Ryan Famuliner

News Director

Ryan Famuliner joined KBIA in February 2011. It’s his second stint at KBIA. His first was from 2005-2007, as a student studying broadcast journalism at the University in Missouri. In his spell outside KBIA, Ryan worked as a general assignment reporter and videographer at WNDU-TV in South Bend, IN and as a reporter and anchor at the Missourinet radio network in Jefferson City, MO. He’s won Edward R. Murrow Awards for his reporting in both television and radio.

Ryan and his wife Kelly are ecstatic to be back home in Missouri. Hailing from the Kansas City and St. Louis areas, respectively, Columbia is a fantastic place to compromise. They spend an unhealthy amount of time at flea markets and junk shops, and watching Mizzou sports and Major League Baseball. They’re about a halfway through their MLB ballpark tour. Ryan’s also always up for a round of disc golf or a nickel-dime poker game.

Ways To Connect

Chris Belcher
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher announced his retirement plans in a letter to the Board of Education.

Belcher will retire effective June 30, 2014 and will take a job as a faculty member in the University of Missouri College of Education. Belcher says that role will allow him “to stay connected with CPS through leadership development.”

Sam Lin / KBIA

The Columbia City Council voted Monday night to increase the city’s renewable energy mandate. By 2018, Columbia Water and Light will now need to get 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources – up from 10 percent as spelled out in the renewable energy mandate passed by Columbia voters in 2004. The future goals were also increased to 25 percent by 2023 and 30 percent by 2029. The previous goal for 2023 was 15 percent and there was no goal set for 2029.

First Ward Councilmember Fred Schmidt was one of the councilmembers that voted to pass the change 5-2.

“The energy future and the environmental future calls for this – for doing something and I believe this is the right step. We don’t know what the future is going to hold, so we shoot for a multiplicity of sources,” Schmidt said.

Columbia College
File Photo / KBIA

Columbia College has named the two finalists in its search for its new President. One of them will fill the position that was vacated when Dr. Gerald Brouder retired in July after leading the college for 18 years.

The finalists are Scott Dalrymple – the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Excelsior College in Albany New York and Randall Hanna, Chancellor of the Florida College System, which comprises 28 community and state colleges in Florida.

Michael Kateman is executive director of alumni relations at Columbia College and is a member of the search committee that chose the finalists.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Mid-Missouri drivers are dealing with slippery roads Thursday after a winter storm that dumped two inches of snow in Columbia, according to the National Weather Service.

Across Mid-Missouri, as of 10:00am Thursday morning highways were listed as either covered or partly covered according to the Missouri Department of Transportation’s traveler information map. Check for the latest updates at this link.

KBIA

As 2013 comes to a close, we’ve looked back on this year’s crop of Intersection shows as a way to get a grasp on the top stories of the year. We highlighted them in a special hour-long year-end show that you can listen to here:

But if you don’t have an hour to spare at the moment, here are some the bits and pieces.

Crime in Columbia, an effort to get more police officers, and why some of the officers we have now are unhappy

News coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Missouri gets a $7.5 million grant to address low-achieving schools
  • Bipartisan opposition to a delay in funding for low income housing projects
  • Missouri's Attorney General warns of a scam related to the Target data breach
Tony Webster / Flickr

The Columbia Police Department says it will not charge the driver of a semi-truck that hit and killed a bicyclist on 1-70 in the early morning hours in October. Department spokesperson Captain Joe Bernhard says the driver’s statements and physical evidence at the scene suggest 36-year-old Ennis Patrick was riding his bike on the main traveled portion of the roadway, and there is no criminal offense on the part of the driver.

The investigation also looked into the department’s response to the accident: the remains stayed on the side of the highway for more than 8 hours before they were identified as human. Bernhard says two different officers drove by the scene shortly after the truck driver reported hitting something on the road, but both thought it was a deer that had been hit, and there was nothing on the roadway that needed to be cleared.

MU Hospital
KBIA

The University of Missouri will use a federal grant to form a new research center for patient-centered outcomes.  

The researchers leading the project say the goal is to help doctors more easily navigate the complex web of health systems and providers, and come up with the best treatment options for patients based on their individual circumstances.

Ryan Famuliner

Jon Carney, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis, says while drivers were experiencing patchy ice on the roads throughout the morning, that isn’t expected to last much longer.

At around noon, temperatures at the Columbia Regional Airport ticked above freezing, and Carney says in Columbia, he expects temperatures will stay above freezing until the sun starts to set Friday night. He says drivers can expect wet roads for the afternoon commute. He says the sleet and freezing rain should turn in to rain before 1:00pm, and then turn to snow in central Missouri between 5:00pm and 7:00pm.

News coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Details on a clinical testing facility slated to open in Columbia in 2014
  • A Jefferson City man gets the death penalty for a 2009 murder
  • Two state legislators want the state education commissioner to resign
@moon_melanie / twitter

Many media and journalism-school types have been following the dustup over KPLR anchor/reporter Melanie Moon's behavior while covering the Ryan Ferguson press conference earlier this week right after his release from prison. Joy Mayer at the Columbia Missourian cataloged the exchange with Moon in this Storify, so you'll need to read that first for this piece to make much sense. As Mayer has pointed out, many news outlets and twitterers are focusing on the ethical conversation around Moon hugging Ryan Ferguson and his father Bill, and taking a photograph with Ryan at the press conference. This is an interesting conversation, and the area of journalism ethics is blurry sometimes. But the more important conversation to have here really is the area that is not blurry: one about good, responsible journalism.

Just to get this out of the way briefly here, I'm going to side with the curmudgeons on the hug, and say for a variety of reasons that is unprofessional. I'm not calling for a ban on journalist hugs, but I will summarize by saying I think intention is important. Hugs for consolation can make sense in some circumstances, for celebration, not so much. I would contend that if you're doing your job right as a journalist you will already have boundaries that make interactions like this something you'll never feel comfortable with. I also will emphasize the importance of avoiding the appearance of conflict of interest, and the Society of Professional journalists would back me up on that one.

Bridgit Bowden / KBIA

After almost 10 years of high-profile court battles and an international media campaign led by his family and friends, Ryan Ferguson is free.  The Ferguson family members and supporters greeted him at Columbia’s Tiger Hotel Tuesday night, following his release.

The Missouri Court of Appeals issued a bond order Tuesday releasing Ryan Ferguson from his near decade-long imprisonment at the Jefferson City Correctional Center.

August Kryger / Columbia Tribune

According to a press release issued Friday afternoon by Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight, Assistant Missouri Attorney General Susan Boresi has been appointed as a special prosecutor in the Ryan Ferguson case.

Knight’s office had to request permission from a circuit court to bring in a special prosecutor, and the request was granted. In the request, Knight wrote that the appointment was needed because his office had a conflict of interest in the case because of current and former employees.

ferguson ruling
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

This week: what's next for Ryan Ferguson and what exactly is in that appeals court ruling?

Update: This article was written the week before Ryan Ferguson's release. The 30-day timeline we outline below is based on state prosecutors taking no action at all, allowing legal deadlines to stretch out and pass. For coverage of Ryan Ferguson's release, read our latest story.

Ryan Ferguson hearing
August Kryker / Columbia Tribune

The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District announced Tuesday it is granting Ryan Ferguson habeas corpus relief, effectively vacating his conviction in the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt.

According to the court statement (full .pdf here), Ferguson is to be released from prison in 30 days unless the state appeals or expresses its intent to re-try Ferguson. Ferguson is serving a 40-year sentence.

  News coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom.

Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

UPDATE 2:27pm

KBIA reporter Kyle Jacoby was at the press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Boone County Sheriff's headquarters in Columbia, where Boone County Chief Deputy Tom Reddin, Ashland Police Chief Lyn Woolford, and Southern Boone Country School District Superintendent Chris Felmlee talked to reporters about the incident.

Woolford said it was a text message that prompted the police investigation.

“This was a text between classmates. The threat was non descriptive, but yet threatening. It was specific enough to indicate something was going to happen at the school and would involve injury,” Woolford said.

The Ashland Police Department was just one of many entities involved in the investigation.

“Multiple agencies were contacted to include University of Missouri Police, Capitol Police, Ashland Police Department, ATF, and school staff because the threat was against the high school,” Woolford said.

Reddin described what happened at the home of the teen that was suspected of sending the text message, where officers arrived at around 2:00am Tuesday.

“Our deputy along with Ashland police responded back to the residence on Bob Beach Road, it was at that time to take the 17 year old student into custody for investigation due to the threat made against the school. Family was present. Law enforcement was present," Redding said. “The student, while obtaining some articles of clothing, also retrieved a small caliber handgun that was kept in the residence, turned that handgun on himself, and discharged the firearm into his chest.”

Felmlee says the decision to cancel school happened overnight.

“Based on the totality of the situation, and the need to ensure that the other campuses were safe, that is when I decided that I needed more time to investigate this thoroughly. It was after midnight (when I decided to cancel school),” Felmlee said. “Many resources were brought into the high school building, as well as our middle school, elementary and primary, our buildings are safe, and they have been thoroughly checked.”

Felmlee knows the teen’s death will affect the entire community.

“It’s not just the school, it’s the whole community that is going to go through this and need time to heal. It is a tragic, tragic loss what occurred, and it’s going to take time. We’ll work closely with our community churches, counseling resources, definitely," Felmlee said.

Classes will resume Wednesday. Felmlee plans to have someone speak to each class in the school district telling students what happened, and notifying them of counseling resources.

UPDATE 12:34pm

Governor Jay Nixon was scheduled to visit Fairview Elementary School in Columbia Tuesday afternoon, but in press release his office says the visit was canceled out of respect for the situation at this neighboring district. In the press release, Nixon is quoted as saying:

“Our educators and law enforcement officials are dedicated to keeping the children of Missouri safe. This event reminds us of the vital nature of that responsibility. Tragic events of this nature demonstrate the serious manner in which these responsibilities should be carried out. The state of Missouri has made, and will continue to make, law enforcement and other resources available as necessary.”

UPDATE 11:48am 

The Boone County Sheriff's Department and Ashland Police department issued this press release Tuesday morning detailing the incident. Police say they went to the home of the 17-year-old suspected of  making a threat against the high school that led to classes being canceled Tuesday. The release says while the Ashland High School student was being taken into custody he "obtained a gun" and shot himself in the chest. The departments and the school superintendent will hold a press conference to talk about the incident at 12:30 today, and a KBIA reporter will be there. Check back for more later.

On September 9, 2013 at approximately 10:30 p.m., Ashland Police received a report of a threat against Southern Boone County High School in Ashland.  The threat originated in the form of a text message.  Subsequent investigation by Ashland Police and Boone County Deputies deemed the threat to be credible.  Southern Boone County School District authorities were also advised of this threat.

Multiple resources to include Ashland Police, Boone County Sheriff’s Department, MU Police Department, Capital Police, Mid-Missouri Bomb Squad, and the ATF were mobilized and a search of school facilities commenced.  Southern Boone County School District officials canceled classes for today as a precaution while searches were being conducted and the investigation continued.  This was an extensive search to include the use of explosives detecting K9s.  No devices of a threatening nature were discovered and the school facilities have been released.

Law enforcement officers of the Ashland Police and Boone County Sheriff’s Department responded to the residence of a 17 year old Ashland High School student believed to be the originator of the threatening text.  While taking the subject into custody, he obtained a handgun and turned it on himself, discharging the firearm into his chest.  Fire and EMS were immediately summoned and officers began efforts to treat the downed subject.  He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injury and died.  Authorities are not releasing the name of the decedent as the investigation is ongoing.

Classes will resume tomorrow at Southern Boone County Schools, September 11, 2013 and grief counselors will be available to students and staff.

Original story:

 The Boone County Journal reports this morning that officials closed schools after receiving what they called a "credible threat." Superintendent Chris Felmlee told the Journal he wanted to be sure the schools were safe before bringing students into the buildings, which were being checked this morning.

News broke this week that North Callaway R-1 Superintendent Dr. Bryan Thomsen pled guilty last year to a DUI charge. Thomsen apologized in news reports, and the district's board of education met Tuesday to discuss how it should proceed. Thursday afternoon, the board issued this statement on its decision to keep Thomsen on board as its superintendent:

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom.

Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

As the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education releases the latest round of MAP scores, Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher says, frankly, he isn’t worrying all that much about the scores this year. But he says they do still highlight one serious, known problem.

Superintendent Belcher says the MAP scores this year should be taken with a grain of salt, because the state is going through a transition period. The MAP tests will be replaced as part of the state’s planned implementation of common core standards in 2014-15. Belcher says Columbia teachers are already thinking beyond the MAP test, and have targeted their curriculum at preparing students for the new assessments, instead.

Ed Schipul / Flickr

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is launching an ad campaign in which he asks Missouri workers and employers to consider moving to Texas.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • 600 jobs coming to Wentzville by way of the affordable care act.
  • Gov. Nixon backs up his veto on a bill affected sex offender registries
  • A former suspect in a Warrensburg murder returns to his home in Saudi Arabia

As many news outlets have reported over the last eight months, KBIA's Content Director Scott Pham is the founder of the Missouri Drone Journalism Program, which studies the use of drones (think less military, more toy helicopters) for journalistic purposes. The program has hit a snag, as the Federal Aviation Administration has sent the program what amounts to a "cease and desist" letter, at least until the program gets what the FAA deems proper certification based on the somewhat limited restrictions the FAA currently has for the devices. Pham explains further in his blog post on the subject, linked below. He defended the project's activities thus far, but also sees limited application for journalism agencies like KBIA under the FAA rules as applied here, at least until new restrictions are put in place in 2015.

City of Kirksville

The Kirksville City Council voted 3-2 Monday night to pass an ordinance that adds sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy. A similar ordinance failed on an earlier attempt in July, being shot down 3-2.

The deciding vote was Kirksville Mayor Richard Detweiler. He voted against the measure in July, and for it Monday night. Detweiler says it was a very difficult process that, looking back, he would have handled differently from the beginning.

Missouri Division of Tourism

Thursday in the KBIA newsroom we had what I consider a valuable discussion. And it came out of a notoriously stupid act at the Missouri State Fair this week.

Null Value / Flickr

The Columbia Police department says officers arrested three Columbia teenagers yesterday and this morning in connection to the July 14th homicide of 17-year-old Tre’Veon Marshall.

Police arrested 18 year old Joshua Dewayne Murray and 19 year old Nicholas Raheem Thomas for first degree murder and armed criminal action. 17 year old Kimberly Makayla Huett-Linzie was arrested for felony hindering prosecution.

Kellie Kotraba / KBIA

Just over a week after introducing the idea of a new property tax to fund the hire of 35 new police officers in Columbia, Mayor Bob McDavid has decided it's not necessary after all.

Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Missouri Military leaders gathered in Columbia today to discuss the current and future landscape of the armed forces in the state, as the federal government  plans to make cuts to defense spending. One of the main messages from panelists: that different stakeholders in that state must work together toward creating a “military friendly” environment in the state.

“It’s gonna have to be a team effort going forward. It can’t just be a Fort Leonard Word effort, it can’t just be a Whiteman effort, it can’t just be a Rosecran effort, it can’t just be a Jefferson Barracks effort. It has to be a  statewide effort… It’s bigger than any just one location anymore,” said Mike Dunbar with the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement commission. Dunbar was one of the panelists at the forum.

U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler hosted the event, which brought together representatives from the military and the communities in Missouri that surround the military bases in the state, to discuss the impact of a possible Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

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