Flood Relief, Education
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Governor Blunt is seeking federal assistance to pay for flood damage in 26 counties. Blunt asked that residents and businesses in some counties be eligible for low-interest loans and grants. For other counties, the governor is asking that local governments get reimbursed for repairs and cleanup. Joint federal, state and local assessment teams discovered damage to 558 homes and 72 businesses. They also identified more than $29 million worth of damage to public infrastructure. President Bush must approve the request.
KANSAS CITY (AP) - Prosecutors in Kansas City have charged two men with the shooting death of a three-year-old boy who was riding his Big Wheel in his front yard. Twenty-year-old Terry George Junior and 20-year-old Tony Hall are charged with second-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child in the death of Robert Lee Jackson Junior. Police say the two men were fighting Wednesday in the yard and brandished guns. Hall then allegedly fired several shots, with one hitting Robert, who was playing nearby. Authorities say they've responded to the house five times since January 2001. Three of those times were for disturbances involving gunfire. The boy's father says his son was living with his mother's family at the house because the two are separated.
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - A man who helped create the state's higher education loan authority wants voters to decide whether to sell some assets. Lawmakers approved a plan pushed by Governor Blunt to use $350 million from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority over six years. It would use the proceeds for college scholarships and campus construction. Allan Purdy filed a petition for a statewide vote on whether to sell part of the loan authority's assets. To get the issue on the ballot, at least five percent of voters in six of the state's nine congressional districts must sign the petition. A spokesman for Blunt says the governor's plan provides money for needed projects and has wide support.
BLOOMFIELD (AP) - Bloomfield seems like the kind of place that would be a stronghold of support for the war in Iraq. It has a veterans cemetery and a patriotic museum dedicated to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. But it doesn't take many conversations to sense discontent and frustration with the war, even in the politically conservative Missouri Bootheel. Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson earlier this month was part of a group of moderate House Republicans who gave President Bush frank assessments of the war's progress. She says it's clear that even in her mostly rural district, patience is running thin.
MONTGOMERY CITY (AP) - A former eastern-Missouri teacher and coach was convicted of molesting a student. A jury convicted 30-year-old Jason Devlin of child molestation but acquitted him of statutory rape and statutory sodomy. Authorities say the victim was 14 when she and Devlin had sex in 2004. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July. The jury recommended a sentence of one year in the county jail and a fine. Devlin was a social studies teacher and cross-country coach at Montgomery County R-Two High School at the time. Devlin's wife, Shannon, is charged with witness tampering for allegedly trying to make the victim recant her statements. Her trial is set to begin June eighth in Montgomery County.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A man pleaded guilty in a case where federal prosecutors said a child was essentially bought and sold for crack cocaine. John Geiler Junior entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child. The Jefferson County man took a 17-year-old girl from that county to St. Louis to work as a prostitute in January. Prosecutors say he also provided her with crack and engaged in a sexual act with her. Geiler is scheduled for sentencing in August. Another defendant pleaded guilty to a related charge last month.