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GALENA, Mo. (AP) - A National Guardsman from southwest Missouri is suing Stone County because his job was given to someone else while he was deployed.
In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, Ryan Joy says when he was deployed in May 2012, he was a mechanic working as shop manager for the Stone County.
When he returned in 2013, the county told him he would no longer be the manager. He was given a lesser position and eventually left because of what he calls a hostile workplace.
Joy says he contacted the Department of Labor, which told county officials that they were violating a federal law by not reinstating Joy to his previous position.
The Springfield News-Leader reports the county filed court documents denying many of Joy's claims.
Friday, 21 February 2014 10:14
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   It should be business as usual Friday at the Bank of America building in downtown St. Louis after an overnight hazmat scare.  

   St. Louis Police and Firefighters were called in about 12:30 a.m. after employees at the office tower found a white, powdery substance spilling out of a package.  

   Hazmat crews investigated and determined the substance wasn't dangerous.  There's no word what that white powder may have been.

Friday, 21 February 2014 04:27
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   CASEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The village board in Caseyville has voted to reinstate the village's police chief who was fired last week.
   Caseyville Police Chief Jose Alvarez was fired just five months after taking over for a predecessor who killed himself. But board members voted Thursday to reinstate Alvarez. Board member Rick Casey Jr. tells the Belleville News-Democrat that he voted to reinstate Alvarez because "the process in which he was fired was not right."
   At the time Alvarez said he wasn't aware that he'd been fired. When he fired Alvarez, Caseyville Mayor Len Black said he wanted to take a different direction with the city's police department.
   Black hired the 61-year-old Alvarez last September after the suicide three months earlier of former police chief J.D. Roth.
   
 
Friday, 21 February 2014 03:22
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   The strong line of thunderstorms that sped through the St. Louis area Thursday afternoon spawned a tornado in central Illinois, about 50 west of Springfield.  

   Emergency Services officials in Cass and Morgan Counties had reported the twister just before 3 p.m.

   Morgan County Sheriff Randy Duvendack says the storm caused no damage.    

Friday, 21 February 2014 02:54
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   Ameren crews are still working to repair downed wires and snapped utility poles that cut the power for tens of thousands of customers on both sides of the river.  

   Ameren opened its Emergency Operation Center at 5 p.m. Thursday in order to coordinate the utility's response to wind-related power outages. At the peak, the untility reported more than 17,000 metro-east customers were without power and more than 43,000 Missouri customers were in the dark.  

   Thousands in north St. Louis county could be waiting another day or more before their power is restored after strong winds brought down trees and snapped power poles.  

   At 1:40 a.m. Friday, Ameren was reporting just over 13,000 St. Louis area customers in Missouri were still without power.  The vast majority of them were in St. Louis County.  Just over 1,400 remained in the dark in Illinois.

Friday, 21 February 2014 01:37
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have passed legislation that would send federal agents to jail for enforcing some federal gun laws.
 
The Senate voted 23-10 on Thursday to send the measure to the House. It would declare any federal law considered by the state to infringe on gun rights to be null and void in Missouri. Federal agents enforcing those laws could face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
 
Courts have consistently ruled that states cannot nullify federal laws. But supporters argue the measure is necessary to protect law-abiding gun owners from intrusive federal regulations. Opponents say it wouldn't survive a court challenge.
 
Earlier this week, the Senate stripped a provision from the legislation requiring gun thefts to be reported within 72 hours.
Thursday, 20 February 2014 16:25
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri Senate committee has advanced legislation on student transfers and unaccredited school districts, clearing the way for debate by the full chamber.
 
The Senate Education Committee endorsed the bill Thursday. Committee Chairman David Pearce, a Republican from Warrensburg, says the vote is a huge step.
 
Numerous bills have been filed this year to address struggling school districts and a state law requiring unaccredited districts to pay tuition and transportation costs for students who transfer to a nearby accredited school. The law has led to financial problems for unaccredited districts and concerns among accredited schools about the number of transfers they must accept.
 
Students have transferred during the current academic year out of St. Louis County's unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts. The Kansas City district is also unaccredited.
 
Thursday, 20 February 2014 16:23
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A proposal to ban smoking on public college campuses is advancing in the Illinois Legislature.
 
The Springfield State Journal-Register reports the measure passed out of a House committee Wednesday by a 9-3 vote.
 
The state Senate approved the measure last year. It would ban smoking on all properties belonging to state-supported colleges and universities starting July 1.
 
State Rep. Ann William is sponsoring the proposal. The Chicago Democrat says the ban was crafted to reduce students' exposure to secondhand smoke.
 
Some Illinois universities already have enacted their own smoking rules. Illinois State University and the University of Illinois both have bans in place.
 
The measure now heads to the full House for further debate.
Thursday, 20 February 2014 16:21
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's four-year public universities would be rewarded for good performance under legislation passed by the state Senate.
 
Under the bill, the 13 universities would get funding increases tied to certain performance standards.
 
The colleges would work with the Department of Higher Education to develop five goals. Three of those goals must be tied to graduation and retention rates as well as job placement in a field appropriate for a graduating student's degree level.
 
The legislation would apply only in years the state can afford to increase higher education funding and would expire in 2016.
 
A 2012 state law requires the development of a funding formula for Missouri's public universities.
 
Senators voted 33-0 to send the measure to the House on Thursday.
Thursday, 20 February 2014 15:39
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A southwestern Illinois county that has grappled with heroin deaths is trying a new approach after there were three deadly suspected overdoses in a five-hour span last week.
 
Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz says he'll be joining the county's top prosecutor, Tom Gibbons, to convene a panel to talk out possible answers to the problem. It could be as early as next week. Hertz says that group may include substance-abuse treatment providers, educators and perhaps addicts.
 
The county's coroner, Steve Nonn, says his office already has handled six suspected heroin deaths this year. Last year, there were 23 in the county, more than three times the number in 2009.
 
Nonn calls heroin providers "dealers in death."
Thursday, 20 February 2014 15:32
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