JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing using $86 million in next year's budget for work at the state mental hospital, state Capitol and state parks.
Nixon said Thursday an improving budget situation could allow for the "strategic one-time investments." The governor is proposing $13 million for the planning and design of a new facility at the Fulton State Hospital, $28 million for structural repairs to the state Capitol and $45 million for improvements at state parks.
The announcement came shortly after Nixon's budget office announced that state revenues through April are up 11.2 percent for fiscal year.
In addition, Nixon announced Thursday he is releasing $29.6 million that he blocked when the budget took effect last summer. The money will go to various programs, including health and education initiatives.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Some favorite leisure time activities in Missouri could become high school sports.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association announced Thursday that member schools voted to allow schools to sponsor teams in bass fishing, chess, bowling and target shooting, beginning next year.
The association says it could eventually hold state championships in the events. First, at least 50 schools in at least three of the state's eight districts would have to have teams in the sports. Then member schools would decide whether to add the state championships
The Springfield News-Leader reports if the championships are approved, they would be added to the next two-year cycle.
Schools also voted to allow softball championships in the fall or spring. And track and field will add a fifth class next spring.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has passed a bill that would allow designated school personnel to carry concealed weapons in school buildings.
The Senate voted 26-6 Thursday to pass the measure. It now heads back to the House for further consideration.
The bill would allow school employees to voluntary become "protection officers" if they have a valid concealed weapons permit and undergo training for the position.
The legislation would also lower the minimum age required to obtain a concealed weapons permit from 21 to 19. It would also allow firearms of less than 16 inches to be openly carried even in municipalities that have ordinances against it.
A man convicted for his role in a deadly version of the Knockout Game has been sentenced to 55 years in prison. 20-year-old Elex Murphy was found guilty last month of killing an elderly immigrant and injuring his wife while the two were walking home from a grocery store in Dutchtown. Prosecutors said Murphy and a group of friends approached the couple near Chippewa and Spring Streets, when Murphy punched 72-year-old Hoang Nguyen in the face. He later died from his injuries.
Chess players and fans from around the world are gathering in St. Louis for the chess circuit's biggest event of the year.
For the fifth year in a row, the US and US Women's Chess Championships are being held at the The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis at 4657 Maryland Avenue in the Central West End.
Fox Sports Midwest will broadcast the action over a live stream. If you plan on checking out the action in person, tickets to the tournament are $10 per round.
One of the biggest names in the tournament this year is one of the smallest people. 12-year-old Sam Sevian from California is the current, reigning, under-12 world champion. Sevian was extended a wildcard invitation to play in the tournament.
Club spokesman Mike Wilmering says chess is putting St. Louis on the map.
"St. Louis really has become recognized as the chess epicenter internationally," Wilmering said. "I think more people are starting to open up their eyes and realize we have a really great thing here in St. Louis."
Opening ceremonies kick off tonight at 6:00pm. Play continues through May 13.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says more than $600,000 has been recovered for the Missouri Medicaid program as part of a national settlement against the drug-maker Amgen Inc.
Amgen agreed last month to pay $24.9 million to resolve claims it gave kickbacks to increase sales of its anemia drug Aranesp. Missouri was among several states that accused Amgen of a scheme aimed at inducing nursing home professionals to dispense Aranesp over competing drugs. Missouri's share is $603,493.
Aranesp is one of Amgen's biggest-selling drugs, though sales have fallen sharply since 2007 because of a series of safety problems and restrictions on its use.
In December, Amgen agreed to pay $762 million to resolve federal litigation accusing it of marketing Aranesp for unapproved uses.
UNION, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri man is dead after being struck by a pickup truck while standing on a rural highway.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol says 55-year-old Kenton Veninga of Union was standing in a driving lane of Highway YY in Franklin County Wednesday night when he was struck by a Mazda pickup. It wasn't clear why Veninga was on the roadway.
The patrol says Veninga was knocked into a ditch and pronounced dead at the scene. The 20-year-old driver of the pickup was not hurt.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A California man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge stemming from a mortgage audit scam that authorities say bilked consumers out of more than $400,000.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 30-year-old Derek Thomas Doherty, of Irvine, Calif., owned and ran Home Safe Financial. He offered homeowners in Missouri and elsewhere an audit for $3,000 and a free loan modification. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins said in court that Doherty never completed an audit.
Doherty started the business in St. Louis, moved to Overland Park, Kan., in May of 2010 and then merged with a California company in July of that year.
Collins says consumers lost more than $400,000 to the scheme.
Doherty could face 15 to 21 months in prison on the felony mail fraud charge.
Three teenage girls are safe Thursday morning after escaping from a north county home where they were being forced to work as prostitutes.
Police say two of the teens escaped through a bedroom window while the man accused of holding them slept. They called for help a few blocks away, telling police they didn't want to go far, because another teen, a 16 year old girl, was still being held in the home. Police found her when they arrested Anton Morris.
St. Louis County prosecutors have charged Morris with several crimes, including sexual trafficking of a child. He's jailed on a 100-thousand dollar bond.
It was another raucous night in Ellisville Wednesday as supporters of the impeached mayor, Adam Paul, tried to get him reinstated.
But the city council didn't get to vote on the issue because City Manager, Kevin Bookout, pulled the item from the agenda saying he wanted to get a legal opinion on it first.
Newly elected council member Mick Cahill told Fox 2 news that Paul's supporters plan to put the reinstatement question back on the council agenda. "We'll have to do it in a different way, putting it in as an amendment. And then once we do that, we'll be able to take that and hopefully be able to vote on it," he said.
City residents expressed outrage at a packed council meeting last night. One recurring issue: the amount the impeachment battle is costing taxpayers, including an eight-thousand dollar bill for emergency PR services to handle the impeachment fallout.
Paul's attorney, Chet Pleban, told the council that the impeachment costs are going to continue to climb, because "Adam Paul's not going away." He added, "This 84,418 bucks is the beginning of your legal fees, not the end of your legal fees."