CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois has taken a giant step toward fixing its biggest financial problem by approving a major pension overhaul this week. But lawmakers' inaction on tax incentives aimed at keeping companies in Illinois has triggered new concerns about the state's business climate.
The Senate and a House committee considered legislation giving tax breaks to Archer Daniels Midland Company, chemical distributor Univar and newly-merged OfficeMax and Office Depot. But the House adjourned after the pension vote, essentially pushing the issue into 2014.
The slow action, at least in the business world, could mean other states with interest in taking Illinois jobs have more of a chance to swoop in.
Still, lawmakers say they had no other choice. Their first priority was approving a plan aimed at fixing Illinois' $100 billion pension crisis.
According to a tech startup, Missouri is home to the two happiest cities in America.
Jetpac, the maker of a new travel app on iPhone, analyzed more than 100 million images on Instagram. Their program identified popular places across the country by looking a pictures of places like restaurants, finding the best views, and where parents go with their kids.
The happiest cities in America according to their survey: St. Louis and Kansas City came in first and second.
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is expected to announce his campaign for reelection Thursday night.
Dooley's term is up in 2014. St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger and Republican Tony Pousosa announced last month they intend to seek the seat.
Dooley has been county executive since 2003.
Police have identified the pedestrian who was hit and killed in the Central West End Thursday morning.
Police say 63-year-old Nancy Benson was crossing the road when she was hit by a driver just before 7 AM. The driver stayed on the scene of the accident. He told police he did not see Benson because the weather was bad and she was wearing dark clothes.
Benson was not in a crosswalk when she was hit. Police continue to investigate the accident.
If you bought a Powerball ticket in St. Louis County for last night's drawing, you may want to check your numbers as Missouri has a new millionaire.
The winning ticket, worth $2-million, was sold at the Schnucks Market in the 10-thousand block of Manchester Road.
It matched all five white balls which were 6, 9, 11, 31 and 34. It was also subject to the Power Play, which doubled the value of the prize from one million to two million dollars.
The winner has until June 4, 2014 to claim their prize.
It was a little like forced savings, and now Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is set to get about $74,000 in back pay.
While Illinois lawmakers were battling over the state's $100-billion pension shortfall, the governor used his line-item veto power this summer to halt legislators' salaries, saying they shouldn't get paid until they address the pension crisis.
The Governor also stopped accepting his own paychecks. A judge disagreed with Quinn in September and the state comptroller began issuing checks to lawmakers. But Quinn still didn't accept his own salary.
Lawmakers approved the pension reform plan this week and sent the measure to the Governor on Wednesday. Lee Enterprise newspapers in Springfield reports that Quinn's past pay checks have still not been requested from the comptroller's office.
As the temperatures drop, the risk of fire rises as many people use space heaters to warm their homes and apartments.
A University City house is the site of the latest fatal fire in the area. Fox2 News reports the victim of Tuesday's blaze was 51-year-old Wardie Neely Jr. who lived in the 6700 block of Plymouth Avenue. Just last week, a St. Louis baby died in a fire caused by a space heater.
University City Assistant Fire Chief, David Crismon, is reminding residents to never leave a space heater near anything that could catch fire. Crismon also says it`s not safe to use an extension cord with space heaters.
The assistant chief believes Neely was on the second floor when curtains caught fire. Investigators said the curtains were directly above a natural gas powered space heater.
Crismon said firefighters did not hear any working smoke detectors when they arrived. Many fire departments, including University City, install smoke detectors for free.
Friends and family are preparing to say goodbye to a Belleville man killed in a mortar attack in Afghanistan.
Sixty-four year old Albert Haas was a civilian aircraft mechanic working at Bagram Air Force Base. He and a female coworker were killed last Friday (Nov. 29) when a rocket struck a barracks building.
Haas was a graduate of Althoff Catholic High School, and served 30 years in the military. He leaves behind a wife and three adult children.
Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home in Belleville. There will be a funeral service at the funeral home Friday at 9 a.m. Then Haas will be buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
St. Louis is bracing for the first winter storm of the season. Snow shovels and rock salt are hot items at local hardware stores. Shoppers are also hitting the milk, egg and bread aisles at local grocery stores.
Ameren has opend it's Missouri's Emergency Operations Center to prepare for severe weather that is expected to affect the bi-state area. Ameren employees who respond to outages have been asked to come to work on Thursday with their bags packed. As the weather develops, Ameren officials say crews will be deployed to the hardest hit areas.