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Parents Speak Out Against School Cuts(Edwardsville, IL) -- Some students are walking more than half a mile to catch the school bus in Edwardsville. It's because of massive cuts in school transportation but some parents say it's an extremely dangerous move. Ric Stephens is a concerned parent who told the "The Alton Telegraph" there's no reason for the district to have kids walk on, quote, "dark and dangerous rural roads" or "stand at a bus stop before the sun rises." He calls the rationale behind the move disingenuous and says the students shouldn't be economic pawns. The Edwardsville superintendant of schools says it was either eliminate bus routes or cut teachers. Twenty Catholic Churches To Shut Down(Belleville, IL) -- The Catholic Diocese of Belleville is shutting the doors of 20 churches in Southern Illinois. It's part of the "pastoral plan for restructuring and renewal." Officials say it's partly because of a declining population, which means there aren't enough people to fill the churches. The diocese will announce which churches will close in early 2013.IEMA Implements 9-11 Security Plan(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois' homeland security officials have launched an initiative that will help shape the state's security preparedness and response policies into the next decade. The "Illinois Homeland Security Vision 2020" plan is a statewide, grass-root effort, to engage Illinois' residents and organizations in development of the state's strategy for dealing with current and emerging threats and risks. Starting this fall, IEMA will conduct a series of eight meetings across the state to gather input an ideas on homeland security issues.2012 Political Candidates Can Start Distributing(Springfield, IL) -- The 2012 campaign season gets officially under way today. Political hopefuls in Illinois will vie for all 59 seats in the Illinois Senate, 118 in the Illinois House and all of the 18 Illinois Congressional seats. They can start distributing petitions to get their names on the March primary ballot today. Some local elected officials will also be making the rounds.National Guard Mission In Vermont Over(Springfield, IL) -- Illinois' mission in Vermont is complete. Ninety five National Guard troops were sent to the East coast last week to assist with delivering food, water and other supplies to several towns in Vermont. Governor Quinn says the mission to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene was a success. West Nile Bird In Will County(New Lenox, IL) -- Will County is reporting its first case of West Nile virus this year. Officials say a blue jay found in New Lenox tested positive for the disease. West Nile is transferred to animals and humans through mosquito bites. While there have been no human cases reported in Will County this year, there have been reports of ten positive mosquito batches. Seven of those were found in Bolingbrook.
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