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   CHICAGO (AP) - Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley is calling on Gov. Pat Quinn to hold around-the-clock talks to resolve the state's $97 billion pension shortfall.

   Daley will hold a news conference in Chicago on Monday to publicly urge the governor to get more aggressive in trying to solve the crisis.

   Daley has formed an exploratory committee as he considers running against Quinn in next spring's Democratic primary.

   Daley campaign spokesman Pete Giangreco told The Associated Press on Monday that "a confluence of issues" in the last week has increased the urgency for Illinois lawmakers to solve the state's worst-in-the-nation pension problem.

   Giangreco says that includes the lowering of Chicago's bond rate, Detroit's bankruptcy and a higher Illinois unemployment rate.

   He says the state's problem is "beyond a crisis now."

   

Monday, 22 July 2013 06:36
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   CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law new rules for tethering a dog outside.

   Quinn says the legislation ensures dogs are treated humanely.

   The Illinois Democrat says dogs bring unconditional love and comfort to their owners' lives and become "part of our families." He says the new law makes sure "our pets receive the same love and care they give us."

   The measure requires the leash used to tether a dog to be at least 10 feet long and to not exceed one-eighth of a dog's body weight. It also says people who don't provide sufficient food, water, shelter and veterinary care could be subject to up to six months imprisonment.

   The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Dan Burke, a Chicago Democrat, and Sen. Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora.

Monday, 22 July 2013 02:38
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   A suspect is in police custody in a local hospital after being shot by a police officer in south St. Louis Sunday afternoon.  

   Police say officers tried to question the suspect and another man near Gravois and Austria.  Both were known to officers as previous offenders.  

   The suspect fled.  Officers chased him. Police tried to stop him with a tazor, but that effort failed. 

   St. Louis Police Captain Michael Sack says when the suspect reached for his waist, the officer thought he was reaching for a gun and fire at him.  The suspect was hit twice in the legs.  

   The officer is on routine administrative leave.

Monday, 22 July 2013 00:47
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - A long smoldering St. Louis County landfill has a history of methane violations.

   State and county inspection reports and other public documents from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources show the landfill has been out of compliance with state regulations since the late 1990s. The issue was that the landfill was allowing excess levels of methane, a potentially dangerous gas, to seep off-site.

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the methane problems also raise questions about a possible connection to the mass of overheated waste that continues to smolder deep below the surface of the landfill.

   The company says it isn't yet ruling anything out and is working with the DNR to determine the origin of what has been called a "smoldering event."

 
Monday, 22 July 2013 00:35
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A Columbia farmers market flap highlights the challenges of ensuring that products labeled as locally-grown are the real thing.

Wilson's Garden Center owner Chuck Bay says he was kicked out of the popular Columbia Farmers Market for violating the market's vendor rules.

Bay says the board of directors flagged his stand for selling starter plants that had been purchased at a wholesale produce market in the Morgan County town of Versailles. He calls the market's rules on such products vague and says the board resents that he also sets up shop at a competing farmers market with less restrictive rules.

Board members say the rules are clear: vendors must grow their own products.

Sunday, 21 July 2013 08:37
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A coalition of farm and food safety groups wants federal regulators to quash the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods to a Chinese conglomerate in what would be the largest such takeover of a U.S. business.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the 17 groups are asking the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to oppose the pork processor's sale to Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.

The groups include the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Food and Water Watch, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Nebraska Farmers Union.

The federal committee reviews sales of American companies to foreign interests.

Coalition members say the deal could weaken domestic food safety, cause economic damage in rural communities and harm national security.

Sunday, 21 July 2013 08:36
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WARRENSBURG, Mo. (AP) — Governor Jay Nixon is joining President Barack Obama during his upcoming visit to the University of Central Missouri.

Obama is traveling Wednesday to the Warrensburg school and Galesburg, Illinois to make his case for spending on infrastructure and for universal pre-school programs. The president is also expected to highlight the economic benefits of overhauling immigration laws.

Nixon announced Saturday that he would join Obama during the Missouri stop. He noted that the University of Central Missouri is part of an Innovation Campus initiative that offers accelerated degrees in high-demand fields.

The trip will mark Obama's first visit to the state since a May 2012 commencement speech at Joplin High School. That visit marked the one-year anniversary of a deadly tornado that hit the southwestern Missouri city.

Sunday, 21 July 2013 08:30
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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois man pleaded guilty during his trial on charges that he drunkenly caused a 2010 two-vehicle wreck that killed the other driver.

Thirty-six-year-old James Griesbaum of Aviston pleaded guilty to two felony DUI-related counts.

A spokeswoman for the Madison County State's Attorney's Office tells the Belleville News-Democrat that Griesbaum will be sentenced to simultaneous prison terms of three years and six months in prison on each count.

Authorities contend that Griesbaum was drunk in February 2010 in Madison County when his pickup truck collided head-on with a vehicle driven by Barbara Green of Trenton. She died.

Griesbaum's trial began Tuesday with jury selection and was to have gone to the jury for deliberation as early as Friday.

Griesbaum's sentencing date was not immediately set.

Saturday, 20 July 2013 07:15
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PERRYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A quarantine of wood products from Perry County is likely, after the discovery of an insect that kills ash trees.

Perry County economic development director Scott Sattler says Missouri Department of Agriculture field agents recently found the emerald ash borer in a park in Perryville.

The larvae of the half-inch-long, emerald green beetle kill the trees by feeding on the bark of the trees.

Sattler told the Southeast Missourian that Perry County is not yet under quarantine. That's because the survey of the beetle's extent is ongoing. County officials expect a quarantine to be imposed in the next 30 days.

Sattler says the quarantine would affect all types of firewood.

Saturday, 20 July 2013 07:15
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster declaration after severe storms struck Missouri from May 29th to June 10th.

The storms included one that spawned a tornado in the St. Louis area and others that caused widespread flooding.

The declaration allows the federal government to provide government entities and some nonprofits help paying for emergency work and facility replacement and repairs in 27 counties. They span from Barton County on the border with Kansas to St. Louis County. Funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Obama will travel Wednesday to Galesburg, Illinois and Warrensburg, Missouri to make his case for spending on infrastructure and for universal pre-school programs. Obama is also expected to highlight the economic benefits of overhauling immigration laws.

Saturday, 20 July 2013 07:14
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