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WASHINGTON (AP) — In spite of budget wrangling and finger-pointing by U.S. policymakers, the government's short-term fiscal picture isn't all that bad. It's actually getting better — at least for now.

Washington is borrowing about 25 cents for every dollar it spends, down from over 40 cents just a few years ago.

And the budget deficit is dropping to $845 billion after topping $1 trillion for four straight years. The Congressional Budget Office says the deficit will keep shrinking — to $430 billion by 2015.

That's the good news.

But without a fix, the government's finances will start to worsen again as the three major "entitlement" programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — become more and more expensive and unmanageable under the increasing weight of retiring baby boomers.
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Authorities in Franklin County want to talk to a woman who reported seeing a car drive into the Meramec River Monday evening. Sheriff's deputies say the woman had reported it to a park ranger at Meramec State Park around 5:30 p.m.

The park ranger attempted to locate the car, but couldn't find it. He also lost touch with the woman who'd made the report.

She's described as a white woman driving a white, Chevy Malibu.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Franklin County Sheriff's department.
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 01:54
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A Creve Coeur man is nursing a dislocated shoulder, but still counts himself lucky after falling into a sinkhole at Annbrier Golf Course in Waterloo on Friday.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 43 year old Mark Mihal had been standing on the 14th fairway when the ground swallowed him up. He landed in a bell-shaped hole, about 18-feet deep.

The course manager and Mihal's golfing companions used a ladder and some rope to pull him out.

Sinkholes are common in the St. Louis Metro area, but geologists say they are usually easy to spot because of a dent in the ground.
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 01:44
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CASEYVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The police chief in the southern Illinois village of Caseyville has been placed on paid administrative leave because of a grand jury investigation into his use of a truck seized as part of a drug case.

The Belleville News Democrat reported Monday that Police Chief J.D. Roth did not sell the pickup truck at auction, as directed by state law. Village records show that Roth instead drove the 2003 Dodge Ram 65,000 miles for personal use and charged the village more than $6,000 for maintenance.

Roth was placed on leave Monday by Mayor George Chance after St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly asked that Roth not be involved in police investigations or have access to evidence or village computers.

Roth says he can't comment without the village's permission.
Monday, 11 March 2013 16:26
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