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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - A new engineering report says Joplin homes destroyed in the 2011 tornado were poorly built to withstand wind.
The American Society of Civil Engineers study also shows that most of the damage caused by the Joplin tornado that killed 161 people and leveled a wide swath of the southwest Missouri city was caused by wind speeds of 135 mph or less, which is equal to an EF-2 tornado.
The Joplin Globe reports (http://bit.ly/102NFhC ) the ASCE team concluded that because the structures were poorly built to withstand wind, flying debris from houses made damage worse.
The report says if the houses in the tornado zone had been built with hurricane ties, which fasten the rafters and trusses to exterior walls of a house, the damage would have been reduced.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's Republican-led Legislature put a priority on cutting taxes this year. But the same lawmakers who passed a $700 million income tax cut also approved numerous little-known fee increases.
One of those measures could increase fees on driver's licenses and vehicle registrations, costing Missourians almost $22 million annually.
Another bill would impose fees on mailed-in speeding traffic tickets, affecting an estimated 170,000 cases annually.
Missourians could pay more to get copies of their own medical records or court transcripts. Businesses could get charged more for certain Agriculture Department services. And court fees could rise in some places.
Although fees and taxes both take money from people, many Republican lawmakers have drawn a philosophical distinction. They say taxes are applied generally, and fees are charged only for specific services.
Budding movie stars in the Gateway City area could soon get their big break. A casting call has been issued for experienced and non-experienced actors in the St. Louis area. The movie "Cronies" focuses on a day in the life of a 22 year old man living in St. Louis, according to a release. There are roles for men, women, and children.
The film is partially funded through grants from the Spike Lee Production Fund and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
More information about the film, the roles and auditioning can be found at CroniesTheMovie.com.
HOUSTON (AP) - Southern Baptist pastors from around the nation are meeting in Houston in advance of their denomination's annual conference starting Tuesday.
The Southern Baptist Convention, with nearly 16 million members, remains the nation's largest Protestant denomination, but membership declined slightly last year and baptisms fell by 5.5 percent.
At the pastors conference Sunday evening, Pastor Gregg Matte of Houston's First Baptist Church said, "Our country is in trouble, our churches are in trouble, our pastors are in trouble." He said, "We need more Jesus."
Southern Baptists are expected to pass a resolution urging congregations to end their sponsorship of Boy Scout troops now that gay youths will be allowed to join. Church leaders also are worried about growing acceptance of gay marriage and government requiring some religious institutions to provide contraception coverage.