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   BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A metro-east judge's docket of hundreds of cases has been reassigned after the county's top prosecutor revealed that the judge is under federal investigation.

   St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelley didn't detail the reason for the investigation. But he said he filed a complaint Thursday against Circuit Judge Michael Cook with state judicial discipline regulators.

   Kelly and the county's chief judge, John Baricevic, says they've been cooperating with federal authorities.

   Kelly says he has "actively assisted in and advanced a federal investigation" of the judge. He says that aid resulted in law-enforcement searches of Cook's Belleville home and his hunting cabin in western Illinois' Pike County.

   The investigation has raised new questions about the death of 49 year old Circuit Judge Joe Christ, who died in March while at Cook's Pike County hunting cabin.

 

Friday, 24 May 2013 02:33
Published in Local News
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House is expected to vote Friday on legislation allowing public possession of concealed guns.  The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. It was a compromise backed by Speaker Michael Madigan.

   The measure was endorsed Thursday 13-3 and goes to the full House Friday. It comes two weeks before a June 9 deadline set by a federal appeals court for Illinois to abandon its prohibition on the public possession of weapons.

   The legislation would require the Illinois State Police to issue concealed carry permits to qualified gun owners. It's patterned on a bill introduced by gun-rights advocate Rep. Brandon Phelps, a southern Illinois Democrat.

   But Madigan's version significantly adds places that would be off limits to guns. Those include mass transit - a must for violence-weary Chicago Democrats.

 

Friday, 24 May 2013 02:24
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   Mount Vernon, WA (ABC) - Three people were sent to the hospital after a portion of an Interstate 5 highway bridge in Mount Vernon, Wash., collapsed Thursday, dumping three vehicles into the water.

   Two people rescued from the water were suffering from hypothermia, police said. Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon, Wash., was expecting two patients taken from the accident, according to Kari Ranten, a spokeswoman. She believed the third patient was transported to another hospital.

   Officials were looking into reports of an over-sized load "immediately" causing the collapse, said Travis Phelps of the Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol.

   "We're looking at the cause being an over-sized, over-height vehicle, striking critical portions of this bridge, causing it to collapse," he said.

   The National Transportation Safety Board said they will send a team to investigate the collapse.

   The collapse occurred on the portion of Interstate 5 over the Skagit River, about two hours north of Seattle.

   "N/B and S/B lanes of I-5 Skagit River Bridge collapsed," Washington State Trooper Mark Francis posted on Twitter. "People and cars in water."

   The collapse occurred around 7 p.m. local time and the portion of the bridge that collapsed was four lanes wide, The Associated Press reported. The vehicles plunged about 40 feet from the bridge into the river and that set off a massive rescue operation.

   A damaged red car and a damaged pickup truck were visible in the water. Helicopter footage from ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV showed several rescue boats in the Skagit River with several ambulances waiting on the shore.

   Xavier Grospe, 62, who lives near the river, told The Associated Press he could see three cars partially submerged in the water with what appeared to be one person per vehicle, with drivers on top of vehicles or sitting on open window openings.

   "It doesn't look like anybody's in danger right now," Grospe said.

   The bridge was built in 1955, according to the AP, citing federal records.

   Clean up efforts will take several days to weeks, according to Phelps. The bridge sees 77,000 cars per day, and Phelps said they are expecting significant congestion until the bridge is fixed.

   "We inspect our bridge every two years. We're not going to let anybody drive on a bridge that is deemed unsafe," Phelps said.

   The bridge was last inspected in November 2012 and deemed safe, Washington State Department of Transportation spokesman Bart Treece told ABC News.

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GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) - The Boy Scouts of America's National Council has voted to ease a long-standing ban and allow openly gay boys to be accepted as Scouts.

Of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal.

Under the proposal drafted by the Scouts' governing board, gay adults will remain barred from serving as Scout leaders.

The outcome is unlikely to end a bitter debate over the Scouts' membership policy.

Some conservative churches that sponsor Scout units wanted to continue excluding gay youths, in some cases threatening to defect if the ban were lifted. More liberal Scout leaders - while supporting the proposal to accept gay youth - have made clear they want the ban on gay adults lifted as well.

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