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Missouri Task Force One is scheduled to arrive back in Boone County Saturday after responding to Hurricane Sally in Louisiana.

Assistant Fire Chief and Public Information Officer Gale Blomenkamp said that the team remained in staging in Hammond, Louisiana but after the hurricane turned and hit Alabama and Florida, no resource need or missions were necessary.

“We are one of the three closest teams to the Gulf Coast, so anytime a hurricane is approaching the United States, FEMA will mobilize the three closest teams first,” Blomenkamp said.

Afternoon Newscast for September 18, 2020

15 hours ago

Regional headlines from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

A violent year in Kansas City continues with another fatal shooting — the fourth in five days. The Kansas City Star reports that a man was found shot to death near a vehicle after 2 a.m. Friday. Police Sgt. Jacob Becchina said officers were called about a suspicious car in front of home and found the victim outside the vehicle. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives are working to identify the victim and determine his association to the car and the area. Kansas City has reported 143 homicides so far in 2020, just seven fewer than all of last year.

St. Louis County Health Officials Defend Sports Ban

15 hours ago

St. Louis County health officials say a ban on some high school sports will continue until the number of coronavirus cases is reduced and they can recommend return to in-person school. The county's ban on some high school sports, particularly football, has prompted protests and an unsuccessful effort to take away pandemic-related power from County Executive Sam Page and the health department. The department says in a news release Friday that it has documented five clusters of transmissions directly linked to sports practices or games.

MU Health Care's main campus, near Stadium Blvd. in downtown Columbia.
Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

Weeks after a major spike in COVID-19 cases in Boone County, hospitalizations are on the rise. The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services said the week of September 14 saw an all-time high of 61 total hospitalizations, with 11 patients on ventilators.

As you can probably imagine, the phones at Voluntary Action Center have been ringing non-stop ever since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a stop back in March, with housing concerns at the top of the list. That's according to executive director NICK FOSTER, who remains cautiously optimistic that the upcoming holiday program remains a high priority to those who plan on sponsoring a family. September 18, 2020

Authorities are investigating a Christian boarding school from which about 20 girls were removed after former residents turned to social media to describe being abused there.

The case involving the Circle of Hope Girls’ Ranch in southwestern Missouri has focused attention on a state law that exempts faith-based schools from oversight. In recent years, the state has substantiated four reports of abuse and neglect involving the recently closed facility. But officials say that because the school is exempt from state licensure, the state “does not have authority” over its operations.

A scathing state audit has found that a struggling St. Louis suburb mismanaged money and failed to comply with a state law that guarantees public access to meetings and records.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that State Auditor Nicole Galloway gave the city of Bel-Ridge a rare rating of “poor,” the lowest possible. Her office initiated the audit after Bel-Ridge residents petitioned for one. The city of 2,700 people is located in north St. Louis County.

Poll workers signed up to work the November election in a county near St. Louis have been urged in an email to “act surprised” if voters ask why they aren’t wearing masks given the coronavirus threat.

MU School Of Medicine Awarded Nearly $3 Million Grant For Rural Health Care

Sep 18, 2020

The MU School of Medicine has received a $2.8 million grant to continue working on the problem of the physician shortage in rural Missouri.

This funding is in addition to the nearly $5 million grant the School of Medicine received last fall. The grant extension will be administered by the School of Medicine and MU Extension.

A gathering at the Lake of the Ozarks is bringing tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to Missouri, generating worry that the state’s already fast-growing number of coronavirus cases could spike even higher.

Bikefest Lake of the Ozarks drew about 125,000 people last year. The event, which began Wednesday, bills itself as the largest motorcycle rally in the Midwest. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that it includes five days of rides, vendor fairs, concerts and stops at area bars and restaurants.


You’ve heard this since your grade-school civics classes. That Voting is one of the most important part of a democracy - it’s how you exercise your right,as a citizen.


And this election season, the sacred American act of voting has become embroiled in our nation’s politics - we have accusations of voter fraud, and others highlighting

disenfranchisement of some citizens who might have less access to ballots and voting booths.


Commentary: Realignment Potential

Sep 17, 2020

In a July commentary I gave three of the nine reasons why America has a strong and durable two-party system, and why it is difficult for third parties to gain traction.  Sometimes they behave like supernova, blowing up an election, then going away almost without a trace.  But usually, to continue the astronomy analogy, they are just background radiation.

Like most events this year, the annual Kidney Walk for the National Kidney Foundation is moving to an online format. Regional executive director KATHLEEN DAVIS invites those interested to follow #KidneyWalkLaceUp and to join the festivities via Facebook Live on Sunday, September 27. Yours truly will be serving as the virtual MC with Cathy Cox singing the National Anthem. September 17, 2020

Columbia School Board President Condemns Post Of Local Donor

Sep 17, 2020

Columbia School Board President Helen Wade has condemned a Facebook post made by Wayne Sells, for whom Rock Bridge High School’s football field is named.

The Columbia School Board will hold a special closed session on the matter Friday, according to an email from district spokesperson Michelle Baumstark. It will discuss changing the field's name at a public work session Sept 24.

Mizzou Arena To Be Used As Polling Place For 2020 Election

Sep 17, 2020

MU Athletics and the Boone County Clerk's office announced Wednesday afternoon that Mizzou Arena will be used as a polling location for the 2020 election. It will be one of the Missouri's largest voting centers.

The arena will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 3. In accordance with campus health and safety policies, social distancing and face masks will be required. 

The number of new cases of the coronavirus continues to be high in Missouri, but Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday cited the declining death rate as evidence that progress is being made.

Parson, speaking at a news conference, noted that in the early days of the pandemic in April and May, more than 7% of all cases were fatal. That percentage has gradually dropped and so far this month, just 0.3% of Missourians infected with COVID-19 have died. Missouri reported 1,191 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 106,587.

Starting Friday, bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues will be able to serve alcohol, and stay open, until 10:30 p.m.

The new closing time is a result of a modified health order, according to a release from Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services . Director Stephanie Browning modified the earlier health order which required businesses to stop serving alcohol by 9 p.m., a move that aimed to reduce transmission of COVID-19. The modified order will expire Oct. 6.

Afternoon Newscast for September 16, 2020

Sep 16, 2020

Here's some headlines from around the KBIA Newsroom, including:

A state audit released today accuses the former clerk of a tiny town in remote northeast Missouri of spending more than $300,000 in taxpayer money on concerts, vacations and other personal needs. Tracey Ray, the former clerk of Center, Missouri, hasn't been criminally charged with financial crimes, but she is facing four felony charges for an exchange of gunfire. The shooting injured the Ralls County sheriff and a deputy on July 2, 2019, the day city officials questioned her about financial concerns. Ray also was injured. She was fired the next day.

Hospitalizations for the coronavirus have risen across Missouri in recent days. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that three of the four highest days for hospitalizations have occurred over the past week, based on data from the state health department. The most recent data shows 1,021 patients in hospitals with confirmed or presumed cases on Saturday, the second-highest day on record. The highest was Sept. 9, when 1,040 patients were hospitalized. Missouri reported 1,191 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total to 106,587 since counting began in March.

A roundup of headlines from across the region, including:

MU Students Face Repercussions For COVID Violations

Sep 16, 2020

The University of Missouri has expelled two students and suspended three others for violating the university’s coronavirus safety policies. The university said these students were held accountable for “willful and knowing actions that threatened the safety of [the] campus and community” in a press release sent Tuesday. It also mentioned that 11 student organizations are currently under investigation for similar violations.

Boone County Corrects Positivity Rate Data, Rate Now at 24.1%

Sep 16, 2020

Boone County’s positivity rate was 24.1% Tuesday after a two-week stall in updates, caused by a data reporting glitch.

The updated positivity rate is less than previously reported but still shows an upward trend since Aug. 21.

The most recent positivity rate reported before the correction was 44.6% for the week of Aug. 21 to Aug. 27. In light of the newly corrected data, the positivity rate for that week was actually 8.9%. That’s a difference of nearly 1 in every 2 tests versus 1 in every 10.

Just because your recycling isn't being picked up from the curb these days doesn't mean those items now have to go to the landfill. City of Columbia sustainability manager BARBARA BUFFALOE talks about the future of the program, the drop-off sites in Columbia and how they take the pressure off the need for those blue bags each week. September 16, 2020

Afternoon Newscast for September, 15 2020

Sep 15, 2020

Regional stories from the KBIA Newsroom, including: 

The University of Missouri in Columbia says two students have been expelled and three others suspended for violating rules meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The disciplinary actions were announced Tuesday. A news release says the sanctions were necessary because of flagrant violations of rules and regulations that require students who test positive for the coronavirus to isolate themselves and comply with social distancing requirements.

This week along Missouri waterways, watch for one of our state’s bright-red wildflowers in full bloom.


Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) grows in wet environments – especially along Ozark rivers and streams, in openings of bottomland forests, ditches, sloughs, swamps, and lakes. It also grows well in cultivated rain gardens with rich, wet soils, and tolerates medium shade.