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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's auditor is raising concerns about state payments to subsidize child care costs for lower-income families.
 
Auditor Tom Schweich criticized the state Social Services Department for not having enough quality control over the payments. The findings were included in an audit issued Monday of nearly $12 million in federal funds received by Missouri.
 
Schweich found that one-third of the payments reviewed by his office were not supported by proper documentation or were not in compliance with department guidelines.
 
The audit also questioned five welfare cases where benefits were paid to recipients who might not have been eligible for the program.
 
In a response included with the audit, the department says it "partially agrees" with Schweich's conclusions on the child care payments. It agrees with the audit's welfare findings.
Monday, 24 March 2014 15:39
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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois couple is accused of criminal neglect of a disabled person in the death of a blind man who authorities say weighed just 60 pounds.
 
   The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County prosecutors charged 49-year-old Richard R. Young and 32-year-old Elizabeth Young of Belleville on Monday.
 
   The charges allege that as Billy Ray Young's caretakers, the defendants failed to maintain the 52-year-old disabled man's medical, nutritional and hygienic needs.
 
   Billy Ray Young's body was found March 11 in the defendant's home.
 
   Relatives say the man was blind and mentally and physically impaired, and that he had been cared for by his mother until she died in 2001.
 
   Richard and Elizabeth Young don't have a listed home telephone number. Online court records don't list their attorney.
 
Monday, 24 March 2014 15:35
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CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois' Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says he has no plans to campaign with the GOP state lawmaker hoping to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in November.
 
Kirk told reporters Monday that he's going to be "protecting his relationship" with Durbin and won't launch "into a partisan jihad."
 
Durbin is the Senate's No. 2 Democrat.
 
State Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove won the GOP nomination last week. His family owns a chain of ice cream shops. Oberweis says his name recognition will help his U.S. Senate campaign. However, Oberweis has been under fire in the past, including for remarks about immigrants.
 
Kirk and Durbin have worked together and have had a public friendship, particularly after Kirk suffered a stroke in 2012.
Monday, 24 March 2014 14:41
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - The St. Louis Department of Health says a local group is getting new funding to reduce childhood obesity.

 

The Transdisciplinary Center on Health Equity Policy Research and Practice, at the Moorehouse School of Medicine, is giving a St. Louis group two grants. The grants are worth $60,000.

 

One grant will fund an educational program on healthy and active living to parents of children under the age of 6, while the other grant will help collect and assess information related to policies, disparities and outcomes for programs such as Head Start and Parents as Teachers.

Monday, 24 March 2014 14:33
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois woman living in public housing and on government aid has pleaded not guilty to charges she bilked the U.S. government of more than $1 million from hundreds of bogus tax returns.
 
The Belleville News-Democrat reports 45-year-old Dorresa Braggs of Belleville entered the not-guilty plea Friday to a 12-count indictment in East St. Louis.
 
The charges against the mother of three children range from making false statements to the Internal Revenue Service's investigations arm to aggravated identity theft.
 
Authorities allege she used her computer as a tax preparer to electronically file false tax returns from at least 2010 through the summer of 2012. The indictment alleges she claimed false business expenses for clients and at times falsified W-2 forms to overstate wages and federal income tax withholdings.
Monday, 24 March 2014 14:25
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - A Missouri State Representative is throwing his hat in the ring to be considered for St. Louis County Executive.

 

Rick Stream filed paperwork Monday morning. Stream said he will continue his work as chairman of the state budge committee. He plans to begin campaigning later this year.

 

Stream was elected to the Kirkwood School Board and served as its president from 1998 to 2000, before joining the Missouri House.

Monday, 24 March 2014 13:58
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ST. LOUIS (AP) – A project to link the Loop retail district in St. Louis with nearby Forest Park has won a $25 million federal grant.
 
The 2.2 mile route would begin in University City and run along Delmar Boulevard to the Missouri History Museum. The federal grant would cover more than half the cost of the $43 million project.
 
Local businessman Joe Edwards first proposed the trolley project nearly 20 years ago. Streetcars served the area until the mid-1960s.
Monday, 24 March 2014 12:53
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 SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Missouri State University plans to add more student housing by updating two buildings with strong connections to Springfield's history.
 
The university will spend $1.8 million to improve Kentwood Hall and another $1 million to renovate Sunvilla Tower.
Kentwood was built in 1926 and was once a premiere hotel, where Harry Truman and Groucho Marx stayed. The 19-story Sunvilla Tower, built in 1963, was once was one of the most sought-after apartment locations in Springfield.
 
The Springfield News-Leader reports when the renovations are complete, students who are 21 or older will be able to drink alcohol in their rooms. University officials say both buildings will be marketed to older students.
 
Monday, 24 March 2014 10:35
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Washington University research project is under scrutiny for its off-label use of a contraceptive device.
 
The research project provides free birth control devices to poor and uninsured women and teenagers in the St. Louis area for three years. The university says the study has led to fewer pregnancies and fewer abortions.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a 27-year-old woman is suing the university's medical school over what she calls an unethical research trial using a contraceptive device called Mirena.
 
The device is a small, T-shaped plastic frame that's inserted into the uterus and releases a hormone to prevent pregnancy.
   
The woman says using the device soon after she gave birth resulted in two heart surgeries and a chronic illness. The university denies the lawsuit's allegations.
Monday, 24 March 2014 10:30
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