Joplin tornado | St. Louis Public Radio

Joplin tornado

This collage includes pictures of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon from every year of his tenure.
Provided by Gov. Nixon's office and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s tenure in the executive branch ends, he's leaving something of a paradoxical legacy.

The Democratic statewide official achieved nearly unprecedented political success for himself, even as his party lost huge areas of support in rural Missouri. After his promises to expand the state’s Medicaid program ran into intractable opposition, Nixon spent a sizable part of his tenure paring back state governmental agencies.

FEMA Trailers In Joplin Nearly Empty

Dec 3, 2012
(UPI/Rick Meyer)

The nearly 600 federal trailers that housed Joplin residents since the May 2011 tornado are slowly emptying, with only about 80 of the trailers still occupied.

Those who remain in the trailers will soon have to start paying rent in January.

The Joplin Globe reports many of those still in the trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency have disabilities and are unable to work.

(UPI/Rick Meyer)

The EF-5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri in May 2011 killed 161 people and a left city and its residents devastated.

Two filmmakers - Beth Pike and Erica Tremblay - have created films documenting the disaster, the fallout, and what they call a “remarkable recovery.”

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

The Missouri National Guard reports four of its soldiers stole electronics from a Wal-Mart store while helping recovery efforts after last year's tornado in Joplin.

The Guard released records on the incident to the Joplin Globe on Tuesday after refusing to release them last week, claiming it was exempt from the state's open records law.

The Globe reports that the Guard said three specialists and a sergeant admitted taking electronics such as video games and a camera. The Guard did not release the soldiers' names.

(UPI/Rick Meyer)

Missouri National Guard members have been disciplined for looting in Joplin after the massive tornado.

But the guard has refused to release information about the incidents, saying it's not subject to Missouri's open records law.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the guard didn't respond to requests for details about the looting by citing an exemption to the Missouri Sunshine Law.

Joplin service begins day of remembrance

May 22, 2012
(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Will be updated.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has opened a day of remembrance in Joplin by honoring tornado survivors, medical workers and volunteers who've aided the city's recovery.

Nixon told the crowd during a sunrise service at Freeman Hospital that it was fitting to reflect on faith as dawn broke over a city where a twister killed 161 people and destroyed thousands of buildings one year ago.

(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.

After devastating tornado, Joplin High bounces back

May 18, 2012

Nearly one year ago, a devastating tornado ripped through the city of Joplin, Mo. The tornado was the deadliest in the U.S in almost 60 years, killing 161 people and injuring more than 900. But life for Joplin's residents is finally starting to return to normal.

That includes life for students at Joplin High School. The school was destroyed by the tornado just hours after last year's commencement ceremony. Although the school's old location is still in ruins, the city has found a temporary solution to keep classes going.

Morning headlines - Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012
(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Federal court sides with Quinn in pay dispute

A federal appeals court has sided with Illinois governor Pat Quinn over canceled pay raises due to thousands of union workers.

Joplin residents indicted for disaster fraud

May 16, 2012
(UPI/Rick Meyer)

Seven Joplin residents and a Laclede County man are facing federal fraud charges over requests for FEMA aid after the deadly May 2011 tornado.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Springfield announced the separate grand jury indictments on Wednesday. Each of the defendants is accused of falsely claiming damage to their homes or property in Federal Emergency Management Agency applications for disaster benefits.

Those charged are:

Graduation is supposed to in part be about celebrating the future, but last year in Joplin, Mo., shortly after the high school graduation ceremony, an EF-5 tornado — the highest-strength rating — destroyed one-third of the city and killed 161 people, including one teen who had received his diploma that day.

(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.

Missouri gets $16.5M for temp Mo. River, Joplin cleanup jobs

Apr 3, 2012
(UPI/Rick Meyer)

Missouri will receive a $16.5 million federal grant to fund temporary jobs aimed at helping with large-scale recovery efforts from the 2011 Joplin tornado and from flooding around the state last year.

The U.S. Department of Labor said in a release Tuesday that the $16.5 million grant is from the National Emergency Grant program.

Morning headlines: Monday, February 20, 2012

Feb 20, 2012
The Columns at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

University of Missouri Curators to consider raising tuition today

The special meeting comes after the governing board postponed consideration of a tuition increase three weeks ago at its regular meeting in Kansas City. This time, the curators will meet by video teleconference along with new university president Tim Wolfe.  

Talk of 'tornado tourism' stirs anger in Joplin

Jan 31, 2012
(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Eight months after a tornado laid waste to much of the city, Joplin is wrestling with an emotional question: Should the community market its devastated neighborhoods to tourists?

The convention and visitors bureau recently discussed offering guided bus tours and even a smartphone app. But storm victims bristled, imagining that their shattered homes could be put on display for legions of curious sightseers.

The bureau director says he wants to promote Joplin's recovery. He insists the effort is "not about busted-up homes or destroyed cars or body parts."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 18, 2012 - While Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's proposed state budget is primarily about austerity, his words Tuesday night were all about hope -- as he painted a portrait of a state in a stronger economic position than many of its neighbors and the nation as a whole.

Morning headlines: Wednesday, January 11, 2011

Jan 11, 2012
Flickr/Fried Dough

Mo. Senator wants to increase cigarette tax and eliminate state income tax for low income people

Republican state Sen. John Lamping, of Ladue, has filed legislation that would exempt anyone earning less than $2,000 from having to pay state income tax and slightly lower the taxes for people earning more than that. His legislation would offset the projected $128 million reduction in state income tax revenues by increasing the cigarette tax to 43 cents per pack.

Missouri's current cigarette tax of 17 cents per pack is the lowest in the nation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 29, 2011 - Just after the deadly tornado that struck Joplin last May, Quinn Gardner and other volunteers from Americorps St. Louis arrived in town.

Nearly seven months later, they're still there.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 27, 2011 - Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is reaffirming that he's continuing to try to suspend Missouri's prevailing wage requirement for state-subsidized projects, when it comes to rebuilding housing in Joplin, Mo., partially destroyed by a tornado in May.

More than 4,000 homes were destroyed in the May 22 disaster.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

The federal Environmental Protection Agency will provide the city of Joplin, Mo. with $500,000 to help test and clean up lead-contaminated soils that were exposed by the May 22 tornado that devastated the city.

The money from the Superfund program will allow the city to hire one full-time and one part-time person to coordinate a soil testing and remediation plan. The funds will also pay for a vehicle, equipment, supplies and travel expenses.

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