Morning headlines
9:07 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Morning Headlines: Thursday, August 16, 2012

Credit (via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Candidates debate in Illinois' 12 Congressional District

After nearly twenty years representing Illinois’s 12th Congressional District, Jerry Costello is retiring at the end of his term.  The three candidates looking to fill the open seat debated in Carbondale last night. 

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Mental health
8:04 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Urgent mental health services slowly returning to St. Louis

When fully open, the new Psychiatric Stabilization Center at 5351 Delmar Blvd. will provide immediate treatment for those in mental distress, as well as short-term inpatient stays.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

In 2010, the slumping state budget forced the Missouri Department of Mental Health to close the emergency room and 50 short-term beds at the Metropolitan Psychiatric Center.

The move saved $16 million. But it also forced those in need of immediate mental health treatment into local hospitals, which are not designed for those in crisis.

With the help of the area’s two largest hospital systems and some state support, there are now 16 beds available for patients with psychiatric needs who have already been screened at other hospital emergency rooms. Beginning this fall, patients needing urgent mental health care should be able to go straight to the new Psychiatric Stabilization Center.

The PSC is a temporary fix - but its creators are also hoping it helps shift the treatment paradigm.

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Prescription drug tracking system
5:31 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Drug czar visits Missouri; pushes drug tracking system

National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske.
(via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

The nation’s drug czar was in Fenton Wednesday highlighting the fact that Missouri does not have a prescription drug monitoring program.

It’s the only state in the US without a tracking system or that hasn’t passed legislation to create one.

National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske says it’s a good way to identify patients who are "doctor shopping."

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Missouri Exports
5:03 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Missouri exports grow at record-setting pace

via Flickr/J_D_R

Missouri exports are growing at a record-setting pace this year and trade with markets in Asia is up more than 24 percent this year alone.

Tim Nowak, executive director of World Trade Center St. Louis, said low paying manufacturing jobs in Asia have created a consumer market for Missouri products.

Nowak said that, in turn, translates to jobs in St. Louis.  

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Politics
4:40 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

McCaskill blames Tea Party, Todd Akin for holding up drought aid

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill at the Soulard Farmers Market.
Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio

In the high-profile race for U.S. Senate in Missouri, incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill is seizing on this year’s drought to win support among rural voters. 

Speaking at the historic Soulard Farmers Market, Senator McCaskill laid in to her opponent in the November election—Republican Congressman Todd Akin—for his opposition the Senate version of the federal farm bill, which includes disaster assistance for farmers reeling from this year’s record drought.

Were it not for Republicans like Todd Akin, McCaskill says that relief would be on its way to farmers and ranchers.

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St. Louis police
2:31 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

St. Louis police battling jump in gun crime, new HQ construction running behind

(via Flickr/robertnelson)

St. Louis police say they're seeing a significant uptick in gun violence in St. Louis, even as crime is down overall.

The department released the latest crime numbers for 2012 at the meeting of its oversight board on Wednesday morning. Aggravated assaults with a weapon are up 19 percent in 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Special groups like the Violent Offenders and gang units are targeting individuals with a history of gun violence and possession, police chief Dan Isom said, but that won't solve the entire problem.

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Agriculture/Drought
2:23 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

MU professor: drought-damaged corn as feed can pose health risk to livestock

Drought-stricken corn in Missouri's Boone County.
(via Flickr/KOMUnews/Malory Ensor)

A University of Missouri veterinary professor says farmers need to be careful when feeding drought-damaged corn to their livestock.

Tom Evans is an associate professor of veterinary pathobiology at the university's College of Veterinary Medicine. He says nitrate levels can accumulate in drought-stressed corn and pose a risk to animal health.

Many farmers across the Midwest are abandoning ruined corn crops and salvaging what they can to feed to their animals, especially cattle.

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Joplin Mosque
12:24 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Interfaith, civil rights leaders gather in St. Louis to show support for Joplin's Islamic community

(Jennifer Davidson/KSMU)

Interfaith and civil rights leaders gathered in Ballwin this morning to show support for the congregation of the Islamic Society of Joplin, which was destroyed by a suspicious fire earlier this month.

Although the FBI is still investigating the cause, the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person that set the fire.

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Chris Koster
10:56 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Mo. AG Koster paid personal property taxes late

Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster.
(Mo. Atty. General's Office)

Late personal property tax payments have emerged in another Missouri political campaign.

County tax records show Attorney General Chris Koster paid late three times, most recently in 2009. Personal property taxes typically are due at the end of the calendar year. In each instance, Koster paid the tax bill for his vehicle in January.

The total for the late tax charges was less than $200. In addition, Koster was charged $70 for a late personal property assessment from 2008 while paying the tax timely that year.

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Morning round-up
9:25 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Morning headlines: Wednesday, August 15, 2012

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

St. Charles County voters could face two anti-smoking ballot measures

St. Charles County voters could face not one but two ballot measures in November that would restrict smoking.

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