Joplin tornado

(via Flickr/Meagan)

Updated at 3:47 p.m. following a press conference with McCaskill

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says federal funding for Joplin is not in jeopardy.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said last week that funding for some long-term projects in the tornado-ravaged town would be put on hold because of Hurricane Irene.

McCaskill said she was worried initially (see earlier story below) but says she got a better explanation over the weekend.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated at 12:38 p.m. with information on tax credits for those with special needs

Reporting from KCUR's Elana Gordon used in this report.

Missouri's low-income housing agency has approved $100 million in tax credits to help rebuild Joplin and the St. Louis County community of Berkeley after they were hit by tornadoes earlier this year.

(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs)

Here's an update to a story we told you about this morning:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says Joplin schools will get up to $1.5 million from state government to help pay their
bills after a deadly tornado.

Nixon said Thursday the state funding is intended to help forestall the need for property tax increases next year by the Joplin School District.

(via Flickr/jetsandzeppelins)

Sixth heat-related death reported in St. Louis City this year

Earline Walker is the sixth person in St. Louis to die of heat-related causes this year.

90-year-old Walker was found last week by her family at her residence in the 3000 block of Semple. She had window air conditioner units, but they were blowing hot air.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

The city of Joplin is off the hook for paying for the first couple of months of debris removal following a devastating tornado in May.

The federal government is paying 90 percent of the cost in the hard-hit area designated for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's enhanced cleanup payments, instead of the usual 75 percent. The state will be picking up the 10 percent not covered by FEMA under the expedited debris removal program that runs through next Sunday. Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon said two-thirds of the properties have been cleared so far.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a dangerous fungus found in 13 people injured in the Joplin tornado was the first known cluster occurring after a tornado.

UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock

Nixon seeking extension for Joplin debris clean-up

Mo.  Gov. Jay Nixon is seeking extension of a federal program covering most of the cost of removing debris from the May tornado in Joplin. Nixon filed a request Tuesday with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to extend the Expedited Debris Removal Program for Joplin until Aug. 31. It's currently scheduled to expire Aug. 7.

(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.

(via Flickr/Meagan)

Missouri officials say the insurance payout from the May 22 Joplin tornado will be the largest payout in the state's history.

The Missouri Department of Insurance says it expects the claims to eventually total between $1.5 billion and $2 billion.

The department says as of June 30, insurance companies had paid more than $509 million in tornado claims.

(Official Portrait, Missouri Attorney General's office)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is filing suit over two alleged fundraising scams involving the Joplin tornado.

Koster said Thursday that his lawsuits will target a Puerto Rico-based group called the Alivio Foundation and Georgia resident Steve Blood, who runs an Internet radio business.

The attorney general says Alivio Foundation solicited donations for Joplin tornado victims by claiming the money would go to a Catholic church and charity. But he says the Catholic entities have never heard of the foundation nor received any money.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing to allot $122 million in state and federal aid to rebuild homes destroyed by a tornado that devastated Joplin.

Nixon outlined his plan Tuesday during a news conference in Joplin. Most of the money would flow through the Missouri Housing Development Commission, which provides financial incentives to construct housing for low- and moderate-income residents.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

The unemployment rate in Missouri ticked down slightly last month, according to new data from the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Missouri's rate last month was 8.8 percent, down from 8.9 percent in May 2011, and a sharp decrease from June 2010, when 9.2 percent of the state's citizen's were out of work.

The national rate for June stood at 9.2 percent.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 3:42 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has pledged an additional $100 million in state disaster aid following the deadly tornado in Joplin and continued flooding across the state.

Nixon's announcement Friday raises Missouri's total financial commitment to $150 million for a particularly devastating few months of natural disasters.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Carlos J. Lazo

Obama issues federal emergency declaration

President Barack Obama has issued a federal emergency declaration for Missouri because of flooding along the Missouri River system and flash floods in the northeast. Gov. Jay Nixon says his request for the declaration was granted Thursday.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Engineers who studied the Joplin Home Depot where at least seven people died say the store's construction method might have led to some of the deaths.

The Kansas City Star reports that the "tilt-up wall" method used at the Joplin store met city codes, but didn't offer much protection when an EF-5 tornado roared through the community.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

The Missouri Department of Economic Development will use $50 million in bond money to help Joplin-area manufacturers recover from the May 22 tornado.

Gov. Jay Nixon was in Joplin Friday to announce $75 million in awards and modifications of existing programs aimed at helping business and industry in the Joplin area. Two-thirds of that funding comes from Private Activity Tax Exempt Bond capacity that has been set aside to aid the region.

(via Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region)

As Joplin, Mo. continues to recover from the tornado that devastated the area just over a month ago, there is an unfortunate report of another death related to the disaster, along with an effort to make something useful out of the wreckage.

Joplin's public information office says it was notified Wednesday of the death of Grace M. Sanders, who was injured in the tornado. No other information about the victim or the death was released.  With Sanders' death, the number of deaths from the tornado has now risen to 156.

(Courtesy Atchison County 911/Emergency Management on Facebook)

Levee Break Sends Releases Torrents of Water

Crews are racing to build up a protective wall to keep floodwaters from reaching a small Iowa town after the swollen Missouri River punched a massive hole in the main levee that protects the community.

Two levees in northwest Missouri ruptured yesterday, sending water over rural farmland.

(via Flickr/xpda)

Joplin city officials say two more fatalities have been reported from the tornado that devastated the southwest Missouri city last month.

Lynn Iliff Onstot, public information officer for Joplin, said as of Monday there were 153 fatalities from the tornado. Onstot said the city received the updated list from the Jasper County coroner and the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

The death toll from the tornado that destroyed much of Joplin has risen to 151 in part because of several deaths linked to a rare fungal infection.

Jasper County Coroner Rob Chappel said Friday that his office is still receiving regular reports of people who have died at hospitals after being hurt in the nation's deadliest tornado in more than six decades.

The most recent death was confirmed late Wednesday.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Nixon to sign budget, Missouri RX bills

Gov. Jay Nixon will sign the 2012 budget for the state of Missouri - and cuts to the $23 billion spending plan are already in the works.

The governor said two weeks ago he would have to cut at least $113 million. Much of that is due to unplanned expenses from the Joplin tornado and flooding in southeast Missouri. More cuts could be necessary as the state is now also responding to floods along the Missouri River in the northwest corner of the state.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

MoDOT building that will be shuttered in restructuring could get new life

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission yesterday approved a five-year reduction plan that will eliminate 1200 jobs and close 131 facilities - including district offices in Macon, Joplin and Willow Springs. But the building in Joplin could get see new life fairly quickly. The AP reports that MoDOT director Kevin Keith has offered the building to the Joplin School District, which saw a half-dozen buildings destroyed or damaged in the May 22 F5 tornado.

Keith says agency employees who would be in the building when school starts would be relocated to temporary quarters.

Busch Stadium
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Cardinals, Royals to team up for series to benefit Joplin recovery

The St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals will be teaming up to help raise money for tornado recovery efforts in Joplin, Mo. Missouri's two Major League Baseball teams are to meet for an interleague series June 17-19 in St. Louis.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A newly created House committee will examine whether a special legislative session is needed to assist in the recovery from a deadly tornado in Joplin and flooding in southeastern Missouri.

The House Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery was to make its recommendation by the end of July. The committee also was tasked with examining long-term recovery strategies and ways for Missouri to be better prepared for future natural disasters.

A report with those findings was to be submitted by the end of the year.

(UPI/Rick Meyer)

Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered that the U.S. and Missouri flags be flown at half-staff at all government buildings to honor a Riverside police officer who died after helping Joplin tornado victims.

Flickr/SDNG photo by OC Chad Carlson

Second Breach on Missouri River Reported

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported the first breach on the levee near the Missouri-Iowa border yesterday. The second breach, which is about 10 feet wide, was reported this morning.

The corps says the Iowa National Guard has been dropping thousands of pounds of large sandbags to help fill the breaches, but the damaged areas are expected to fully breach as water levels rise.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the federal government to pay the full cost of repairing public buildings and infrastructure damaged by recent floods and tornadoes.

Nixon said Friday that his request is based on the historic devastation caused by a tornado that killed at least 138 people in Joplin and flooding that swamped hundreds of thousands of acres in southeast Missouri.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Missouri officials say the death toll from the massive May 22 Joplin tornado has risen to 138 people.

The state Department of Public Safety announced the increase from 134 to 138 on Thursday after confirming that four more people died in hospitals of injuries suffered in deadliest single U.S. tornado since 1950.

More than 8,000 homes and apartments, and more than 500 commercial properties, were damaged or destroyed when the twister ripped through more than six miles of the southwest Missouri town.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Mo. Officials Preparing for More Flooding

Mother Nature is challenging Missourians again. With flooding likely along the Missouri River, Gov. Jay Nixon and other officials are heading to St. Joseph today to discuss preparations.

Seasonal flooding along the Missouri is being worsened this year as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases historic amounts of water from upstream dams in the Dakotas. Officials in northwestern Missouri's Atchison and Holt counties have already put residents in flood-prone areas on alert to evacuate as needed.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Missouri officials say everyone who had been reported missing since last week's massive Joplin tornado has been accounted for and at least 134 people have been confirmed killed.

The Wednesday announcement came from the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The agency has led the effort to track down the nearly 270 people listed as unaccounted for after the May 22 tornado.

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