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VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSOURI

Missouri governor mobilizes National Guard for virus fight

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri is bracing for a surge of coronavirus patients as the number of deaths has grown to nine. The governor is mobilizing the state's National Guard. A top St. Louis County official is urging recently retired health care workers to return to work. Gov. Mike Parson said Friday in a statement that the use of the National Guard will enhance coordination among state government partners and help the state “overcome this global pandemic." Figures from state health officials show the number of confirmed cases increased to 670 on Friday, up 168 from a day earlier.

CUSTODY EXCHANGE KILLING

Woman charged with fatal shooting after custody exchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A woman has been charged with fatally shooting a man as they met in the parking lot of a Kansas City police station to exchange children. Twenty-seven-year-old Deshonia Diamond is jailed on $100,000 bond on charges of second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, two counts of armed criminal action and a misdemeanor charge of failing to report a shooting in the Feb. 28 killing of 34-year-old Devon Nolan.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSOURI-GAMING MACHINES

Missouri casino group: Unregulated slots are a health risk

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A group that represents Missouri's 13 casinos is calling for state and local health departments to shut down the roughly 14,000 unregulated electronic slot machines because it says they are a health hazard during the coronavirus crisis. The Missouri Gaming Association has opposed the unregulated games for some time, saying the machines found in many gas stations and bars eat into casinos' profits, some of which goes toward funding Missouri schools. The governor has ordered Missouri casinos to close until at least March 30. But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the head of the Missouri Gaming Association is calling for the unregulated machines to be shut down because he says they are of questionable cleanliness.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-KANSAS ESSENTIAL

Counties disagree if Bass Pro can stay open amid pandemic

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Officials in neighboring counties disagree on whether Bass Pro Shops on opposite sides of the Kansas-Missouri border should remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. The Kansas City Star reports that officials in Johnson County, Kansas, say the company's store in Olathe is allowed to remain open because the chain sells packaged foods and it falls under the exemptions for grocery stores in the county’s order. In Jackson County, Missouri, however, the Bass Pro location seemed to be selling primarily guns and ammunition and a county health official said the agency would be telling the owners they're violating the county's order. Bass Pro Shops has kept both locations open because it believes the public has the right to access guns and ammunition during an emergency.

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-CHANCELLOR

University of Missouri president to lead Columbia campus

University of Missouri System President Mun Choi is taking over as interim chancellor of the Columbia campus. The Board of Curators' Thursday announcement comes after Chancellor Alexander Cartwright was tapped to be president of the University of Central Florida last week. The Missouri board's chairwoman says it's important to have a proven leader at the helm in the face of what she described as unprecedented challenges. Choi took over as president of the four-university system in 2017. Earlier this month he suspended in-person classes at all four universities for the rest of the semester to slow the spread of coronavirus.

FERGUSON-COURT FEES LAWSUIT

Ferguson settles municipal court fees lawsuit for $1.7M

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — The city of Ferguson, Missouri, has agreed to a $1.7 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit that accused its municipal court of charging illegal court fees. A judge on Tuesday approved a preliminary settlement. A final hearing is May 6. The lawsuit was among several filed in the wake of protests that followed the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014. The officer, Darren Wilson, was not charged, but the shooting led to intense scrutiny of Ferguson’s police and municipal court. The U.S. Department of Justice found that Ferguson was using its court system to generate revenue.

AP-US-FBI-BOMB-SUSPECT-DEATH

FBI: Bomb suspect dead after warrant served near Kansas City

BELTON, Mo. (AP) — The FBI says a man who was fatally injured by agents in Missouri was the subject of a long terrorism investigation. The agency said in a news release Wednesday that 36-year-old Timothy Wilson died Tuesday in Belton while agents were trying to serve a warrant. The statement says Wilson was planning a bombing at a Kansas City-area hospital that was providing critical care during the current coronavirus pandemic. The FBI says Wilson was driven by racist, religious and anti-government beliefs. It also said Wilson had taken steps to acquire what he needed to build a bomb. The statement did not detail what happened when agents arrived or how he died.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEWSPAPER

Missouri newspaper suspends publication amid outbreak

KIRKWOOD, Mo. (AP) — Another St. Louis area newspaper is suspending its print publication as businesses stop advertising amid the economic fallout of the coronavirus. KMOX reports that the Webster-Kirkwood Times is halting its print edition after Friday. Editor Don Corrigan says he will try to post stories online and hopes for a full comeback at the end of the pandemic. He says the local paper relies on local retailers and restaurants to advertise. But they're being forced to shut down or change operations due to the stay-at-home order in St. Louis.