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CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state's unemployment rate dropped in November for a fourth straight month. But the 8.6 percent rate is still one of the highest in the country.
 
The department said Friday that the state lost a net 3,200 jobs in December. Officials blamed brutal cold for decreases in, among other areas, construction jobs.
 
But Department Director Jay Rowell says Illinois' economy remains on track for moderate expansion.
 
The unemployment rate fell from 8.7 percent in November. The national unemployment rate for December was 6.7 percent. That's the lowest figure since late 2008.
 
Construction jobs were reduced by 4,500 in December. Government, labor and hospitality and educational and health services employers also all cut jobs.
 
Trade, transportation and utilities firms added a net 4,500 jobs.
Friday, 24 January 2014 13:30
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - As the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks prep for their showdown in the Super Bowl, a legal fight is playing out over the turf installed last summer at the NFL title game's venue.
Missouri-based Taylor Turf Installation Inc. is suing the MetLife Stadium's operators over $292,000 the St. Louis-area company says it is still owed for installing the stadium's playing surface.
Taylor Turf's suit in New Jersey names New Meadowlands Stadium Co. LLC and Georgia-based Turf Industry Inc., the company that hired Taylor for the job.
Taylor's president, Kelly Taylor, says his crew took special pride in hustling to complete what he said was a $417,000 job, only to be paid $125,000 so far.
   
 
Friday, 24 January 2014 11:31
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - A man and woman will serve time in federal prison after a racially motivated arson attempt on a black family's home in Independence.  

The Independence Examiner reports that a federal judge on Thursday sentenced 34-year-old Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera to more than six years in prison. And 25-year-old old Logan J. Smith was sentenced to more than five years in prison for violating the family's civil rights in June 2008.  

During their plea hearing in August, Smith and Cheek-Herrera admitted discussing their desire to set fire to the couple's home. They also drew a swastika and wrote "White Power" on the driveway, and threw a Molotov cocktail at the couple's home, causing minor damage. No one was injured.

Friday, 24 January 2014 11:23
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Ongoing repairs of damage caused by a burst water pipe will postpone the opening of the old Historic Courthouse in downtown St. Charles until the end of March.
County officials announced Thursday that a planned reopening by the end of this month has been delayed.
The water pipe burst on September 8, affecting three floors.
Employees returned to work two days later but the public has not been allowed back into the building, which is now called the Executive Office Building.
A damage estimate has not been released. The building house offices for the county council, executive, legal staff and others.
Friday, 24 January 2014 11:15
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