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   CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago's mayor and the governor of Illinois are among those celebrating the life of gay rights activist Vernita Gray, who died Tuesday at age 65.
   Gray and her partner, Patricia Ewert, wed in the state's first same-sex marriage in November. Her terminal cancer and her wish to marry convinced a federal judge to order an expedited marriage license. That allowed the couple to get married before the June 1 effective date of Illinois' new same-sex marriage law.
   Gray had worked for gay rights for decades.
   Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised Gray's work for equality and civil rights in a statement Wednesday, calling her "an inspiration to all who crossed her path."
   Gov. Pat Quinn says Gray "fought for what she believed in and made a difference for people across Illinois."
Thursday, 20 March 2014 02:41
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - Certain cancer patients won’t be paying as much for their medicine anymore.  
 
Governor Jay Nixon has signed Senate Bill 668 into law, which prevents insurance companies from charging higher prices for oral chemotherapy medicines.  Currently, insurance companies cover chemotherapy pills as a prescription drug benefit, rather than a medical benefit.  Because of that, cancer patients who would prefer to take their medications orally have to pay quite a bit more.
 
Nixon says providing quality care if a priority. "Missourians struggling to overcome this terrible disease deserve access to the most effective treatments available, not a $10,000 prescription bill", says Nixon.
 
The new law limits the out-of-pocket costs insurance companies charge for orally taken anticancer medications to $75 dollars for a thirty day supply.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 16:47
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - A couple of St. Louis restaurants want to make sure their workers are getting a fair wage.  
 
Pi Pizzeria and Gringo co-founder Chris Sommers has announced starting April 1st, he will be increasing the minimum wage he pays his workers to $10.10 an hour.  Sommers says this minimum wage needs to be mandated at a federal level. "If they're not going to do it on their own, then it comes down to the federal government" says Sommers,"because the federal government ends up making up for the slack anyway.
 
An employee working at Missouri’s current minimum wage of $7.50 an hour averages $15,600 dollars a year.  
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 16:44
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OZARK, MO (AP) – A southwest Missouri police checkpoint aimed at drunken drivers on St. Patrick’s Day instead snared 10 people suspected of possessing methamphetamine.
 
The Springfield News-Leader reports 12 arrests stemmed from the checkpoint Monday in Christian County, of which only one was for driving while intoxicated. The other was for possession of marijuana.
 
Ozark Police Chief Lyle Hodges says three of the 12 arrested in the operation also had outstanding warrants. He says the number of drug arrests -- and lack of drunken driving charges -- was unusual.
 
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 15:23
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CHICAGO (AP) - The chief strategist behind Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election campaign calls the Chicago Democrat a tough "street fighter" who knows how to win elections.
   
Bill Hyers told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that the race will boil down to a "clear contrast" between Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner.
 
Hyers most recently managed Bill de Blasio's successful campaign for New York mayor. In 2012 he managed President Barack Obama's Pennsylvania campaign operations. He also was Midwest director for Obama in 2008.
 
Hyers says Quinn shouldn't be underestimated and is ready for a tough fight. He says those who've dismissed Quinn before have been wrong. Quinn narrowly won a first full term in 2010.
 
Quinn's campaign has focused on Rauner's wealth and changing stance on raising the minimum wage.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 15:22
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VIENNA, IL (AP) – Voters in southern Illinois’ Johnson County have rejected a ballot referendum that could have prompted the county’s governing board to restrict a form of oil drilling.
 
The ballot measure involving hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was defeated by a 600-vote margin. More than 2,220 people voted against the provision, while about 1,600 supported it.
 
The non-binding referendum was meant to advise the Johnson County Commission whether it should resist efforts to open the county to fracking. The process involves blasting rock formations deep underground with water, sand and chemicals to release trapped oil and gas.
 
The issue for months has hijacked the County Commission meetings, pitting neighbor against neighbor.
Annette McMichael of Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment says it’s unclear where the anti-fracking effort in the county goes from here.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 15:20
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CHICAGO (AP) - Republicans spent the day after the Illinois primary stressing the need to work together to reclaim the governor's mansion in November.
 
New GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner told a group of party officials at a "March to Victory" luncheon in Chicago that "division doesn't help anything."
 
The Winnetka businessman says the party must effectively communicate that it cares for people from different backgrounds.
 
Rauner was the victor of a costly, four-way primary Tuesday. He'll face Gov. Pat Quinn in the November general election.
 
Illinois GOP party Chair Jack Dorgan says the party must expand and appeal to Democrats and independents in all races.
 
Democrats also held a party breakfast at the Billy Goat Tavern in downtown Chicago on Wednesday stressing party unity.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 15:15
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - A suspect in the slaying of a Cape Girardeau tattoo artist whose body was found in a Bonne Terre septic tank has pleaded guilty to federal drug charges in a separate case.
 
Forty-three-year-old Brent Bouren of St. Louis faces state charges of second-degree murder, armed criminal action, witness tampering, second-degree assault and felonious restraint in connection with the death of Samuel "Tick" Francis.
 
Bouren is accused of watching another man attack Francis with a baseball bat, participating in the assault and threatening witnesses with similar treatment to keep them quiet.
 
The Southeast Missourian reports that Bouren pleaded guilty Monday to one count each of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. A sentencing hearing is set for early June.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 12:32
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - The suspect in a north county bank robbery is in the hospital in critical condition after police say he shot himself in the head.

 

The incident started shortly after 10 AM when the suspect robbed a US Bank on Lindbergh. Florissant Police spotted the suspect's vehicle shortly after the robbery and started to chase the vehicle. Near I-270 and Lindbergh the suspect crashed into a concrete guardrail. Officers said that as they approached the car, they heard a gunshot.

 

They found the suspect with a gunshot to the head. No one at the bank was hurt. The suspect's name has not been released.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 12:21
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