Doe Run
12:54 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Doe Run assessing damage after early morning fire

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Several Jefferson County fire departments responded to a blaze early Tuesday morning at the Doe Run Company’s primary smelter in Herculaneum.

Company officials say there were no injuries and they are now assessing damage.

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It's All Politics
10:13 am
Tue March 20, 2012

3 things to watch for in Illinois primary

Mitt Romney talks with students March 19, 2012 at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 6:30 am

By the time Republican primary season got around to Illinois in past election cycles, the Land of Lincoln was pretty much an afterthought since the party's nominee had already been decided. Not this time.

Mitt Romney has what seems like an insurmountable lead in delegates. But there are questions as to whether he can reach the 1,144 needed for the nomination by the party's August convention. And with his rivals, especially Rick Santorum, refusing to exit the race, the GOP primaries have entered the grind-it-out-for-every-delegate phase.

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Morning round-up
9:47 am
Tue March 20, 2012

Morning headlines: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks Jr., third from left, with city personnel.
Joseph Leahy, SLPR news

East St. Louis lays off more employees

A tight budget has forced East St. Louis to lay off seven more employees, leaving the city's police officers without a support staff.  

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the latest layoffs include Police Chief Michael Floore's secretary, the department's director of community programs and a records room employee responsible for logging all of the city's tows.

The city also cut employees in the mayor's office, the city clerk's office and the city treasurer's office.

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Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.

"The Two-Way" is the place where NPR.org gives readers breaking news and analysis — and engages users in conversations ("two-ways") about the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

James came to NPR from the Chicago Tribune, where he worked for 20 years. In 2006, James created "The Swamp," the paper's successful politics and policy news blog whose readership climbed to a peak of 3 million page-views a month.

firefighter pensions
9:30 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

STL firefighter pensions bill heard by Mo. House committee

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Missouri House committee heard testimony Monday on legislation that would make cuts to the pension system for St. Louis firefighters.

The bill would not go as far as a proposal made by Mayor Francis Slay:  Among the differences, Slay’s plan would have all firefighters put 9 percent of their salaries into the system, and new hires would not get any of that money back upon retirement.  The bill in the State House would have new firefighters put in 8 percent, and upon retirement would get back 25 percent of what they paid in.  F.I.R.E. Chairman and St. Louis firefighter Abram Pruitt, Junior, traveled to Jefferson City to support the bill.

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Sebelius in St. Louis
5:12 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Sebelius in St. Louis to tout health care law ahead of anniversary, Supreme Court hearing

US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in St. Louis today.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

As the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act approaches, a top surrogate of President Obama says the law will survive political and constitutional challenges to have a third anniversary.

The US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, was in St. Louis on Monday, part of a coordinated effort by President Obama and his surrogates to answer criticisms of the law.

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Tony La Russa
3:52 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Ex-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has book deal

Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Retired St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is ready to look back on his amazing career.

William Morrow announced Monday that "One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season," is tentatively scheduled to come out this fall. The book will be co-written by Rick Hummel, a longtime reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

La Russa retired last fall after managing the Cardinals to a dramatic World Series title.

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Ethics
2:10 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Mo. House Democrats propose new ethics measure

The chambers of the Missouri House of Representatives.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

House Democrats are backing legislation they say would toughen Missouri’s ethics standards.

The bill would restore many provisions recently struck down by the State Supreme Court:  They include banning committee-to-committee money transfers and giving the Missouri Ethics Commission the authority to launch its own investigations.  The High Court struck them down because they were tacked onto another bill that had nothing to do with ethics.  State Rep. Tishaura Jones (D, St. Louis) says she’s filing a new bill because GOP leaders have so far done nothing following the Supreme Court ruling.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Ahead of another 'key' primary, Romney leads Illinois polls

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Springfield, Ill., today.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 12:45 pm

This week the action in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is in Illinois, which holds its primary Tuesday.

In advance of that contest, Public Policy Polling is out with a new survey that it says shows "Mitt Romney is headed for a blowout victory." It has the former Massachusetts governor ahead of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 45 percent to 30 percent (with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul trailing far behind).

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Morning round-up
9:27 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Morning headlines: Monday, March 19, 2012

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

St. Charles County caucus likely to be rescheduled

The Republican caucus in St. Charles County is likely to be rescheduled after a weekend dispute forced the caucus to be shut down.

The caucus in St. Peters on Saturday ended when tension flared between members of the crowd and the local Republican activists who were running it. St. Charles County was to have been among the biggest prizes in Missouri. The meeting adjourned without awarding delegates.

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