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Morning headlines: Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn has reached a deal with lawmakers to keep seven state facilities open through the end of the current fiscal year.
Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn has reached a deal with lawmakers to keep seven state facilities open through the end of the current fiscal year.

Quinn and lawmakers reach deal on state facilities

A budget deal reached among Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and lawmakers will save seven state facilities and the jobs at those locations, at least for now.  The plan won General Assembly approval Tuesday.  Quinn had targeted a handful of developmental centers, prisons and psychiatric hospitals for shutdown after the legislature failed to provide enough money to keep them operating. 

Quinn’s budget director, David Vaught, says the deal to shift money in the budget is a better solution…

“The Governor much prefers, especially in a time of recession, to stabilize the employee base.  There’s work to be done," said Vaught."  This accomplishes that objective for now at least.  There will be some attrition where we don’t backfill positions, which is unfortunate.  But that’s the price of compromise.”

The compromise is a temporary one, as the agreement only guarantees funding through the end of the budget cycle in June.  It’s possible some state facilities could be closed after that time.  But lawmakers say this deal will allow for a more thoughtful approach and negotiations in coming months.  The plan also gives more money to community mental health services and substance abuse treatment.

Mo. officials continue investigation into Mamtek

Newly released documents show Missouri officials were aware of concerns about a failed artificial sweetener company several months before announcing incentives for the business. Questioning Monday by a Missouri House committee focused on an April 2010 email from a consultant in China to Department of Economic Development officials. The email indicated that Mamtek's artificial sweetener plant in China had never started to manufacture a product. Other documents show that a patent attorney for Mamtek assured Moberly officials in June 2010 that a factory did exist in China and he had "an actual tested sample" of the artificial sweetener.

In July 2010, Gov. Jay Nixon announced a deal to build a Mamtek sweetener factory in Moberly. Construction on the Moberly plant halted this fall after Mamtek missed a bond payment.

Danforth Plant Science Center joins forces with other institutions

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis and the nation's three other largest nonprofit plant science research institutions are joining forces. The centers have formed the Association of Independent Plant Research Institutions. 

Their goal is to target plant science research in an effort to provide food, fuel and other needs for the world's growing population. The other institutions are the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore, Okla.



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