Good morning. Here are your starting headlines today:
Valley Park mayor resigns
The embattled mayor of Valley Park has resigned. Nathan Grellner stepped down as the top official in the St. Louis County town on Thursday, submitting a written letter of resignation. Grellner has been under fire for questionable spending with a city credit card, for missing nearly every meeting since February, and for his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence in a neighboring town in June.
In his letter, Grellner wrote that his recent personal issues "have cast a negative light on both the city and my family ..." Aldermen say the resignation is a relief and allows the city to turn the page from a troubled chapter.
Video poker to roll out in Illinois bars soon
Amanda Vinicky reports from Springfield.
Video poker is scheduled to roll out in Illinois bars as soon as next month. But for many businesses in the state, it's still a gamble whether they'll get permission to install the machines.
So far 90 establishments across the state of Illinois are licensed to host video gambling, but another 1,300 or so restaurants, bars, truck stops and fraternal organizations are waiting. Their applications are still pending before the state gaming board.
That includes the American Legion post in Springfield. Its fiscal officer, Mike Walton, says the legion plans to use the machines to raise money for its charity programs. He admits all members weren't on board.
"We had some that, that weren't quite as wild about it," Walton said. "But they understood that if we want to continue doing the things that we're doing for the community, that we had to have funding come from somewhere."
The state, and local governments, also get a cut of the profits. That's why lawmakers authorized video gambling back in 2009, but it's only now getting underway.
Even when it's ready, video gambling won't be everywhere. It's up to local governments if they want to allow it.
Candidate forum held on future of St. Louis city treasurer office
Candidates to replace St. Louis city Treasurer Larry Williams gathered at a forum last night to discuss the future of the office charged with investing and safeguarding St. Louis' finances.
Each candidate on hand emphasized change and reform in seeking to replace sitting Treasurer Larry Williams whose held the position for 32 years:
"It's time for some real change in our city." - Brian Wahby
"We are looking at turning an office that's been held by one person for over 30 years and obviously everything is on the table." - Tishaura Jones
"I am out to reform St. Louis city government." - Don DeVivo
"The treasurer's office is in need of somebody who's a change agent." - Jeffrey Boyd
"The only way we're going to clean it up is if we get some structural change in that office." - Fred Wessels
The candidates discussed what they would do as the city's chief banker, from selling city parking lots, to spurring city development.
The winner of the Democratic primary Aug. 7 will run against Republican Tim Bachman who did not participate in the forum.
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