Morning headlines:Friday, September 9, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines:Friday, September 9, 2011

Sep 9, 2011

Texas County man shoots and kills Mountain Lion

Missouri conservation officials say a property owner shot a mountain lion on his land in the south-central part of the state. The Department of Conservation said Thursday the man spotted the big male cat this week in Texas County, three miles from where a mountain lion was caught by a trail camera in July.

Mountain lions are protected, but may be shot if people perceive a threat to themselves or their property. Conservation officials say they found no reason to charge the landowner in this case.

The Conservation Department took possession of the cat and will use it for education and DNA testing. Officials say they have no confirmed evidence of a breeding population in Missouri. They say it appears that mountain lions are dispersing from states to the west.

Mo. House committee endorses tax breaks for destroyed Joplin businesses

A Mo. House committee has endorsed legislation creating a property tax break for businesses destroyed by a natural disaster. The measure endorsed Thursday allows for removal of disaster-damaged buildings on commercial property from local property tax rolls until the structures can be used again.

The tax break would apply only if the local government approved. Much of Missouri has seen damage from natural disasters this year, including major flooding and the tornadoes that struck Joplin, Sedalia, the St. Louis area and elsewhere.

Many counties already allow homes to be removed from the tax rolls if a natural disaster makes them uninhabitable.

Mo. residents improve financial standing according new report

The report from the state auditor's office lists Missouri's ranking in a variety of subjects, including economics, education, health, crime and transportation. It shows that Missouri households had a median income of $48,769 in 2009. That placed Missouri 27th among states - an improvement from 36th a year earlier and 37th in 2007.

Missouri students also improved their national rankings in standardized test scores for reading and math. But not everything was rosy.

Missouri's obesity rate was 30 percent in 2009 - the ninth highest rate in the nation. Missouri had ranked 14th in obesity in 2008 and 22nd in 2007.