Dick Durbin

(via Flickr/Nero.Lives)

Four U.S. senators and health officials from the cities hosting the World Series are urging the baseball players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera.

The senators, including the No. 2 Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois, and the health officials from St. Louis and Arlington, Texas, made the pleas in separate letters, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. The World Series between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals begins in St. Louis Wednesday night.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold and Ammad Omar used in this report.

Republicans are criticizing President Barack Obama for visiting his home state Wednesday.

The Democratic president is scheduled to visit Western Illinois as part of a Midwestern tour.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady says Mr. Obama's policies have not helped the state's economy.

(Elena Schneider/Medill News Service)

Durbin opposes short-term extension of debt-ceiling

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Ill. has announced that he wants to extend the debt ceiling until after the 2012 election. He says Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the ceiling as budget cuts are made would do nothing to help the economy, and won’t keep credit agencies from downgrading the nation’s debt. Rather, he says it would lead to higher interest rates.

 New conservative ad campaign targets Mo. Sen. McCaskill, among others

(Official Portrait/via Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says a Metro East port project is getting more money.

Durbin announced the $8.5 million from the Department of Transportation. The money is to help build a transportation hub that Durbin says can help reduce congestion on the Mississippi River.

Durbin's office says the project got $6 million last year. The project includes a harbor, rail lines and a rail and truck facility in Madison County, Ill.

The Illinois Democrat says the facility can help the Metro East's economic competitiveness.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill has drafted a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking that an investigation be launched into recent allegations of price fixing of gasoline by U.S. oil refiners.

The letter, a release states, comes after a report in the Kansas City Star "analyzed the ballooning profit margin by oil refiners in recent months."

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold used in this report.

Illinois' two U.S. senators are saying party leaders are trying to avoid a government shut down. Lawmakers are facing a Friday deadline to finalize the federal budget.

Illinois' senior U.S. senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, said budget negotiations with House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner are close to wrapping up.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says the size of the evacuation zones around the six nuclear power plants in Illinois should be reviewed.

Kirk and fellow U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin held a forum Friday with a panel of four nuclear experts that resembled a congressional hearing to talk about safety in Illinois in the wake of the disaster in Japan.

(via Flickr/RealEstateZebra)

The East St. Louis Fire Department will soon be able to bolster their efforts and staffing with a federal grant, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Sen. Dick Durbin says he wants answers from nuclear experts about the safety of some of Illinois' aging nuclear plants in the wake of the crisis in Japan.

The Democrat says he and fellow U.S. senator, Republican Mark Kirk, will host a forum in Chicago on Friday that will include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

(St. Louis Public Radio)
  • A Pennsylvania man has been charged with three counts of child molestation and one count of statutory sodomy after he allegedly forced his way into a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Clayton and molested a 9 year-old girl. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that after returning to the hotel intoxicated at around 4 a.m. Sunday morning, 42 year-old Daniel T. Hughes went to the wrong room.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo
  • MetroLink is running regular service this morning across both tracks at the scene of an accident that happened yesterday in Pagedale. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that several injuries were reported after a MetroLink light rail train hit a tow truck stalled at a crossing. The eastbound train struck the flatbed truck around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Passengers reported seeing at least five people being taken to hospitals by ambulance. Metro spokeswoman Dianne Williams said she was told the injuries did not appear to be serious. The tow truck was unoccupied. Investigators are trying to figure out why it stalled on the tracks.
  • The new arms control treaty with Russia approved by the Senate Wednesday had the support of Democrats in the Missouri and Illinois delegations, but not the Republicans. The treaty would cap nuclear warheads for both countries and resume on-site inspections that expired a year ago. Claire McCaskill of Missouri joined Dick Durbin of Illinois in voting for the START treaty, which she calls critical to the national security of the United States. Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri did not cast a vote on the treaty, while Mark Kirk of Illinois voted no.

"The relationship with Russia is key in terms of us getting the missile defense systems in place that can check Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, if in fact they decide that they will either utilize the nuclear weapons they have, the case in Pakistan, or continue to move towards nuclear capability, in the case of North Korea and Iran." - Sen. Claire McCaskill

  • St. Archbishop Robert Carlson is continuing work on what he has called his top priority - improving Catholic schools in the region. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that for the past year, Carlson has been meeting with parents, teachers, pastors and national experts. The goal is to develop strategies to improve Catholic education in the St. Louis Archdiocese, where enrollment in its 11 counties has been steadily declining for four decades. The newspaper says Carlson is positioning the St. Louis Archdiocese to follow the lead of other large Catholic school systems that have restructured to stop the loss of students.

"We don't have to sit by and let this happen. Let's grow this system again." - Archbishop Robert Carlson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois is set to get millions of dollars for high-speed rail projects that were supposed to go to two other states. But that news may not be as good as it sounds.

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