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This Hour: Latest Missouri news, sports, business and entertainment

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MEDICAID DELAYS

Long delays in Missouri's Medicaid program

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missourians trying to use a call center to sign up for the state's Medicaid program are running into long delays, prompting nearly half of them to hang up before they get help.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the delays and busy signals violate the state's contract with the private company that runs the call center.

The Department of Social Services has told the company, Mississippi-based YoungWilliams, to correct the problems within five business days of Aug. 28 or the state might withhold 10 percent of the company's next monthly payment.

A YoungWilliams official says 10 more staffers are beginning work this week and another seven are in the new hiring process.

To date, YoungWilliams has been paid about $9.4 million for its call center services.

CENTENE-FERGUSON

Centene to bring new claims center to Ferguson

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Centene Corp. plans to build a claims processing center in Ferguson, the site of protests in the three weeks since the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The company says the center will bring up to 200 jobs to the St. Louis suburb.

Centene's chairman and CEO Michael Neidorff said in a statement that the company chose Ferguson as a way to help it recover from the unrest caused by Brown's shooting on Aug. 9.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the site of the center in Ferguson has not been selected but the company hopes to open the business next year.

Centene is a managed care company. The new center will process claims from its Missouri-based State Health Plan, as well as overflow from other states.

ELECTRIC RATES-KCP&L

Electric bills increasing for KCP&L customers

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Customers of Kansas City Power & Light Co. will be paying a little more each month for their electricity.

The Missouri Public Service Commission says bills will be going up starting in September to account for higher fuel costs for the Kansas City-based utility.

It says typical residential customers in the Kansas City service area will pay an additional $2.44 a month while customers in the St. Joseph service area will pay an additional $1.20 a month.

KCP&L's Greater Missouri Operations Co. serves about 313,000 electric customers in the state.

MIDWEST ECONOMY

Report: Midwest economic index inched up in August

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A monthly economic survey index for nine Midwestern and Plains states rose slightly in August, suggesting growth is ahead.

A survey report issued Tuesday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index inched up to 57.2 last month from 57.0 in July. The index had reached a three-year high of 60.6 in June.

Looking six months ahead, the business confidence portion of the overall index climbed to 60.4 from 60.0 in July. It had hit 63.6 in June.

The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers at Creighton University say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline.

The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

PINE LAWN-RESISTING ARREST

Police: Missouri teenager threatened officer, fled

PINE LAWN, Mo. (AP) - Police say they've arrested a Pine Lawn teenager who pointed a pistol at an officer during a traffic stop and then fled.

Pine Lawn Police Lt. Steven Blakeney tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the officer stopped the 17-year-old's car Monday morning because its headlights were off. He says the teen and another man pointed pistols at the officer and ran away. A third man also fled the vehicle.

The officer says the driver lost both of his shoes before running into the woods. The teen surrendered to a St. Ann officer with a police dog.

The teen was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, armed criminal action and resisting arrest. It's unclear if the passengers were arrested.

The Associated Press typically doesn't identify minors charged with crimes.

LOCAL FOOD-SCHOOL MEALS

Missouri seeks to get more local food into schools

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri is offering grants to help get more locally produced food into school meals and snacks.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced in a news release that applications will be accepted through October 31. To qualify for competitive grants of up to $200,000, applicants must purchase or process food from small farmers or produce food themselves.

Agriculture Director Richard Fordyce says the goal is increase the amount of Missouri-made food served to students and benefit Missouri farmers.

Legislation signed into law in July authorized the program.

The effort comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires schools to serve healthier meals, featuring more fruits and vegetables. Schools must meet the requirements to receive federal reimbursements for serving free and low-cost meals to low-income students.

CHAMBER-BIG IDEAS

KC Chamber updates 'Big 5' ideas for growth

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce says it's making strides toward meeting its top goals for the region.

The goals, dubbed the Big 5, were identified nearly three years ago.

They include moving the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City to a new downtown location. In its latest Big 5 update, the chamber noted that a site adjacent to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts has been selected, and fundraising continues.

Another goal is revitalizing urban neighborhoods. The chamber says a group called the Urban Neighborhood Initiative is working with the Kansas City school district to develop a new, high-achieving charter elementary school to be surrounded by new, mixed-use housing.

Chamber President & CEO Jim Heeter says he's pleased with the results.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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