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Morning headlines: Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley at a press conference in March 2010 about the census. The U.S. Census figures show Missourians from middle age through retirement are accounting for an increased share of the population.

Missouri Census Figures Show Increase in Retirement Age Population

The U.S. Census Bureau released the latest round of population figures last night. They show Missourian's median age is now 37.9. That's up nearly two years from the 36.1 median in 2000. Missouri's retirement-age population of people at least 65 years old grew by more than 10 percent since 2000. And residents 85 years and older grew by 15 percent - though they still account for less than 2 percent of the nearly 6 million people living in Missouri. At the same time, the number of school-aged children between 5 and 14 years old declined over the decade.

State Senator Urging Nixon to Call Special Session About Nuclear Power

A state senator is urging Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to order lawmakers back for a special session about nuclear  power. The House and Senate adjourned last week without agreeing on legislation allowing utilities to charge electric customers for some of the initial costs of developing a nuclear power plant.

Republican Mike Kehoe, of Jefferson City, says the measure has bipartisan support and would signal support for expanding nuclear energy in Missouri. Kehoe sent Nixon a letter seeking the special session.

A group of utilities announced last fall they were considering seeking an early site permit from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The permit would not authorize construction, and the utilities have not committed to building a plant. Nixon endorsed the proposal last fall.

Tax Credit for Food Pantries to Expire in August
A tax credit for donations to food pantries will be expiring later this year after Missouri lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would have extended it.

The program provides tax credits equal to half the donations worth  up to $5,000 to food pantries. But the program is due to expire Aug. 28. Legislation that would have extended the program four additional years failed to pass before lawmakers adjourned their annual session last week.

The Missouri Food Bank Association says nearly $1 million worth of food pantry tax credits were claimed last year. Association Executive Director Scott Baker says hunger remains a problem for a significant number of Missourians and now is a poor time to end the donation incentives.

University of Missouri Curators Meet to Discuss Presidential Search

University of Missouri curators are holding a special meeting over two days in Kansas City to discuss the search for a new president for the four-campus system. The board is scheduled to meet briefly in public at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. But the board will also convene behind closed doors to discuss the confidential search process.

Curators are seeking a replacement for former Sprint Nextel CEO Gary Forsee, who resigned in January after nearly three years as president to care for his ill wife. General counsel Steve Owens took over on an interim basis but is not interested in the permanent job.

Campus leaders expect the presidential search to last at least through the fall.


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