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Springfield non-profit gains contract for Creve Coeur fee office, its second in region

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon Sept. 3, 2009 - Alternative Opportunities, Inc., the Springfield-based not-for-profit that has been amassing state contracts to operate license offices around the state, just added another one.

The state Department of Revenue announced Thursday that the agency, which provides employment help and assistance to help the disabled and youth in foster care, has been awarded the Creve Coeur license office, 12943 Olive Street Rd.

Last week, Alternative Opportunities obtained the contract to run the Olivette office.

All told, Alternative Opportunities has obtained contracts for eight license offices around the state, and is in the running for more.

As officials told the Beacon last week, the agency is seeking contracts where it has branch operations -- there are two in the St. Louis area -- and hopes to use the license offices as job-training facilities.

State and agency officials say its success in the bidding process has nothing to do with close to $12,000 in campaign donations that the agency's executives gave last year to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.