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St. Clair County officials say they are not admitting any wrongdoing, but will pay up to $2,000 to each of three former county jail inmates who sued over alleged guard abuse.
County Sheriff Rick Watson tells the Belleville News-Democrat the county agreed to the payouts to save taxpayers the money it would cost to defend itself against the lawsuits.
In 2012, the trio claimed that they were among 14 inmates beaten in December 2011, four days after a fight between inmates and guards at the jail in Belleville.  
Watson says that, while he dislikes the settlements and would prefer to test the veracity of the allegations in court, he understands why the payouts were approved.
Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:33
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CHICAGO (AP) - A new study finds Illinois' overall poverty rate is about the same as it was a half century ago.
The report released Thursday by the Chicago-based Social IMPACT Research Center says almost 15 percent of Illinois residents lived below the federal poverty line in 2012, about the same percentage as in 1960.
That's despite scores of state and federal aid programs and a dramatic drop in the number of older people in poverty.
Poverty has increased among working-age men and women, and 1 in 5 children are in poverty. It's highest among blacks and Latinos.
The report comes a day after Gov. Pat Quinn called on lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour and double a tax credit that helps low-income workers keep more of their earnings.
 
Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:27
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Missouri residents won’t be paying more in tuition to attend schools in the University of Missouri school system this coming school year.
It’s the first time in five years that Missouri parents and students won’t have to dig deeper into their pockets to attend a University of Missouri school.  
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports the system's Board of Curators approved the in-state tuition freeze yesterday morning during the first of three days of meetings in Columbia.
The freeze applies to the 2014-2015 school year for residents who attend University of Missouri in St. Louis, Columbia, Kansas City and Rolla.  Students will pay $8,335 in tuition.  
Non-resident undergraduate tuition rates will go up at all campuses starting this summer. Tuition rates for graduate students, including those from Missouri, will increase by 1.5 percent.
Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:19
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Two people escaped a three-alarm fire early this morning in Madison County.
Fox2 News reports that authorities believe an explosion started the blaze which destroyed a home in the  400 block of Valley Drive in Rosewood Heights.  The fire was reported just before 6:30 a.m.
The fire chief says there was some type of explosion inside the garage and the fire spread through the main part of the home.
Both people in the home were taken to an area hospital for smoke inhalation.  A house next door was also damaged by the explosion.  
The fire chief says the fire is not suspicious. There are reports that the family had propane tanks in the garage. The State Fire Marshall will investigate the cause of the blaze. 
Thursday, 30 January 2014 09:58
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Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:07
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   A young Missouri woman who confessed to killing a 9 year old neighbor girl, when she herself was a juvenile, wants a judge to set aside her guilty plea.  Alyssa Bustamante was 15 year old in the 2009 when Elizabeth Olten was killed.  

   The Missouri teen had pleaded guilty in 2012 to second degree murder and given a life sentence with the chance for parole.  A first-degree murder conviction would have meant a mandatory life sentence without parole.

   The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that juveniles can't face mandatory life sentences, so Bustamante wants to change her plea.  She's expected to tell a judge Thursday that she wouldn't have pleaded guilty without the threat of mandatory life imprisonment.  

Thursday, 30 January 2014 02:11
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   The University of Missouri will hire outside, independent legal counsel to investigate the school's handling of matters related to former Mizzou student Sasha Menu Courey.  The swimmer committed suicide in 2011, 16 months after claiming she'd been raped by members of the Missouri football team.  

   The University of Missouri Board of Curators voted Wednesday night to approve the recommendation of University President Tim Wolfe, to hire an independent investigator.  The board has not yet chosen a firm, but stipulated that it must have independence from the university.  

   The board wants the inquiry completed in time for the board's next meeting in Rolla on April 11th.

Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:56
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   An iconic structure in Forest Park will be closed for awhile.  

   The Boat House Restaurant caught fire Wednesday evening.  St. Louis firefighters arrived to find smoke pouring from the building.  

   Dave Sutter of the St. Louis Fire Department says the one alarm fire was located in the roof of the building.  Fire officials say it may have started near the fire place which had been burning since 10:00 a.m.  

   No patrons were in the Forest Park eatery when the fire broke out, and the ten employees inside all made it out safely.  

   The roof was seriously damaged, but its believe the building can be repaired.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 17:16
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