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Missouri opens state recovery center in Joplin

JOPLIN (AP) — The state of Missouri opened a new facility in Joplin on Tuesday designed to give residents in the city struck by a deadly tornado last month one place to go for help with such things as temporary housing, unemployment assistance and replacement driver’s licenses.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order establishing the state resource center and said recovery efforts in Joplin would help to make the city stronger.

“As a state, we are committed to rebuilding Joplin and helping this community move forward,” Nixon said. “This Resource, Recovery and Rebuilding Center will be a one-stop shop for state assistance, information and support as we move forward.”

Numerous state agencies were to have a presence in the new recovery center. For example, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was to help with education issues, the state Department of Health and Senior Services was focused on disease prevention and the state insurance agency was there to handle insurance issues and complaints.

The Department of Mental Health planned to focus on grief counseling and mental health services, and the Department of Natural Resources was to address water, solid waste and other environmental issues.

The center will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The acting director will be Kip Stetzler, who was the interim director of the Department of Natural Resources under Nixon.

Meanwhile, landfills in southeast Kansas will be receiving between 2 million and 3 million cubic yards of construction and demolition debris left by the May 22 tornado that struck Joplin.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says Tuesday that the southeast Kansas sites in Crawford and Cherokee counties were the preferred sites for taking the debris. The department’s Bureau of Waste Management is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The first loads of debris were shipped to Kansas June 2. Several hundred truckloads a day are expected through mid-August.

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