Afternoon Newscast for February 16, 2018

19 hours ago


KBIA/file photo

The man serving as interim U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri may soon be able to lose the interim tag.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt said Friday that President Donald Trump intends to nominate Timothy Garrison as U.S. attorney. Garrison has served in an interim role leading the Kansas City-based office since January.

Total Ban On Texting And Driving Heard By Senate Committee

22 hours ago
missouri house floor
File photo / KBIA

Under current Missouri law, only drivers under 21 are explicitly prohibited from texting while driving. Everyone else just needs to follow the state’s broad distracted driving law by driving in a “careful and prudent manner” and exercising the “highest degree of care.”

Today Paul Pepper visits with CRYSTAL KRONER about Cradle to Career Alliance, a non-profit that brings together community leaders and Boone County's six school districts. Crystal says that each year, six milestones (such as kindergarten-readiness) are set based on local educational data. When there are noticeable achievement gaps, 'action teams' are formed to try and come up with solutions. And it's not just about what happens in the classroom. "There are so many factors involved in children's educational success that happen way before they're getting into school buildings." February 16, 2018

Moms Demand Action to Lobby Proposed Gun Legislation

Feb 16, 2018

In the wake of the most recent school shooting at a Florida high school on Monday, Moms Demand Action — a gun safety advocacy group — made plans to continue its push against new gun legislation in Missouri. 

The moms want to stop House Bill 1936 from passing. Over 200 members are expected to lobby legislators at the state Capitol next week. 

Republican lawmakers are working to shorten the amount of time out-of-work Missouri residents can receive unemployment benefits. 

The Missouri House Thursday passed legislation to create a sliding scale, in which the unemployment rate would have to be nine percent or higher in order to receive benefits for 20 weeks. Benefits would only be available for 13 weeks when the jobless rate is below six percent.

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

The Missouri Senate passed legislation Thursday that could allow the state's largest electric companies to recoup more of their costs for infrastructure improvements from their customers.

The legislation, which sparked an overnight filibuster last week and threats of another one this week, cleared the Senate by a 25-6 vote. But passage came only after several Senate opponents who fear it will lead to higher rates pledged to continue pushing for additional changes when the legislation moves to the House.

St. Louis Public Radio

Investigators from the St. Louis prosecutor's office have visited the Missouri Capitol and interviewed at least two dozen lawmakers as the office checks into Gov. Eric Greitens.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner launched an investigation in January after Greitens admitted to a 2015 affair with his St. Louis hairdresser, before Greitens was elected in 2016. Greitens has denied taking a compromising photo of the woman as potential blackmail.

Flickr/KurdishStruggle/Creative Commons

The Kurds have played a key role in the Syrian war. With U.S. military aid, a Kurdish militia called the YPG has done a large share of the ground fighting that has led to the near-defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Still it’s not clear that these military gains have brought the Kurds any closer to their dream of a Kurdish nation.

On this edition of Global Journalist, we look at the prospects and aspirations of the Kurds after the defeat of ISIS, and what may become of thousands of captured ISIS fighters.

Meiying Wu

  The City of Columbia’s 2017 Citizen Survey results revealed that citizens’ satisfaction with quality of police services decreased in the past year.

Only 47 percent of citizens indicated they were satisfied with police response times and efforts to prevent crimes.


Dale Roberts is the executive director of the Columbia Police Officers’ Association. He said he was not at all surprised by the results.

“We’re not embarrassed by that number,” Roberts said. “We don’t feel like we got a bad grade. It actually supports what we’ve been saying all along, which is that we need more officers.”

Kansas City Attorney Announces Independent Senate Bid

Feb 15, 2018

Kansas City attorney Craig O'Dear has entered the race for U.S. Senate as an independent in a bid to unseat incumbent Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill.

O'Dear launched his campaign Thursday with a news conference in Kansas City, criticizing both Democrats and Republicans for producing "division and gridlock."

O'Dear is 60. He has been active in fundraising for candidates in both parties but has never previously run for political office.

Missouri Public Defender's System Asks for Funding

Feb 15, 2018

The Missouri public defender’s system is asking for more funding to efficiently try cases throughout the state of Missouri. The office spoke to the House Budget Committee Thursday morning to outline its budget requests for the 2019 fiscal year.

The office cited an audit completed in 2014 that stated 294 additional lawyers needed to be hired to cover the 74,000 cases the office takes on. According to Michael Barrett, the director of the State Public Defender System, the current caseload of 83,000 would require 330 lawyers.

School Board Member Talks School Safety

Feb 15, 2018
Meiying Wu

  A high school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead on Wednesday, Feb. 14. While the shooting was states away, the incident serves as a moment for parents to pause and think about the safety of school children, said Christine King, Columbia Board of Education member.

“I don’t want to be so naive to say that it would never happen here,” King said. Because I don’t think you can ever stop people from making really bad and grave decisions. But I think we’re in a very good position from a safety standpoint.”

King said that current safety procedures are discussed at active shooter trainings that Columbia Public School District employees, building personnel and students attend at least once a year.

True/False programmers Chris Boeckmann and Abby Sun give the inside scoop on can't miss films, revamped shorts programs and this year's True Vision Award recipient: director Dieudo Hamadi.

Today Paul Pepper visits with CHRIS MILLER about Healthy Bottoms Diaper Bank, an organization that collects disposable diapers, and then distributes them to families in need through partner agencies like Voluntary Action Center. Chris says that in 2017, 50,000 diapers were donated and distributed, and the goal in 2018 is twice that number. Watch for details on how to you can get involved! At [4:50] MAJOR JACK HOLLOWAY tells us about the outcome of the 2017 Red Kettle Campaign (it's good news!), and about the importance of the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Last year, the store generated $170,000 in profit; that money went right back into programs and services like Harbor House. None of it would be possible without volunteer assistance, and they're always looking for more help! February 15, 2018

Regional stories from the KBIA newsroom, including: 

A bill that would place limitations on the governor’s ability to appoint and remove people to state boards is closer to becoming a law.

The Senate Government Reform Committee passed a bill Wednesday morning that would give more power to the Senate when it comes to gubernatorial appointments to state boards and commissions. This bill comes after accusations from lawmakers that Gov. Eric Greitens stacked the board of education in his favor late last year.

Russia Used Twitter to Spread Misinformation during the 2015 MU Protests

Feb 15, 2018

At the height of the 2015 protests, Columbia provided a perfect breeding ground for a Kremlin Twitter disinformation campaign, said Mike Kearney, an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The campaign was of the same strategy used to influence the 2016 presidential election, according to a report in the winter 2017 Strategic Studies Quarterly, a peer-reviewed strategic journal of the U.S. Air Force. The campaign was deployed to incite confusion and polarization around the United States, as well as degrade public trust in news media.

Boone County Fire District Seeks Reimbursement through Legislation

Feb 15, 2018
Meiying Wu

After decades of negotiating territory with the city of Columbia, the Boone County Fire Protection District is seeking help through legislation.

For years, the Fire District hasn’t been getting reimbursed for services they provide in the annexed areas of the city because the property taxes are going to Columbia.

Julia Coggins Chosen as Lee Expressive Arts Principal

Feb 14, 2018

Julia Coggins is the Columbia Public School’s choice for principal at Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School in the 2018-19 school year.

Michelle Baumstark, Community Relations Director for Columbia Public Schools, said CPS recommended her to the Board of Education.

Low-Income Families to Get Computers This Weekend

Feb 14, 2018

Forty refurbished computers will find new homes in Columbia this Saturday.

The City of Columbia partnered with the Voluntary Action Center and the Downtown Optimist Club to deliver the computers to low-income families as part of the Homes for Computers Program. The City of Columbia established this program in 2003 to assist families with children in the public-school system.

Western Missouri Medical Center is set to close one of its family practice clinics in Holden on March 3.

Forty-one positions are set to be eliminated from the hospital in Warrensberg, too.

Sinclair Broadcast Group has asked its news directors to consider donating personal funds to the company’s political action committee to help fund its lobbying efforts. Is it a conflict of interest to pay to lobby the leaders you’re covering? Also, coverage of the Winter Games from PyeongChang, Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s stay in the Celebrity Big Brother House and why a missing comma could get costly quickly. From the Missouri School of Journalism professors Amy Simons, Brett Johnson and Mike McKean: Views of the News.

A judge is weighing on whether to void the Missouri Board of Education's decision to fire the former education commissioner.

Attorneys representing the board argued in circuit court Tuesday against lawyers representing Springfield teacher Laurie Sullivan, who sued the board in November, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

Democrats Choose Nominee for Associate Circuit Judge

Feb 14, 2018

The Boone County Democratic Central Committee unanimously approved the party’s choice for associate circuit judge Tuesday night.

The committee will submit the name of Stephanie Morrell, 42, to Gov. Eric Greitens, who will choose a successor for retiring Associate Circuit Judge Deborah Daniels, 67. Morrell was the only person seeking the Democrat’s approval.

Today Paul Pepper welcomes back local storyteller LARRY BROWN! Normally, holidays don't double-up, so to please everyone on this Valentine's Day/Ash Wednesday, Larry tells the perfect story about "sacrifice on behalf of someone else." February 14, 2018