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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Legislation helping southern Illinois school districts fill teaching vacancies with recently retired teachers is advancing in the state Legislature.
The legislation sponsored by state Sen. John Rushville passed the Senate by a 51-0 vote Wednesday.
 
The bill would allow retired teachers, who are still certified, to teach while still maintaining their eligibility for retirement. Retirees would be exempt from making contributions or receiving any new pension benefits.
 
Schools must have advertised the position for three months prior to the beginning of the school term and offer vacancies to teachers' whose positions have been eliminated by the district.
 
The legislation now moves to the House.
Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:20
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MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois military operation that manages the armed force's shipping and transportation needs will have a new commander.
 
The Belleville News-Democrat reports the U.S. Senate has signed off on Gen. Paul Selva's transition to lead the U.S. Transportation Command based at Scott Air Force Base.
 
Selva already heads the Air Mobility Command, which also is based at Scott near Mascoutah.
Selva will begin his new post on May 6, when he will succeed retiring Gen. William Fraser III. Fraser had been in that position since October 2011.
 
Lt. Gen. Darren McDew already will replace Selva as chief of the Air Mobility Command.
 
Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:09
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri secretary of state's office says more businesses sought to organize in March than during the same month over the past decade.
 
The state on Wednesday reported about 4,500 business creation filings this March. That's up about 300 from March 2013 and is also higher than in any other March over the past 10 years.
 
The number of newly created businesses generally has been growing in Missouri. They have risen each year since 2010 after declining in each of the three prior years.
Thursday, 10 April 2014 07:44
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri students could use food, pencils or their hands to imitate a gun without penalty under legislation endorsed by the state House.  
 
The bill advanced Wednesday would shield students from discipline of fines for "simulating a weapon while playing."  Sponsoring Republican Rep. Mike Kelley, of Lamar, says he was motivated by the Maryland case of a Baltimore second-grader suspended last year for chewing a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun.  
 
Opponents say the legislation could allow some students to encourage violence among their peers.
The measure would allow students to be disciplined for causing bodily harm, disrupting a learning environment or creating a serious threat. It needs one more vote before moving to the Senate.
Thursday, 10 April 2014 07:06
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   Burglary, not drugs.  That's what Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham may be involved with according to police in Columbia.  

   Until Wednesday's public information report, the police had declined any comment on the pending investigation into Sunday's burglary involving Green-Beckham, though it's still unclear if he is a suspect, victim or witness.  

   The report says police responded to a first-degree burglary at the Brookside Townhomes about 2:30 Sunday morning.  The Columbia Missourian quotes residents as saying Green-Beckham was involved in an incident there around that time.  But no one has been arrested or charged in the case.  

   On Monday, Mizzou Coach Gary Pinkel announced the Tiger stand-out had been indefinitely suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules.

   Green-Beckham has been the subject what police have called two separate marijuana-related arrests within about 15 months, the latest in January in his home town of Springfield.  But his adoptive father, Hillcrest High School football coach John Beckham, tells the Springfield News-Leader that his suspension isn't related to those incidents.

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 17:21
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   After several outburst during his trial, a St. Louis man has been found guilty in last year's shooting of a financial aid director at the Stevens Institute of Business & Arts in downtown St. Louis.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the jury Wednesday afternoon found Sean Johnson guilty of first-degree assault and armed criminal action while acquitting him of possessing a defaced firearm.

   The 35 year old was accused of shooting Greg Elsenrath at the business school in January 2013. Johnson, then a student at the school, was upset because his financial aid was drying up just as he was about to graduate.  

   Elsenrath was seriously injured, but did recover.

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 17:11
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Michael Madigan's spokesman says the Illinois House speaker is withdrawing a plan to tax millionaires in the state.
   Steve Brown is the Chicago Democrat's spokesman. He said Wednesday that Madigan blames Republicans who wouldn't support the proposal. Brown says Republicans "prefer and protect millionaires over school children." Highwood Democratic state Rep. Scott Drury also expressed concerns about the plan.
   Madigan wanted to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would have added a 3 percent surcharge onto incomes over $1 million. He said it would raise an estimated $1 billion annually for schools. A House committee approved the plan Thursday.
   The proposal needed a three-fifths majority in both chambers to be placed on the general election ballot.
   Republicans said the tax would hurt small businesses and farmers.
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 16:28
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   Two people are facing charges and third is still at large in a kidnapping and robbery on the campus of SIU-Edwardsville.  At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, campus police said the victim had been set up by a friend.  

   Two other SIU-E students, 18 year old Jabreel Watson and 20 year old Shantel Rogers are charged with felony kidnapping, armed robbery and burglary.  Police say they are still looking for a third suspect, an unidentified male.  

   On April 2nd an SIU-E student had reported being set upon outside his residence hall.  He reported being forced into a car at gunpoint, driven to an ATM and forced to withdraw cash.  He wasn't injured.  

   Police are hoping surveillance video from the ATM's camera will help in their search for the third suspect.

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 15:25
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   Police say the victims' 18 year old son is among the four suspects arrested in the deaths of a St. Francois County couple whose home burned Monday morning.  

   The bodies of 50 year old Stanley Halter and his 46 year old wife, Tammy were found after firefighters extinguished the pre-dawn blaze at the couples rural Park Hills home.  Police say an autopsy indicated that Stanley and Tammy Halter had been murdered.  

   Four people are now in custody, including 18 year old Dallas Halter, the couple's son.  Also in custody are 19 year old William Carrico, 19 year old Adam Moore and 24 year old Maxwell Lee.  All four were arrested on Wednesday at different locations in and around Ironton County.

   Police haven't released a possible motive for the killings.

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 14:22
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Another major credit-rating house says the next 50 days of Illinois state budget-making will be "pivotal" to the state's financial health.
   Standard & Poor's Ratings Services issued the statement Wednesday.
   Lawmakers must approve a budget for the coming year by the end of May. Gov. Pat Quinn proposed a budget last month that relies on making a temporary income tax increase permanent to avoid a $1.8 billion revenue hole.
   S&P says the plan could help the state's finances by preventing sharp spending reductions. But it noted the budget still leans on non-recurring revenue such as an inter-fund loan and reliance on Medicaid reform and other cost-containment.
   Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings issued similar outlooks last week.
   
 
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 14:15
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