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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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