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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A group of eight Missouri lawmakers are calling upon Missouri's governor and attorney general to investigate concerns raised about Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro.

The lawmakers made the request Wednesday after The Kansas City Star reported that newly disclosed emails raised questions about the selection of CEE-Trust as a consultant. The Indianapolis-based firm's bid for developing an improvement plan for the Kansas City district and other struggling schools was nearly three times higher than the closest competitor.

The emails also highlighted some of Nicastro's behind-the-scenes work to create a special district that would operate some of the state's lowest-performing schools.

The lawmakers say the emails raise concerns about Nicastro's "fitness to lead."

Nicastro says the focus should be on ensuring that children "have the quality schools they deserve."

Geminid meteor shower ramps up Friday night

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:30 Published in National News

 CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - It's time for the December sky show.

The annual Geminids meteor shower - the most intense of the year - will peak Friday night. But the best viewing may be early Saturday, once the moon sets. Between 100 and 120 meteors are expected every hour at peak time. But scientists say the bright moon will interfere and reduce the number of visible meteors by half. That's why the best shot for viewing will be closer to dawn on Saturday.

The Geminids come from a small asteroid named 3200 Phaethon, which passes quite close to the sun. Its trail of dust and debris is what makes up the Geminids. Earth passes through this stream of debris every December.

The meteor shower extends from Thursday through Monday.

Charges against George Zimmerman were dropped

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:29 Published in National News

MIAMI (AP) - Prosecutors say they will not file domestic violence charges against George Zimmerman after his girlfriend said in a sworn statement she did not want to pursue the case.

State Attorney Phil Archer in Seminole County said in a statement Wednesday that Samantha Scheibe's decision not to cooperate and the lack of other corroborating evidence made a successful prosecution unlikely.

Zimmerman had faced charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief following a Nov. 18 incident at the central Florida house he shared with Scheibe. She initially told police Zimmerman pointed a shotgun at her face, then recanted in an affidavit filed this week.

Zimmerman was acquitted last summer in the shooting death of unarmed, black teenager Trayvon Martin. The case sparked a nationwide debate about race and self-defense laws.

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