 

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 14:38
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CHICAGO (AP) - A Cook County judge is hearing arguments on whether to dismiss a case challenging Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit being heard Tuesday before Circuit Judge Sophia Hall involves 25 couples who filed for marriage licenses in Cook County and were denied.

However, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has refused to defend the state's ban, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. She says it violates the state constitution's equal protection clause. Attorney General Lisa Madigan has argued against the ban because the case brings the constitutionality of state laws into question.

Clerks from downstate were allowed to intervene and defend the ban.

Illinois approved civil unions in 2011, but attempts to legalize gay marriage have stalled.

 

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 14:36
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Police say they have a captured a suspect in a Creve Couer bank robbery.

The robbery happened on Olive Boulevard. The man implied he had a weapon and left with the cash. Witnesses at the bank were able to provide a description of the suspect's car--that helped police capture the man.

The suspect has not been identified pending charges.

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 14:04
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Student leaders and over a hundred mentors spent time transitioning Normandy students to the Francis Howell School District.

475 Normandy students made the leap to the accredited district. The number breaks down to 168 elementary school students, 164, middle school students, and 143 high schoolers. The kids spent the day getting tours of the schools, participating in team-building activities, and locating their lockers.  

The first day of school is Thursday.

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 13:20
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  CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says a lawsuit over his decision to suspend lawmaker pay for failing to act on the state pension crisis will be a "landmark" case.

   Quinn attended a court hearing Tuesday involving a lawsuit filed by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to force Quinn and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to issue paychecks.

   A Cook County Circuit Court judge set oral arguments for Sept. 18.

   Last month, Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislators' pay from the state budget after threatening consequences if they didn't act on pensions.

   The lawsuit asks the court to decide if Quinn's line-item veto fully eliminated lawmakers' salaries. If the court upholds Quinn's amendatory veto, plaintiffs want the court to declare Quinn's action unconstitutional.

   Quinn says his move is constitutional.

 
Tuesday, 06 August 2013 11:20
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   SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A judge has ordered the state Department of Natural Resources to hold off on issuing a wastewater permit for a horse slaughter facility planned for northwest Missouri.

   The Springfield News-Leader reports Rains Natural Meats wants to operate the facility near Gallatin, but Cole County Judge Daniel Green wants to hear a lawsuit filed against DNR before allowing the critical permit.

   Three horse slaughter opponents have sued the DNR to block the permit, which would let the facility land-apply the wastewater from the proposed plant.

   Their lawsuit argues that horses treated with a gamut of drugs that could be dangerous to human health would be slaughtered at the facility.

   Rains Natural Meats vice president David Rains called the judge's order illegal and said he was fighting to have it overturned.

Tuesday, 06 August 2013 11:15
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