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Morning headlines: March 12, 2012

Residents take in some of the damage after a severe storm hit in the early morning hours on February 29, 2012, in Harrisburg, Ill.
UPI/Paul Newton/The Southern
Residents take in some of the damage after a severe storm hit in the early morning hours on February 29, 2012, in Harrisburg, Ill.

Southern Ill. denied federal disaster aid

The parts of southern Illinois destroyed by deadly storms and a tornado last month will not be declared federal disaster areas.

U.S Senator Dick Durbin says FEMA's decision will make it tough on local government, businesses and individuals affected by the storms.

"Without the federal designation, there are limited opportunities for federal help," said Durbin. "And take a look at what's happening here with our own state treasury. There's a limited opportunity there to compensate for these losses. I have just never seen worse devastation, and I find it hard to imagine that it didn't qualify."

A tornado killed seven people in Harrisburg. Across the region, more than 100 homes were destroyed and hundreds more were severely damaged.

FEMA uses a formula that takes into account the amount of damage and weighs it against the overall state population. Southern Illinois came up short in that equation.

Durbin says he and fellow Senator Mark Kirk will appeal FEMA's decision. But the last time he tried such an appeal it was unsuccessful.

East St. Louis limiting alcohol sales due to weekend violence

The mayor of East St. Louis says the city is limiting alcohol sales after several incidents of weekend violence.

Mayor Alvin L. Parks Jr. released a statement Sunday saying the city would suspend all non-casino sales of liquor after 1 a.m. until further notice. He says he's doing so to "re-stabilize the community's health and safety."

The move followed a series of shootings outside East St. Louis clubs, including the death Sunday morning of a 23-year-old man who police say was shot as he walked to his car. East St. Louis has instituted similar alcohol restrictions before.

The city of 27,000 has been grappling with a high murder rate and the city's night clubs have particularly been under scrutiny. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says he wants the businesses to close earlier.

Missouri State Trooper recovering after weekend shooting

Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Shane Stewart is expected to survive after making it through surgery. He was shot Saturday on Interstate 55 in New Madrid County.

The patrol says Stewart had pulled over a sport utility vehicle around 10 p.m. He was speaking with the four occupants when one of them opened fire. Stewart was struck once in the neck. Another trooper returned fire. One person in the SUV was killed and a second injured. The injured suspect is expected to live.