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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri has signed off on deals to sell $700 million of products to Taiwanese consumers over the next four years.

Nixon made the announcement Tuesday while on a trade trip that also includes a visit to South Korea.

The governor said his administration signed a $500 million agreement with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and a $200 million agreement with the Taiwan Feed Industry Association. He also met with government officials and Taiwanese importers of Missouri products.

As an example of the business agreements reached on the trip, Nixon said that Garden City-based NeCo Seeds had closed deals to supply soybean products to two major Taiwanese food distributors.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 13:38
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Hundreds of protesting coal miners have returned to downtown St. Louis for a third time this year.They were marching from Peabody headquarters to U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Patriot Coal Corp. has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to modify collective bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers of America, allowing the coal company to cut health care coverage for retired miners.

St. Louis-based Patriot said in the filing the action is necessary to save more than 4,000 jobs. Patriot also seeks to change wages, benefits and work rules for existing workers in an effort to make the company more competitive.

Union leaders have been anticipating the move for some time, holding protests in St. Louis last month that drew more than 1,000 people. UMWA President Cecil Roberts says the loss of benefits would cause financial ruin and threaten the health for thousands of retirees.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 11:20
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The same developer behind a controversial Walmart project in Ellisville may have a tougher time winning public financing for a new project. Sansone unveiled plans Monday night for a 30-million dollar, 12 acres retail and restaurant development on land adjacent to the Walmart site.

They also asked for more tax-payer financing, but the Economic Development Commission rejected the plan.

Commission chairman Tom Weis says they were hoping for something more than another shopping center. Weis said they want something "tying in with the great streets concept; trying to build these little pods people can live in, work in, they can shop in."

Tax Increment Financing has been a hot-button issue in the West County suburb, even contributing to the suspension of Mayor Adam Paul, who opposed the Walmart TIF.

Paul says he believes his election was a referendum by Ellisville residents against using tax dollars for such projects. "I believe we started TIF reform in the region," Paul said. "For the developer to come back asking for more tax increment financing and more incentives is preposterous."

Paul won a legal victory at a hearing Monday, forcing the city council to turn over documents detailing communications regarding his impeachment. Paul's attorney says he still expects the council to remove the mayor from office on March 27, saying the votes are already lined up.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 04:27
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Home values in St. Louis County appear to be sliding in the wrong direction.

The county reassesses property values during odd-numbered years. The last full assessment was in 2011, when residential values slid four percent. STL County reassessment lowers property values On Monday, County Assessor Jake Zimmerman released some preliminary reassessment figures that indicate that the slide has continued. The figures show median home values have dropped another seven percent since 2011 - with homes in high-foreclosure areas losing 12 percent of their value or more.

Home values rose in only one school district -- Clayton, with declines ranging from 0.2 percent in Kirkwood to 24 percent in Riverview Gardens. STL County reassessment lowers property values Commercial property values appear flat across most of the county.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 01:37
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A broken water pipe is forcing school officials to call of classes at St. Joseph Catholic School in Wentzville. Principal Dwight Elmore says the school will be closed on Tuesday.

There's no word if the pipe will be fixed in time for class on Wednesday.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 01:33
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Reavis Road is open again after railroad crews worked overnight on the derailment of two cars from a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train.

St. Louis County Police say a mechanical problem with a Burlington Northern freight train caused several cars to derail shortly after 8 p.m.

Reavis Road had to be closed between Tesson Ferry and McKenzie in Affton while crews made repairs and got the rail cars back on the track.

There had initially been some concern about a possible leak, but officials say all of the affected cars were empty. And no one was injured.

Officials expect to have Reavis Road back open by 7:00 a.m.
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 00:39
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O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — The city council in a St. Louis area town is considering a bill that would declare any federal, state or local laws prohibiting guns to be in violation of the U.S. and Missouri constitutions, rendering them invalid in the town.

The measure has been proposed in O'Fallon. The Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis reports it could be subject of a vote on March 28.

Co-sponsors Jim Pepper and John Haman Jr. say the bill would not invalidate existing laws but protect the rights of residents to bear arms. But Councilman Bob Howell questioned the need for the bill and urged major revisions. Howell says that while he supports protecting gun rights, he believes the bill puts the city in the position of passing an unconstitutional law.
Monday, 18 March 2013 17:48
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has struck down a Missouri health insurance law because it conflicts with a federal mandate for insurers to cover birth control at no additional cost to women.

U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig cited a provision in the U.S. Constitution declaring that federal laws take precedence over contradictory state laws. Missouri's Republican-led Legislature overrode the veto of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon last September to enact a law that appeared to be the first in the nation to directly rebut the Obama administration's contraception policy. The Missouri law required insurers to issue policies without contraception coverage if individuals or employers objected because of religious or moral beliefs.

Fleissig had issued a temporary restraining order against Missouri's law last December.
Monday, 18 March 2013 17:47
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, of Missouri, is threatening to block President Barack Obama's choice for Environmental Protection Agency administrator until plans are resolved for a long-stalled levee project in southeast Missouri.

Blunt and Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill expressed disappointment on Monday that the EPA and two other agencies missed a self-imposed March 15 deadline to establish a plan to move forward with the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project.

Construction to close a 1,500-foot gap in the levee was halted in 2007 due to technical problems with the project's Environmental Impact Statement.

Obama announced his choice of Gina McCarthy as EPA chief earlier this month. Blunt says he'll use a parliamentary procedure known as a hold to block the nomination until the levee issue is resolved.
Monday, 18 March 2013 17:25
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A 25-year-old man is in custody, accused of asking a 13-year-old and 11-year-old girl for sexual favors after giving them a ride home from the mall.

Police say Samwell Fowler asked the girls if they needed a ride home from the South County Mall on the night of March 8. But when they approached the girls' house, Fowler allegedly drove into an alley, locked the doors, and asked the girls for sexual favors. The girls were able to unlock the doors and escape.

The teenage girl told a police officer at her school, and Fowler was found, arrested, and charged with enticement of a minor.
Monday, 18 March 2013 16:39
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