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

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MURDER FOR HIRE-DEATH

Kansas City woman in hit-man case dies behind bars

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A 62-year-old Kansas City woman serving five years in prison for trying to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband has died behind bars of apparent natural causes.

Chillicothe Correctional Center announced Tuesday that inmate Dorothy Cascone died Monday night at St. Mary's Medical Center in Jefferson City.

Cascone pleaded guilty in March 2011 to second-degree assault in the unsuccessful attempt to do away with George Cascone. Prosecutors said she bought life insurance on her ex-husband even though they had been divorced about 11 years.

Court records indicate she asked a man to shoot her ex-husband while he was sleeping late July 4 or early July 5, 2010, because fireworks and other guns would be going off. The plan fell apart when the man contacted federal investigators.

VETERANS HEALTH-WHISTLEBLOWERS

VA chief pledges end to whistleblower retaliation

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The acting secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs is vowing to crack down on whistleblower retaliation after a private government watchdog released a critical report on the agency's treatment of employees who brought internal problems to light.

Sloan Gibson spoke Tuesday in St. Louis during the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The former bank executive took over the VA in late May following the resignation of Eric Shinseki amid an uproar over treatment delays and falsified records at VA hospitals and clinics nationwide.

Gibson said the agency is "not going to tolerate" an environment in which workers are afraid to speak out about problems.

The Project for Government Oversight says it received complaints from nearly 800 current and former VA workers and veterans about possible wrongdoing.

KANSAS CITY SCHOOLS

Missouri delays vote on KC schools accreditation

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City schools will remain unaccredited for a while longer as students prepare for a new school year.

The school district had offered to drop a lawsuit challenging its unaccredited status if Missouri education officials would grant it temporary provisional accreditation for the school year starting Aug. 11.

The State Board of Education took no action Tuesday. But a spokeswoman said it would meet again Aug. 6, when it expects to have more data available to determine whether the district has earned provisional accreditation.

The label matters because districts that are unaccredited must pay the costs of students who choose to transfer to other nearby schools.

Kansas City school officials say just 24 of their nearly 16,000 students applied to transfer during the upcoming school year.

CANCER DRUG-FRAUD

Turkish citizen pleads guilty in drug fraud case

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Turkish citizen has pleaded guilty to federal charges for smuggling counterfeit and adulterated cancer treatment drugs into the United States.

Ozkan Semizoglu pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Sentencing is Oct. 28.

Semizoglu and a second Turkish citizen, Sabahaddin Akman, were indicted in January. Akman has pleaded not guilty. He is scheduled for trial on Sept. 2.

Federal prosecutors say Semizoglu and Akman smuggled three shipments from Turkey to Chesterfield, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb. They were arrested soon after the indictment, in Puerto Rico.

Semizoglu's attorney, David Bruns, says the plea is his client's first step to returning to his family in Turkey.

MISSOURI GOVERNOR-ETHANOL

Missouri governor tours Iowa ethanol plant

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon traveled to Iowa to get a personal look at the latest methods in ethanol production.

Nixon took the state plane Tuesday to tour a cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. He was accompanied by the Missouri agriculture and economic development directors.

The plant is a joint venture of Poet and Royal DSM and will use corncobs, leaves, husks and stalks to produce ethanol.

Poet also operates ethanol plants in Laddonia and Macon, Missouri, and is looking to expand its cellulosic ethanol production.

Iowa is often a destination for aspiring presidential candidates because of its early caucuses. But Nixon's office says there were no politics involved in the trip.

Spokesman Scott Holste said the ethanol plant was the only item on Nixon's schedule in Iowa.

GIRLFRIEND STRUCK

Police: Man hit pregnant girlfriend with car

SULLIVAN, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri man is facing charges for allegedly striking his pregnant girlfriend with a car, putting it in reverse, and trying to run down the woman's mother.

KMOV-TV (http://bit.ly/1qyywlc ) reports that 21-year-old David Lee Bullock was arrested Monday night on Sullivan. He is charged with domestic assault, armed criminal action and third-degree assault and jailed on $50,000 bond. He does not have a listed attorney.

Police say Bullock and his 21-year-old girlfriend argued earlier in the evening. The woman and her mother were outside a motel when they reportedly saw Bullock's car speeding toward them.

Bullock's girlfriend was struck. A witness said Bullock threw the car in reverse and tried to strike her mother. The victim is hospitalized in serious condition.

VA HOSPITAL-NURSE

Nurse pleads guilty to theft from VA hospital

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A nurse at the Veterans Administration hospital in St. Louis has pleaded guilty to federal charges, admitting that he stole pain medication from the hospital.

The nurse, 60-year-old Richard Goldman of Chesterfield, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of theft of U.S. property. He will be sentenced in October.

Goldman was indicted in April. Other charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Goldman's attorney, Kevin Dolley, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1qyy4mV ) that no veterans were deprived of their medications. The plea deal states that the stolen medications were mostly wasted product.

As part of the plea deal, Goldman will resign. He also must pay a $5,000 fine.

ABANDONED DOGS

Dogs taken from owner who planned to abandon them

VAN BUREN, Mo. (AP) - More than three dozen small-breed dogs have been removed from a property in southern Missouri amid reports that the owner planned to dump them along the side of a highway.

The Humane Society of Missouri announced the rescue Tuesday. The dogs include 39 Chihuahua and mixed-breed dogs, some of them puppies, taken Monday from property in Carter County.

The Humane Society says one of its investigators went to the site and found the owner putting the dogs into a single crate, saying she intended to dump them along the roadway. She agreed to give up the animals, who were kept Monday night in Cape Girardeau before being transported to St. Louis for examination.

Officials say some of the dogs have external parasites.

An investigation continues.

AIRPORT-BODY FOUND

Body found in fountain at Kansas City airport

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Police are investigating how a woman's body ended up in a pond connected to a fountain near the Kansas City International Airport.

Kansas City police on Tuesday identified the woman as 21-year-old Husenet Yassin.

Her body was found Monday afternoon during a routine check by airport security.

The Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office determined Yassin had died not long before her body was found.

A cause of death has not been determined. KCTV-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1lr5GuY ) police are listing the death as suspicious because of where the body was found.

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

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