Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

In September 1944, just nine days before his 23rd birthday, 1st Lt. Don Nicholson boarded the B-17 bomber known as “Little Chum” for a run over Germany. It was his 26th mission navigating the plane referred to as the "flying fortress."

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Court upholds election for earnings tax

The Missouri Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge to a law that requires residents in St. Louis and Kansas City to vote on their earnings tax every five years.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Fireworks cancelations climb as heat lingers

The list of communities canceling their fireworks displays this year is growing longer.

St. Louis County announced today that it's postponing Tuesday's concert and fireworks at Jefferson Barracks County Park in South County because officials could not secure a permit from Lemay.

Missouri veterans homes get casino money

May 31, 2012
Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri veterans homes are getting a significant boost as a result of new legislation establishing a dedicated source of funding.

Governor Jay Nixon attended a ceremonial bill signing at the St. Louis Veterans Home on Thursday.

Missouri currently has seven nursing homes which serve some 1,300 veterans. The legislation will allocate $32 million to the Missouri Veterans Commission annually, up from just $6.6 million, and will be paid for through per-patron fees paid by casinos.

(Tim Lloyd for St. Louis Public Radio)

Veterans homelessness used to be an issue associated with men, but that’s rapidly changing.

According to the General Accountability Office the number of homeless female veterans more than doubled between 2006 and 2010.

That’s a problem because the Department of Veterans Affairs has historically built its programs for men.

In the second instalment of a two part series on veterans homelessness, Tim Lloyd reports on how the VA is trying to keep up with the growing number of homeless female veterans.

(Tim Lloyd for St. Louis Public Radio)

The Department of Veterans Affairs is almost halfway through its national push to end homelessness by 2015.

And even though the agency says it’s making progress, there are still more than 67,000 homeless veterans in America.

That has the VA reaching out more and more to community partners as key allies in its battle to end veterans homelessness.

In this first installment of a two-part series on veterans' homelessness, Tim Lloyd reports on how the national initiative is strengthening local partnerships in St. Louis.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says the budget proposal of House Republican Paul Ryan would only hurt veterans and help the wealthy. 

Speaking with veterans Sunday at Soldiers’ Memorial Military Museum downtown, McCaskill called the proposal a “non-starter.” 

“The Ryan budget calls for a 33 percent cut in mandatory domestic spending," McCaskill said. "Mandatory domestic spending includes veterans. Now that is the same budget that gives an additional six-figure tax cut for multi-millionaires." 

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The state of Illinois is increasing the cost for military veterans to live in its nursing homes.

The Pantagraph in Bloomington reports the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs has notified residents of the increase. It's the first time the state has raised monthly fees for residents since 1979. Costs will rise starting July 1, going from about $930 per resident a month to about $1,430.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to a plan that would cut the amount of money available for state lottery prizes to increase funding for state-run veterans homes.

The legislation would reduce lottery prize funds by about 3.5 percent and put the money toward early childhood education programs that currently get funds from the Missouri Gaming Commission. Gaming Commission money now used for early childhood education would instead go to veterans' homes.

The John Cochran Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis got bipartisan praise on Wednesday for addressing customer service and equipment sterilization issues that have plagued it for nearly two years.

Here's a brief recap of those problems:

(file photo)

Anti-smoking advocates want more smoking bans

Groups against smoking are urging the St. Louis County Council to make changes to the smoking ban that went into effect last year.

Currently, businesses whose food sales result in 25 percent of gross sales including food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are eligible for an exemption from the smoking ban. There are 145 businesses that currently allow smoking in the county.


A parade will be held in downtown St. Louis on Saturday honoring the men and women that served in Iraq.

The idea for the parade was started by two St. Charles men, Craig Schneider and Tom Applebaum. They approached the veterans group, The Mission Continues, with the idea and they agreed to partner with them to make the parade happen.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

It's been a bad year for the John Cochran Veterans Administration Medical Center in St. Louis.

(Bill Raack/St. Louis Public Radio)

A new survey released today finds that most area veterans are happy with the care and service they get from local VA medical facilities.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) initiated the survey following problems at the John Cochran VA center last summer. At a press conference at the Soldiers' Memorial Military Museum in downtown St. Louis, McCaskill said most of the 185 veterans surveyed had positive things to say about the local VA hospitals but there’s room for improvement.

John A Cochran hospital
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

Representatives Russ Carnahan and William Lacy Clay were among the government officials with sharp criticism today for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Carnahan and Ohio Republican Michael Turner, who represents the Dayton area, pushed for the House Veterans Affairs Commitee hearing to address concerns about the cleanliness of instruments at VA hospitals.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Some military veterans from Missouri say America’s mission in Iraq and Afghanistan isn’t over, just because Osama Bin Laden is now dead. 

Major John Gillum of Jefferson City served in Iraq and Afghanistan with both the Army Reserve and the Missouri National Guard.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 3:40 p.m. with a statement from Sen. McCaskill, additional information from the VA:

Sen. Claire McCaskill echoed Cong. Carnahan's sentiment in her statement:

(Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Library of Congress)
(via Flickr / U.S. Army Africa)

A group of military veterans has sued several Missouri educational institutions, alleging that they were systematically overcharged, the Riverfront Times reports.

UPDATED 1:45 p.m. Feb. 8, 2011:

Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk of Illinois joined Missouri counterparts Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt in a letter Monday seeking the explanation from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.