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   The state of Illinois is steadfast in its insistence that local governments devastated by deadly tornadoes in November should be eligible for federal assistance.  They're appealing the Federal Emergency Management Agency's denial of aid.  

   State officials argue that FEMA's population-based formula penalizes small towns in large states.  

   The Illinois Emergency Management Agency filed the appeal on Thursday.

   At least seven people were killed statewide and hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed in the storms.

Friday, 07 February 2014 02:51
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   Four projects by the crew that broke a natural gas line, causing an explosion that destroyed a Soulard business Wednesday, are on now hold.  That after city officials learned the South Dakota-based Four Winds company was operating without a city business license.  

   Maggie Crane, a spokeswoman for the Mayor's office, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the company had been hired by subcontractor MasTec, to install fiber optic cable for AT&T when the accident happened.  

   The gas rupture forced the evacuation of 14 people from the Stars Design Group just before explosions rocked the block.  

   Crane says the city also hadn't been given the required 24-hours notice that work on the project was beginning.  So Four Winds other projects for AT&T were halted Thursday.  

Friday, 07 February 2014 02:27
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   Storm spotters play an important role in monitoring the weather around the St. Louis area, especially during the spring storm season.  The National Weather Service is gearing up for spring by offering Storm Spotter training classes across the metro area.  
   The next class is Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at the Justice Center in St. Peters.  But if you want to be a registered storm spotter and can't make the class, there are 16 others scheduled across the metro area before the end of March.
   The classes are free and open to everyone, but only those who are high school age or older can sign up as a volunteer storm spotter.  Registration isn't required for most classes.  Check the National Weather Service's storm spotter class schedule for more information: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/?n=schedule.
Friday, 07 February 2014 02:14
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   KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The Taliban say they have captured a military dog belonging to NATO forces in Afghanistan, releasing a video of the canine wearing a high-tech harness.
   Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Friday that the dog was captured during a battle about a month ago in Laghman province, east of the capital, Kabul.
   The insurgents sent by email a video showing a brown dog held on a leash by a Taliban fighter. It wore a harness mounted with a video camera and a voiceover said the dog was being called "Colonel."
   Mujahid said by telephone that the dog is in good health and is not being mistreated.
   The NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan confirmed Friday that one of its military dogs went missing during a mission in December. It gave no other details.
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