MISSOURI DISASTER ASSISTANCE
Mo. counties to receive aid after April storms
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon says federal help is being offered to residents and businesses in several eastern Missouri counties affected by severe weather in April.
Nixon's office said Tuesday the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest loans to residents and businesses in Jefferson County. That means assistance also will be available in neighboring Franklin, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, St. Louis and Washington counties.
The loans can be used for repairs and rebuilding.
The assistance covers damage from storms that brought floods, tornadoes and high winds in the affected counties over a 10-day period beginning April 16.
SBA employees will be at the De Soto Public Library on Wednesday to issue loan applications and answer questions.
Man gets 12 years for striking SE Mo. joggers
JACKSON, Mo. (AP) - An Arkansas man who admitted driving into a group of joggers in southeast Missouri has been given a 12-year prison term.
The Southeast Missourian reports that 19-year-old Vincent Anderson, of Little Rock, was sentenced Tuesday in Cape Girardeau County Circuit Court.
Anderson pleaded guilty last month to first-degree assault, admitting he drove directly at the joggers in downtown Cape Girardeau last Oct. 28 in a stolen car. Three people suffered minor injuries.
Anderson's passenger, 27-year-old Marcus Jones, of Cotton Plant, Ark., was sentenced earlier to 90 days in jail for two misdemeanors in connection with the case.
A prosecutor showed the judge at Tuesday's sentencing two videos taken from Jones's cellphone, in which a man is heard swearing and laughing as tires squeal in the background.
Anderson apologized Tuesday to the victims.
2 new lawsuits filed over KC priest sex abuse
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Two new lawsuits have been filed against a Kansas City priest convicted of taking lewd photographs and the officials who oversaw him.
Plaintiff's attorney Rebecca Randles says the latest suits bring the total number of cases filed over the Rev. Shawn Ratigan's conduct to seven. Ratigan pleaded guilty in August to producing child pornography after police learned of hundreds of images of children, most of them clothed, with the focus on their crotch areas.
Ratigan's case led Bishop Robert Finn to be charged with failing to report suspected abuse because there was a delay in notifying authorities. Finn became the highest-ranking U.S. church official to be convicted of a crime related to the child sexual abuse scandal.
The diocese released a statement expressing "profound sorrow" for any harm Ratigan caused.
Vandals put Joplin firm out of business for 2 days
(Information in the following story is from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com)
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - A Joplin business owner says vandals who struck over the weekend forced him to shut down for two days amid an estimated $37,000 in damage and theft.
The Joplin Globe reports that the vandals broke into two buildings at Big John's Heavy Equipment and did extensive damage to the company's vehicles.
Big John's has five employees. Owner Sid Davis says it's the third time the company has been vandalized in the past year.
Davis is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to arrests and convictions in the latest incident.
Dozen arrests at mine worker rally
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Another round of protests involving United Mine Workers of America and their supporters results in about a dozen arrests in downtown St. Louis.
Several hundred protesters gathered again Tuesday near the federal courthouse, the site of a recent bankruptcy case involving St. Louis-based Patriot Coal. The protesters were peacefully arrested for sitting in the street.
Patriot filed for bankruptcy in July. Protesters are angry about Patriot's plan to cut health-care and retirement benefits. Patriot says the moves are necessary to keep the company afloat.
Similar arrests have occurred at other protests in St. Louis in recent months.
'Bishop' would-be pipe bomber gets 37 years
CHICAGO (AP) - An Iowa letter carrier has been sentenced to 37 years in prison for sending dud pipe bombs with threatening letters signed "The Bishop."
U.S. District Judge Robert Dow issued the sentence Tuesday afternoon, saying John Tomkins "engaged in a reign of terror." The 48-year-old Dubuque, Iowa man previously apologized, saying there were "no words to describe" his "shame." Tomkins was trying to drive up the value of shares he owned. One package was sent to Denver and another to Kansas City, Mo.
Jurors convicted Tomkins last year. The most serious charge was for use of a destructive device while mailing threatening communications. It carried a mandatory sentence of at least 30 years.
Tomkins last month said the mandatory minimum was unfair. Prosecutors sought a sentence of around 45 years.
OKLAHOMA TORNADO-WALMART DONATION
Walmart pledges $1M for Moore tornado recovery
MOORE, Okla. (AP) - Walmart says it is pledging $1 million for the recovery from the tornado that devastated Moore.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based company said Tuesday that it will make donations of cash and materials equal to $1 million.
Walmart is also sending truckloads of food, water and other basic items to serve as immediate aid.
The world's largest retailer says no customers or employees were injured in its two stores in Moore. But the company says some workers' homes were destroyed and that it is still checking on the needs of its employees.
The company is sending workers from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Texas to the affected areas so members of Oklahoma crews can be with their families.
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