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Morning headlines: Monday August 15th, 2011

Rick Meyer
Tree limbs are piled up near Saint John's Hospital in Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011. Officials say a deadly tornado cut a path a mile wide by four miles, destroying over 2000 homes and businesses. 116 people have died so far.

Joplin to announce plans for new hospital

Joplin residents will learn this week where a new hospital will be built to replace one destroyed by the May 22 tornado.

Officials with St. John's Mercy announced Monday that the new site and rebuilding plans will be announced Tuesday evening at the Joplin Holiday Inn.

Since the 367-bed hospital was destroyed by the tornado, St. John's has been operating out of temporary units on the site of the old hospital while planning to rebuild one of Joplin's largest employers.

Biker gangs shoot it out on I-44

Law enforcement officers aren't getting many answers as they investigate a fight between at least two motorcycle gangs on Interstate 44 in Pulaski County.

Missouri Highway patrol spokesman Sgt. Don Crain says at least two people suffered superficial gunshot wounds in the fight Saturday night west of Buckhorn in Pulaski County. 

The Springfield News-Leader reports that witnesses told police that at least 20 people were involved in the fight, which briefly shut down traffic on the interstate.

By the time officers arrived, the motorcyclists were gone. Officers who stopped motorcyclists nearby were not able to get any information, even from a man who had been shot.

Crain said it wasn't clear motorcycle gangs were involved.


Small business loans for Southeast Missouri businesses

An effort has begun to make it easier to get small loans in the nation's Delta region.

Southeast Missouri State University says in a news release that it's working with a nonprofit microlender called ACCION Texas Inc. The company's loans range from $500 to $100,000.

The concept will expand with ACCION Delta, which will serve 252 counties and parishes in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. ACCION Delta's regional office will be located at the Cape Girardeau school.

A federal-state partnership called the Delta Regional Authority serves the area. The authority's federal co-chairman, Chris Masingill, says it's more important than even to ensure smaller businesses have the resources they need to grow.




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