Missouri Looks at Recreational Pot

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Most Missouri adults would be able to buy and use recreational marijuana under a bill being considered by a state House panel.  

The measure would let people older than 21 produce, sell, distribute and use pot. The legislation would allow the state to adopt regulations on marijuana distribution and to levy an excise tax up to 25 percent of the drug’s cost. It is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Chris Kelly, of Columbia. Continue Reading

IL Ed. Boss Says Funding Cuts Could Force Closings

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The head of the Illinois State Board of Education says proposed cuts in education funding could be “devastating” to school districts.  

State superintendent Christopher Koch’s comments were reported by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers. He says if the proposed cuts are approved, some districts might “not make it through the school year.” The ISBE is asking for a $1 billion increase in funding, while a preliminary revenue blueprint shows a potential $1 billion decrease. Continue Reading

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More Studies Needed Before Iowa Marijuana Approved

Governor Terry Branstad is warning there are too many “unintended consequences” to legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Iowa. Branstad met recently with the mothers of children who suffer from a severe form of epilepsy — mothers who say an oil derived from marijuana is a treatment that’s working for epileptics in other states… “I think we have to be careful about drafting our laws just for a few people that have a particular problem or ailment.” The governor says medical marijuana — in whatever form — can easily fall into the hands of “people that don’t have prescriptions.”… “Already the biggest increase in drug abuse has been where you have unauthorized people using other people’s prescriptions. Continue Reading

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Tips for Surviving Post-Daylight Saving Switch

Many of us may find themselves dragging this morning (Monday) after the change to Daylight Saving Time over the weekend.  

Mike Gremmer of Des Moines, a regional vice president for the staffing service Robert Half, says we spring ahead and fall back every year, but it’s always tough for some people to lose an hour of sleep… “Eat a good breakfast, coffee is great,” Gremmer says. “I would encourage you to not eat a lot of sugary foods and maybe stock up more on protein and whole grains instead and stay hydrated.” Studies find that productivity in most lines of work can suffer for several days after a time change. Continue Reading

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WIU Receives $50,000 from State Farm

Bloomington’s State Farm has given $50,000 to Western Illinois University’s Business and Technology Program. The money will go towards a new classroom lab that will include an 80-inch flat screen monitor, and deal with things like apps, 3-D graphics, and other forms of digital media. WIU Alum and State Farm Assistant Vice President for Corporate Systems, Bill Miller, says there’s more than one purpose for State Farm’s partnership with Western…. “We want to identify students and graduates from Western Illinois that are potential State Farm employees, and can make a difference for state farm customers. On the same hand, we also want to help Western prepare students for post graduation.” Continue Reading

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Consultants Advise Against More IA Casinos

Consultants told the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission YESTERDAY (Thursday) that the state would be taking a big gamble if new licenses were granted for more casinos in Iowa.  

The studies from two consulting firms, hired by the commission to analyze the Iowa market, present a high hurdle to clear for supporters of proposed casinos in Greene and Linn Counties. The reports suggest a casino in downtown Cedar Rapids could generate up to $82.3 million in annual revenue, but would cut revenues at the nearby Riverside Casino by 30-percent. Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is hoping commissioners will ultimately look at the bottom line. Wild Rose Entertainment wants to build a casino in Jefferson, but the consultants suggest a facility there would also siphon revenues from other gaming facilities. Continue Reading

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Tempers Flare Between Two Iowa Senators

Two state senators had a heated exchange today during debate of a bill that eventually passed without a dissenting vote.  

 

Senator Mark Chelgren, a Republican from Ottumwa, and Democratic Senator Tom Courtney of Burlington each accused the other of ignoring the interests of constituents. Chelgren got things started with this:

 

 

Courtney then accused Chelgren of ignoring phone messages. Chelgren started yelling and Courtney yelled right back. As the two men were called away from the microphones to talk privately in the center of the senate, Courtney called Chelgren a “lying son of a gun” and Chelgren shot back with similar complaints. Continue Reading

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Burlington Named One of Top Micropolitan Areas

For the second straight year, “Site Selection” Magazine has named Greater Burlington one of the top micropolitan areas in the county for economic development projects. Last year, Burlington was raked number 30 and this year it’s number 41. It’s also number 5 out of 34 on the list of metropolitan areas on the Mississippi River. The magazine also rates the state, and Iowa is number 6 in terms of those best suited for economic expansion.   Continue Reading

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Montrose Woman to Fight Perjury Charge

A former Iowa felon charged with illegally voting is expected to fight the charge Tuesday at the first jury trial stemming from a statewide crackdown on election-related crimes. Kelli Jo Griffin of Montrose is scheduled to stand trial for perjury in Lee County. Prosecutors say that she signed an affidavit falsely claiming that she was not an ineligible felon when she voted in the Nov. 5 municipal election. Prosecutors say she remained on probation for a 2008 felony drug conviction and didn’t have voting rights then. Continue Reading