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ST. LOUIS NEWS TODAY -

Kander Announces TumbleBookLibrary Deluxe at Missouri Public Libraries
JEFFERSON CITY, MO, (SLFP.com), September 14, 2016 - Secretary of State Jason Kander has announced a new statewide resource, TumbleBookLibrary Deluxe. This online subscription provides access, within the public library or remotely, to a collection of 550 animated, talking picture books; chapter books; and educational games for children in preschool through third grade.

"I'm pleased to offer access to these titles free of charge through public libraries across the state," Kander said. "I encourage all parents and caregivers to check out programs and books through your local libraries for you and your child to enjoy together."

Dynamic early reading experiences, such as those available through TumbleBookLibrary Deluxe, are essential to developing literacy, language and comprehension skills that equip children for success in school and life. Children struggling to read by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. However, when children are exposed to books and reading from an early age, they become better readers and are less likely to fall behind in the classroom.

TumbleBookLibrary Deluxe is provided entirely through Library Services and Technology Act funding. It is an expansion of the Missouri State Library's Racing to Read Initiative to promote early literacy.

For more information on TumblebookLibraryDeluxe, visit your local public library or contact the Missouri State Library at (573) 522-4036.


U.S. Bank Invests $2 Million in Ferguson Empowerment Center
ST. LOUIS, MO, (BUSINESS WIRE), September 11, 2016 - U.S. Bank is donating $20,000 and investing $2 million in the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis' new Ferguson Empowerment Center planned for the site of the former gasoline station that burned during racial unrest.

The $5.8 million Ferguson Empowerment Center, which is under construction at the former QuikTrip at 9420 W. Florissant Ave., will house multiple nonprofit organizations, providing employment assistance and training, financial literacy and asset building, counseling services and entrepreneurship training.

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, a division of U.S. Bank, invested the $2 million in equity raised from New Markets Tax Credits provided by Heartland Regional Investment Fund. The funding was critical to enable the Urban League to achieve its vision of building a larger, 13,000-square-foot center--triple the size it originally planned.

"Our investment in this project with the Urban League demonstrates U.S. Bank's commitment to providing an avenue for African-Americans, especially young people, to escape poverty and attain financial stability," said Steve Kramer, senior vice president of USBCDC.

In addition to the Urban League's Save Our Sons program, several other charitable and social service agencies plan to lease space to provide a range of services in the Ferguson Empowerment Center. Tenants include the Lutheran Church of Missouri, Better Family Life, the University of Missouri Extension, Provident Inc. and the Salvation Army.

The center will provide 65 construction jobs and 18 permanent jobs.

"This funding from U.S. Bank was essential for us to reach our goal of a larger building to house more agencies that could meet a greater range of needs not just in Ferguson but in surrounding municipalities and beyond," said Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO of the Urban League. "We are grateful to U.S. Bank for this investment in our building and in our young people's futures."

With this latest $20,000 donation, U.S. Bank has contributed $200,000 to the Urban League over the past eight years in support of its important work in the African-American community. Since 2003, the bank also has invested more than $320 million in New Markets Tax Credit equity in projects in the St. Louis area aimed at helping impoverished areas or residents.


Dana Light Axle Products to Embark on $39 Million Local Expansion
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), September 11, 2016 - Dana Light Axle Products plans to expand its manufacturing plant in Columbia, where it currently produces parts for major OEMs including Ford, GM and Nissan. The company's $39 million expansion is expected to create 135 new jobs over the next few years, as well as retain its current workforce of 90 team members.

"I appreciate Dana Light Axle Products' significant expansion in Columbia, and its contribution to Missouri's revitalized auto industry," Gov. Nixon said in a release. "The historic investments made by Ford and GM in Missouri continue to pave the way for auto suppliers to grow and succeed, creating jobs for hard working Missourians throughout the state."

Dana Incorporated was founded in 1904 and has more than 90 major facilities in 25 countries on six continents. The company started production at the Columbia facility, which is located on LeMone Industrial Boulevard, in 1988.

"Columbia, Missouri is an excellent place to live and a great place for business," said Scott Wright, plant manager at Dana Light Axle Products Columbia Facility. "Our company and family of employees are proud to be part of the community here. We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional products and services to our customers throughout the automotive marketplace and we look forward to this proposed expansion, which will likely extend our plant's operations into the future."

The first phase of this project is expected to begin later this year.

Dana Light Axle Products joins the more than 64 automotive plant and parts suppliers that have announced expansions in Missouri in recent years, strengthening the state's manufacturing sector and creating and retaining more than 16,200 auto jobs throughout the state. Total automotive employment has rebounded, providing jobs to more than 24,000 Missourians. The announcement by Dana Light Axle Products follows a report issued by the Brookings Institution that ranked Missouri 6th in the nation for annual job growth in the advanced manufacturing industry.

To help Dana Light Axle Products with its expansion, the state offered a strategic economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets strict job creation criteria. Boone County as well as the Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI) also assisted the company with its expansion. This evening, the Boone County Chapter 100 Review Committee approved the company for a property tax abatement.


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