JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Another legal challenge over Missouri’s redistricting process seeks to block new districts for the 163-member state House.  In a lawsuit filed today, more than a dozen people, including two former lawmakers, say a new House district map violates requirements that districts be compact, contiguous and have similar populations. The plaintiffs are asking the Supreme Court to consider the case without it going before a trial court.  Legal challenges filed earlier against new districts for Congress and the state Senate are threatening to cause turmoil weeks before candidate filing starts.

CHARLESTON, Mo. (AP) — A southeast Missouri police officer will not face charges for shooting and killing a man who swung a sword at police.  An investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol found no wrongdoing in the shooting on Nov. 8 in Charleston.  Authorities say 34-year-old Murry Lee Asberry threw a rock at a police car, then came out of a house carrying a sword that he swung at Charleston Department of Public Safety director Robert Hearnes.  Police first tried to subdue Asberry with a stun gun but shot him when he continued to move aggressively toward officers.

ST. LOUIS (AP) – An increasing number of intruders in St. Louis are being gunned down by homeowners, due in part to a 2007 self-defense law known as the castle doctrine. But now, authorities are changing how they review apparent justifiable homicide cases.  According to reports, there were seven fatal shootings involving the castle doctrine in the city in 2011, up from two the previous year.

DEXTER, Mo. (AP) — A southeast Missouri woman is facing arson charges for a November fire at a nursing home. 59-year-old Joyce Johnson allegedly set fire to the bed of a 73-year-old woman at Golden Living Center-Dexter as the woman was asleep in the bed.  Johnson is also charged with felony elder abuse. She is jailed on $35,000 bond and does not yet have a listed attorney.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City nonprofit is offering an alternative to the payday loan industry for people who need small loans.  The Fair Community Credit group is a consortium of churches, bankers, lawyers and nonprofit agencies that plan to offer small loans.  The group says it hopes to issue 500 loans this year, ranging from $300 to $2,500. The loans will carry double-digit interest, rather than the triple-digit interest charged with payday loans.

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Work has begun in northwest Missouri on a Corps of Engineers project to provide habitat for endangered species along the Missouri River.  The corps has issued a $7.46 million contact to improve habitat along the Missouri River for endangered species like the pallid sturgeon. The corps announced the project last summer just as severe flooding along the river also hit northwest Missouri.  Excavation for the project began this month in Atchison County.