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Missouri has been awarded a $7.5 million federal grant to continue a program that helps the state's lowest-achieving schools.  
 
The U.S. Department of Education announced the award from the federal School Improvement Grants program on Monday. In all, the agency awarded more than $43 million in such grants to seven states.
 
Missouri's education department will distribute the federal funds to districts showing the greatest need and strongest commitment to improving achievement at their lowest-performing schools.
 
This is the third year Missouri has received a grant from the federal program
 
Published in Local News
A University of Missouri-Columbia professor is part of a group of researchers who have discovered a 1.4 million-year-old human hand bone.
 
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the bone is believed to be the earliest evidence of the modern hand. Pathology and anatomical sciences professor Carol Ward says the significance of the discovery is that researchers now know the modern human hand appeared very early in human evolution.
 
The bone was found near Lake Turkana in Kenya.
 
Published in Local News
Sunday, 22 December 2013 08:36

Missouri man admits defrauding Pulaski Bank

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 52-year-old has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in loans from a suburban St. Louis bank.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Michael Filmore of Chesterfield entered the plea Friday in federal court. Filmore admitted through his plea that he lied about the destination of the money and falsified a brokerage account statement claiming $5.5 million to back up a $1 million line of credit.

Filmore told Pulaski Bank that the loans would be used to broker and lease medical equipment. Many of the loans were in the name of his business, Healthcare Partners Group LLC.

According to court testimony, Filmore obtained more than $6 million through fraud and still owes more than $5 million.

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missourians who live in rural areas are far less likely to have health insurance than those living near big cities, according to U.S. Census data.

The Associated Press examined county-by-county data for 2011, the most recent year available.

The numbers show the uphill climb facing President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in Missouri, which opted against setting up its own exchange and instead allowed the federal government to run it.

Missouri overall ranks right in the middle of the nation in the percentage of uninsured residents under age 65 — tied with Washington state at 25th with 16 percent uninsured. But in 34 of Missouri's 115 counties, one-fifth to one-quarter of non-senior residents lack health insurance. Twenty-seven of those 34 counties have fewer than 25,000 residents.

Published in Local News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A winter storm is moving into Missouri this weekend, bringing freezing rain and snow.

The National Weather Service said Saturday that winter storm warnings were in effect for much of the state, except the extreme southeast, where flood warnings have been issued.

Freezing rain and sleet began hitting south-central and southwest Missouri on Friday night. Throughout Saturday the freezing precipitation began spreading to the north and east. Accidents were reported in the Kansas City metropolitan area and points to the north and east.

The freezing rain was expected to switch to snow in the evening hours in west-central and northwest Missouri. Forecasters say accumulations will range from 6 inches or more in northwest Missouri to 1 inch or less in an area from Clinton to Columbia.

Temperatures are expected to begin dropping overnight and into Sunday.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers responsible for the budget have an agreement on a revenue estimate for next year's budget but say Gov. Jay Nixon did not sign off on it.
 
Legislative budget leaders and the governor typically reach a revenue estimate that is the foundation for the budget. Agreeing how much money is available lets officials focus on how to spend that money.
 
On Thursday, House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer said they will use an estimate of 4.2 percent growth in revenues. The lawmakers say Nixon's office sought an estimate they do not think can be supported.
 
Nixon says he will propose a "fiscally responsible budget." He says the economy is gaining steam and officials have an opportunity to invest in students and schools.
 
Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Use of the death penalty declined nationally in 2013, but the punishment has seen a resurgence in Missouri.
 
The Death Penalty Information Center on Thursday released a report showing that 39 people were executed in the U.S. in 2013, just the second time in 19 years that fewer than 40 were put to death.
 
Missouri has executed two men in the past month - Joseph Paul Franklin on Nov. 29 and Allen Nicklasson on Dec. 11. The executions were the first in Missouri since 2011, and the most in a single year since five in 2005.
 
Meanwhile, the number of new U.S. death sentences so far this year is 80, up three from 2012 but down from 315 in 1996. Three death sentences were imposed in Missouri in 2013.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A new audit questions whether hundreds of Missouri welfare recipients are living out of state or using benefits for alcohol, tobacco and gambling.
 
The report released Tuesday by State Auditor Tom Schweich (shwych) looks at about $96 million of benefits paid through electronic cards in 2012 for a program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
 
The audit found 366 cases in which recipients used a total of $461,000 of benefits exclusively out of state for at least three months. Although nothing prohibits out of state use, the report says that may indicate the welfare recipients no longer live in Missouri.
 
The audit also found about 1,600 cases in which $261,000 of benefits were used at locations appearing to be associated with alcohol, tobacco, gambling or adult entertainment.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's unemployment rate declined in November while payrolls expanded by 15,000 jobs.
 
The Missouri Department of Economic Development reported Tuesday the jobless rate fell to 6.1 percent in November from 6.5 percent in October.
 
The leading gainer was educational and health services, which added 5,200 jobs last month. The construction sector grew by 2,300 and professional and business services increased by 2,000 jobs. The information, leisure and hospitality sectors each declined by 200 jobs.
 
Missouri's civilian labor force was about 3 million, which is down 244 from October. The labor force includes people with jobs and those who are on unemployment but looking for work.
Published in Local News
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Kansas and Missouri residents will be out during the next three weeks counting the birds in their states.
 
It's part of an annual national effort that began more than 100 years ago, called the Christmas Bird Count.
 
The count began Dec. 14 and will continue through Jan. 5. Bird enthusiasts plan gatherings or individuals simply count the number of birds they see in their backyards.
 
The Joplin Globe reports the bird count began in 1900, with only a few dozen observers in 25 locations. Last year, more than 71,000 people participated in 2,369 locations.
 
Audubon and other organizations use data collected in the count to determine the health of bird populations. If a certain species is declining, conservation measures can be implemented to help that species rebound.
 
Published in Local News

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