3 former Joplin residents face fraud charges
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Three former Joplin residents faces federal charges accusing them of diverting relief funds after the 2011 tornado.
The U.S. Attorney's office for western Missouri said in a release Monday that 31-year-old Herlana Latham and 36-year-old Christopher L. Smith, both of Memphis, Tenn., and 30-year-old John L. Williams, of Cairo, Ill., are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud.
Prosecutors say Latham was employed by a Joplin non-profit that distributed funds to landlords who rented to clients displaced by the May 2011 tornado. Prosecutors say Latham submitted fake applications for rental payments to Smith and Williams.
The indictment cites five specific checks, ranging from $1,050 to $2,000.
Online court records don't list lawyers Latham and Williams. Smith's lawyer didn't immediately return a phone message.
KC POLICE CUSTODY-DEATH
Man dies in KC police custody
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A man has died after a struggle with Kansas City police officers.
Police said in a release that a woman called police early Monday reporting that a man she didn't know had jumped into her car and was refusing to leave.
When officers arrived, the man also refused their commands to leave the car.
The Kansas City Star reports that police physically forced the man out, and as they struggled with him an officer stunned him once by pressing a stun gun against his body.
Officers noticed he didn't look well and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but the man died later at a hospital. The man's identity has not been released.
Police say an autopsy will determine the cause of death.
Leadership competition takes shape in Mo. House
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A leadership competition is brewing within the Republican caucus that has controlled the Missouri House for the past decade.
Caleb Jones, of California, Mo., said Monday he is running for House speaker. That top leadership post also is being sought by current House Majority Leader John Diehl, of St. Louis County.
Republicans now hold a veto-proof majority in the House. Current House Speaker Tim Jones is barred by term limits from seeking re-election in November 2014 to the House.
Caleb Jones says there has been too much "top-down" leadership and that lawmakers are eager for some changes. Diehl says he will work to maintain and increase the Republican majority. He says he would be focused entirely on his speaker duties because he does not plan to seek another office.
$1 million Powerball ticket sold in O'Fallon
O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Lottery is urging the holder of a $1 million Powerball ticket to come forward.
Someone matched all five white-ball numbers drawn in Saturday's Powerball drawing, and the ticket was purchased at a QuikTrip in the St. Charles County town of O'Fallon. The winning numbers were 28, 36, 40, 48 and 55.
The winner has 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim the prize - in this case, until Dec. 12. Prizes can be claimed at Lottery offices in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Jefferson City.
Some question choice of tree for Arch grounds
ST. LOUIS (AP) - The ash trees on the grounds of the Gateway Arch are expected to die off soon, and they're being removed. But the sapling picked as their replacement has its own problems.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the London plane tree is also threatened.
The emerald ash borer is a beetle first identified in Michigan in 2002. By 2010 it had been detected in 15 states, including southern Missouri. Experts say it is only a matter of time before the ash trees on the Arch grounds would succumb.
The National Park Service is replacing the ash trees with the plane tree. But a black fungus has infected and killed tens of thousands of plane trees across Europe.
Park service officials say no species is perfect.
KC downtown losing office tenants
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The multi-billion dollar makeover of the greater downtown Kansas City area over the past decade was intended in part to draw businesses, but census figures show the area has lost nearly 20% of its private employees in that period.
The Kansas City Star reports that U.S. Census data from 2001 to 2011 show that greater downtown lost nearly 20% of its private employees -- more than 16,000 jobs.
That decade covers the period from shortly before the downtown redevelopment boom began to just after the major redevelopment projects, like Kansas City Power and Light District, were completed.
Bill Dietrich, president and CEO of the Downtown Council, says he believes it would have been worse if the city hadn't reinvested so heavily in downtown over the last decade.
Man robs bank, escapes on bike
ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis police are looking for a bank robbery with an unusual getaway vehicle: A bicycle.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the robbery happened Monday morning at a Commerce Bank branch on Grand Boulevard. The suspect did not display a weapon but got away with an undisclosed amount of money.
He was seen soon after the robbery riding his bicycle west toward Tower Grove Park.
Facebook appeal prompts return of prized gun
TROY, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri man has his prized gun back thanks to an apparent change of heart by the thief, following an emotional appeal on Facebook.
KSDK-TV reports that Chad Smith of Troy discovered Saturday that his Smith & Wesson pistol had been stolen. The gun had been handed down to him from his father.
Both Smith and his dad worked as pastors. Smith currently runs a ministry for troubled kids. He suspected 1 of them may have stolen the gun.
Smith posted a video offering forgiveness for the thief. Word spread through friends and strangers about the video.
On Sunday - Father's Day - the gun turned up on Smith's porch.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.