Marilyn Geewax is a senior editor, assigning and editing business radio stories. She also serves as the national economics correspondent for the NPR web site, and regularly discusses economic issues on Tell Me More and Here & Now.

Her work contributed to NPR's 2011 Edward R. Murrow Award for hard news for "The Foreclosure Nightmare." Geewax also worked on the foreclosure-crisis coverage that was recognized with a 2009 Heywood Broun Award.

Campaign Finance
3:35 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Lawsuit seeks to remove campaign donation limits in Illinois

(via Flickr/c_ambler)

Reporting in this story from Brian Mackey.

A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday challenges Illinois' campaign finance laws. It seeks to remove limits on how much individuals and groups can donate to candidates.

The case argues there are two sets of rules under Illinois campaign law.

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I-64 construction
2:48 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Dates change again for I-64 lane closures

The schedule for lane closures on I-64 through downtown has changed again.
(via Flickr/lordsutch)

The schedule for the complete shutdown of Interstate 64 westbound this week has been revised once again.

The Missouri Department of Transportation was set to close the westbound lanes of the highway from Broadway to 21st St. Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. and re-open the two right lanes on Friday morning; then shut down the entire highway again from Friday morning at 10 to 5 a.m. Monday.

Here are the changes:

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Wood River
12:52 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Ex-Wood River finance official gets 3 years in prison for embezzlement

A view of Wood River, Ill. A former assistant finance director for the city has been sentenced to prison time for embezzling funds while on the job.
(via Flickr/Daniel Leininger)

A southwestern Illinois city's former assistant finance director has been sentenced to three years in prison after she admitted stealing nearly $143,000 on the job.

A Madison County judge on Wednesday also ordered 42-year-old Leslie Dona to repay the money she stole from Wood River, a city of 11,000 northeast of St. Louis. She had worked for the city for 17 years.

Dona pleaded guilty to a felony count of theft by deception.

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Election 2012
12:09 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

First-ever gubernatorial endorsement from Mo. Corn Growers backs Nixon

(via Flickr/Muffet)

The Missouri Corn Growers Association has endorsed Gov. Jay Nixon's re-election campaign.

The group says this is the first time it has made a gubernatorial endorsement.

Association President Billy Thiel says the group decided to endorse Nixon because he has promoted Missouri agriculture by helping to expand its markets globally. The group also cited Nixon's support for ethanol cooperatives, among other things.

Nixon, a Democrat, faces no serious opposition in the Aug. 7 primary. Four Republicans are competing to challenge him.

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Morning round-up
9:32 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Morning headlines: Wednesday, July 25, 2012

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Nixon announces emergency assistance for farmers

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was in Springfield Tuesday to announce emergency assistance to farmers who need access to water. At the Springfield Livestock Market, Nixon outlined a plan to make more state dollars available faster to farmers. An existing cost-share program is expanding. The state will pay 90 percent of the cost of deepening or drilling wells; previously, the state had covered 75 percent of the cost.

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St. Louis County Parks
9:30 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

St. Louis County Parks Department business plan shows a $500,000 budget shortfall next year

A tour group in Fort Bellefontaine County Park.
(via Flickr/Trailnet)

The St. Louis County Parks Department presented its business plan to the County Council last night, and for now, no park closures are being discussed. 

Officials with the parks department said they’re doing their best to cut unnecessary expenses and uncover new revenue streams, but currently the department has a $500,000 budget shortfall for 2013.

The budget outlook could get much worse in 2014, and Parks Department Director Tom Ott said they would need to make drastic cuts without adequate funding.

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Homelessness
5:39 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Rice: Belleville not dealing with homeless, closing shelters

Rev. Larry Rice spoke with reporters outside the Belleville Municipal Building Tuesday.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Rev. Larry Rice directed about 20 homeless persons to a mall in Fairview Heights on Tuesday to underscore the lack of shelters in St. Clair County.

Rice says many homeless persons seeking refuge from the triple-digit temperatures wind up across the river at his shelter downtown. 

“Belleville represents what we see in so many municipalities," Rice said. "Where people just aren’t dealing with the homeless. They’re closing shelters. We saw a shelter close here – the Salvation Army – in 2009. They made no other arrangements for the homeless.”

Farmers' Markets
4:01 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Number of Ill. farmers' markets accepting electronic payment to double

A view of the Lincoln Square Farmers' Market in Chicago in 2011. The Thursday Evening version of the market, along with numerous others in Illinois, will begin to offer the option of electronic payment under a new federal grant.
(via Flickr/tony.bailey)

Brian Mackey of Illinois Public Radio reported for this story.

The number of Illinois farmers' markets that accept electronic payment is expected to double under a new federal grant.  The program pays for machines that can swipe credit, debit and Link cards -- the modern version of food stamps.

Josh Dotson's family has been selling produce at farmers' markets for decades.

Dotson sells at markets that already accept Link cards, and he says it's brought new customers.

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Birds Point Levee
2:20 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Rebuilt Birds Point levee to reach original height by end of year

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers breached the levee at Birds Point as part of the activation of the floodway on the night of May 2, 2011. The process to rebuild the levee to its original height is expected to conclude by the end of 2012.

Jacob McCleland of KRCU reported for this story.

The Army Corps of Engineers will restore the Birds Point-New Madrid levee to its original height by the end of the year. The Mississippi River Commission made the decision last week, according to Army Corps spokesperson Jim Pogue.

“Our level of confidence in our ability to finish this work this year is real high," Pogue said. "We’ve had good weather, good river stages and assuming that the contractor continues to make good progress and our other work in the confluence area goes well, we’ll be right on track.”

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