Science and Technology

KBIA file photo

The University of Missouri Board of Curators voted unanimously in favor of renovating the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th floors of the  University Hospital building on Thursday. According to Interim Vice President Thomas Richards, the $19 million plan is necessary because the current state of the private patient rooms are not up to standards with the rest of the hospital.

“These existing patient rooms are highly outdated when compared to the new rooms in the patient tower, the new Orthopedic Institute, and the other renovated portions of the hospital,” said Richards.

Missouri's coal-fired power plants are among the largest sources of carbon dioxide pollution in the country and a significant contributor to global warming.

Photo by Boris Mann (bmann) / Flickr.com

A report from the University of Missouri says the number of people worrying about not having enough 

  food is on the rise.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we'll hear about a program that funds pork research, and revisit a story about food hubs.

Residents living near a former metal aircraft manufacturing site in north St. Louis County are expressing concerns about contamination.

The Environmental Protection Agency hosted a public meeting Thursday night about the former Missouri Metals plant near Overland. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that EPA leaders told residents they're doing what they can to remedy the problem, but residents worry about health effects and decreases in property values.

KOMUNews / Flickr

Columbia Water and Light Advisory board members approved a trial burn of a new renewable energy source for the city on Wednesday morning.

Missouri recorded an increase in highway and waterway traffic and fatalities over Labor Day weekend. There were seven fatalities in car accidents in Missouri over the holiday weekend from a total of 248 traffic crashes.

Although the number of deaths matched the number from last year’s holiday, it was still an increase over a typical weekend. State Highway Patrol officers said that most accidents occurred on state highways, which saw the biggest increase in traffic due to the holiday. There were many factors that caused heavy traffic and accidents over the weekend.

Drought conditions are again plaguing the northern half of Missouri, according to the latest U.S. drought monitor report.

Missouri River at Rocheport
File Photo / KBIA

Nearly a dozen Missouri agriculture groups sent a letter to Governor Jay Nixon this week calling for his support to oppose a dredging project in the Missouri River.

The project – near Arrow Rock, Missouri – was set up several years ago to create a shallow water habitat for several fish species including the pallid sturgeon – an endangered fish. Under the US Army Corps of Engineers plan, the soil excavated from the site would be deposited into the Missouri River.

Jacob McCleland / Harvest Public Media

 

On this week's episode, we'll hear about efforts to control feral hog populations.

Alan Cleaver / flickr

In about one month, a key part of the Affordable Care Act kicks off nationwide. The health insurance marketplace opens for enrollment -- and consumers can shop for an insurance plan from what could be hundreds of options. And this week, a Missouri-wide campaign to raise awareness about the marketplace begins, it's led by the Missouri Foundation for Health. States had the option to run their own marketplaces or let the federal government do it for them. Missouri, along with 26 other states, chose the latter. 

If you happen to be near the Saint Louis Science Center planetarium at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, look up. You might see a weather balloon.

Students at Saint Louis University are launching them as part of a study sponsored by the U.S. space agency NASA.

The mission aims to improve our understanding of air pollution and global climate.

It's been twenty years since the Great Flood of '93 swelled the Missouri River to record-high crests.  Since then, levees have been upgraded, flood preparations improved, and in a few places, communities bought out and relocated.  St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin visited some sites along the river in central Missouri and talked to people who battled the flood waters in 1993, and who still keep an eye on the river today:

Flood of '93 in central Mo.

Updated at 5:00 p.m.

A St. Louis-based environmental group has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to provide information about a multi-state oil pipeline project.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the Corps unlawfully withheld documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

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.

Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

This week on Under the Microscope we'll talk about school gardens, and hear how some farmers are managing an invasive thistle species.

Alan Cleaver / flickr

Primaris Healthcare Business Solutions and the Missouri Alliance of Area Agencies on Aging have been granted federal money to hire people who will help Missouri consumers navigate the new insurance marketplace, set to open for enrollment on Oct. 1.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services quietly announced the grantees Thursday.

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri Senate interim committee looking into the state's Medicaid system heard from several doctors and other health care providers Wednesday at a hearing in Jefferson City.  

Among those testifying was Thomas Hale, M.D., a St. Louis-based physician working with Sisters of Mercy.  He told the panel that Medicaid needs to be expanded to make up for the pending loss of federal reimbursements to hospitals, known as DSH payments ("dish").

University of Kansas

A 42-year-old University of Kansas building that formerly housed a small, experimental nuclear reactor has been torn down.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Burt Hall was demolished to help clear space on campus for expansion of the School of Engineering complex.

The nuclear reactor was removed from Burt Hall in the early 1990s. But the demolition took several months as workers carefully searched for any radioactive material. Associate engineering dean JoAnn Browning said she knew of no traces of radiation being found.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency after heavy rain caused flash flooding in the south-central part of the state. Nixon has spoken with emergency responders in Pulaski County and Waynesville, assuring them the region will get help.

A child was killed and several homes and businesses damaged after several inches of rain last night and this morning caused flooding in Waynesville. The Highway Patrol deployed extra troopers, a rescue helicopter and other assets to help emergency responders. Nixon's executive order also activates the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, allowing state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions on emergency services.

Orin Zebest / Flickr

Talk about a paperwork nightmare: a so-called “software error” caused Missouri’s Medicaid agency, also known as MO HealthNet, to send mail containing private information of 1,357 program participants to the wrong address for almost two years.

Produce aisle of grocery store
File Photo / KBIA

Walk down a grocery store aisle or open a restaurant menu.

Gluten-free labels are everywhere.

Gluten is a starchy protein compound found in products made from wheat, barley and rye. It’s what gives dough a chewy texture. But up until this point, there has been little oversight on what qualifies as gluten-free and what doesn’t.

This post will be updated:

Missouri Highway Patrol Troop F spokesperson Sgt. Paul Reinsch says 18 people were injured in a bus that overturned near mile marker 170 in Montgomery County around 1:20pm Friday. 

Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

On this week's show, we'll discover some lesser known uses of soybeans, and hear about a decision to redesignate a the White River Watershed in the Ozarks.

Crowd packs field hearing on 'Blueways' designation

Aug 1, 2013
Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

The term “Blueways” has some Ozarks residents seeing red.  At least, that was the case at a Congressional field hearing Monday in West Plains over the “National Blueways Program.” 
Christopher S. Penn / Flickr

Ameren Missouri customers can expect to see a slightly lower bill after state regulators determined the utility owes its electric customers slightly more than $26 million for failing to include some revenue in its calculations.

The Missouri Public Service Commission approved an order Wednesday for the St. Louis-based company to refund the money to customers. But Ameren Missouri won't be sending out checks. Instead, the $26.3 million will be applied by adjusting a fuel charge that customers otherwise would pay.

Missouri's lone nuclear reactor remains shut down while workers and officials continue to investigate what caused a small fire at the Callaway County plant Friday night.

Ameren Missouri spokesman Cleve Reasoner said it'll be several days before the plant is back online.

National, state car seat recommendations differ

Jul 29, 2013
treehouse1977 / Flickr

Missouri law requires kids to be in rear-facing car seats at least until the age of one.  But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children stay rear-facing until age two.   "Because pediatric patients, their neck muscles are not strong enough to withstand forces on an impact when they're forward facing until they're at least two-years-old," Lana Martin, a trauma nurse clinician at CoxHealth in Springfield, said. Under Missouri law, kids less than four-years-old or less than 40 pounds must be in an appropriate child safety seat.

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts the nation’s farmers will deliver a record 3.42 billion bushels of soybeans this year. The USDA is also forecasting that this year for the first time Brazil will overtake the United States as the world’s leading producer of soybeans. That means the pressure is on American soybean farmers like Brian Flatt, 41, to eke out even more soybeans from his fields.

jfcherry / Flickr

The Missouri Department of Insurance has filed an emergency rule for the licensing of people that will help state residents search for health plans on an online marketplace. Legislation signed this year by Gov. Jay Nixon creates state requirements for the helpers, who are called navigators.

People applying for a state license will need to pass an examination. The cost for applying will be $25 for individuals and $50 for an entity. Licenses will be valid for two years. Requirements for a navigator license will include being age 18 or older, living in Missouri or keeping a business in the state. Those wanting to be navigators also should not have committed any acts that would grounds to refuse an insurance producer license.

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