Joplin

(via Flickr/xpda)

The city of Joplin, Mo. is getting an additional boost in an effort to clean up soil contaminated by lead and cadmium that was blown around by the fatal EF-5 tornado in May 2011.

(UPI/Rick Meyer)

The wife and daughter of man killed inside a Walmart store when a massive tornado hit Joplin are suing.

The Joplin Globe reported that the wrongful death lawsuit names Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the store's manager as defendants. The case, initially filed in Jasper County Circuit Court, was transferred Friday to federal court.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Candidates debate in Illinois' 12 Congressional District

After nearly twenty years representing Illinois’s 12th Congressional District, Jerry Costello is retiring at the end of his term.  The three candidates looking to fill the open seat debated in Carbondale last night. 

(Jennifer Davidson/KSMU)

Interfaith and civil rights leaders gathered in Ballwin this morning to show support for the congregation of the Islamic Society of Joplin, which was destroyed by a suspicious fire earlier this month.

Although the FBI is still investigating the cause, the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person that set the fire.

(Jennifer Davidson/KSMU)

Members of a Joplin mosque that was destroyed in a fire will rebuild and have been encouraged by the support shown them by the Joplin community.

Faizan Syed, executive director of the St. Louis office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Thursday that leaders of the Islamic Society of Joplin will "definitely rebuild." He says Joplin's Islamic community members "are in to stay."

The Islamic Society of Joplin's mosque was destroyed in a fire early Monday. No injuries were reported.

(Jennifer Davidson/KSMU)

KSMU's Jennifer Davidson reported for this story.

The only mosque in Joplin, Mo. has burned to the ground.  The cause of the fire is still unknown.  The loss of property leaves the Islamic community there without a place of worship in its most sacred time of the year, Ramadan.

The imam of the mosque, Imam Lahmuddin, had only  finished leading the special “Taraweeh” night prayers a few hours before he was awakened by a phone call from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department.  That prayer takes place every night around 10:00 during the month of Ramadan.

(Screen capture of YouTube Video/WhiteHouse)

KSMU's Missy Shelton contributed reporting for this story.

A commencement address from President Barack Obama capped a difficult year for the Joplin High School class of 2012.

An EF-5 tornado struck the southwestern Missouri town a year ago today, killing 161 people and injuring hundreds more. The storm destroyed five school buildings, including the high school. Students attended their senior year classes in a converted big box store.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Joplin School District will get almost $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to provide its students and staff recover from the EF-5 tornado that struck the city on May 22, 2011 destroying three schools.

The Project SERV grant will help the district provide academic and mental health services to 7,700 students and 500 educators.

UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock

Obama to speak at Joplin commencement

President Barack Obama will speak at the high school graduation ceremony in Joplin. A White House official says Obama will deliver remarks at the commencement, scheduled for May 21.

The president is going back to Joplin after visiting in the days immediately following last year's tornado. More than 160 people were killed by the tornado, the worst to hit the United States in decades. Among the dead were seven students and one staff member at the high school.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Governor Jay Nixon is putting Missouri's athletic organizations to work in helping to rebuild Joplin.

Teaming with the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, Nixon is challenging members from the St. Louis Rams and Cardinals among other teams across the state to build 35 houses by June.

 "When people know that these sports teams are coming, and when they see the players and the other folks, it really really helps," said Nixon.

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

Missouri's presidential primary tomorrow

Turnout is expected to be low for Tuesday's presidential primary. That's partly because the votes for the GOP candidates won't count.

Missouri has gotten little attention from Republican candidates this election year. Newt Gingrich isn't even on the ballot.

The Missouri Republican Party made the decision after the national GOP threatened to cut delegates from states that held their elections before March. Yet the head of Missouri's GOP, Lloyd Smith, is still encouraging voting in the primary.

Flickr/lilhelen

Illinois Supreme Court to announce new policy allowing cameras in trial courts

The new policy would allow cameras in trial courts on an experimental and limited basis.

Spokesman Joe Tybor says the court will make its announcement today.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Nixon to deliver State of the State Speech tonight

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to stress his job-creation efforts as he delivers his annual State of the State address to lawmakers.

Tonight's speech is to coincide with the release of Nixon's proposed budget for the 2013 fiscal year. Nixon's budget director has said Missouri may face a gap of about $500 million between projected expenses and revenues in the budget year that starts July 1.

(UPI/Rick Meyer)

Missouri has received another $47 million in federal grants to help cover the costs of natural disasters that pounded the state over the summer.

The grants, announced today by Republican senator Roy Blunt, include:

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Bidders will get a chance later this month to buy two weapons once owned by Bonnie and Clyde.

A tommy gun and a 12-gauge 1897 Winchester shotgun that were used by the infamous outlaw couple will go up for auction in Kansas City on Jan. 21.

The Joplin Globe reports that the weapons were among those seized during a raid of Bonnie and Clyde's apartment in Joplin on April 13, 1933. Until recently, the guns were displayed at the Springfield Police Museum.

UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock

Joplin tornado top story in 2011

The May 22 tornado that killed 161 people and left much of Joplin in ruins was a unanimous choice for The Associated Press' top story in 2011 by editors across the state. That was followed by the intentional breach at Birds Point, which sent water rushing over southeast Missouri farmland in a bid to save the upstream Illinois town of Cairo. 

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Nixon wants Mo. universities to consider tapping into reserves to plug hole in budget

Gov. Jay Nixon wants five Missouri universities to consider tapping their reserves  and provide funding to the state's higher education system. Nixon's proposal would call for the universities to provide the state $107 million from their reserves. The state would use that money to help avoid deep funding cuts to Missouri's public colleges and universities. The state would repay the schools over seven years with money from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri college students and staff are being asked to donate a weekend or a holiday this semester and take part in ongoing relief efforts in Joplin.

On May 22, the southwest Missouri city was devastated by a massive tornado that killed more than 150 people.  A campaign called “Show Me U Care” is recruiting groups of students, faculty and staff from college campuses across Missouri to travel to Joplin and help rebuild homes and provide other needs.

Flickr/contemplicity

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.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) is traveling around the state this week, urging Missouri lawmakers to pass numerous tax credit proposals during the upcoming special session.

Before leaving today for Kansas City, Marceline and St. Louis, he met with reporters in his State Capitol office.  He told them passing the incentives are crucial for job creation, but that the overall number of tax breaks also needs to be reined in.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Joplin School Board begins paying massive bills from May 22 tornado

Yesterday, the Joplin School Board approved payment of nearly $30 million for the month of July and about half of August. The district's typical monthly bill is between $6 million to $7 million.

The Joplin Globe reports that the district is using insurance and Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements to help pay the bills.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Updated with comments from Schweich, statement from Nixon.

Missouri state auditor Tom Schweich has released a report that is sharply critical of Gov. Jay Nixon's decision to withhold $172  million from the current budget to help the state cope with a series of natural disasters.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Missouri students outpace nation on ACT scores

Missouri students scored slightly higher than the national average this year on the ACT college readiness exam.

The ACT consists of four tests in English, math, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale from 1 to 36, with scores averaged to create a composite score.

This year's average composite score in Missouri was 21.6, half a point higher than the national average of 21.1.

Rick Meyer / UPI

Joplin to announce plans for new hospital

Joplin residents will learn this week where a new hospital will be built to replace one destroyed by the May 22 tornado.

Officials with St. John's Mercy announced Monday that the new site and rebuilding plans will be announced Tuesday evening at the Joplin Holiday Inn.

Since the 367-bed hospital was destroyed by the tornado, St. John's has been operating out of temporary units on the site of the old hospital while planning to rebuild one of Joplin's largest employers.
 

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Nixon to return to Joplin to announce school funding

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon is returning to Joplin to discuss funding for schools in the tornado-ravaged city.

Thursday afternoon, Nixon is scheduled to visit the Joplin 11th and 12th Grade Center - an empty big-box store that will house the two grades while the high school is rebuilt. He'll be joined by superintendent C.J. Huff and members of the Joplin Board of Education in touring the building and making the announcement on funding for the upcoming school year.

(flickr/Jack W. Reid)

Sweltering heat blamed for 3 more deaths in St. Louis

The city health department says a 75-year-old woman is the fifth person to die from the heat in St. Louis this year. Her air conditioner was on but was blowing hot air in her home. She died on Sunday.

(via Flickr/xpda)

A Missouri Senate subcommittee heard testimony at the Capitol today from state officials who handle disaster response.

Andrea Spillars, Deputy Director of the Department of Public Safety, told the Subcommittee on Emergency Response that state and local officials coordinated their response efforts very well following the Joplin tornado.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon says the state will play a long-term role in rebuilding housing in Joplin after the deadly May 22 tornado.

Nixon will travel to Joplin today to announce what he describes as a "major initiative to address both the near-term and long-term housing needs."

He says it will involve both federal and state resources to support home construction.

The tornado killed 159 people and destroyed thousands of homes while wiping out a large section of the city.

Missouri Dept. of Transportation

Sewer line rupture forces lane closures on EB I-70

The Missouri Department of Transportation is urging motorists to avoid eastbound Interstate 70 between Shreve and west Florissant Monday as repairs continue on a ruptured sewer line.

Deanna Venker, MoDOT area engineer for St. Louis City, says crews worked overnight to fix the sewer line. Concrete is curing and crews are working on road repairs.

UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock

FEMA to House Displaced Tornado Victims Near Joplin Airport

The federal government is planning to use 50 acres south of the Joplin Regional Airport to provide temporary housing for people who lost their homes in the May 22 tornado.

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