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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

Scott Air Force Base to lose 99 jobs

Sunday, 06 April 2014 08:07 Published in Local News

MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) — The Air Force says roughly 100 jobs are being phased out in a unit that provides technical services at an Illinois air base in suburban St. Louis.

The Air Force Network Integration Center cuts at Scott Air Force Base involve 99 positions. Fifty-three of them are civilian jobs.

Air Force spokesman Andy Roake says the eliminations expected to take place through 2015 are due to budget constraints.

The jobs include middle-level management, staff and policy consultation positions.

The Air Force recently announced plans to cut 22,500 positions this year.

The Scott base is about 25 miles east of St. Louis.

Secrecy surrounds execution drugs in many states

Sunday, 06 April 2014 08:05 Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The vast majority of the country's 32 death penalty states refuse to disclose the source of their execution drugs.

A review by The Associated Press has found that the states cloaked in secrecy include some with the most active death chambers. Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and Missouri are among them.

The secrecy comes as most states now rely on loosely regulated "compounding pharmacies" for execution drugs but refuse to name them. They cite concerns about backlash that could endanger the supplier's safety.

Defense attorneys question how an inmate's constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment can be guaranteed if nothing is known about the drug being used to kill him.

Proponents say forcing states to reveal their drug source can amount to obstruction of justice by delaying executions.

DNR aims to reform coal regulations, agency image

Friday, 04 April 2014 15:40 Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Often criticized as advocating for the coal industry, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is launching reforms meant to help repair the agency's image and make it more responsive to the public.
 
The changes range from closer inspection of coal-ash ponds to stronger ethics rules and better communication with the public during the coal mine permit process.
 
The moves also come as the agency deals with other embarrassing missteps. Those include a department administrator's departure after reports that he attended professional fishing tournaments while on sick leave. And there were recent revelations that two mine-safety regulators accepted political contributions from a coal-mine operator.
 
Neither environmentalists nor the industry believe the reforms are tied to Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election bid.
 
But the sides disagree over whether the permit-process changes are necessary.

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