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Nixon to swear in Taum Sauk committee

Several Iron County and Reynolds County residents will help oversee spending of two funds that were established with money from the Taum Sauk settlement.

Attorney General Jay Nixon today will swear in members of the boards of directors for two new charitable funds: the Taum Sauk Fund and the Reynolds County Educational Enrichment Fund. Both funds were created as part of the state’s $179.5 million settlement, reached in November 2007. The settlement resolved Nixon’s lawsuit against AmerenUE over the December 2005 collapse of the company’s Upper Taum Sauk Reservoir in Reynolds County.

Directors of the Taum Sauk Fund will oversee spending of $7 million from the settlement to promote tourism and economic development in the areas affected by the dam failure. Those over the Reynolds County Educational Enrichment Fund will use $3 million from the settlement to promote educational opportunities in Reynolds County.

Nixon plans to swear in the members of both boards as they hold a joint initial meeting at 5 p.m. today at the Lesterville School.

“These boards have a historic opportunity to provide needed financial resources to help students in Reynolds County and to give a boost to the businesses of the area that felt the economic impact of this disaster,” Nixon said. “The citizens who will serve on these boards are to be commended for stepping forward to be a part of this far-reaching solution.”

The settlement gave Nixon authority to appoint the nine-member Taum Sauk Fund board. The directors who will begin their service on Friday are: Judith (Judy) Allen of Bunker and Jim Hill of Ellington, who will serve until Dec. 31; Kurt Homeyer of Ellington, Mary Peterson of Van Buren and Paul V. Usher II of Ironton, whose terms expire Dec. 31, 2009; and Henry Balderas of Black, Larry Barnes of Ellington, Thomas W. Crowell of Arcadia and Jim Erpenbach of Ironton, whose terms will expire Dec. 31, 2010.

Nixon, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, selected the nine-member board for the Reynolds County Educational Enrichment Fund. Those terms also begin Friday.

Gary Gant of Bunker, Tommy Holland of Centerville and Dee McCormack of Ellington will serve until Dec. 31, 2008; Lee Ferber of Springfield, Terry Patterson of Boss, and Mike Harper of Centerville will serve until Dec. 31, 2009; and Melinda Hatchcoat of Ellington, Ben Meredith of Lesterville and Mike Williams of Black will serve until Dec. 31, 2010.

Future directors will be chosen by the existing members for as long as a board of directors is needed to oversee the funds.

Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at

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