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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A group of eight Missouri lawmakers are calling upon Missouri's governor and attorney general to investigate concerns raised about Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro.

The lawmakers made the request Wednesday after The Kansas City Star reported that newly disclosed emails raised questions about the selection of CEE-Trust as a consultant. The Indianapolis-based firm's bid for developing an improvement plan for the Kansas City district and other struggling schools was nearly three times higher than the closest competitor.

The emails also highlighted some of Nicastro's behind-the-scenes work to create a special district that would operate some of the state's lowest-performing schools.

The lawmakers say the emails raise concerns about Nicastro's "fitness to lead."

Nicastro says the focus should be on ensuring that children "have the quality schools they deserve."

Published in Local News

A new report places both Illinois and Missouri among the least health states in the nation.

The reports was released by the United Health Foundation and puts Illinois as the 30th healthiest state and Missouri in the 39th spot. The Show me State did move up one spot. The report says the state saw a decrease in smoking, binge drinking, and physical inactivity.

Smoking and high cardiovascular and cancer death rates remain problems for Missouri, and high levels of air pollution and binge drinking are trouble for Illinois.

The full report can be viewed here: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/

Published in Local News
Monday, 09 December 2013 15:13

Nixon outlines plan for new mental hospital

FULTON, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says the budget he proposes next month will include a bond issuance to rebuild the Fulton State Hospital.

The hospital admitted its first patients in 1851. Patients now include those committed by the courts for evaluation and treatment. It also is the statewide treatment facility for people who have been found not guilty or unable to stand trial because of mental disease.

Nixon said Monday a new facility will mean better care for patients and safer working conditions for employees. Officials estimate a new facility will cost $211 million.

Missouri's budget taking effect in July includes $13 million to design the new hospital. Nixon initially froze all the money but released $2 million in September. He announced Monday he was releasing the remaining $11 million.

Published in Local News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - After going nearly three years without an execution, Missouri is preparing for its second in three weeks.

Allen Nicklasson is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing Richard Drummond, a businessman who stopped to help when he saw a car stranded along Interstate 70 in 1994. Nicklasson and two others forced Drummond to drive to a secluded area, where Nicklasson killed him.

One of the other men, Dennis Skillicorn, was put to death in 2009. The third, Tim DeGraffenreid, was spared the death penalty.

Missouri executed racist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin on Nov. 20, the state's first-ever execution using a single drug, pentobarbital.

Nicklasson's attorney, Jennifer Herndon, has asked the Missouri Supreme Court to intervene and says she will also seek clemency from Gov. Jay Nixon.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two Boeing employees who are Missouri lawmakers took different approaches when the House considered a package of incentives for their company to assemble a new passenger jet in the St. Louis area.

Rep. Doug Funderburk, who is a longtime Boeing electrician, passionately urged colleagues to approve the legislation Friday. He voted "yes" as the bill passed the House 127-20.

Funderburk told The Associated Press he didn't think it posed a conflict of interest because he plans to retire within a few years. He said Boeing officials had no conversations with him about the legislation.

Representative Clem Smith, who is a machinist on the Boeing F-18, abstained from voting. Smith told The AP the bill presented a conflict of interest, because it could mean more money in his pocket.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's low-income housing commission has delayed the approval of millions of dollars of tax credits - apparently as an outgrowth of the negotiations over incentives for Boeing Co.

   The Missouri Housing Development Commission voted 6-1 Friday to postpone a decision on about $14 million in tax credits until next March.

   Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who is a member of the commission, said Gov. Jay Nixon's chief of staff requested the delay.

 

   Kinder said Nixon's staffer told the commission the governor had agreed with several senators to slow down the issuance of other tax credits in exchange for them not blocking legislation authorizing tax breaks for Boeing to assemble planes in St. Louis.

   The housing tax-credit vote came shortly after the House gave final approval Friday to the Boeing incentives.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to incentives for Boeing to assemble to a new passenger airplane in the St. Louis area.

The House voted 127-20-2 Friday for the legislation that authorizes as much as $1.7 billion of incentives over more than two decades for Boeing to produce the 777X jetliner. The legislation passed the Senate on Wednesday by a 23-8 vote.

Now it's up to Boeing to decide whether Missouri's offer is good enough.

Boeing sought proposals from more than a dozen locations after a machinists union in Washington state rejected a proposed contract last month.

Gov. Jay Nixon called a special session in order to increase the amount of incentives Missouri could offer. Missouri's proposed incentives are linked to the number of jobs created.

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:53

Missouri Senate passes tax incentives for Boeing

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have passed legislation offering up to $1.7 billion of incentives over two decades for Boeing to assemble a commercial airplane in St. Louis.

Senators passed the bill 23-8 Wednesday while meeting in a special session called by Gov. Jay Nixon. It now goes to the House.

Missouri is one of more than a dozen locations invited by Boeing to bid on assembling the new 777X airplane.

Most other states are crafting their proposals privately. But Nixon called a special session because he wanted to offer more incentives than currently allowed under state law.

Under Missouri's plan, the amount of incentives Boeing gets would depend on the number of jobs created.

Supporters say the Boeing project includes 2,000 to 8,000 company jobs, plus thousands of more at its suppliers.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House interim education committee is recommending changes to student transfers, more funding for early childhood education and increased learning time for students.

The panel held 11 public meetings throughout the state this fall and released its report Tuesday to the House speaker.

One of its major topics was Missouri's law allowing students in unaccredited districts to transfer to neighboring districts.

The committee recommended setting a fixed rate of tuition that schools receiving transfer students could charge. It also suggested prescribing the scope of receiving districts' control over the numbers and conditions of transfers they accept.

The panel also recommended that the Legislature look at providing more money for early childhood education, and longer school days for students, especially those who struggle academically or attend troubled districts.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - New details about Missouri's bid for a Boeing assembly plant show the state could offer more than $1.7 billion of incentives over two decades.

Gov. Jay Nixon's office released details about the incentives Tuesday to The Associated Press as lawmakers prepared to hear testimony about it in a special session.

Nixon also said a new agreement among St. Louis labor councils could help Missouri compete for the Boeing 777X airplane.

Boeing solicited proposals to build its next-generation commercial aircraft after union members in Washington state rejected a proposed contract that sought concessions.

Missouri's potential package of incentives is based on the jobs created. If Boeing adds 2,000 jobs, the incentives could total up to $435 million by 2040. If Boeing adds 8,000 jobs, the incentives could total $1.74 billion.

 

Published in Local News

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