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Under the Microscope
5:20 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Numerous health problems disproportionately impact LGBT Missourians

vitualis Flickr

A wealth of factors are leading to poorer health outcomes within Missouri’s LGBT community.

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Education
12:30 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Columbia Public Schools re-examines school start times

Chris Belcher, superintendent of Columbia schools
KBIA

Columbia Public School administrators looked at the amount of sleep kids receive Wednesday night at the World Café Community Conversation, and focused discussion on school bus routes.

About two hundred parents, teachers, and committee members talked about changing Columbia’s school bus routes from a two-tiered system to a three-tiered system.

But adding a new tier of school bus routes would mean schools’ start times would have to change as well.

Superintendent Chris Belcher says that’s one of the questions up for discussion.

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Science, Health and Technology
12:06 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

University Hospital brings fMRI technology to mid-Mo.

Nathanial Braton-Bradford FLICKR

University Hospital is mid-Missouri’s first hospital to have functional MRI technology. The fMRI will allow doctors to be more precise when treating brain tumors.

The new software was added to an MRI machine the hospital bought earlier this year. A spokesperson said the set-up costs $1.7 million. The School of Medicine’s Chief of Neurosurgery Scott Litofsky said fMRIs have been around for a couple of decades in scientific research, but the focus on patient care is relatively new.

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Education
11:46 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Jefferson City schools discuss real world situations in standardized testing

albertogp123 FLICKR

The Jefferson City Board of Education wants to implement a new test to better prepare its students for the future.

Members of the administration discussed a new format of a standardized test for eighth graders that would require them to answer in-depth questions about a given story.

Jefferson City Superintendent Brian Mitchell believes this new assessment will help both students and board members.

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Politics
11:31 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Mo. auditor finds public defender system outdated

State of Missouri

The Missouri State Auditor released a detailed audit Wednesday on public defender offices and their ability to handle new clients.

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich says the way in which the public defender system keep track of its caseloads is outdated. In the audit, Schweich raised concerns regarding the system’s reliance on national caseload standards dating back to 1973. He is deeming the so called “caseload crisis” to be based on “unsupported assumptions.”

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Politics
8:58 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Akin, McCaskill campaign spar over tax returns

Kristofor Husted KBIA

Republican challenger Todd Akin wants Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill to release her husband's income tax returns, even though Akin hasn't released his own.

Akin said Wednesday that the Democratic incumbent should release the tax returns of her husband, Joseph Shepard, to prove the family didn't personally profit from nearly $40 million of federal housing subsidies paid to businesses affiliated with Shepard. Akin campaign adviser Rick Tyler said Akin won't release his own tax documents unless Shepard does first.

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Politics
5:56 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Fundraising criticized in Mo. AG race

Missouri Attorney General's Office

Republican Missouri attorney general candidate Ed Martin is criticizing a campaign contribution received by Democratic incumbent Chris Koster.

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Politics
5:44 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

McCaskill hits Akin with ads featuring victims of rape

The ads refer to Akin's controversial August remarks about pregnancy and rape.
File Photo KBIA

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is taking aim at Republican challenger Todd Akin with a new series of TV ads featuring rape survivors upset about Akin's position on emergency contraception.

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Business Beat
5:18 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Growing biomass for biofuel, money for retirement

Big blue stem is one type of native grass farmers are growing on marginal land in the central U.S. for biofuel.
Kristofor Husted KBIA

Remember in the film Night of the Living Dead when the protagonist, Barbra, is running through the grassy hills to the forlorn farmhouse to escape her lumbering zombie of a brother?

Well, while recently reporting for Harvest Public Media, I spent time on farmland that looked eerily similar to the backdrop of George Romero's black and white magnum opus.

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Agriculture
4:03 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

On marginal land, these grasses may be greener (VIDEO)

Wayne Vassar grows native grasses for biofuel as part of the federal Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
Kristofor Husted KBIA

In the parched, rolling hills of western Missouri, you might expect to see a desolate scene after this summer’s drought. But in this field, hip-high native grass sways across the landscape like seaweed in the ocean.

Wayne Vassar is growing these native plants for biofuel.

“They’ve had corn or soy on (this land) in the past,” he said, “and what’s happened was when you have these kinds of slope it erodes pretty rapidly and you lose a lot of your fertility as the top soil goes down the hill.”

Farmland experts call this kind of land “marginal land.” The hills make it difficult for the soil to hold onto the topsoil nutrients. And along the rivers and other flood plains, frequent flooding can deprive plants the oxygen they need to survive. It all adds up to an estimated 116 million acres in the central U.S.

Land like this might only produce a profitable harvest with traditional crops, like corn or soybeans, once or twice every five years. That’s quite a financial risk for farmers. So how can farmers avoid that risk factor and make sure such soils provide a consistent economic return?

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Politics
1:13 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

FEMA to keep temporary housing in Joplin

The Federal Emergency Management Agency placed temporary housing units in Joplin, Mo., similar to the one shown.
Kansas City District FLICKR

Some families who lost their homes in the Joplin tornado have been given a seven-month extension to stay in government housing, but it will no longer be free.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted a request to keep its temporary housing units in Joplin until June 9, 2013. The trailers had been scheduled to be removed on Nov. 9, when the eligibility for free housing expires.

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Education
1:03 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Four candidates vie for opening on Columbia Board of Education

taylor.a FLICKR

Four candidates are contending this month for the open position in the Columbia Board of Education. The position was formerly occupied by Paul Cushing who resigned to take an out of state job.

The four applicants are freelance media producer Rex Cone, Tim Parshall, the assistant director of the Assessment Resource Center at MU, Bill Kinney, an ear, nose and throat physician, and Executive Director of Central Missouri Community Action, Darin Preis.

Current board members will select the replacement.

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Crime
12:43 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Restaurants close after guest reports cockroaches in food at Columbia Mall

Two restaurants in the Columbia Mall food court are closed following numerous health code violations. The health department found the violations after responding to a report from a customer who found cockroaches in her food.

In addition to the presence of cockroaches, violations at Famous Cajun Grill and Stir Fry 88 included open containers of food, improperly stored raw food and temperature violations of cold holding units.

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Politics
12:26 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Farmers put aside differences for farm bill, to no avail

Farmer Brad Moeckly climbs into his combine on his fields near Boone, Iowa. Moeckly attended farm bill lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. in mid-September.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

The farm bill expired at the end of September and lawmakers didn’t pass a new one, thanks largely to election-year politics. Despite the partisan bickering in Washington, though, many in farm country are working together to keep their concerns on the front burner.

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