News | KBIA


Mitch Legan / KBIA

Bird Scooters has been making news in Columbia for months. Now, its making headlines around the world for its claim of a copyright violation by a tech news website. Was it a fair claim?

In the heart of winter, one Missouri shrub defies the dormant season: this week on Discover Nature, keep an eye out for Ozark witch-hazel.


This native shrub, with tight, gray bark, and alternate, egg-shaped leaves, brings some of the first color of the year to Missouri’s wooded landscapes. 


Yellow to dark-red, fragrant flowers adorn its branches from January through April.  In the fall, hard, woody fruits will pop open with enough force to throw seeds up to 30-feet away. 


"So, we've been doing this type of activity for many years, but what we've known is, once we've made that initial investment, the first buyer will sell, and then that home is no longer affordable or it potentially turns into a rental unit. So, what the Community Land Trust is, it's a new initiative to protect all of the city's investments in affordable housing going forward." -- Randy Cole, Housing Supervisor, Columbia Community Land Trust  January 15, 2019

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway says she's creating a public corruption team now she's been sworn in for another term.


The 36-year-old Democrat took the oath of office Monday at a ceremony in the Missouri Capitol Rotunda.

This will be her first full term in office. She was originally appointed to the position by former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in 2015 after former Auditor Tom Schweich killed himself.

Voters in November elected Galloway to serve another term.

Meiying Wu / KBIA

Rethinking the benefit of prisons, Missouri House leaders are backing legislation that could effectively undo mandatory minimum sentencing laws for many nonviolent criminals.

The Missouri legislation reflects a national trend toward more lenient prison terms for some drug offenders and other low-level criminals, as governments shift toward alternative strategies that are focused more specifically on rehabilitation. Missouri's prison population peaked at 33,243 in September 2017 but has since fallen to 30,260, the Department of Corrections said Monday. 

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

Crews have restored power for thousands of Columbia residents, after a major winter storm caused extensive outages in mid-Missouri. Columbia’s outage map was clear Monday morning, and a press release from the city Sunday said only around 100 people were still without power then.

City crews worked throughout the weekend, with around 9,000 total customers affected by the weather since Friday. Large numbers of outages were caused by felled trees and limbs on power lines.

Not everyone has a "social safety net," and for some, one economic setback could sink their ship, so-to-speak. Heart of Missouri United Way can be that safety net, but not without help from the community at large. ANDREW GRABAU tells us how easy it is to get involved. Also, WALLY PFEFFER and ALLY CUNNINGHAM, co-chairs of the 17th annual Boone County Legislative Forum on Higher Education, tell us about this year's event happening next week at Grand Cru in Columbia! (4:15) January 14, 2019

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

University of Missouri officials say campus will remain closed Monday following a weekend of dramatic snowfall, freezing temperatures and major power outages in Columbia. 

“This is one of the worst snow storms we’ve experienced,” Gary Ward, MU's vice chancellor for operations, said in a release Sunday afternoon. “We continue to be in close contact with local and state officials on the road conditions, and our crews continue their work preparing the campus so that we can reopen as soon as possible.”

Sebastián Martinez / KBIA

Going into the third day of snowfall throughout mid-Missouri, City of Columbia crews continue to work to restore power and clear roads throughout the city.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

As Winter Storm Gia continues to bear down on mid-Missouri, thousands of residents in Columbia have been left without power. 

In a release Saturday afternoon, the City of Columbia said “numerous power outages” had been caused by the storm, mostly due to snow-covered trees sagging onto nearby power lines. As of 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Columbia Power and Light said about 8,000 customers were affected.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

Anticipation of a large snowfall in Mid-Missouri caused many schools and businesses to close early Friday. You can view KOMU's updated list of closures here.

Columbia Public Works said it will begin enforcement of priority snow routes starting at 7 p.m. Friday. The city needs the vehicles to be removed to allow crews to treat and plow roads. 

A federal judge has approved a settlement of a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was fatally shot by St. Joseph police in 2017.

Under a settlement approved Thursday, the parents of 27-year-old Jacob Fanning will each receive about $13,900. Fanning's two minor children will receive more than $223,000, to be distributed by their mother. Attorneys will receive more than $199,000.

Why take part in The District's 'Restaurant Week'? NICKIE DAVIS says because "we offer just the most unique, locally-owned businesses...there are just things you're never going to find anywhere outside of The District." Additional guest: Gunter Hans owner LYDIA MELTON | Also, HEATHER LAMB takes us behind-the-scenes of Vox Magazine. Now in its 20th year, this student-run, city-centered publication recently underwent aesthetic changes that (hopefully) reflect a modern era of lifestyle journalism. (3:06) January 11, 2019

AP Photo

It started with a story in the Indianapolis Star about executives at USA Gymnastics failing to forward allegations of sexual abuse against young gymnasts to law enforcement.

That led to first one, then two, then a dozen and now hundreds to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar. Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years of jail last year.

The gymnastics' group's former CEO and a former trainer have also been arrested on separate charges. Facing dozens of lawsuits, USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in December. The fallout also hit Michigan State University, where Nassar worked in the College of Osteophathic Medicine. 

On this special edition of Global Journalist, a look behind the scenes of the Star's investigation of USA Gymnastics with reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski

Winter Weather Over the Weekend Poses Additional Threats for Columbia

Jan 10, 2019
Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

A display of severe winter weather is expected to sweep through mid-Missouri this weekend. 

After a couple weeks of 40-, 50- and even 60-degree weather, Boone County will be under a winter storm watch from noon Friday until midnight Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. 

Columbia could get up to six inches of snow and sleet. Two to four inches is expected Friday afternoon, with an additional one to two Saturday, according to the weather service.

2018 was a busy year for the City of Columbia's Office of Sustainability! BARBARA BUFFALOE takes a look back at the good, the bad and the "world's stupidest problem." Plus, get details on the first Fix-It Fair of the new year! January 10, 2019

Meiying Wu / KBIA

On this edition of Intersection, three local analysts discuss recent dramatic changes in Columbia, including the departures of the city's police chief, its city manager, and the elimination of the position of deputy city manager.

We explore the factors influencing these changes, and what it all means for the community as we move forward in a new year and in the runup to April's municipal elections.

A roundup of news headlines from across the region, including:

Meiying Wu / KBIA

The federal government shutdown has scrambled plans for a Missouri prayer breakfast after Ben Carson had to cancel as the keynote speaker.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development said Wednesday that the agency couldn't pay for the secretary's travel to Missouri because of the shutdown.


Carson had been scheduled as the main speaker Thursday for the Missouri governor's annual prayer breakfast.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Mike Parson said Carson's spot would be filled by St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts.

City officials in Columbia have confirmed that a police lieutenant was placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into his social media posts.


While cruising down a Missouri highway this winter, keep an eye out for a predator on the prowl.


Often known as “highway hawks” for their roadside perches, red-tailed hawks are “brown above, and white below,” and adults have a rust-red tail with a narrow black band near the end.  They stand nearly two feet tall with a wingspan more than double their height.  


These hawks usually nest in open woodlands or in trees in a grassland and crop area – frequently within city limits – hunting snakes, squirrels, mice, and other small animals.  


Commentary: The Realities of Clean Missouri

Jan 9, 2019

Missouri voters used to be in the news because we were the bellwether state for presidential elections.  For 100 years with one exception Missouri voted for the winner – until 2008.

Now we are in the news because we are a trending red state that votes for progressive ballot initiatives.  Republicans have super majorities in both houses of the state legislature, control all but one statewide office, including both Senate seats, and six of eight congressional seats.  Yet in 2018 voters defeated right-to-work, approved a state minimum wage, approved medical marijuana and passed the “Clean Missouri” amendment, strengthening ethics laws and changing the way state legislative districts are drawn.

Thanks to you, Voluntary Action Center's 2018 Holiday Program was a resounding success. Executive director NICK FOSTER shares some takeaway statistics and tells us a story about its impact on one particular individual. Also, native plant expert NADIA NAVARRETE-TINDALL is back with tips on how, with just a little planning, you can turn nature into art! (4:30) January 9, 2019

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt argues in a brief filed with the Missouri Supreme Court courts should change the way the cost of incarceration —commonly called board bills — is collected from indigent inmates.

In a brief filed Monday, Schmitt argued that collecting board bills as court costs creates modern day debtors prisons. Indigent inmates who can't pay their board bills as court costs can be returned to prison, adding to their debts.

River City Habitat for Humanity is now accepting applications from those interested in becoming a homeowner. Executive director SUSAN COOK-WILLIAMS tells us about the process. Also, JACK WAX and WALTER PERKINS encourages those 50 and older (who are looking to continue their education) to attend Osher at Mizzou's four-week winter session. Starts January 22nd! (3:25) January 8, 2019

Mayor Once Again Urges Council to Consider City-wide Audit

Jan 8, 2019

Mayor Brian Treece once again called for an independent audit of the city’s finances at Monday night’s Columbia City Council meeting.

Treece first introduced the idea of a comprehensive audit of the city’s finances back in February 2018, according to previous Missourian reporting. He has previously stated that his support for the audit comes from a desire to identify areas of savings for the city and increase transparency within the city’s government, a thought he echoed at Monday night’s meeting.

Missouri tax revenues were down 2.9 percent through the first half of the fiscal year, but budget officials expect that to rebound in the coming months.

Missouri took in $4.3 billion in net general revenue from July through December, which covered the first six months of the 2019 budget year. That was down $128 million from the previous fiscal year.

Community Starts Fundraising Effort for Family of Girl Killed Outside Battle High School

Jan 8, 2019

A GoFundMe campaign has been started to raise money for the family of Gabriella Curry, the 4-year-old girl who was hit and killed by a Columbia Police Department SUV on Friday afternoon at Battle High School.