Council Votes Against Raising Property Tax Ceiling After Public Hearing

Aug 7, 2018

The Columbia City Council declined to raise the city’s property tax ceiling after multiple council members expressed concerns that the move would undermine public trust.

The council voted 5-2 against raising the city’s property tax ceiling to 43.29 cents at Monday night’s meeting.

A faucet dripping water.
Imani / Unsplash

Columbia residents will vote Tuesday on whether the city should use bond funds to make improvements to its water system.

If passed, Proposition 1 would allow the city to issue about $43 million in fresh revenue bonds for the express purpose of modernizing its water treatment and installing what it calls “additional reliability and safety elements.” To pay off this new debt, Columbia Water and Light says it would raise water bills by two to three percent per year until the year 2022, for a total rate increase of about 12 percent.


TUSCUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A central Missouri detention officer has been charged with having sex with a female inmate.

Miller County jailer Samuel Evans, of Eldon, was charged Friday with a felony of having sexual conduct with a prisoner. He posted $10,000 bond.

Miller County Sheriff Louie Gregoire said in a statement he was disappointed in Evans' actions. He said he will not tolerate that type of conduct in his employees.

Online court records don't name an attorney for Evans.

LARRY BROWN tells us the story of Sadako Sasaki, who you might remember survived the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. After being diagnosed with leukemia (due to fallout from the bombing's radiation), she went on to create almost a thousand paper cranes based on the Japanese legend that upon doing so you would be granted one wish. Her one wish was to live. August 6, 2018

Regional stories from the KBIA newsroom, including: 

Columbia City Council Split on Raising Property Tax Without A Vote of the Public

Aug 6, 2018
Meiying Wu

  The idea of the city imposing a property tax increase without a public vote is sowing unrest among Columbia City Council members.

The Hancock Amendment in the Missouri Constitution sets maximum property tax rates that cities and counties can charge without a vote of the people. The maximum rate for Columbia stands at 43.29 cents, but since 2002, the council has voluntarily kept the rate at 41 cents.

City Council To Consider Higher Fees for Those Who Use Lots of Water

Aug 6, 2018

As Columbia citizens prepare to vote on a proposed $42.8 million water bond issue Tuesday, the City Council is considering a change in the city’s billing structure that could push water bills even higher.

The council on Monday night will introduce an ordinance that recommends amending city water rates to charge higher amounts for people who use a lot of water in the summer, when demand is highest.

Ryan Williams, assistant director of Columbia Water and Light, said it’s an effort to encourage water conservation.


JOPLIN — Two Joplin companies are at the forefront of the country's battery development industry.

A new company, ZAF Energy Systems, is joining longtime local manufacturer, EaglePicher Technologies, in transforming how batteries are made and used, the Joplin Globe reported .

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The powers of organized labor are being put to a new test by a voter referendum in Missouri over whether to ban mandatory union fees in all workplaces.

The vote Tuesday on a so-called right-to-work law marks the first time the public will get to weigh in on union powers since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this summer that government workers cannot be forced to pay union fees.

Courtesy of Renee Hoagenson campaign and Hallie Thompson campaign

On August 7th, voters in Missouri’s 4th Congressional District will be choosing between two Democrats to face off against Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler for her seat in Congress. 

KBIA sat down with both Democrats to learn more about what differentiates the two and what they see as the biggest issues facing their Missouri constituents. 

The situation in Nicaragua has taken a dark turn in recent months. President Daniel Ortega's growing authoritarian streak has led to months of protests against his rule - and a violent response from pro-government militias.

With hundreds dead and many more arrested, some observers fear the country is slipping towards a new civil war. On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the political crisis in Nicaragua and what lies ahead for a country still recovering from a debilitating civil war in the 1980s.

Mary Poppins herself (KARIN SCHATTE) invites you to The Little Theatre of Jefferson City's production of, well, "Mary Poppins," opening next Wednesday on the stage at the Miller Performing Arts Center. Guests: JOHN WELLS and MAGGIE EGGEN | Also, Resident Arts founder MADELEINE LeMIEUX encourages anyone who knows how to hold a paint brush to come and help create a mural that will highlight the importance of science. (5:00) August 3, 2018

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Boone County prosecutors have reduced some charges against a 32-year-old woman charged after a car crash killed one of her three children.

Demetres Washington of Columbia was charged in April 2017 with second-degree murder, three counts of first-degree kidnapping and two counts of second-degree assault. Prosecutors on Friday amended the three kidnapping charges to second-degree kidnapping.

A wrapup of this evening's regional stories from the KBIA newsroom, including:

St. Louis Democrat Cori Bush hopes to drive an Ocasio-Cortez style upset in Missouri's Aug. 7 primary

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Few members of Congress are more entrenched than William Lacy Clay of St. Louis, but a once-homeless woman spurred to activism in Ferguson believes she could be the next Democrat to pull off a big primary upset.

Cori Bush watched in June as her friend, democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, shocked the political establishment by beating 10-term Rep. Joseph Crowley in the New York Democratic primary. That has fueled Bush's optimism heading into Missouri's Aug. 7 primary.

University of Missouri School of Law

Darren Hellwege talks with Ben Tracthtenberg, a professor in the MU Law School who chaired the university's faculty council during the protests in 2015 at Mizzou. His new paper on the subject was summarized in an article in the Washington Post recently:

Fayette plays host to a number of events this Saturday that you won't want to miss! JIM STEELE tells us about the 10th annual Fayette Festival of the Arts, and ELISHA WELLS tells us about the 'wine and spirits walk', a fundraiser for the Fayette Area Community Theatre (FACT). August 2, 2018

Regional stories from the KBIA newsroom, including: 

CPS Middle School Principal Files Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Aug 2, 2018

A Columbia Public Schools middle school principal filed a discrimination lawsuit against the district Thursday, claiming she was passed over as a candidate for principal of Hickman High School because she is a black woman.

Melita Walker, principal of West Middle School, applied for the Hickman position in 2017. Her lawsuit said an all-white panel of interviewers denied her the promotion because she is an African-American woman.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A tourist boat was on the lake despite wind speeds far exceeding allowable limits when it sank last month in Missouri, killing 17 people, according to a certificate of inspection made public Wednesday.

The Coast Guard announced that it has convened a formal Marine Board of Investigation into the July 19 accident involving a Ride the Ducks of Branson duck boat. The vessel sank at Table Rock Lake near Branson during a storm. A news release announcing the investigation included a link to the certificate of inspection issued by the Coast Guard on Feb. 7, 2017.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Rebekah Hasty from Richland, Missouri, traveled nearly four hours to Pere Marquette state park outside Grafton, Illinois. She had brought her partner, Shane Worley, as well as their two grandchildren, Symphony and Jimi, to a regional family meetup for individuals affected by Zellweger Spectrum Disorder.

There were many activities planned that weekend including a river cruise, art projects and simply sitting around and talking about family members who are affected by this rare disorder.   

KELLY SMITH wants to see you at the 43rd annual Missouri River Festival of the Arts, happening later this month at the historic Thespian Hall in Boonville. Come for the music, stay for the festivities! | Also, DAVE LINEBERRY and his team at the Missouri River Cultural Conservancy are working hard at preserving "the music and artistic heritage of the Missouri River region." Find out how you can get involved! (3:30) August 1, 2018

New Cedar Ridge Elementary School Opens its Doors

Aug 1, 2018

Second-grade teacher Susan Heath gives a tour of Cedar Ridge Elementary School on Tuesday. The new school can hold 600-650 students.

The hallways of Cedar Ridge Elementary School were relatively quiet on Tuesday.

The floors were shiny, lacking any scuff marks from children’s sneakers, and the bulletin boards were plastered with construction paper flowers.

In one kindergarten classroom, a bulletin board was covered with empty paper frames, all reading, “Future masterpiece here.”

 Independent candidate Craig O'Dear's campaign says it has submitted more than enough signatures to get on the November ballot in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race in Missouri.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican, is trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in a state President Donald Trump won by nearly 19 points. It remains to be seen what effect of the addition of an independent candidate will have in that close contest.

Sara Shahriari/KBIA

The University of Missouri is considering changes to its sorority and fraternity system after reviewing recommendations put together by a task force.

Those recommendations -- meant to improve student safety and enhance the Greek life experience -- include allowing freshmen to live in sorority and fraternity housing based on a tiered system, limiting the frequency and length of social events and hiring a full-time staff member to focus on diversity and inclusion in the Greek community.

Missouri Department of Conservation

Discover nature in Missouri this week as American mink kits travel with their mothers along streams.


Adult minks are almost entirely brown with a white chin and white spots occurring irregularly on the throat, chest, and belly. 


At about two-feet long or less, adult minks are generally larger than weasels and smaller than river otters. 


Minks have musk glands that secrete a strong odor considered by many to be more obnoxious than that of weasels or skunks. 


Commentary: Youth and Politics

Jul 31, 2018

My wife Jane and I have four adult children and eight grandchildren, all brilliant and talented, of course.  Both of us have fulfilling professional careers that we value, but our family is our priority, and it is a deeply child-centered clan.

Recently we saw the documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor?, about Fred Rogers’ wonderful PBS program for children.  We were both inspired by and nostalgic for the days when his vision of childhood was mainstream and also sobered by the knowledge of what too many children these days must endure.