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Advance student to compete in National Spelling BeePosted Monday, March 7, 2011, at 2:47 PM
POPLAR BLUFF, MO -- Summer Johnston of Advance will once again represent Southeast Missouri at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., this summer.
"It was both nerve-racking and fun, just like a sport," said Johnston on Saturday, Feb. 26, after winning the Southeast Missouri Regional Spelling Bee for the second year in a row. "Spelling is something that I really enjoy. This is a really big accomplishment for me; I set this goal to win again."
Summer is the daughter of Sam and Jill Johnston and an 8th-grader at Advance. Johnston said her mother has helped her study all year in preparation for her second chance to make it to the National Spelling Bee. Johnston competed in Washington last year and made it through three preliminary rounds before being eliminated.
2011 marks the second year that Three Rivers has hosted an official Scripps spelling bee. This year's competition included almost 40 spellers, all elementary and middle-school aged. Three Rivers College is one of only a handful of higher education institutions in the nation to sponsor such an event, and the only community college in Missouri to do so.
HB-442-Veteran Preference for State Contracts
This bill was voted Do Pass, by consent, out of the Veteran's Committee on February 23, 2011. It requires the Commissioner of the Office of Administration to give a bidding preference consisting of a five-point bonus on bids on a state contract for goods and services manufactured, produced, or assembled by a qualified veteran-owned business headquartered in Missouri.
The term "veteran-owned business" means a business which is owned at least 51% by one or more veterans with verifiable military service or, in the case of a publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock in the business is owned by one or more veterans and the management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more veterans.
Number of River Runner Riders Continues to Rise
JEFFERSON CITY -- More and more Missourians are choosing to travel by train. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, ridership on Amtrak's Missouri River Runner trains has grown every month, except for May, since October 2009. In January, that pattern continued with a 13.3 percent increase in passengers compared to the same period last year.
"The number of passengers on the Missouri River Runner continues to grow because the service has become consistently reliable. It has also proved to be a dependable transportation option this winter, especially during the historic snow storm," said Rod Massman, MoDOT rail administrator. "Now with gas prices increasing to over $3 a gallon, and possibly climbing higher this summer, the train will continue to be an important option for travelers."
One factor that continues to help Missouri River Runner trains draw customers is its on-time performance, which was at 90 percent in January. The Missouri service also attained a 92 percent customer satisfaction rate in December, the fourth best out of 27 Amtrak state-supported and other short distance routes.
Amtrak trains have been supported by the state financially since 1979. Growth in ridership increases ticket revenues and helps keep the state's costs for the service down.
In addition, Missouri has received $37 million to date from the Federal Railroad Administration to remove bottlenecks along the corridor, conduct a comprehensive state rail plan and improve access to the St. Louis Gateway Station. Plus, many communities along the St. Louis -- Kansas City corridor continue their support of the service in that long-awaited station renovations in Sedalia are nearly complete and Hermann is in the final planning stages for a new station. Altogether, these projects will add capacity and build an even better and more reliable passenger train service across Missouri.
Visitors In The Capitol
Eagle Scout Award Winner -- Jonathan Deneke -- Troop 4011 in Gordonville.
Ruth Dockins-SEMO Area Agency on Aging.
Silver Haired Legislators - June Majors and Doug Austin.
Ed Gargas, Wes Howard, and Jason Comfort -- County Wide Insurance Agency.
Working For You In The District And At The Capitol.
Rep. Billy Pat Wright, District 159
"I Promise To Serve Everyone In The District"
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