Science and Technology

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.

Lead in text: 
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.
Science and Technology
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.

m_schipp22 / Flickr

On this week's show, we'll hear about a recent breakthrough in soybean science, and learn about the use of medicinal leeches in one Missouri hospital.

Updated 10:52 a.m., 11:33 a.m., 11:53 a.m., 12:11 p.m., and 4 p.m. May be updated further.

Virginia Johnson, one half of the famed Masters and Johnson research team on human sexual behavior, has died at the age of 88, her son Scott tells St. Louis Public Radio.

Johnson was a resident of The Altenheim senior living community in St. Louis. The facility has also confirmed her death.

morrissey / flickr

Cooper County Memorial Hospital in Boonville is in trouble. It lost more than $1 million dollars last year and has been running a deficit since 2007.

Hazel Motes / flickr

 

 

Missouri state appeals court has ruled that a jury should decide whether a former subsidiary of Monsanto that manufactured toxic chemicals is responsible for illnesses caused by the widespread use of those chemicals in everyday products.

Center for Disease Control

 

Federal health investigators have confirmed that ticks carry a new virus that sickened two Missouri men.

Two years after a tornado tore through Joplin, excavation work continues on yards that revealed high levels of lead after being disrupted by the storm.

The Joplin Globe reports most of the lead found in the yards was discovered where a tree was uprooted. Other mine waste was exposed where foundations and driveways were before the tornado.

The city says of the 1,091 yards sampled for lead in Joplin's disaster zone after the May 22, 2011, tornado, 426 needed the excavation of lead-contaminated soil. As of last week, 182 of those properties had been excavated.

USDAgov / Flickr

A quarantine of wood products from Perry County is likely, after the discovery of an insect that kills ash trees.

Pete Zarria / Flickr

A former mining town in southwest Missouri wants to turn land polluted with zinc and heavy metals into a prime nature attraction.

Webb City Administrator Carl Francis says the city has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for about $3 million in funding for the 1,500 acre project. He says it would lessen the effects of the contamination and could change a previously barren area into wetlands.

Jake Godin for Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we'll hear why a popular grass for feeding cattle may be doing more harm than good, and learn about the popularity of food hubs.
File / KBIA

 Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill that now requires insurance counselors or navigators to be licensed by the state.

The counselors are required to get the license in order to help consumers search for their insurance options on an online marketplace called a health insurance exchange. The exchanges are set to start on October 1st  of this year as part of the Affordable Care Act.  

KBIA file photo

  For the third year in a row, the American Hospital Association has named MU Health Care as one of the “Most Wired” hospitals in the country.

The recognition is given to hospitals that work to adopt the newest health-care information technology. Spokesperson Bryan Bliven says as the technology continues to evolve, the benchmarks of the Most Wired list changes every year.

“The gait is always rising,” Bliven says. “It’s very good to keep the designation and it’s a challenge each year and we’re really happy to meet it for the third year in a row.”

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