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It may be September, but state officials have already started their  Christmas shopping in Jefferson City -- for a holiday tree, that is.  Missouri officials are looking for the next Christmas tree to decorate the lawn of the Governor's Mansion in state capitol. The deadline to submit entries to the state Department of Conservation is September 30. Trees must be at least 40 feet tall, fully branched and donated. The owner of the winning tree gets a personalized thank you from Governor Jay Nixon and an invitation to the tree lighting.  Submissions must include photos taken from several angles and distances, contact information and the location of tree through an online mapping service. Entries can be sent to the Department of Conservation in Jefferson City.

 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is discouraging Missouri residents from signing up for health insurance under a new online marketplace.

People can begin enrolling for insurance Oct. 1 under several options that will be offered by a federally run health insurance exchange. The online shopping site is a key part of the 2010 federal health care law signed by President Barack Obama.

Kinder, a Republican, has fought against the federal health care law. He said Monday that Missouri residents should actively resist it by refusing to sign up for coverage through the insurance exchange.

Specific insurance policy options and prices aren't known yet in Missouri, although they are in some other states. That's partly because a Missouri law prohibits state officials from taking steps to implement an insurance exchange.

 

Published in Local News

COTTLEVILLE, Mo. (AP) - A panel of Missouri lawmakers came to suburban St. Louis on Monday for some firsthand testimony about the challenges of the state's school transfer rules.

Several area superintendents asked the interim House Committee on Education to seek a long-term fix to what they called a short-term solution to the problem of relocating students from failing school districts to better-performing ones.

The public hearing at St. Charles Community College came just weeks after hundreds of students from the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens began the fall semester riding buses to schools up to 20 to 30 miles away, with their former districts absorbing the added costs.

A second meeting is planned Monday night in St. Louis. Additional sessions are planned Tuesday and Wednesday in Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Branson and Joplin.

 

Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A Springfield utility is planning to partner with two companies to build what would be the largest solar farm in Missouri.

City Utilities says it will work with Solexus Development in St. Louis and Strata Solar of North Carolina to build the 4.95 megawatt system, with construction to begin next spring.

The Springfield News-Leader reports the companies expect to finalize a contract Monday. The system will be built on 57 acres next to an existing City Utilities generation station near Springfield.

Under the 25-year agreement, Solexus will develop the project and Strata Solar will build, finance and operate it. City Utilities' will connect the system to existing infrastructure, then buy the solar power the system produces.

The system is expected to produce about 9.6 million kilowatt hours per year.

 

Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Fees will be rising on some consumer loans under a law enacted when Missouri legislators overrode a veto by Governor Jay Nixon.

   The fee increase will primarily affect smaller loans that are repaid over several months or years. It's not meant to affect payday loans, which can last no more than 31 days.

   The measure doubles the origination fee that lenders can charge from 5 percent to 10 percent of the principal. But it leaves in place a $75 fee ceiling. The means lenders can charge the full 10 percent fee only on loans of up to $750 and can collect a few more dollars on loans of up to $1,500.

   Lending industry lobbyists describe it as a minor change. But some consumer advocates don't like the new law.

 

Published in Local News

CHILICOTHE, Mo. (AP) — A 60-year-old woman has been arrested in the almost 13-year-old abduction of a child in Florida.

The Kansas City Star reports that Sandy Hatte is being held on $25,000 bond in the Daviess/DeKalb County Regional Jail in Pattonsburg. She was arraigned Friday on a charge of felony child abduction. No attorney is listed for her in online court records.

Authorities took custody of the child Wednesday after a school official raised concerns. The biological father traveled to Chillicothe this week to be reunited with his child.

A Livingston County's sheriff's office news release described Hatte as being "somehow related to the family" of the child. Hatte and the child had only lived in Livingston County for about a month.

Published in Local News

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri legislators who favor relaxing the state's marijuana laws are weighing a renewed push for reforms.

House Democrats Chris Kelly of Columbia and Rory Ellinger, of University City were among the speakers Thursday at a Columbia forum on marijuana policy.

Kelly and Ellinger backed legislation this year that would have made possession of small amounts of marijuana a low-level misdemeanor with no jail time, similar to a traffic ticket. Columbia and St. Louis already have such laws.

The Columbia Missourian reports Kelly says he would favor pursuing full legalization of marijuana only if there were enough organizational support from pro-legalization groups.

Kelly's also uncertain whether it would be wiser to seek legislative approval of lower penalties for marijuana possession or to put any proposed reforms on a statewide ballot.

Published in Local News
Thursday, 19 September 2013 12:50

Missouri household income drops in 2012

ST. LOUIS (AP) - New U.S. census data shows that Missouri is one of just two states where median incomes fell in 2012 from the previous year, as many residents continue to grapple with a slow-to- recover economy.

Median household income in the state was $45, 321 last year. That's a 1.6 percent decline from 2011. Nationally, the median income for U.S. households in 2012 was $51, 017. That figure remained flat after two previous annual declines.

The federal Census Bureau also reported a statewide poverty rate of 11.7 percent. But for single mothers with dependent children, the poverty level hovers around 44 percent.

Statewide, nearly 270,000 of the 1.5 million families who participated in the annual American Community Survey reported household incomes under $24,999.

 
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 15:17

Missouri hunter who died in sinkhole was a marine

BUCKHORN, Mo. (AP) - A south-central Missouri man who died after falling into a sinkhole was a Marine from Fort Leonard Wood who lived in a rural area near the fort.

Pulaski County authorities say 31-year-old Curtis Powelson died after he fell into the sinkhole Monday evening in the backyard of his home near Buckhorn. He was searching for a deer that he shot when he disappeared. Emergency personnel and neighbors spent hours looking for Powelson before discovering his body early Tuesday in the sinkhole, which was an estimated 70 feet deep.

Sheriff Ron Long told KSPR that the sinkhole was covered by foliage and debris, and some firefighters almost fell into it because it was so hard to see. Several people had to rappel into the sinkhole to recover Powelson's body.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri education officials are seeking an additional $6.8 million to help an unaccredited school district in the St. Louis area.

The State Board of Education approved the budget request Tuesday for the Normandy district. That's the first step in a process that ultimately requires the support of the governor and Legislature to become a reality.

Students started transferring out of the Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts this year under a state law that requires unaccredited districts to pay the costs for students who want to attend other public schools.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says Normandy is projected to run out of money in March.

The additional funding recommended Tuesday would come as a supplemental state budget item to be considered after lawmakers convene in January.

 

Published in Local News

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