Morning headlines - Monday, June 4, 2012
Ill. DNR director cannot rule out park closures
Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.
The director of the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources says his department will do all it can to keep the state's parks open after the failure of a $2 increase in license plate fees that would have provided a funding stream the the DNR.
But Marc Miller says he can't rule anything out, because the department has seen its budget slashed by 50 percent over the last decade.
"As much as we can do it, we're going to keep everything open, and we will try our best to provide services," Miller said. "The fact is, however, we will be faced with the unenviable task of trying to prioritize where our resources are going to go.
Miller says sewage treatment plants, chemical containment areas and water towers are nearing failure at some of the parks. And at Illini State Park in LaSalle County, the infrastructure has already failed. Miller says last summer, a sewage pump turned the campgrounds from a class A site to more primitive facilities.
"Those kinds of things are going to pop up more and more," Miller said. "And as they do, we will not have the funds or the ability to correct them."
Miller says he may try to get the fee hike approved later this year.
Three clubs raided in East St. Louis
State and city agencies raided three night clubs in East St. Louis early Sunday morning in an effort to crack down on illegal activity, including drugs and weapons, and health violations.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that more than 100 officers took part in the raids on Club Rolex, Club 103 and Club Posh. Patrons of the clubs told the paper that police had reports of drug use and underage drinking. Officials would only say that they had reports of illegal activity at the clubs.
A spokesman for the St. Clair County sheriff’s office says police served 50 search warrants, but would not detail the evidence collected. The city also suspended the liquor license of three Crown Food Mart stores.
Express Scripts, Walgreen Co. drop false claims lawsuit
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that two pharmaceutical powerhouses have dropped lawsuits they filed against each other in 2011.
St. Louis-based Express Scripts sued Walgreen Co. last September, alleging that the pharmacy company was publishing false marketing materials in an effort to lure Medicare recipients away from health plans managed by Express Scripts. Walgreens stopped filling prescriptions from patients of the pharmacy benefit manager in December after the two could not agree on a new contract.
Both companies told the Tribune that the decision to drop the lawsuit does not mean they are any closer to signing a new contract.
Forum addresses crime in St. Louis County
Law enforcement, community organizers and religious leaders spent part of the weekend looking for ways to reduce youth crime in St. Louis County.
"Ten years ago, we wouldn't have had a community like this," said St. Louis County police chief Tim Fitch. "We used to have people that would point fingers and go, 'they're responsible, they're responsible, they're responsible.' But what I'm hearing more and more today is that this is a community problem - now, what are we going to do about it?"
The Urban League sponsored the weekend forum. Spokeswoman Angelia Bills says she walked away with the message that prevention is a key part of the solution.
"One of the number one causes of juvenile crime is bad parenting," Bills said. "We have to deal with those parents because those parents are in the households, and if we help the parent, we help the child."
Bills had no specific plans for the Urban League, but says the agency may work more closely with parents in the future.