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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A top aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan is telling Illinois lawmakers to be ready for a special session in Springfield in December.

   Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes told Democrats in an email Wednesday that a "possible" session could begin Dec. 3. He told lawmakers to "keep other days that week available."

   The email was sent around the time Madigan and other legislative leaders were meeting in Chicago to discuss a deal to solve the state's $100 billion pension crisis.

   Dec. 3 is the day after the deadline for candidates to file paperwork in the 2014 campaign, including anyone challenging incumbents.

   House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says progress is being made on pensions but any agreement is on hold until the cost savings of proposed solutions can be calculated.

 
Thursday, 14 November 2013 03:22
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   Homeownership in the St. Louis area remains among the highest in the nation, despite a recent decline.  

   Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau today shows a homeownership rate of just over 70 percent from 2010 through 2012.  That's down almost two-percent from the prior three-year period.  But the current statistics put St. Louis second behind Minneapolis in the nation's 50 largest metro areas.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the numbers vary widely across the region, with more than 80 percent of homes in Jefferson and St. Charles counties being owner-occupied, compared with less than 45 percent in City of St. Louis. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013 02:40
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   Parents, local politicians and other are demanding to know why the Ferguson-Florissant School Board placed Superintendent Art McCoy on administrative leave.  

   About 1,500 gathered Wednesday night at McCluer North High School to demand answers from their school board.  Dozens spoke at the board meeting for more than three hours.  Some hurled allegations of racial motivations at the all white board.  McCoy is black.  

   Board President Paul Morris denies race was a factor.  He told the crowd that the issues revolved around McCoy's failure to comply with board directives.  Morris also told the crowd that he couldn't say more because privacy rules prevent him from being more specific in a personnel matter.  

   "This would be a whole lot easier if I could say what's going on," Morris told Fox 2 News, "but I can't."

   One parent told the board he planned to file a "Sunshine Law request" Thursday morning. 

   The board took no actions regarding McCoy's status at last night's meeting, but a decision on the superintendent's future is likely in the the next week or so.

 

Thursday, 14 November 2013 01:46
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   An off-duty St. Louis Police is recovering from a leg wound after being shot last night (Wednesday) at a home in the Walnut Park neighborhood. 

   The shooting happened just after 7:00 in the 5900 block of Lalite Avenue near Riverview Boulevard, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

   The officer had reportedly gone to his sister's home  to help resolve a dispute she was having with a man.  Police Chief Sam Dotson says the officer was escorting the man from the home, when the man's companion opened fire.  

   Dotson says the officer returned fire, but didn't believe he'd hit the suspect.  

   The area was cordoned off for several hours while police searched for the suspect, who is still at large.

   Chief Dotson says police know the identity of the suspect and he is a felon.   

 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 21:20
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