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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Executions top list of Missouri stories in 2013

  • KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's resumption of executions after controversy over its lethal injection protocol was the top story of 2013, according to a survey of Associated Press reporters and editors.
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  • KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's resumption of executions after controversy over its lethal injection protocol was the top story of 2013, according to a survey of Associated Press reporters and editors.
    The state, once among the nation's more active death penalty states, resumed carrying out executions for the first time in nearly three years as the Department of Corrections adopted a new method for killing inmates — a single dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital.
    The drug was used in November to execute serial killer Joseph Franklin, who was convicted of a 1977 sniper shooting at a suburban St. Louis synagogue.
    It was used again in December to execute Allen Nicklasson, convicted in the killing of a Good Samaritan in 1994.
    The Missouri Department of Corrections dropped plans to use propofol as an execution drug after an AP report cited concerns that the move could create a shortage of the popular anesthetic if the European Union — which opposes the death penalty — restricted its export.
    The state's second biggest story of the year came in September when the Republican-led Legislature overrode 10 of the 33 vetoes issued by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, the greatest single-year amount of overrides since 1833.
    But lawmakers failed to override Nixon's two most prominent vetoes of bills cutting state income taxes and attempting to nullify federal gun-control laws. The buildup to the veto session featured a much-publicized visit to Missouri by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in which he urged Missouri businesses to relocate to Texas.
    In the no. 3 story, Nixon's administration in July halted a controversial new procedure in which driver's license clerks were making electronic copies of applicants' personal documents, such as birth certificates.
    Legislative hearings into the matter revealed that a separate database of concealed gun permit holders had been shared with federal Social Security investigators.
    The rest of the top 10:
    No. 4 — BOEING INCENTIVES: Gov. Jay Nixon convened a special legislative session in December and lawmakers quickly approved up to $1.7 billion of state incentives over two decades if Boeing chooses the St. Louis area to assemble a new commercial airplane.
    No. 5 — SPORTS EDITOR SLAIN: A Missouri appeals court ordered the release of Ryan Ferguson, one of two men who had been convicted in the 2001 slaying of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. The court said Ferguson didn't get a fair trial, and Attorney General Chris Koster decided not to re-try him.
    No. 6 — MEDICAID EXPANSION: Missouri's Republican-led Legislature repeatedly rejected proposals by Gov. Jay Nixon and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature to expand Medicaid eligibility to hundreds of thousands of lower-income adults.
    No. 7 — UNACCREDITED SCHOOLS: Thousands of students began transferring out of two suburban St. Louis school districts to neighboring schools after the state Supreme Court upheld a law requiring unaccredited schools to pay for students who chose to attend elsewhere. Separately, the state education board declined to grant accreditation to the Kansas City district.
    Page 2 of 3 - No. 8 — STAN MUSIAL: Former St. Louis Cardinals star Stan Musial died in January at the age of 92.
    No. 9 — IKE SKELTON: Former longtime Missouri congressman Ike Skelton died in October at the age of 81.
    No. 10 — MISSOURI TIGERS: The Missouri Tigers football team won the Southeastern Conference East Division but lost in the SEC championship game to Auburn. The Tigers volleyball team went undefeated in the regular season before losing in the NCAA tournament.
    Other stories drawing attention during 2013:
    — EDUCATION COMMISSIONER: Missouri education commissioner Chris Nicastro came under criticism from some teacher and education organizations as emails showed her cooperation with a group sponsoring a ballot measure to end teacher tenure and with a consultant firm hired to recommend changes to the Kansas City School District.
    — BORDER BATTLE: Gov. Jay Nixon proposed a moratorium on the ongoing battle between Kansas and Missouri to lure Kansas City-area businesses across the state line through the use of tax incentives.
    — DRY RIVER: Aggravated by drought, low-water issues nearly shut down barge traffic on the Mississippi River in the winter months of 2013, forcing the Corps of Engineers to excavate rocks near Cape Girardeau to keep the river open.
    — MARYVILLE RAPE CASE: Prosecutors in northwest Missouri came under intense criticism for dropping a sexual assault case in Maryville involving a then-14-year-old girl who claimed an older boy from her high school took her to his house, gave her alcohol and raped her. The boy acknowledged the two had sex but said it was consensual. The case eventually was moved to an independent prosecutor who was reinvestigating the claims in December.
    — CONGRESS-SPECIAL ELECTION: Republican Jason Smith won a special election to succeed 8th District U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, who resigned the seat her family had held for decades in order to take a job with an association for electric cooperatives.
    — STATE FAIR RODEO: The Missouri State Fair drew national attention because of a rodeo act in which the crowd was riled up to watch a clown wearing a mask of President Barack Obama being chased by a bull.
    — FLOODING: Spring flooding occurred along some of Missouri's major rivers, then an unusually heavy summer rainfall brought fatal flash flooding to parts of south-central Missouri.
    — UNIVERSITY CHANCELLOR: University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton retired and was replaced by the former president of Texas A&M University, R. Bowen Loftin.
    — CARDINALS-WORLD SERIES: The St. Louis Cardinals made it to the World Series for the second time in three years, but lost to the Boston Red Sox.
    — KANSAS CITY SPORTS REVIVAL: Sporting KC won the Major League Soccer championship, the Kansas City Chiefs started 9-0 in the NFL after having the league's worst record the prior year, and the Kansas City Royals ended their first winning baseball season in a decade.
    Page 3 of 3 - — CONVICTION OVERTURNED: State prosecutors continued to seek a third murder conviction against Mark Woodworth of Chillicothe, who was freed on bond in February after the state Supreme Court tossed out his case. Woodworth's case was bolstered later in the year when an appeals court upheld a trial judge's ruling that key ballistics evidence used to convict Woodworth cannot be used at his next trial.
    — HAMMONS DIES: Springfield hotelier and philanthropist John Q. Hammons died at 94 after a long illness and a legal battle of his care and custody.
    — HORSE SLAUGHTER: Animal protection groups continued the legal fight against the resumption of domestic horse slaughter in the U.S., with a Daviess County processor hoping to become one of the first to resume equine meat production for overseas markets.
    — HAITH SUSPENDED: University of Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith received a five-game suspension after the NCAA ruled he inadequately monitored his former assistants' interactions with a disgraced Miami booster and then tried to cover up a five-figure hush money payment to keep potential violations hidden. Haith disputed the findings but did not appeal them.
    — KANSAS CITY PLAZA FIRE: One person was killed and 15 were injured after a natural gas line was punctured, causing an explosion at a popular restaurant on Kansas City's Country Club Plaza.
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