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Morning headlines: Christmas winter storm begins, Il Gov. grants and denies clemency, Mo. National Guard to enlist help of prisoners

St. Louis will have a white Christmas this year. (Flickr Creative Commons The Green Diva)
  • The snow has started to fall in parts of the St. Louis metropolitan area. The Missouri Department of Transportation is monitoring, re-treating and plowing area roadways. MODOT is urging area motorists to stay off the roads during the winter storm. If you have to travel, MODOT advises drivers to give salt trucks and plows plenty of room. The National Weather Service is forecasting a total of two-to-four inches throughout the St. Louis region.
  • Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has made his way through more clemency petitions, granting 34 and denying another 51. Quinn has been working through what he calls a "massive backlog" of more than 2,500 cases that built up under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The 85 petitions that Quinn acted on Thursday date back to the January 2004 docket. Quinn has taken action on 895 petitions since taking office in January 2009. He's granted 371 and denied 524.
  • The Missouri National Guard plans to start training some of the state's prison inmates to help it respond to natural disasters and other emergencies. Missouri prison inmates in the past have helped local officials during floods and other emergencies. Under the new proposal, only nonviolent offenders would be used and they would be screened by prison officials. The training would focus on skills such as filling and stacking sandbags and removing debris. Formal agreements between the Missouri Guard and the Department of Corrections have not been signed yet.

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