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We will broadcast special coverage of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, starting with the RNC tonight at 8.

Morning headlines: Monday, November 7, 2011

University of Missouri joins SEC

The University of Missouri was officially accepted into the Southeastern Conference Sunday. SEC Presidents and Chancellors unanimously voted Missouri into the conference as its 14th member effective July 1, 2012.

A press conference and celebration were held Sunday evening at the MU student center.

Missouri will join the likes of Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee in the SEC East division. SEC commissioner Mike Slive says having MU in the East would maintain divisional rivalries and create the least amount of disruption. Slive pointed to the stability of the conference as to one of the reasons the SEC is a premiere destination.

“We have nearly 5,000 student athletes in the SEC –and-- men and women, and our long term goal was to provide financial stability so that 5,000 student athletes could compete and get the experience that we all value so much," Slive said during the press conference.

MU Athletic Director Mike Alden says Missouri exits a conference it’s been a part of since 1907 for an opportunity that could provide more long term exposure to the school. MU joins former Big 12 counterpart Texas A&M in the SEC.

The state of Missouri borders three SEC states in Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas.

SIUC faculty continue strike

Members of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Faculty Association remain on the picket lines this morning, though negotiations have resumed. The union and administration say they've renewed their bargaining, with the addition of a federal mediator into the mix.

According to WSIU, the two sides say they're still working to agree on several issues, including tenure, academic freedom and financial concerns. Meanwhile the strike will continue today, and a student protest is planned this afternoon outside SIUC's administration building to show support for the faculty.

State health officials update number of E. coli cases

Missouri health officials say there are 28 confirmed cases of E. coli cases in the St. Louis area. The state Department of Health and Senior Services said Sunday that one new case was added recently.

The department is trying to determine if two other cases in Boone County are connected to the St. Louis outbreak. No deaths or life-threatening illnesses have been reported since the first cases were reported last month in St. Louis city and St. Louis, Jefferson and St. Charles counties in Missouri and St. Clair County, Illinois.

Calhoun Point project to be dedicated today

An ecosystem restoration project at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers will be dedicated this afternoon  in Grafton, Ill. The $9.8 million Calhoun Point Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project allows site managers to manipulate water levels based on the season.  

Brian Markert, program manager for the Army Corps of Engineers in St. Louis, says the 2100 acre site is ideal for migratory birds.

"It's there on the North American Flyway and so we see, especially time of this, but also in the Spring, a large variety of migratory birds" Markert said.  "We also constructed some features that provide for deeper water for overwintering of fish and improved fish spawning in the Spring."

Markert says the Army Corps completed the project in partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.