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A recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling upholding student transfer laws has put this year's transfer controversy back in the spotlight.

Wednesday night, Normandy School District is hosting a public hearing. Last month officials announced plans to stay open, but with layoffs, early retirements, and at least one school closure. The cuts are the result of the expensive transfer process.

Wednesday's hearing starts at 6:30pm at Normandy High School.

 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:46
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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."

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:31
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A milestone performance next month at Blueberry Hill. On January 15, Chuck Berry will make his 200th performance at the Duck Room. Tickets go on sale Friday morning at 11 and are $35.

Skinny Jim and the Number Nine Blacktops open for Berry.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:36
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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/

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:25
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A study by a group of health organizations puts Illinois 32nd in spending tobacco-lawsuit money on smoking-prevention programs.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids looked at how the 50 states and District of Columbia have spent $116 billion in money so far from a landmark lawsuit against big tobacco companies in 1998.

The campaign and other anti-smoking groups want money spent on preventing young people from starting to smoke.

Between settlement money and tobacco taxes, Illinois is getting $1 billion this year. Just more than $11 million is going to tobacco-use-prevention. That's 7 percent of the $157 million federal health officials recommend spending.

Sen. Terry Link - a Waukegan Democrat - says work continues, such as with his bill that failed last year to make university campuses smoke-free.

 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:21
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CHICAGO (AP) - Federal officials say more than 7,000 Illinois residents signed up for insurance coverage in the first two months of the troubled HealthCare.gov website.

Enrollment figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show the pace picking up for President Barack Obama's new health insurance markets.

But the Illinois tally is still less than 30 percent of what federal officials originally projected the state's enrollment would be after two months. Illinois is relying on the federal website because the Legislature didn't approve a state-run marketplace

Consumers face a Dec. 23 enrollment deadline if they want to have coverage to start Jan. 1.

In October, when the website was barely working, only 1,370 Illinois residents managed to select a health insurance plan and enroll.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 13:18
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services reports 4,124 Missouri residents have selected a health insurance plan through the federally run online marketplace.

The department released the figures Wednesday. HHS said the insurance exchange had more than 31,000 applications from Missouri through Nov. 30. The applications sought coverage for nearly 63,000 people.

Enrollment is up from early November when just 751 Missourians had selected a health insurance plan. The federal health care law set up online marketplaces to help people find affordable insurance but the rollout of the website has been troubled.

The federal agency says that as of Nov. 30, about 137,000 people have enrolled in the 36 states served by the federal website.

 
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 13:16
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State Treasurer Clint Zweifel has announced a new program allowing Missourians to donate their Unclaimed Property to charity.

Treasurer Zweifel currently holds more than $810 million in Unclaimed Property belonging to 4.7 million account owners.

Under the new program, Missourians may choose from 20 charitable organizations in the state to which they may donate, part or all, of their Unclaimed Property. These organizations support vital medical research, children’s needs, military families and more.

Missouri is the second state in the nation to provide this option and provides the most charities from which account owners can choose.

"These charities provide invaluable services to the people of Missouri and now, with this program, we have created a simple way to give back to citizens in our state,” Treasurer Zweifel said. “This new program was created in response to requests from constituents to donate their Unclaimed Property. I am proud of the good it can do for our communities at no cost to taxpayers.”  

The average return on a claim is $300. Many accounts are worth just a few dollars, but those donations can add up quickly to make a big difference.

More than half of all account owners will be able to search for, claim and donate their Unclaimed Property entirely online.

The list of charities eligible to accept Unclaimed Property donations include: After-School Retreat Reading and Assessment Grant Program Fund, American Cancer Society Heartland Division, Inc., American Diabetes Association Gateway Area, American Heart Association, American Lung Association of Missouri, American Red Cross, ALS Association, Arthritis Foundation, Childhood Lead Testing Fund, Children’s Trust Fund, CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, Foster Care and Adoptive Parents Recruitment and Retention Fund, March of Dimes, Missouri Military Family Relief Fund, Missouri National Guard Trust, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Organ Donor Program Fund, Veterans Trust Fund, and Workers’ Memorial Fund.

Since January 2009, Treasurer Zweifel has returned $176 million to Unclaimed Property owners from more than 605,000 accounts.

Individuals may check for Unclaimed Property 24 hours-a-day, sign up for email alerts or email search results to family and friends at www.ShowMeMoney.com.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 11:35
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 AVA, Mo. (AP) - A southwest Missouri abbey famous for its Christmas fruitcakes was in danger of closing because the Trappist monks who live there are aging and no other monks have moved in to take their place.

But that will soon change, when four monks from Vietnam arrive to live at the Assumption Abbey in Ava. Four more are expected to arrive next year at the Abbey which is about four hours southeast of Kansas City.

The Kansas City Star reports that sometime in the next decade Assumption will change from the Trappist to Cistercian order. The Trappist order is a reform version of Cistercian.

The Vietnamese monks plan to carry on the tradition of making fruitcakes, which are sold across the country and help finance the Abbey.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 09:48
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 ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Art Museum's governing board has signed off on spending $825,000 for a 110-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright chandelier.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the purchase approved Monday will add the 1903 chandelier in brass, bronze and leaded glass to a Frank Lloyd Wright chair the museum already owns.

Museum curators call the chandelier purchase with private donations a "rare opportunity" and something that's "been top of our wish list forever."

The chandelier is one of two from the master bedroom of the Wright-designed Francis W. Little House in Peoria, Ill.

Wright, who died in 1959, designed 1,141 architectural works, including everything from houses to bridges and museums.

More than one-third of his buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places or are in a National Historic District.

 
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 08:31
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