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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - An organization that formed after a May 2011 tornado destroyed parts of Joplin is celebrating the opening of its 100th home in the southwest Missouri city.

Rebuild Joplin held a ribbon-cutting Tuesday at the home of Ron and Margaret Campbell, whose house was damaged during the tornado. The couple had begun repairs but did not have the money to complete them.

The Joplin Globe reports Rebuild Joplin began as a website after the tornado to connect people with resources. It eventually began construction projects using volunteer labor. Since November 2011, the organization has completed 47 new constructions and 53 home repairs.

Chad Carson, executive director of Rebuild Joplin, says the organization is still trying to find people who need help to recover from the tornado.

Wednesday, 06 November 2013 13:31
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A Missouri State Representative is facing felony charges for misuse of campaign money.

Prosecutors say Representative Steve Webb of Florissant stole campaign funds and spent them on himself. The Post-Dispatch reports that Webb took a campaign contribution, deposited it in a political account, then moved the money to a personal account. Webb is the minority deputy whip. The paper also reports that Webb has taken nearly $29,000 in gifts from lobbyists--there is no limit on the amount of gifts he can take. About $18,000 of that amount has come from utility companies. Webb serves on the House Utilities Committee.

Webb's lawyer says he will surrender himself to authorities when an arrest warrant is issued. 

Wednesday, 06 November 2013 13:30
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The St. Louis Archdiocese is seeking dismissal of a lawsuit by the family of a teenage girl, which claims that Archbishop Robert Carlson failed to prevent her molestation by a priest who was assigned to the Cathedral Basilica. 

The Rev. Joseph Jiang lived at the Archbishop's residence at the time he was accused of sexual abuse and witness tampering in the case involving a 16 year old girl.  

Jiang reportedly left a $20,000 check on the windshield of a car belonging to the victim's family, in what appeared to be an attempt to convince the family not to disclose the improper conduct.

The lawsuit says Archbishop Carlson requested the check be returned to him. The suit accuses the Archbishop of attempting to tamper with physical evidence.

 
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 09:20
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Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner continues to have a positive impact in the community through his charity that provides winter coats to those in need. Today Warner's Warm-up Coat Drive received a large donation from a local textile recycling company. USAgain has been collecting gently used coats at its 400-plus recycling bins around the city. Sunny Schaefer is the executive director of Operation Food Search, a partner with Warner's charity. 

 

"We are being deluged with people calling looking for coats for children, their grandmother, so many people are struggling right now," Schaefer said. "This couldn't have come at a better time."

 

Warner's Warm-Up was founded in 2001. A complete list of locations where you can drop off winter coats for donation can be found at Kurt and Brenda Warner's website, kurtwarner.org. 

Wednesday, 06 November 2013 07:26
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   KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A group of Missouri school superintendents has developed an alternative to a state law allowing students to transfer from unaccredited to accredited districts.

   The Kansas City Star reports that under the plan, students in struggling districts could transfer to better-performing schools in their home districts. And after five years of failure, districts could be dissolved and distributed to accredited districts.

   Twenty leaders from around Missouri drafted the school-improvement plan and provided it to The Star on Monday. The draft says the existing transfer law "is not in the best interest of all students and will not lead to improvement of unaccredited districts."

   A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro hasn't yet had a chance to review the proposal.

 
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 03:30
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   Prosecutors have 15 days to decide whether to retry a man convicted in the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.  

   A state appeals court panel Tuesday overturned Ryan Ferguson's 2005 conviction.  The court ruled 3-0 that he didn't get a fair trial because prosecutors withheld evidence from Ferguson's defense team.  

   The case had garnered national attention because Ferguson's friend Chuck Erickson had testified that he had remembered in a dream that he and Ferguson had been involved in Heitholt's death after a night of heavy partying.  

   Erickson is serving a 25 year sentence as part of a plea agreement, but later recanted his testimony.  So did a security guard who had testified that he saw Erickson and Ferguson at the newspaper offices the night Heitholt was robbed, beaten and strangled to death. 

   Ferguson's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she has petitioned for her client's release on bail while prosecutors decide whether or not to retry him.

Wednesday, 06 November 2013 03:15
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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has allocated $33 million to set up a program designed to regulate the carrying of concealed firearms.

   Lawmakers voted 96-17 for the $50 million supplemental appropriation Tuesday. Rep. Luis Arroyo - a Chicago Democrat - says about $500,000 is new general-revenue spending.

   The legislation gives the Illinois State Police authority to use money from $150 concealed-carry permit fees to pay for the additional staff and equipment necessary to set up the program.

   Lawmakers approved concealed carry last summer after a federal appeals court said Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban was unconstitutional.

   Several complained the measure does not include $112 million a court has ordered be paid to union workers who didn't get their full raise in 2011.

 
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 02:41
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   Former Illinois state trooper Matt Mitchell is asking for the fourth time to have his driver's license reinstated at a hearing Tuesday morning at the Secretary of State's Mount Vernon office.  A similar appeal in July was denied.  

   Mitchell lost his license after pleading guilty to causing the 2007 crash that killed Collinsville sisters Kelli and Jessica Uhl.  Mitchell had been driving his patrol car in excess of 120 miles an hour and texting when he slammed into the Uhl's car.  

   A decision on Mitchell's license reinstatement is not expected for 90 days.

Wednesday, 06 November 2013 02:33
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   Pattonville officials won't have to cut $10 million from the school district's budget after taxpayers overwhelmingly approved their first tax increase in 22 years.  Preliminary figures from the St. Louis County Board of Elections indicate that more than 6,100 votes were cast Tuesday and more than 70 percent of the voters approved Proposition P.  

   Several other communities held elections as well Tuesday.  '

   Voters in Edmundson and Woodson Terrace both approved hotel sales taxes.  

   And it looks like the latest effort to dissolve the Village of Uplands Park has failed.  That needed 60 percent approval and received just over 50 percent.

 
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 02:26
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   The Missouri Ethics Commission says a former Rockwood School Board member has violated the state's conflict-of-interest law.  

   The commission found that over a two year period Steve Smith voted more than a dozen times on construction orders that allowed his employer, Glenn Construction to raise its fees on contracts with the school board.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Smith has been hit with a $10,000 fine, but if he pays within 45 days, the amount drops to $2,000.  If he violates the conflict-of-interest law again in the next two years, Smith would be on the hook for the other $8,000.  

   Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich had come to the same conclusion in his February audit of the Rockwood School District. 

   Smith served on the Rockwood Board of Education as a Glenn Construction employee between May 2010 and June 2012.

 
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 02:18
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