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SBA to offer low-interest loans to Missouri storm victims, after FEMA turns down aid request

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 15, 2012 - Missouri  Gov. Jay Nixon just announced that the federal Small Business Administration will provide financial assistance, in the form of loans, to eligible residents and businesses in 14 Missouri counties who suffered damage during the severe storms and tornadoes that struck southern Missouri in late February.

“The low-interest disaster loans will be available to qualified homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations with eligible losses,” Nixon said in an announcement today.

His request for direct aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency was denied a few days ago.

The counties eligible for SBA assistance are: Barry, Camden, Christian, Dallas, Douglas, Greene, Hickory, Laclede, Lawrence, Ozark, Polk, Stone, Taney and Webster. 

“Missouri again dealt with deadly and destructive tornadoes and severe storms late last month, and residents and businesses are facing substantial costs for clean up, repair and rebuilding,” said Nixon in a statement. “The SBA low-interest loans that will now be available in these 14 counties can assist eligible residents and businesses as they rebuild and recover.”

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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