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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two St. Louis officials are facing federal charges that they stole nearly a half million dollars in city funds over the past eight years.

A federal grand jury indicted 43-year-old Thomas "Dan" Stritzel, the city's chief park ranger, and 55-year-old deputy parks commissioner Joseph Vacca.

The indictment released Thursday accuses each man of three mail-fraud counts, alleging they men used various schemes to spend the stolen money on vehicle leases, credit card bills and other expenses.

A message was left Thursday with Stritzel's attorney, Scott Rosenblum. Online court records don't show whether Vacca has legal counsel, and he doesn't have a listed telephone number.

Maggie Crane, a spokeswoman for Mayor Francis Slay, says the two defendants are being placed on forced, unpaid leave, pending disciplinary proceedings.

 
Thursday, 16 May 2013 13:46
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to legislation replenishing an insolvent state fund for disabled workers and changing the way people get compensation for job-related illnesses.

The bill sent to the governor Thursday marks a compromise among some business groups and attorneys who represent injured workers.

The bill temporarily doubles the surcharge paid by businesses to finance a depleted state fund for disabled workers who suffer additional job-related injuries. Payments from the Second Injury Fund have been delayed to more than 1,000 people because of a shortfall.

The legislation also places occupational diseases under the umbrella of the workers' compensation system and provides enhanced payments for people suffering from asbestos-induced cancer. Recent court rulings had allowed claims for job-related illnesses to be pursed in the courts.

 
Thursday, 16 May 2013 13:09
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois concealed carry legislation that requires special permission to have a gun in Chicago is scheduled for a Senate committee vote.

The Senate Executive Committee will hear Sen. Kwame Raoul's proposal to comply with a federal appeals court ruling. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December that Illinois' ban on concealed carry is unconstitutional and gave lawmakers until June 9 to rectify the problem.

Raoul's measure would allow gun owners to apply to the Illinois State Police for a permit. They would need training and to clear a background check.

But those wanting to carry a gun in Chicago would also need permission from city police. The National Rifle Association opposes such an "endorsement."

 

Thursday, 16 May 2013 13:06
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UPDATED at 5:23 PM:

The man responsible for a four-hour standoff in Belleville this morning, is now facing charges.

The incident started when Dougford Butler allegedly attacked a woman from a previous relationship. He then drove off. Officers found that car outside a home and determined Butler was holed up in the house.

Around 11:30, Butler peacefully surrendered to police.

He is now charged with one count of home invasion and held on a half-million dollar bond.

Thursday, 16 May 2013 12:14
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