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St. Francis Xavier Church on the Saint Louis University campus
St. Francis Xavier Church on the Saint Louis University campus. Photo courtesy Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks To Light St. Louis Blue
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, March 25, 2014 - Autism Speaks is engaging schools, businesses and civic organizations to give St. Louis a distinctly blue hue for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, 2014.

That includes the landmark Saint Louis Science Center's James. S. McDonnell Planetarium, which will be using its new lighting system for the first time to illuminate the structure blue for World Autism Awareness Day.

"We support Autism Speaks in its efforts to raise awareness about autism, celebrate our diversities and better engage our community with all who are struggling with autism spectrum disorders," said Bert Vescolani, President and CEO, Saint Louis Science Center. Other structures that will be lit blue include the Civil Courts Building at 10 N. Tucker in Downtown St. Louis, Centene Plaza in Clayton, St. Francis Xavier Church on the Saint Louis University campus and the Saint Louis Zoo monument sign.

The St. Louis Chapter of Autism Speaks has again teamed with the architectural firm HOK to engage more businesses and civic organizations in the illumination effort.

The event on April 2, 2014 kicks off with a fundraiser that features a BigFoot monster truck car crush from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 6311 North Lindbergh Boulevard in Hazelwood, Mo.

In addition to lighting St. Louis blue, schools, businesses and civic organizations are being asked to encourage the wearing of blue clothing on April 2nd or showcase the color blue in some way.

Veterans of Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom Day Observed March 26
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, March 23, 2014 - Governor Jay Nixon is encouraging Missourians to observe Veterans of Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom Day on March 26 in honor of the nation's military veterans who served in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2012, the Governor signed into law a bill designating March 26 as the date in Missouri to give special honor and recognition to those veterans who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Desert Storm.

"In every town across Missouri, you'll find veterans who served during one of these conflicts in the Middle East," Gov. Nixon said. "You'll also find thousands of Missouri families who still have a loved one in uniform in Afghanistan or another country where our military serves. We have a responsibility to honor and respect their sacrifice, and I encourage Missourians to join me in thanking these veterans and their families for what they have done for our country and our state."

As a member of the Council of Governors, Gov. Nixon has traveled twice to Iraq and three times to Kuwait and Afghanistan since 2009 (most recently in December 2012) to meet with U.S. military and civilian leaders in those countries and to visit with Missourians serving in the Missouri National Guard or the regular armed forces.

In January 2010, Gov. Nixon also launched the Show-Me Heroes initiative, which works with Missouri employers to give first consideration to military veterans when job openings occur. In the past four years, more than 3,500 Missouri employers have taken the Show-Me Heroes pledge, and more than 6,300 veterans have been hired by those businesses since those employers joined the program.

RBC to Support KIPP St. Louis Talent Acquisition Program
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, March 23, 2014 - The Regional Business Council (RBC) is pleased to announce its financial support for the KIPP St. Louis Talent Acquisition Program, thereby furthering KIPP's capacity to become a high performing network of public schools for the St. Louis region.

The three-year grant totals $225,000 and will be used to recruit, select and retain excellent teachers, school leaders and regional staff. A Director of Talent Acquisition has been hired to lead and accelerate the effort toward establishing a total of six schools in the area. Expected outcomes are a record number of teacher and staff applications, a professional and streamlined selection process, and a team of staff hired well before the start of the school year.

KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of schools now in operation with 141 schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia, and serving 50,000 students. Students are accepted regardless of prior academic record, conduct or socioeconomic background.

"KIPP is an exceptional charter school model that has raised the bar for student outcomes and success in the City of St. Louis. We want to capitalize on the success of KIPP Inspire," stated Kathy Osborn, Executive Director of the RBC. "This investment will help accelerate the growth of the KIPP network and therefore serve more kids and families in the City."

"Since KIPP's inception, the Regional Business Council has been a key supporter and partner. This new investment will help accelerate KIPP's expansion as we aim to serve over 2,500 students and continue to be a catalytic force for education reform in our region," according to Kelly Garrett, Executive Director of KIPP St. Louis.

Scheduled to open in August 2014, at capacity, KIPP Victory Academy will serve 500 students, from kindergarten through fourth grade. KIPP Inspire Academy, founded in 2009, has 320 fifth through eighth graders who are currently demonstrating success as measured by the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP), as well as acceptance into some of our city's best high schools.

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