Nixon announces programs to aid Joplin businesses

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Department of Economic Development will use $50 million in bond money to help Joplin-area manufacturers recover from the May 22 tornado.

Gov. Jay Nixon was in Joplin last week to announce $75 million in awards and modifications of existing programs aimed at helping business and industry in the Joplin area. Two-thirds of that funding comes from Private Activity Tax Exempt Bond capacity that has been set aside to aid the region.

Among other things, the governor also announced tax credits aimed at generating $14 million for investment for the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The funds will be used for business assistance, land acquisition and other activities related to the tornado recovery.

Meanwhile, a federal agency has lowered the number of Joplin tornado survivors who contracted a rare fungal disease from 12 to 10.

Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, says two of the cases that were initially believed to be caused by mucormycosis were caused by a different fungus.

Five of the people with the fungal infections have died. But authorities have said it was unclear what role the fungus played in their deaths because they had other serious ailments.

A team of investigators from the CDC is trying to pinpoint whether those who got the infections had common risk factors.

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