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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Sen. Claire McCaskill and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay are among those urging renewal of federal legislation that they say has a proven record of providing job opportunities in Missouri.
 
 The two Democrats plan to discuss their support for renewing the expired Workforce Investment Act during a news conference Monday afternoon at Soldiers' Memorial in St. Louis.
 
 McCaskill's office says she will highlight the importance of the Workforce Investment Act in helping military veterans look for jobs when they return to civilian life.
 
Monday, 17 March 2014 09:26
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   CHESTER, Ill. (AP) - A pre-trial hearing has been delayed for a man accused of setting a Randolph County, Illinois house fire that killed four children last year.
   The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale reports Sunday that Monday's hearing for Derrick Twardoski has been rescheduled for April 17th. Twardoski has pleaded not guilty to four first-degree murder counts in the deaths last May in Percy, a village 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.
   Eight exhibits are still being tested for DNA evidence in the case. Randolph County prosecutors say the testing will be done Monday and results should be available in 30 days.
   The fire killed siblings ages 12, 9 and 5-year-old twins. Their parents and a 6 year old escaped.
 
Monday, 17 March 2014 03:42
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   JEFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri had expected to receive about $130 million this April under an annual settlement payment from tobacco companies.
   But it looks like Missouri will get less than half that amount because of an arbitrator's ruling that state officials failed to diligently enforce the settlement a decade ago.
   House and Senate committees heard testimony this past week on legislation that the attorney general's office and major tobacco companies both say is necessary if the state wants to negotiate a smaller loss of tobacco funds. The bill would, in essence, force a price hike on some cheaper cigarettes that compete with the brands made by big tobacco companies.
   House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream says the bill faces opposition and definitely won't pass in time to reverse this year's reduced tobacco payment.
 
Monday, 17 March 2014 03:39
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   While unemployment rates are decreasing, the economic recovery still isn't trickling down to the dinner table for too many hungry Missourians.  That's according to Monica Palmer with the Missouri Food Bank Association.  She says 2013 was a record-breaking year, with more than 100 million pounds of food distributed across the state - a 23 percent jump from the year before.
   Palmer says more Missouri families are finding they simply can't stretch their budgets any further.  "Their income is not keeping up, because groceries are going up, childcare is going up, everything is going up, but wages are not competing - they're actually going down," Palmer said.
   The U.S. Department of Agriculture ranks Missouri number two in the nation for "very low food security," which means many of the state's residents have a hard time consistently providing food for themselves and their families. More information on accessing or donating to local food banks is at FeedingMissouri.org
   Palmer says not only are more people visiting the state's food banks for the first time, they're relying on them for longer periods of time.  She says that has led to a shift in the food bank mission. "Historically, food banks are the organizations that help with emergency needs," Palmer said.  "But over the last several years we've seen food banks supplying more maintenance food because people aren't finding the jobs, they're not getting back on their feet quite as much."
   Palmer says cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program last year equated to three and a half million lost meals for Missouri families. While the recently-passed federal Farm Bill does allocate an additional 200-million dollars to food banks nationwide, Palmer says it's too soon to know how much of an impact it will have.
 
Monday, 17 March 2014 02:47
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   The recent spate of adults trying to lure children into their cars apparently isn't limited just to the Missouri side of the St. Louis metro area.  Police in Troy, Illinois are looking for a man who approached a nine-year-old girl late Sunday afternoon.  
   Police say about 4:30 p.m. the girl was walking home from the Dollar General Store along Riggin Road when a man in a black panel van asked if she "needed a ride."  When she declined, the man reportedly ordered her to "just get in the van."  The girl refused and made it home safely.  
   Police are now looking for an older black man who was wearing a black T-shirt and a skullcap, and driving a black van with no windows on the rear or passenger side door.  
   Anyone who may have witnessed the encounter or who has other information is asked to call Troy, IL Police at 618-667-6731.
Monday, 17 March 2014 01:53
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The Ancient Order of Hibernians will hold their 30th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dogtown today (Monday).  This year's Grand Marshall is native St. Louisan, cartoonist Mike Peters who draws the popular, long-running comic strip Mother Goose and Grimm.   The parade along Tamm Avenue steps off at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of Tamm and Oakland.  Parade organizers suggest parking at the St. Louis Zoo south lot or free curb-side parking in Forest Park.  
 
Also several bus lines are being rerouted because of the parade.  More information is available at the Metro St. Louis website.  
 
More information about the parade can be found on the website of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
 
 
 
 
 
Monday, 17 March 2014 00:59
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — An East St. Louis man is jailed on $1 million bond after being accused in a shooting death last month.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County prosecutors charged 20-year-old Montrell Spencer this week with first-degree murder.

Authorities say 49-year-old Leon Lucas Junior of East St. Louis was killed February 22nd during an altercation.

Spencer was arrested Monday by officers who responded to a home in connection with a reported domestic dispute. Police say that after being arrested on suspicion of domestic battery, investigators learned he was suspected in Lucas' death.

Online court records don't show whether he has an attorney. He has an unlisted home telephone number.

Sunday, 16 March 2014 09:13
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Running afoul of Missouri's open government laws could carry a smaller financial penalty but no longer require proof the law was knowingly broken under legislation before a Senate committee.

Officials or agencies now can pay up to $5,000 for a purposeful violation and up to $1,000 for a "knowing" violation. The Senate legislation would reduce the amount of the lesser penalty to $100 and no longer require a violation be committed "knowingly" for there to be punishment.

Supporters say the changes would make enforcement of the Sunshine Law just like that of other statutes.

Organizations representing cities, counties and other local governments are critical. They question levying penalties against people who can be volunteers and who accidently violate an open meeting or public records requirement while serving their communities.

Sunday, 16 March 2014 09:11
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — It's payback time for all of those snow days this winter — but not for everyone.

Spring break was scheduled about this time of year for many school districts, but the brutal winter forced so many snow days that some schools are remaining in session to make up the days.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that not everyone is in attendance. Some teachers who made spring break reservations for trips are sticking with their plans. That has led to a high number of requests for substitute teachers, leaving some districts to scramble for replacements.

The scenario could crop up again at the end of the school year as schools make up for snow days.

Sunday, 16 March 2014 09:09
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A Michigan man faces sentencing this summer after pleading guilty to charges related to his role in robbing a southwestern Illinois bank worker restocking an automated teller machine.

Twenty-two-year-old Ramsey Fakhouri of Troy near Detroit entered the guilty plea Friday in East St. Louis to a bank robbery count.

Fakhouri and an 18-year-old man from Concord, Mich., were indicted last month in connection with the February 14th holdup of a Bradford National Bank worker outside that branch in Highland, east of St. Louis.

The bank worker was unharmed, and authorities say the robbery involved the theft of nearly $26,000.

Fakhouri's co-defendant awaits trial.

Fakhouri's sentencing is scheduled for July 11th.

Saturday, 15 March 2014 09:07
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