- Missouri schools could face a $24 million funding shortfall because tax revenues from casinos are falling short of projections. The executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission warned the state's budget director of the revenue gap in a letter shortly before Christmas. The document was provided Wednesday to The Associated press. Gaming Commission director Roger Stottlemyre says casinos had been expected to produce about $372 million for education this year. That forecast assumed that a 2008 ballot measure removing gamblers' loss limits would result in more revenues. But Stottlemyre says the slow economy continues to affect casinos, and they're now expected to generate about $348 million for education this year. Gov. Jay Nixon says he will look for ways to fill that shortfall.
- Secretary of State Robin Carnahan says Missouri investment firms need to do more to address the needs of seniors who entrust them with their life savings. Carnahan released a report Wednesday on a six-month audit of the policies for dealing with seniors, such as identifying unsuitable investments and working with people with dementia. The report does not identify any of the businesses that were reviewed. Carnahan says she launched the review because of rising complaints to her Securities Division, an increase in reports of financial fraud involving seniors and the general aging of the state's population.
- Missouri plans to hire young adults again next year to help clean up state parks. State officials used federal work-force investment money last summer to put more than 1,000 young people to work at 85 state parks and historic sites. Gov. Jay Nixon says he plans to renew the program for 2011. Nixon is holding a news conferences on the plan today at parks in Columbia and the northwestern Missouri town of Rushville.
- An Illinois law that takes effect Jan. 1 will officially make it a felony to conceal a person's death. Previously, people could only be charged with concealing a death of a homicide. State Senator John Millnerof suburban Carol Stream sponsored the bill. He says there was a case in which a group of people from Kane County dumped a dead body in Chicago.
"They determined they could not charge them because they didn't know if this person was murdered or if it was just an accidental overdose. And again for years we would just charge them with concealing the death of a homicide. There was no problem with it. But now as case law develops and you have more creative attorneys out there, they needed to more clearly define the legislation." - Millnerof
- According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Busch's Grove Market will close on Jan. 8. The newspaper cites an email message from general manager Tim Hollenbachs ent to the market's subscribers on Wednesday. In the email, Hollenbach says the primary reason the store is closing is because of the poor economy. The market opened in late 2008 and closed briefly this year and reopened after a rebranding. The restaurant Busch's Grove closed in May 2008 after 111 years.