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Morning headlines: Monday, July 25, 2011

Flickr/Tony the Misfit
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, November 2009. Amish country.

Missouri's Amish population on the rise

Missouri has the fourth-highest Amish population growth rate in the country. Between 2009 and 2011, the Amish population grew by 15 percent, according to Donald Kraybill at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.

Kraybill says that the population boom is fueled by large family size, high retention rates and immigration.

Missouri is attractive to Amish settlers for a number of reasons, Kraybill says.

 "They are looking for good farm land," said Kraybill. "They are looking for rural isolation. They are looking for good prices for land and looking for local communities that will be hospitable to them and welcome them."

 There are now 41 settlements and a little more than 10,000 Amish in Missouri.

Enrollment low for Mo. health plan required by federal law

A federal law requiring states to offer health-insurance plans for people with pre-existing conditions has been in effect for a year. The result in Missouri is that about 500 additional people with chronic health problems now have insurance.

Yet that's far fewer than had been expected. Missouri Health Insurance Pool director Vernita McMurtrey says officials had expected about 3,000 people to enroll in the program. Missouri is not unique. Nationwide, enrollment is far short of projections that had been made when President Barack Obama signed the health care law in 2010.

Health care analysts and insurance executives cite several factors, including the cost of the insurance premiums and a requirement that people must go without insurance for six months before they are eligible to enroll.

Amtrak to restore service Wed.

Amtrak plans to restore full train service Wednesday between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Amtrak announced this weekend that the Missouri River Runner will resume operating its morning westbound 311 train from St. Louis and the afternoon eastbound 316 train from Kansas City.

Until that happens, chartered motor coaches will continue to be used.

The disruptions started July 2 and have been the result of flooding.


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