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    It's Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas and former Hammond High and Notre Dame football star Randy Harrison and his wife, Cheryl, are preparing for a big night.

    A former suburban Chicago mayor in failing health is set to be released from federal prison just three months into a one-year sentence for taking $5,000 to help a red-light camera company. U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin on Thursday ordered former Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta’s release from Federal Medical Center-Kentucky in Lexington. A petition from Presta’s lawyers said his already poor health had declined rapidly since reporting to prison in late June. Presta, who is in his early 70s, will be under home confinement supervised by federal probation officers for the remainder of his sentence and must repay $70,000 in restitution. Presta pleaded guilty last November to official misconduct and other crimes.

    Mark Souder, a Republican who represented northeastern Indiana in Congress for more than 15 years, has died. He was 72. Souder disclosed in January that he had inoperable pancreatic cancer. Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana noted Souder’s death Monday during remarks on the floor of the Senate on Thursday. Souder described himself as an “ultraconservative” and had been running for a ninth term in the U.S. House when he abruptly resigned in May 2010 after admitting to an extramarital affair with a woman who worked in his congressional office. Throughout his congressional tenure, Souder made evangelical Christianity a centerpiece of his public persona.

    Parts of the Mississippi River are so low from weeks of drought that barge traffic is being limited at the worst possible time — as crop harvests begin. Some Mississippi River communities between St. Louis and New Orleans may see record low water levels in the coming days, including Caruthersville, Missouri, and Osceola, Arkansas. Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say that normally, tows are able to move 36 barges at a time. With the water level so low, shippers have voluntarily agreed to cut that to 25 barges. Corn and soybeans harvested in the early fall need to be moved, and barges are vital in getting the commodities from one place to another.

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