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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri county prosecutors are working together to improve their crime-fighting efforts.

The Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys has created committees to discuss best practices, with a focus on getting convictions while protecting the rights of criminal defendants.

The Kansas City Star reports the committees will study such issues as handling forensic evidence, eyewitness testimony and the use of jailhouse informants. Other subcommittees will consider handling cases involving children, the elderly, drunken driving and sex crimes.

Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd says the effort was prompted in part by two recent cases — the release of 29-year-old Ryan Ferguson after he was jailed for more than a decade for a Columbia homicide, and the dismissal of sexual assault allegations in a Maryville case that caused a public uproar.

Published in Local News
Thursday, 02 January 2014 15:21

Missouri drivers have safest year since 1940's

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The year 2013 was the safest on Missouri roads in more than six decades.
 
Preliminary figures released Thursday by the Missouri State Highway Patrol show that 741 people died in traffic crashes last year.
 
Patrol Capt. Tim Hull says that's the lowest number since 683 people died on Missouri roads in 1947.
 
Missouri officials have placed an emphasis on reducing traffic fatalities in recent years.
 
The Department of Transportation has installed cables in the medians of some four-lane highways to prevent cross-over crashes and rumble strips on the sides to warn drivers when they are close to running off the road.
 
Since 2005, Missouri traffic fatalities have declined 41 percent.
 
Of those killed in crashes last year, 63 percent were not wearing seatbelts as they were required to do.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Wages will rise for Missouri's low-income workers and taxes will fall for some corporations when the new year arrives.
 
Missouri's minimum wage will increase for about 100,000 workers from $7.35 an hour to $7.50. The increase is a result of an annual inflationary adjustment included in a law passed by voters in 2006.
 
The state's corporate franchise tax rate also will ratchet down in 2014. That's the result of a 2011 law passed by legislators that gradually phases out the franchise tax by 2016.
 
Other new laws taking effect Wednesday are the result of bills passed in 2013. Those include additional health screenings for newborns and new benefit entitlements for workers' compensation claims stemming from serious illnesses.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Fourteen Missouri schools will share $7.5 million in federal funds aimed at low-achieving schools.
 
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has awarded funding to eight schools in St. Louis and four in St. Louis County's Riverview Gardens School District. Also receiving money are Martin Luther King Elementary in Kansas City and Frederick Douglass High School in Columbia.
 
This is Missouri's third round of funding from the federal School Improvement Grants program.
 
State officials say schools generally use the money for hiring staff such as instructional coaches and career counselors. Other uses include special reading and math programs, professional development, and extended learning programs such as classes on Saturdays or during spring and winter breaks.
 
Published in Local News
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

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