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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois transportation officials say they're adding extra safety precautions to work zones around the state after the speed limit was increased on some rural highways.
 
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports motorists are being warned of construction projects with extra signs, including speed indicators. The signs are also being placed further away from work zones to give drivers an earlier warning.
 
The Illinois Department of Transportation opposed legislation raising he speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on some roads. The higher speed limit went into effect in January.
   
Priscilla Tobias is the department's state safety engineer. She says it takes drivers 470 feet to come to a safe spot if they're traveling 70 mph. The speed limit is lower in work zones.
Monday, 14 April 2014 10:32
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St. Louis, MO -- Retail gasoline prices in St. Louis continue to rise, increasing nearly a nickel per gallon this past week. According to GasBuddy.com, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas in the Gateway City is $3.60.  This compares with the national average that has increased just over 3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.59. 
Gas prices in St. Louis yesterday were 13.5 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and 20 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. 
The national average has increased 9 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 7 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago. 
Monday, 14 April 2014 09:41
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Jefferson City, MO -- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says that plans to rebuild the deteriorating  Fulton State Mental Hospital are moving forward.
 
The Governor announced Monday that Parsons-Brinckeroff will be the lead design firm for the project.  Nixon says the project is a long-overdue public safety priority which has strong bi-partisan support.  
Upon final completion of contract negotiations with Parsons-Brinckerhoff, work will begin on the planning and design of the new hospital.
 
Construction of the facility is expected to begin in the late spring or early summer of 2015 and be completed in 2016.  The cost of the new facility is expected to be about $211 million.
 
The Missouri Department of Economic Development estimates that the project could create more than 2,500 jobs during its construction.
 
Fulton State Hospital is the oldest state psychiatric hospital west of the Mississippi River and houses the state’s only maximum security psychiatric facility. It opened in 1851.
 
 
Monday, 14 April 2014 09:17
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois gas station owners are speaking out against proposals for a fuel tax hike being floated in Springfield this year.
 
Retail gas station leaders will announce their opposition to such a plan at a news conference on Monday afternoon in the state Capitol. They say increasing the gas tax in a tough economy would hurt drivers and businesses owners.
   
Two weeks ago, a state transportation group unveiled their plan for funding road construction and public transit. The Transportation for Illinois Coalition's proposal included increasing the gas tax by 4 cents. They also called for higher vehicle registration fees and ending the ethanol credit for gasoline.
 
Funding from the state's five-year capital construction program is set to run out this year. The state gas tax hasn't been increased since 1990.
 
Monday, 14 April 2014 08:48
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate majority leader says the chamber could debate ethics legislation this week that would curb lobbying.
 
The bill would make lawmakers wait two years after their terms expire before registering as lobbyists. It would require lobbyists to report expenditures within 48 hours and would prohibit out-of-state spending on travel, lodging, food and entertainment.
 
Another provision would bar legislators from serving as paid political consultants to fellow lawmakers.
 
Missouri is the only state to allow the trio of unlimited contributions to candidates, unlimited gifts from lobbyists and no waiting period before an elected official can lobby.
Monday, 14 April 2014 08:41
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - One person is dead and another hospitalized after a shooting on Interstate 70 near Kansas City.  Kansas City, Kansas police say the shooting happened around 4 a.m. Monday.
 
Both victims went to the University of Kansas Hospital, where one died and the other was being treated for what police call critical injuries. Police released no information on a possible suspect.
 
The shooting come as authorities investigate a string of shootings at vehicles, many on interstate highway in the Kansas City area. But police did not say if Monday's shooting is related to the earlier incidents.
 
Monday, 14 April 2014 08:07
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Health care providers and advocates for the poor say a disposable diaper shortage among needy families is harming both the infants and their parents.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that local food pantries receive countless requests for diapers but are unable to meet the demand. The CEO of Nurses for Newborns says the organization would need as many as 10,000 diapers a day for their mostly poor clients but can only supply a dozen diapers per person in an emergency.

Disposable diapers can cost up to $100 a month for one child.

Social worker Jessica Adams is organizing a nonprofit St. Louis diaper bank that would accept charitable donations and help distribute the diapers to those in need.

Sunday, 13 April 2014 09:53
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ROLLA, Mo. (AP) — A U.S. Army sergeant killed in last week's shooting in Fort Hood, Texas, has been buried in the Missouri town where he went to high school and met his wife.

Sergeant Timothy Owens was originally from Effingham, Illinois. He was one of three soldiers killed April 2nd when a gunman fired on the military base. Sixteen others were wounded.

Saturday's funeral was in Rolla (RAH'-lah) where Owens lived in the 1990s.

The Rolla Daily News reported that as many as 75 motorcyclists from the Rolla Patriot Guard Riders accompanied the casket before the service at Rolla's First Baptist Church and afterward, to Lake Springs Cemetery in rural Dent County.

As the casket left the church, Patriot Guard Riders, law enforcement officers and residents lined the sidewalk outside and saluted.

Sunday, 13 April 2014 09:51
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are advancing an early voting measure that could overlap with an initiative petition tackling the issue.

The competing proposals set up a scenario in which Missouri voters could endorse two early voting periods but see only one become law. Missouri law states that if conflicting constitutional amendments are approved at the same time, the measure that gets the largest affirmative vote takes effect.

The initiative petition would allow early voting for six weeks and require officials to accommodate early voting on Saturday and Sunday for the final 21 days before federal or state elections. The proposal in the Legislature calls for nine days of early voting and depends upon lawmakers approving funding.

Sunday, 13 April 2014 09:50
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Legislation to reorganize Missouri's criminal laws also would give longer prison stints to people who sexually abuse or abandon children.

Under the bill, incest would carry additional jail time in child sex crimes. Parents who leave their children without proper care could also spend a decade more in jail if a child dies or is seriously injured.

The main focus of the legislation is the creation of additional classes of felonies and misdemeanors. But a child advocate says the increased punishments for crimes against children will have an impact on their lives.

The House and Senate passed the criminal code overhaul this week and must work out differences to pass an identical bill by May 16th, when the session adjourns

Saturday, 12 April 2014 10:29
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