Region/state digest 06/14/03

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Temporary FEMA center to close Wednesday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery center in Jackson will close Wednesday, although FEMA officials say victims of the May 6 tornado can still apply over the telephone until July 7.

Those who wish to apply over the phone or who have general questions regarding financial assistance can call (800) 621-3362 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Coroner says three died of drug overdoses

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A coroner ruled this week that three women found dead in the same rural residence all died of accidental methadone overdoses.

Authorities said Jamie Ann Sommers, 44, was found dead May 14 in the home north of Poplar Bluff the women shared.

Five days later, Theresa Kay Orr, 45, and Margie Ann Parker, 50, were found dead.

After the first death, Butler County deputy coroner Bruce Goin conducted interviews with the two other women. "Neither of these women were very forthcoming about the medications they were taking," said Butler County Coroner Larry Cotrell.

Methadone is a prescription medication commonly used to ease people off heroin.

But, Cotrell said, there was no evidence that the women were heroin users.

Kennett workers find smoldering area on roof

KENNETT, Mo. -- A recent lightning strike is believed to be the cause of a Friday morning fire at a Kennett business.

According to Parker-Hannifin maintenance employee Danny Johnson, part of the plant's roof had apparently been smoldering for approximately two days since a lightning storm but the source of the fire could not be located.

Early Friday, employees found "a dry circle about 8-foot around on the roof while the rest of the roof was wet with dew," Johnson said.

Kennett firefighters responded to the scene shortly before 3 a.m. Friday. According to Kennett Fire Department Capt. Paul Spain, a new thermal camera allowed firefighters to zero in on the fire.

Delayed tax refunds to be mailed this month

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- For Missourians still waiting for their state income tax refunds, here is some good news: The check should be in the mail by the end of the month.

Budget troubles caused the state to slow the pace of refunds for the third consecutive year.

Although the state already has issued $507 million in refunds, it still has $146 million more to issue. That translates to about 361,000 tax refunds left to mail.

The state plans to issue all remaining refunds before June 30. By law, Missouri must issue the refunds by Aug. 15 or add 6 percent interest.

-- From staff, wire reports

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