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CHICAGO (AP) - Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says she has no choice but to withhold paychecks from Illinois lawmakers.

Topinka spoke Thursday in Chicago after her office reviewed Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to cut state legislator's paychecks from a budget bill earlier this month. He called it the consequence for lawmakers' failure to address the state's $97 billion pension shortfall.

Topinka says she talked with the Illinois attorney general's office and they advised her that comptrollers can't pay state employees without an appropriation.

Topinka says she hopes the matter will be resolved "expeditiously." She says the courts likely will have the ultimate say, unless lawmakers quickly adopt pension reform.

Topinka says in her opinion government shouldn't be run through threats and blackmail.

Lawmakers are scheduled to receive their next paychecks on Aug. 1.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 12:21
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Emergency personnel evacuated a pilot from a Jerseyville corn field after his plane crashed.

Jersey County Sheriff Department says the man took off in the single-seat experimental plane around 10:30 this morning from the Jerseyville Municipal Airport. Shortly after takeoff the pilot says the plane's engine had problems and before he could return to the airport, the engine died. The plane crashed into a nearby cornfield.

The pilot was hurt in the accident, but authorities say the injuries are not serious.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 12:00
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Just two weeks after 9-year-old Tyrese Short was shot to death in St. Louis, his family has apparently been targeted again.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that two people were shot Tuesday night in a spray of gunfire at the family's home. One of the two remains hospitalized. Family members say they have no enemies and don't know why they are being targeted.

Tyrese was riding in his father's sport utility vehicle on July 10 when someone shot into the rear window. Tyrese was struck in the back of the head and killed. His father and two of his father's cousins also in the SUV were not hurt.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 11:41
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     ST. LOUIS (AP) - Virginia Johnson, part of the husband-wife research team that transformed the study of sex in the 1960s, has died.

   Her son, Scott Johnson, says his mother died Wednesday at a St. Louis assisted living center. She was 88.

   Johnson was a twice-divorced mother in her 30s when she went job-hunting at Washington University in St. Louis in the late 1950s to support her young family while she pursued a college degree.

   She soon became an assistant to obstetrician-gynecologist William Masters, and later his lover and co-collaborator on a large-scale human sexuality experiments.

   Their books, 1966's "Human Sexual Response" and 1970's "Human Sexual Inadequacy," were best-sellers.

   They married in 1971 but divorced after 20 years. The Masters and Johnson Institute in St. Louis closed in 1994. Masters died in 2001.

 
Thursday, 25 July 2013 10:32
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The St Louis Business Journal reports that CKE Inc., the company that owns St. Louis based Hardee's and California based Carl's Jr. chains, reportedly is exploring a potential sale a year after postponing its initial public offering.

The company is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on the early stages of a sale process that could value the company at more than $1.7 billion, sources told Reuters.

Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE, which is led by CEO Andy Puzder, was taken private by Apollo Global Management in 2010 in a deal valued at close to $700 million. The company had planned to go public again last August in a $213 million IPO, but opted to hold off, citing market conditions.

 

Thursday, 25 July 2013 08:34
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 Just a few feet is all that's left to connect the new Mississippi River bridge. 

Crews are putting in that last piece today (Thursday). The Missouri Department of Transportation sayscrews will spend much of the day today laying two steel girders on the upstream and downstream sides of the bridge.   They are each 10-feet long and 6-feet high.

Spectators are invited to watch from an old pumphouse at Mullanphy just east of Broadway, through the flood wall.  http://www.newriverbridge.org/documents/viewingplatform.pdf.

Friday at 9:00am, contractors will start installing a 30-thousand pound floor beam that will go between the two edge girders. The bridge will be connected, but it will not be finished.  Engineers say there is still a lot of work to be done if the bridge is to open on schedule by early next year.

Officials urge anyone who comes to keep the roads and bike trails clear.

 Map to the pumphouse:  http://www.newriverbridge.org/documents/viewingplatform.pdf.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 07:43
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   Senator Claire McCaskill has long been an advocate for victims of sexual assault in the military. So the Missouri Democrat is perplexed this week after being singled out in St. Louis Post Dispatch and Facebook ads calling her a roadblock to reforming the system.

   Protect Our Defenders, a Washington-based advocacy group for military sexual assault victims, took aim at McCaskill over her opposition to an amendment proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

   Gillibrand proposes setting up a new independent legal channel to prosecute sexual assaults and other major crimes.   The Pentagon and many Democratic and GOP senators oppose the idea.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 04:13
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   The company that owns the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill has 20 days to submit a new plan to stop the fire's spread toward radioactive waste buried at the adjacent West Lake Landfill.  

   The Missouri Department of Natural Resources yesterday found "significant deficiencies" in Republic Service's contingency plan.  

   Residents living near the two landfills have expressed serious concerns about the underground fire that continues to creep closer to the radioactive waste site.  

   Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued Republic in March because the continuous burning violates state environmental laws.  Koster says he will take them back to court if necessary to force the company to comply with the DNR's request for a new plan.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 03:35
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   A 150 unit luxury senior living center proposed on a 12 acre site at Clayton and Mason Roads in west St. Louis County is unlikely to happen.

   The Town and Country Planning and Zoning Commission  Wednesday night voted unanimously to turn down a proposal by Allegro Senior Living.  

   About 200 people had attended the meeting and dozens spoke against the project.    Most cited concerns over traffic and property values.  

   The zoning commission will recommend that the Board of Alderman reject the project.  They'll list "no evidence" the community needs such a facility among their list of seven reasons.

   This is the second proposed senior housing development to cause controversy in St. Louis county recently.  The other is a low-income development already under construction along Telegraph Road in South County.  Opponents are trying to get county officials to halt that project.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 02:13
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   As the August 1 transfer deadline looms for students in the unaccredited Riverview Gardens School District, a snag has developed that could throw the whole process into chaos.  

   Riverview officials will have to pick a second district to bus students to.  That's because the first district they selected, Mehlville, reports that they only have room for about 150 transfer students, about one-third of the more than 400 who've applied to transfer.  

   Under state guidelines the Riverview Gardens District must now choose a second district where it will provide free bus transportation.  

   Students were required to list their top three choices of schools on their transfer applications.  And that information could help Riverview officials select the second destination district.  

   Riverview Gardens officials have not yet selected a second district for free bus transportation.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 01:01
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