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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A former southwestern Illinois judge at the center of a courthouse drug scandal that included a fellow judge's cocaine death is headed to federal prison for two years.
 
U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade on Friday also fined former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook more than $75,000 on heroin and gun charges. Federal prosecutors had requested an 18-month sentence. Cook's attorney suggested a 6-month term was appropriate.
 
McDade last month rejected a deal between the two sides, calling an agreed-upon prison term of 18 months insufficient.
 
On Friday, the 43-year-old Cook entered an open plea, meaning the judge would decide his sentence.
 
McDade calls the two-year sentence appropriate given the negative affect on the public's confidence in the judiciary.
Friday, 28 March 2014 14:28
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - The Illinois State Police are in the midst of a statewide safety crackdown.

 

The push is in memory of State Trooper James Sauter. The southern Illinois resident was killed one year ago today in an accident near Chicago. He was in his squad car, when a semi truck rear-ended his car. “Operation Sauter” will target commercial vehicles cracking down on speeding, drunk or distracted drivers, and seatbelt violations.

Friday, 28 March 2014 14:27
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - Drivers will want to avoid the eastbound lanes of the Blanchette Bridge through Friday afternoon and evening.

 

MoDOT crews have closed three of the eastbound lanes as well as both ramps from Fifth Street onto eastbound 70 for emergency joint repair. Officials expect to have the lanes reopened by 10 tonight.

 

MoDOT is advising drivers to use 64, Route 364, and Route 370 as alternates.

Friday, 28 March 2014 14:25
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years.
 
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports the Illinois House voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate.
 
Illinois banned hunting of the nocturnal animal in 1972. Bobcats were on the threatened species list from 1977 to 1999.
 
But supporters say the population has made a comeback.
 
Republican state Rep. Wayne Rosenthal of Morrisonville is the bill's sponsor.
 
He says the bobcat population is growing in rural, non-farming areas of western and southern Illinois.
 
The hunting and trapping season would occur sometime between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15. A hunter would be allowed to kill one bobcat per year.
Friday, 28 March 2014 12:23
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