St. Louis Public Radio

via Flickr/brownpau

Illinois and local cities and towns are starting to cash in on new video gambling terminals.

The Southern Illinoisan reports that the state took in nearly $1 million in additional income in November from more than 1,400 video terminals.

More than $191,000 was distributed to towns and cities where the machines are located.

Video gambling became legal in bars, clubs and truck stops in October.

(via SLU Athletics)

Saint Louis University is hosting a public memorial service Friday for basketball coach Rick Majerus.

Hundreds are expected at the service at Chaifetz Pavilion to honor Majerus. It begins at 3:30 p.m.

Majerus coached for 25 years, the last five at Saint Louis University, where he led the Billikens to the third round of the NCAA tournament in March. He was 517-216 for his career and led Utah to the NCAA finals in 1998.

(via Flickr/aka Kath)

Illinois and the federal government have approved an environmental impact statement for the high-speed rail line under construction between Chicago and St. Louis.

The review is an important step because it identifies a route through Springfield that would end a dispute that had threatened to hold up the project.

It also recommends a route around some of the congested tangle of rail lines between Chicago and suburban Joliet. Upgrades to that suggested corridor would be $500 million cheaper than the existing route because fewer overpasses would be needed.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI | 2012 photo

Thank you for joining us for Election Day, and later, election night. Our live blog has concluded, but our coverage isn't over.

(Courtesy Saint Louis Zoo)

Updated 5:52 p.m.

Carol Perkins, a conservationist and humanitarian and the widow of famed zoologist Marlin Perkins, has died.

The Saint Louis Zoo says Carol Perkins died Saturday at her home in Clayton, Mo. She was 95 and had been in declining health.

Marlin Perkins was the director of the Saint Louis Zoo who gained international fame after becoming host of television's "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" in 1962. The program aired for 26 years until his death in 1986.

(via Missouri Department of Natural Resources)

A company has agreed to clean up groundwater contamination in north St. Louis County after tests raised concerns at homes near the plant.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced a cleanup agreement with PerkinElmer Inc., a Massachusetts-based firm that operates the Missouri Metals plant. The agreement will be final after a 30-day comment period.

(via Flickr/aperte)

A group of voters is challenging the validity of a measure on this fall's ballot that would make it more difficult to improve retirement benefits for public employees.

In a statement Thursday, Republican state Senate candidate John Bambenek, of Champaign, said he and 10 other Illinois residents filed a lawsuit arguing the question is unconstitutional.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The state says five Missouri charter schools are financially stressed.

Four of the schools are in St. Louis - Carondolet Leadership Academy, Grand Center Arts Academy, South City Preparatory Academy and Jamaa Learning Center. The fifth is Pathway Academy in Kansas City.

This is the first time the state has declared schools financially stressed under a new state law that requires more supervision of the publicly funded but independently run schools. The designation is based on ending balances in two key funds.

(via Flickr/The Confluence)

Federal lawmakers from several states along the Mississippi River are pressing to modernize the waterway's locks-and-dams system, which they say desperately needs repair.

Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk of Illinois, Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt from Missouri, and Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley from Iowa are pressing the Environmental and Public Works Committee to ensure funding to hasten what they term critical improvements.

(via Flickr/denharsh)

Remember that law which would make it easier for police to track people's cellphone signals during emergencies? Well, it went into effect today, and there is already a lawsuit filed challenging it.

(via Flickr/Phil Roeder)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on behalf of 14 states, including Illinois, is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold racial preferences in college admissions.

Schneiderman says in a brief that the Constitution permits schools to consider race as one factor in policies that foster diversity.

The court's ruling will be its first on affirmative action in higher education since 2003. Arguments will be Oct. 10.

(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.

Updated 4:42 p.m. with additional layoffs and information.

One of the world's largest coal producers, St. Louis-based Arch Coal, says it will lay off about 750 workers in the Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia coalfields.

It's the latest setback for an industry struggling for market share as utilities switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives.

(via Flickr/albertogp123)

The school superintendent in East St. Louis says some teachers used "inappropriate strategies and techniques" to inflate students scores on standardized achievement tests.

District 189 Superintendent Arthur Culver told the Belleville News-Democrat's editorial board on Wednesday that elementary test scores will likely drop this year. Culver didn't call the teachers' actions cheating and he didn't cite any schools by name. He also didn't describe or give examples of the questionable methods the teachers allegedly used.

(Illinois National Guard Website)

Updated 3:22 p.m. with information from press conference.

The man who has headed the Illinois National Guard for the past five years is stepping down from that post to consider running as a Democrat for an open congressional seat.

Adjutant General William Enyart submitted his resignation Thursday and was replaced by Gov. Pat Quinn for the time being by Maj. Gen. Dennis Celletti. Celletti is the assistant adjutant general for the Army.

via Flickr/davidsonscott15

Updated 12:34 p.m. with link to full report and information about 2010 data.

Black motorists are stopped by Missouri law officers at an increasingly disproportionate rate.

An annual report released Friday by the attorney general found black drivers were 72 percent more likely than white motorists to be pulled over in 2011. Black drivers were stopped 2.5 times more often than Hispanic drivers.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Updated 4:04 p.m. with Diehl's comments.

The Missouri Supreme Court has released its judgment on a challenge to the recent redistricting of the state's new Congressional districts. 

The Court has upheld the new districts, finally providing certainty for candidates in the August primary elections.

(Official Department of Justice Photo/via Wikimedia Commons)

Reporting from WBEZ's Robert Wildeboer used in this report.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald says he will not run for elective office. That comes after the highly respected federal prosecutor announced yesterday that he'll step down at the end of June.

In a 35-minute press conference today the media-averse Fitzgerald talked to reporters about why he's stepping down.

(via Flickr/KellyB)

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says unemployment dropped during April in 11 of the state's 12 metro areas.

The department said Thursday the biggest decrease was in the Rockford area where unemployment decreased from 12.1 percent in April 2011 to 10.7 percent. The Kankakee-Bradley area wasn't far behind. The jobless rate there fell from 11.8 percent to 10.5 percent. Only the Metro East had an increase - a small jump from 8.3 to 8.4 percent.

Unemployment in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metro area decreased from 9.5 percent to 9 percent.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

Updated at 5:50 a.m. Friday with additional reporting. Reporting from KRCU's Jacob McCleland was used in this story.

The anesthetic that caused the overdose death of pop star Michael Jackson is now the drug for executions in Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Corrections is switching from its longstanding three-drug method to a single drug, propofol, which has never been used in an execution in the U.S. That's causing a stir among critics lijke Death Penalty Information Center director Richard Dieter.

(via Flickr/KellyB)

Unemployment figures are out for the "Show-Me" state for April.

Missouri added about 6,000 jobs in April as its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down slightly.

Figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Economic Development also show that:

(Madison County Government website)

A longtime circuit clerk in southwestern Illinois has died.

Madison County officials say Circuit Clerk Matt Melucci was 69 when he died Thursday night of cancer at his Collinsville home.

Melucci served in the post for nearly 20 years and was planning to retire in November, having announced last September that he would not seek re-election this year.

Democratic Madison County Clerk Mark Von Nida faces Republican John Barberis Jr. in the November election for circuit clerk's position.

(via YouTube/SenatorKirk)

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has issued his first public remarks since suffering a stroke.

In a video released Tuesday, Kirk says he can't wait to get back to work and is walking again. The 52-year-old senator suffered a major stroke in January and underwent emergency surgery. He entered a rehabilitation center in February and was discharged last week.

Here's that video statement:

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Per Clay spokesman Steven Engelhardt, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is endorsing Rep. William "Lacy" Clay (D-St. Louis) in the 1st District congressional primary in St. Louis.

Clay faces Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-St. Louis).

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Will be updated.

Updated 2:07 p.m. with more information on downstate schools, cause of pension problem.

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn wants to raise the retirement age for Illinois public employees and require them to contribute more money to their retirement funds.

Those are the key parts of what Quinn calls a "bold plan" to shore up state pension systems. They're now about $85 billion short of the money they'll eventually need.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is enlisting East St. Louis church leaders in his fight to rein in the city’s late-night entertainment industry.

The Democrat met with more than fifty members of the New Salem Baptist District Association Wednesday. He urged ministers to pressure Mayor Alvin Parks to close the city's nightclubs and liquor stores at 11 p.m. on weeknights and 1 a.m. on weekends. 

(via Flickr/Vox Efx)

St. Charles County Republicans get a do-over for a botched presidential caucus with a gathering Tuesday night.

The March 17 caucus in St. Peters descended into chaos amid rules disputes and claims of favoritism, and adjourned with police arresting two people. No delegates were selected.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Updated 1:56 p.m. with correction from The Associated Press on Medicaid percentage. 

Virtually all parts of state government would be forced to cut spending under a budget outline approved by the Illinois House.

The measure requires cutting Medicaid by $2.7 billion, or about 14 percent (percentage earlier read 25 percent, has been corrected). Spending on services from schools to prisons would fall by about $900 million.

The House approved it 91-16 on Thursday. Now it goes to the state Senate.

(St. Louis County Police)

Updated 2:02 p.m. March 23:

Christopher Gales and Montez Thomas, both 18, have been charged in relation to the case, according to a release from the St. Louis County Police. Their photos are above.

Both men have been charged with the following:

  • 1 count of Assault in the First Degree,
  • 1 count of Robbery in the First Degree,
  • 1 count of Burglary in the First Degree and
  • 3 counts of Armed Criminal Action.

Gales and Thomas are being held on $500,000 cash-only bonds.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The answer to the question we know you were all asking is here.

So, what will become of Rod Blagojevich's hair in prison?

Blagojevich's barber says the former Illinois governor's famously thick, dark hair is dyed and will turn gray within the first months of his prison term.

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