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      Lack of funding delays HIT lab

      Officials connected with a major economic development project in the Heartland have announced the project will be delayed. Officials with Human Identification Technologies say the tough economy is behind the delay in the first stage of development for the DNA laboratory. The Kirksville Police Department's portion of the lab was originally slated to be fully operational by late summer. Local leaders recently met with the CEO of HIT, Blaine Kern. Kern informed them that the company lost financial commitments from several key investors in the project. Just last month K-REDI officials told KTVO that the economy was causing capital-raising challenges for HIT but that there were no construction delays and things were moving along. We were unable to reach Blaine Kern for comment but we did speak with State Representative Rebecca McClanahan about the delay. McClanahan says she is encouraged and hopeful that the project will move forward, but she could not pinpoint a more exact timeline. She says a member of the Missouri Department of Economic Development is committed to the project, and they are exploring several options for its funding. McClahahan tells KTVO that federal stimulus money and grants are a few of those options.