Morning round-up
9:27 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Morning headlines: Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cardinals submit new offer to Pujols

The Cardinals submitted a new offer to Albert Pujols on Tuesday. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the deal is believed to be worth around $220 million for 10 years. The Miami Marlins are also pursuing the three-time National League MVP with a deal that could be work $200 million or more over 10 years.

Blagojevich to be sentenced today

Impeached ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will find out what his sentence is today as he tries to persuade a judge not to send him away for a lengthy prison term. The 54-year-old will address Judge James Zagel and ask for leniency when he's sentenced for 18 corruption counts that include his attempt to auction off President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

Lawsuit over Mo. governors power to make budget cuts moves forward

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beteem denied a request by Gov. Jay Nixon to decide the case based on what has already been submitted to the court. A hearing is scheduled Dec. 16. 

Republican Auditor Tom Schweich challenged budget cuts made by Nixon, a Democrat. The cuts amount to about $170 million and affect universities, scholarships, the judiciary and early childhood programs. Nixon says spending cuts were necessary to help pay the costs from the Joplin tornado and flooding.

Schweich on Tuesday said the budget cuts violated the state constitution. A spokesman for Nixon called the ruling "procedural" and said it did not affect governors' constitutional authority to manage state finances.

Army Corp shutting down work on Birds Point Levee 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is shutting down its work rebuilding a Mississippi River levee that was damaged during heavy flooding along the river in southeast Missouri earlier this year. In May, the corps blew three holes in the Birds Point levee to relieve pressure at the height of the Mississippi River flooding that was threatening nearby Cairo, Ill. About 130,000 acres of farmland were damaged, along with dozens of homes.

The corps said yesterday that it will begin closing down its repair work on the Birds Point project area because forecasts call for sustained high river levels and more rain. The corps says before shutting down the repair work, crews will bring the levee system up to 55 feet using temporary repair tools, like sandbags.