Morning round-up
9:23 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Morning headlines: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Silvey strikes back at Nixon over criticism of proposed cut to aid for the blind

Silvey said Tuesday that Nixon's administration should contact him to discuss funding education and blind assistance after Nixon completes his "press conferences and campaign rallies."

Silvey, a Republican from Kansas City, sent Nixon a letter after the Democratic governor criticized proposed cuts in programs for the blind at a rally in Columbia.

The dustup comes after House budget writers voted to eliminate a $30 million program that covers medical care for blind people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. The committee would provide $6 million for a new, smaller program for the blind. The panel also reversed a higher education funding cut proposed by Nixon.

Federal government considering more extensive clean up at Westlake Landfill

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Environmental Protection Agency four years ago approved a plan to cover the waste at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. But activists are pressuring the EPA to abandon that plan, citing concerns about groundwater contamination and citing the landfill's location in the Missouri River floodplain.

Among the new options would be excavating tons of contaminated soil. EPA spokesman Chris Whitley says there is no timetable for a decision.

The site is among many around the St. Louis area contaminated by radioactive waste from Mallinckrodt Chemical Co.'s Cold War-era uranium processing operations.

Ill. Air National Guard stands to lose dozens of position if federal budget approved

The Illinois National Guard says it would lose 34 traditional guardsmen positions, seven Air Guard Reserve positions and one full-time military technician. The changes come from guidelines issued by the Department of Defense and the fiscal 2013 federal budget. The cuts are pending President Barack Obama's approval of the budget.

Guard officials say the changes would affect all three wings of the Illinois Air National Guard.

The losses would be spread across the 126th Air Refueling Wing at Scott Air Force Base, the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield and the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria.

Illinois guard officials say they have contacted the airmen who would be affected by the changes.