Missouri’s special program to make drafty homes warmer for Missouri’s poor people is in full swing. The natural resources department’s home weatherization program has been underway since 1978. It uses federal money to make the homes of people in poverty more energy efficient. $137,000 homes have been weatherized in the last two decades-plus. Project director Ron Wyse says there are still more than $200,000 additional households that are eligible. The program targets families that are at 150% of the federal poverty level, an increase from previous years so that more Missourians are eligible.
Archives for December 2000
Money is pouring into the charity designated as the recipient of memorials in honor of the late Governor Mel Carnahan. The Children’s Trust Fund, created in 1983 to prevent child abuse and neglect, has had a good year, with more than $180,000 raised so far. The Fund’s Executive Director, Bill Heberle, says at least some good has come out of the tragic death of Governor Carnahan, in that the Fund has received tens of thousands of dollars in Carnahan’s honor.
Petitions to put a new concealed weapons law on the ballot in two years have been approved for circulation by the Secretary of State. St. Louis resident Stephen Umscheid is behind it. He tried to circulate a petition this year, using the same language, but says he only gathered 1,700 signatures, whereas the state requirement is 73,000 to get a vote on the ballot. Umscheid says he didn’t push his petition because he was urged to support Jim Talent’s campaign for Governor instead. He hopes to have the vote ready to go by November 2002.
wasn’t sure what job he wanted next, but he was tired of law enforcement. After the head of the Missouri Water Patrol revealed his intention to resign in a letter to Governor-elect Bob Holden, Whitten was offered the chance to replace the retiring Camden County Clerk. He says its a chance to help people and to “return home.” Whitten began public office as the Sheriff in Camden County. He also served as a state representative in the area, before taking over the Water Patrol in 1993. He’ll be sworn in as clerk on Thursday.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce has come out against a proposal expected to be introduced in the upcoming session of the Missouri General Assembly. It’s a tax simplification plan designed to ease inter-state commerce by eliminating certain local sales taxes and shifting them to the state level. The Chamber’s Ray McCarty says the proposal calls for the elimination of tourism taxes, which are used to help communities and fund convention and visitors bureaus. McCarty claims cities and counties would lose more than $155 million in sales tax revenue, or 12% of their current tax base.
Less-than-stellar kettle donations this season have forced bell-ringers in Kansas City back on the streets today. It’s an unprecedented move–Colonel Ted Dahlberg with the local Salvation Army chapter says his bell-ringers have never worked after Christmas before. The charity reports being behind $500,000 dollars its fundraising drive in Kansas City. Dahlberg blames the shortfall on weather. Also, bell-ringers normally have a heyday the day before Christmas, but didn’t work that day this year because it fell on a Sunday.
A main street fire has destroyed a couple of 19th century buildings in downtown Trenton, in northwest Missouri. The fire has destroyed a barber shop, a tanning salon and a church, among other structures. It also badly damaged a vacant storefront. A representative from the state fire marshal’s office is trying to find the cause. No injuries were reported in the blaze, although one pet died in an apartment above the tanning salon.
It appears a diagnosis of terminal cancer is what has led a Columbia man to kill himself and his wife. Police say James Allen Smith, who was 83 and had been diagnosed with incurable Cancer on Friday killed his 80-year old wife, Betty Lou, then himself on Saturday. A family member had spoken with the couple earlier in the day on Saturday, and then found the bodies later when dropping off some groceries.
M.U. political science professor Rick Hardy sees John Ashcroft winning confirmation as Attorney General fairly easily. President-elect George W. Bush announced Ashcroft as his nominee earlier today. Hardy thinks the strongest questions will come from the Senate Judiciary committee, about his positions on abortion and the separation of church and state. But he thinks Ashcroft will benefit from being heard before his senate colleagues. Hardy thinks conservatives will be overjoyed with the nomination. He’s not sure where the job will lead Ashcroft, saying it’s not especially conducive to running for President or running for U.S. Senate again. Hardy ran for congress as a Republican in 1994.
President-elect George W. Bush has finally made his choice for U.S. Attorney General–Senator John Ashcroft! Bush emphasized he expects Ashcroft to run the justice department with unquestionable integrity, and in a fair, firm, and impartial manner. If confirmed, Ashcroft will return to Washington as Bush’s choice as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. He lost his senate seat to the late Governor Mel Carnahan, whose widow, Jean Carnahan, will be serving in his place.