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Business
5:24 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Missouri's unemployment rate increases despite job growth in June

Missouri's unemployment rate increased slightly even though businesses added thousands of jobs in June.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:18 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

MU to host international conference on nuclear fusion

University of Missouri
Credit Adam Procter / flickr

 

The University of Missouri is hosting an upcoming international conference on low-energy nuclear reactions.

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Politics
4:59 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Columbia's electrical lines spark discussion at the city council

Credit Marlith / Flickr

 

    

The Columbia City Council has approved a route for new electrical transmission lines in south Columbia.  

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Crime
8:59 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Plan for anti-violence task force resurfaces in Columbia

Credit lydia_shiningbrightly / Flickr

The Columbia City Council is considering the creation of an anti-violence task force to address violence among the city’s youth. 

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Agriculture
8:43 am
Tue July 16, 2013

What the 'farm-only' House farm bill means for nutrition programs

Credit Selbe B / flickr

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of the farm bill, a version that excludes funding for nutrition assistance programs nationwide.  But most analysts believe the Democrat-controlled Senate won’t approve a version that does not include funding for programs like food stamps. 

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Science, Health and Technology
5:12 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

New law allows physician assistants more freedom

A physician assistant examines a patient.
Credit US Navy/Wikimedia / Creative Commons

A law that takes effect Aug. 28 will give physicians assistants more freedom to provide care in areas of Missouri with a shortage of doctors.

Currently, physician assistants must be supervised by a doctor located within 30 miles of where they practice. And a doctor must be present 66 percent of the time they are caring for patients.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the new law will allow the supervising doctor to be up to 50 miles away. The doctors also will have to spend only half of a day on site for every 14 days the physician assistant practices.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:03 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Missouri, Kansas see increase in drowning deaths

Missouri River.
Credit KBIA

Drowning deaths have risen dramatically in both Missouri and Kansas this year.

State officials say that before this weekend, 24 drownings had been reported this year in Missouri, four more than all of last year. And in Kansas, 12 drownings had been reported before this weekend, double the average for an entire year.

The Kansas City Star reports officials in both states say the pleasant summer weather likely has contributed to the increase, with more people venturing out to the states' waterways.

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Politics
5:00 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

New Mo. law to limit patrol vehicle purchases

Credit Andrew Magill / Flickr

State lawmakers have curtailed the spending authority of the Missouri State Highway Patrol because of frustration over the purchase of a new airplane frequently used by the governor.

A new law that will take effect Aug. 28 will require the patrol to get legislative approval before spending more than $100,000 from a special state fund on any vehicle.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon announced this past week that he will allow the measure passed by the Republican-led Legislature to take effect without his signature.

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Education
4:57 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Mo. family asks high court to review drug searches

Credit Håkan Dahlström / Flickr

A recent southwest Missouri high school graduate and his family have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether drug searches in high schools violate the Fourth Amendment rights of students against unlawful search and seizure.

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Politics
4:52 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Mo. auditor says new law gives more flexibility

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich.
Credit Photo courtesy of the Missouri Auditor's Office

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich says a newly enacted law will give him greater flexibility in determining when and how to audit governmental agencies.

Schweich said Monday that the measure regarding the auditor's authority updates the state's World War II-era statutes and increases accountability in government. He said it clarifies the legality of many things the office already does, such as performance audits of agencies.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed the bill last Friday without much comment.

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Under the Microscope
11:59 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Insurance industry 'whistleblower' talks health care reform

Credit Alan Cleaver / flickr

Listen to KBIA's Harum Helmy chat with insurance industry 'whistleblower' Wendell Potter on Under the Microscope.

For about two decades, Wendell Potter spun carefully crafted public relations messages for Humana and Cigna, the insurance companies where he worked. He recalls convincing consumers that high-deductible insurance plans would be good for everyone; telling them that by paying more, they’d have more skin in the game of their own health.

“I frankly just got so disillusioned and, ultimately, disgusted with what I was doing,” Potter said.

He said through his own research, he knew high-deductible plans were not the best insurance coverage for those with middle-class income.

“The median household income in this country is just barely $50,000,” Potter said. “A family that’s earning $50,000, if they’re in a plan with a high deductible, they face bankruptcy or foreclosure [if something happens]. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have lost their homes and have to declare bankruptcy because they have been in these kinds of plans. They think they have adequate coverage and they don’t.”

In 2008, Potter left the insurance industry and became a consumer advocate. He testified in Congress against high-deductible plans. In 2010, he published a book detailing the ways public-relations practices of the insurance industry affect American health care. 

Now, Potter writes columns and travels around the country to debunk what he calls are “myths” about the Affordable Care Act. The law imposes stricter rules on insurance companies. They can no longer refuse coverage for consumers who have a pre-existing condition, for example. Companies also have to spend at least 80 percent of every dollar of a consumer's premium for patient care and quality improvements, not profits or administrative costs. 

On a recent visit to Columbia, Potter sat down with KBIA's Harum Helmy to chat about health care reform and the insurance industry's response to it. 

Listen to a longer version of the interview.

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Politics
7:56 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Construction begins on many Boone County roads

Credit Stew Dean / Flickr

Starting today, a number of Boone County roads are undergoing construction. Lake of the Woods Road is closed at the intersection with St. Charles Road and is scheduled to reopen on August 5. Rangeline Road is down to one lane between Richland Road and Highway WW so the road can receive a new fog seal treatment. Rangeline is set to reopen to full traffic by Friday.

A full list of roads affected by construction may be found through the Columbia/Boone County Office of Emergency Management.

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Arts and Culture
7:56 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Edina, Mo. featured in new movie

Knox County Courthouse, Edina, Mo.
Credit Missouri Association of Counties

Too bad tiny Edina, Mo., doesn't have a movie theater, because the town itself is about to make it to the big screen. The remote northeast Missouri town of 1,200 residents offers the sort of rural remoteness that brought independent film director Chris Grega to the town square to shoot scenes for his suspense horror film, "Sound of Nothing." The film will premiere July 18 at the Tivoli Theatre in St. Louis as part of the St.

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Politics
7:50 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Mo. counties will be able to enact burn bans

Credit Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Missouri counties will be allowed to approve ordinances enacting burn bans when the state fire marshal determines doing so would be appropriate.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law broad legislation that included the burn ban issue.

Burn bans approved by counties could carry a penalty of up to one year in jail for any violations. Burn bans also could prohibit use of skyrockets and missiles, but not other consumer fireworks.

The legislation takes effect Aug. 28.

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Politics
7:47 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Municipal court convictions may draw extra financial charge

Courts of Justice, St. Louis.
Credit Acradenia / Flickr

People convicted in municipal court of things like driving too fast or playing their music too loud soon could be forced to cough up another $3.

The Kansas City Star reports that the money will help replenish the pension fund of roughly 150 retired Missouri sheriffs and their spouses. But the surcharge has sparked outrage from some municipal judges across the state. They say it's unfair, might violate the state constitution and worry that other fees will be added.

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