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Regional headlines from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

Another University of Missouri fraternity chapter has been closed indefinitely.

Delta Sigma Phi Foundation executive director Phillip Rodriguez said in an email that the decision stemmed from “a pattern of behavior that goes against the values of our fraternity.” The MU Student Conduct Committee found that the fraternity had violated campus policy. University spokeswoman Sara Diedrich said the committee recommended that the chapter lose recognition for a minimum of three years.

Missouri Lawmakers Propose Regulating Unlicensed Religious Schools

2 hours ago

Members of the Missouri House are bringing new regulations to the legislative table to control religious boarding schools.

“We have a number of our members that are very interested in filing legislation, leadership in the House has been very supportive of us taking action, and I believe it might be one of the first bills passed next year,” Rep. Sheila Solon, R-St. Joseph, said.

Officials are discussing canceling all but the mot urgent medical procedures and building a field hospital as the coronavirus surges in Missouri.

Dr. Alex Garza, the chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said on Friday that projections show the region’s hospitals maxing out intensive care units in a matter of days, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Garza said the task force is working with the state to determine what assistance will be necessary. Springfield area hospitals also report being overwhelmed.

Afternoon Newscast for November 20, 2020

Nov 21, 2020

NEW MADRID, Mo. (AP) — Three former officials of a small southeast Missouri town are facing felony charges after a state audit found more than $115,000 in fraudulent purchases and payments. The investigation in Parma drew attention after records sought for the audit were destroyed in two suspicious fires. Former Parma Mayor Tyus Byrd, former city clerk Helen Jean Frye, and David Thatch, a former water supervisor, were charged this week.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A suburban and rural county near St. Louis is requiring face masks. Franklin County's mask order takes effect Friday and expires Dec. 20. The mandate is notable for what Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker described as “freedom-preserving” Franklin County. The area trends conservative. Local leaders had resisted requiring face masks for months. That changed after Republican Gov. Mike Parson's administration issued a public health warning in response to the recent exponential rise in Missouri coronavirus cases.

The City of Columbia Housing Programs Division is offering funds to nonprofits in order to help residents make housing and living payments during COVID-19. With nearly $740,000 awarded to Columbia through the CARES Act, the city went to residents in a survey to help determine the priorities for the Community Development Block Grant funding. Randy Cole, the manager of the Columbia Housing Programs Division, said the survey’s top three responses included rent payments, food security and homelessness.

The City of Columbia announced on November 20th that utility customers now have the option of paying their bills at Walmart.

According to a press release, the new option allows anyone to pay their bill at any participating Walmart in the country.

From Walmart, the bill will reach the city’s utility billing system in less than thirty minutes.

City of Columbia Treasurer Chelsea Miller said that this another step in providing more options for people to pay their utility bills.

Scores of red colored candles burning before kneeling people at an evening memorial service
Robert Ghement / European Pressphoto

Just before the COVID pandemic sent the world into lockdown last spring, visitors to Columbia's  True/False film festival got a sneak preview of a remarkable film about journalism.

A Harbor for the Homeless

Nov 20, 2020
Abigail Ruhman, Rachel Schnelle, Sara Williams

Shameko Spivey trailed behind two of her children, Diryne and Lauren, into a cement gray room. Action figures, board games, and books spilled across the tile floor. Spivey, a soon-to-be mother of five sat and shuffled with an array of children’s stories. As of November, Spivey and her kids are new residents of local homeless shelter, the Salvation Army Harbor House.

Spivey was laid off from her job at Columbia Mall as a shoe saleswoman because of COVID-19. As a single mother, she struggled to house her family without a job.

We have some holidays to get through, and we are now a week out from Thanksgiving. Our holiday traditions are likely changing, and compounded with regular holiday stress, this could be a difficult time.

So, what is Thanksgiving going to look like for you? And what do any of us have to be thankful for?

That’s a tough one. So we're talking to a couple of experts to to get some advice on how to stay grateful in these times, and the role gratitude can play in our lives.

Our guests:
AJ Jacobs, author of "Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey"

Reverend Dr. Cassandra Gould, executive director of Missouri Faith Voices

AI enthusiast SCOTT CHRISTIANSON introduces us to another "internet of things" device, this one provides six-lead EKG information via a smartphone. You can now check your heart's BPM right at home! Watch his live demo. November 20, 2020

UM Curators Approve Women's And Children's Hospital Plan, Elect New Chair

Nov 20, 2020

The UM System Board of Curators unanimously approved a new $232 million hospital facility for Women’s and Children’s Hospital during its Thursday meeting.

The board also elected new leadership for the coming year and reviewed the system’s new governance structure.

The new facility is a key part of MU Health Care’s three-phase process to consolidate operations on the existing University Hospital campus, maximize efficiency and increase total capacity for the hospitals.

Columbia School Board Discusses Low Grades, COVID-19 Response

Nov 20, 2020

The Columbia Board of Education focused on three things at its Thursday work session: grades, special education and the district’s COVID-19 response.

Jennifer Rukstad, assistant superintendent for secondary education, presented data on grades for middle and high school students.

“We are up in D’s and F’s, which we expected,” Rukstad said.

Boone County Reaches 23 COVID-19 Deaths, Sees 212 New Cases

Nov 20, 2020

Two people over the age of 80 died from COVID-19 Thursday, according to Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department.

There have been a total of 23 deaths from COVID-19 in Boone County.

The county also recorded 212 new cases Thursday, bringing the total of active cases to 1,085. There have been 8,923 cases in the county to date.

Regional headlines from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

SEDALIA, Mo. (AP) — A west-central Missouri sheriff's department that was criticized for not having body cameras after a deputy fatally shot a woman is now equipped with the new technology. The Pettis County Sheriff's office has received 23 body cameras and accessories for its deputies to use. The county commission purchased the equipment after a deputy fatally shot 25-year-old Hannah Fizer in June in Sedalia. There was no body or dash camera video available from the shooting and it was revealed that the previous equipment used by the department hadn't worked for three years.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — More than half of bankers surveyed in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states are projecting a drop in holiday retail sales this year from last year as the coronavirus pandemic worsens across the country. The Rural Mainstreet Survey's overall index fell to 46.8 in November from October’s 53.2. It's the first time since April that the index has fallen, but it remains well ahead of the 35.5 reading in March, when the index bottomed out as the outbreak began. Any score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy, while a score above 50 suggests a growing economy.

Hattie Saltzman Milota, left, stands next to her Dad, Russell Saltzman. She is wearing an “Access to Insulin is a Human Right” shirt.
Provided by Hattie Saltzman Milota

Hattie Saltzman Milota and her dad, Russell Saltzman both live in the Kansas City area. They both have Type 1 diabetes, and since 2017, they’ve noticed a steep increase in the price of insulin – a drug they need to live.

They spoke about how these costs once kept Hattie from buying her own insulin for an entire year – and while she now has insurance that makes it affordable, how the cost of the drug is still a constant point of stress. 

Both Hattie and Russell reference "Walmart Insulin." You can read more about buying insulin without a prescription in the 2015 NPR story "You Can Buy Insulin Without A Prescription, But Should You?"

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at

Onetime poet laureate WALTER BARGEN has a new book out titled, 'Pole Dancing in the Night Club of God'. He reads us two poems from it: 'God's Juice' at [2:44] and 'Stylish' at [6:05]. November 19, 2020

Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple To Step Down Dec. 1

Nov 19, 2020

Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple will step down from his position Dec. 1, the college announced Wednesday.

Dalrymple, who has served as president since 2014, said he will seek another position as president in the future but cited family as the reason for his resignation and his priority for the coming year.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson says she won't run for another term next year.

Krewson said Wednesday that she made the decision after celebrating her 68th birthday last weekend. Krewson says she wasn’t influenced by racial justice advocates’ calls for her to resign. She came under fire in June after she publicly revealed the names and addresses of anti-police protesters. Krewson is the city's first female mayor. She says she's not endorsing a candidate to replace her yet.

A Saint Louis University study shows mask mandates in St. Louis and St. Louis County slowed the spread of the coronavirus this summer.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that the study compared St. Louis and St. Louis County infections to neighboring Franklin, St. Charles and Jefferson counties. The study found average daily case growth was 44% less in St. Louis and St. Louis County three weeks after those areas required masks. One of the study's authors is urging Republican Gov. Mike Parson to require masks across the state.

MU Health Care announced it will implement a new restricted-visitor policy for its outpatient clinics beginning Monday.

Global Journalist: Making media accessible

Nov 18, 2020
Photo of an interpreter for the deaf signing behind a man speaking at a podium during a press conference.
Wilfredo Lee / AP

Modern media offers accessible information to a worldwide audience, but barriers still remain. Thirty years after the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, inconsistent captioning, improper ASL interpretation, and obtuse design hinder many from receiving critical news.

Moreover many who could provide valuable perspectives on what it's like to be "differently abled" are blocked from producing that journalism by newsrooms' failure to build accessibility into the process.

In this episode, journalists look at what it will take to fix the problem — and why it matters. We thank the interpreters who assisted us in our interviews with some of the journalists. Theirs are some of the voices you will hear on this podcast. For a transcript of the program, click here.

Afternoon Newscast for November 18, 2020

Nov 18, 2020

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

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Three Black female former detectives have accused the Kansas City Police Department of discriminating against them because of their race and gender during an internal probe of a unit that investigated sex crimes against children.