Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Current River below Welch Spring
Kbh34d | Wikipedia

Missourians are fortunate to have the Ozarks in our backyard. This unique and ancient landscape provides spectacular scenery, productive forests, abundant wildlife, and free-flowing rivers that sustain local economies, including a vibrant tourism industry that attracts visitors from around the world. The Ozarks also have an amazing diversity of habitats, plants, and animals, including more than 200 species found nowhere else on earth and some of the nation’s largest and cleanest permanent freshwater springs.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

House and Senate budget negotiators have finalized the 12 remaining bills that make up Missouri's state budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

Both sides signed off on increasing funding for K-12 schools by $114.8 million. If Gov. Jay Nixon's rosier revenue projections hold true, school spending would get a $278 million spending hike. Higher education would increase by $43 million, about 5 percent. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, chairs the House Budget Committee. He said they also put money in next year's budget to help finance a new state mental hospital at Fulton.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to next year's state budget -- after spending most of Tuesday on amendments to the FY 2015 budget, including two attempts to expand Medicaid.  Both failed, and both were sponsored by state Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur.

National Park Service

(Updated at 3:39 p.m., February 20)

Missouri senators passed a resolution to block the federal government's proposed changes in tourist restrictions at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The resolution passed on a 23-8 vote on Thursday and now heads to the House.

via National Park Service

 Updated 2:40 p.m. Jan. 22:

The National Park Service is holding the last public meeting on its proposed management plan for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways tonight in Kirkwood. See below for more details.

Updated 3:10 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. Jan. 7:

St. Louis Public Radio

National Parks and other federally-run recreation sites in Missouri are open again, now that the partial government shutdown is over.

Those sites include the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis.  Ann Honius with the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial says there are no lingering problems or issues stemming from the 16-day shutdown.