Missouri has not seen a decade of population growth like this one for 100 years. The census bureau says Missouri grew by almost 480,000 people this decade, 9% increase. State demographer Ryan Burson says it’s the biggest population boom in a century in two categories, percentage growth and overall growth. He says you have to go back to the 1880’s to see that level of growth in Missouri. The first census in Missouri was taken in 1810. We had fewer than 20,000 people here then. The census bureau says our population now is almost 5.6 million people.
Archives for December 2000
A space heater is being blamed for the fire that destroyed most of Fayette High School. Assistant State Fire Marshal Randy Cole says it wasn’t turned on. Someone had set some items on top of the unit’s power cord, however, which subsequently caught fire. The heater was located in the school’s administrative offices. Cole did not have any dollar figures available on damage. The beginning of classes have been pushed back in Fayette from January 2nd to at least January 8th.
Administrators at Fayette Public Schools are trying to figure out how to proceed now that the high school has been mostly destroyed by fire. Superintendent Larry Leech says he hopes to keep the 200-plus students on campus by splitting up an elementary school gymnasium or finding some other large space. Administrators met this afternoon to discuss the situation. The state fire marshal’s office is on the scene today looking for a cause. Local fire officials say both of the schools major classroom buildings were destroyed, along with a brand new $200,000 dollar library.
Kemper Military School in Boonville, which came within a whisker of closing last summer, has finished its fall semester. It has also received approval from a bankruptcy judge to continue for a spring semester.School Vice President Ben Phelps says the school has to give the judge a budget every month. And Colonel Phelps says the school is looking much better, financially. A student fund-raising effort and the support from a couple of non-profit organizations have stabilized Kemper’s funding. Phelps says he’s comfortable that the school will continue into next year.
A Springfield man has walked into a home furnishing store and shot his estranged wife to death, and then has killed himself. Police say Jeffrey Lawson shot his wife, Michelle, several times. She died during surgery. He was dead at the scene from a single gunshot wound to the chest.Co-workers say he asked to talk to his estranged wife in a conference room. Shortly after, they heard gunfire, and found the two bodies.
A central Missouri high school is in ruins. The larger part of Fayette High School was completely destroyed by an early morning fire. The blaze broke out shortly after three this morning. No word on what caused it. Crews found the two major classroom buildings on campus completely engulfed in flames. Fayette school board secretary Trish Hilgedick says all of Fayette High school’s classrooms were ruined, as were the library that connected them. The school’s gym and a bandroom escaped severe damage. No decision has been made about what to do with the more than 200 students who’re scheduled to return to class January 2nd.
Missouri’s Division of Family Services is defending itself in the wake of a performance audit which found the Division isn’t doing enough to deal with child abuse and neglect. The report concludes the Division fails to adequately investigate cases. Division Director Denise Cross says the criticism is unfair because it focuses on isolated cases. Cross adds the audit ignores the improvements made to the system in the last several years.She also notes her workers don’t follow-up on all hotline calls–some are referred to other agencies, like the police.
Christmas vacation has become longer for many Missouri school children, but they might wind up paying for it in the Spring. A number of school districts have called off classes because of the weather and some of them have now used up all of the snow days they had scheduled for the entire year. The department of education’s Tom Ogle says it does seem early for districts to have this problem. Schools running out of snow days could shorten spring break or extend the length of the school. Some might have to do both. Children in Missouri must attend 174 days of class annually.
Springfield minister Francis Blacketer has pleaded guilty to ten charges in a mortgage fraud scheme that cost at least 75 investors almost two-million dollars. Blacketer admits that for almost a year he told investors he represented people wanting to get loans secured by mortgages. But the mortgages were for property owned by other individuals, or for property that did not exist. Blacketer is being held without bond. He will be sentenced later.
Eight Kansas City-area women convicted of being involved in an illegal pyramid scheme have been told to pay fines and restitution totaling almost $200,000 dollars. The attorney general shut down the Women’s Empowerment Network, which also goes by the Dinner Club, the Original Dinner Party and the Breakfast Club. Similar actions are pending against similar groups in other parts of the state.