News | KBIA


Family dentists PHILIP BATSON and ELIZABETH ABE, DDS, Columbia Healthy Smiles, get to the root of why the root canal has such a long-standing reputation as the one dental procedure you want to avoid (when really it's not all that bad). April 26, 2021

St. Louis’ new mayor, U.S. Rep. Cori Bush and several other officials met with detainees at both of the city’s jails Saturday to check out conditions and highlight reform efforts.

Mayor Tishaura Jones said she is particularly concerned about complaints she heard about substandard food and lack of access to medical treatment in the city’s jails. Jones has pledged to close the medium security jail known as the workhouse, which has often been criticized for unsanitary and unsafe conditions.

Missouri is resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after federal scientific advisers decided its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clots.

The state made the announcement Friday night in a tweet in response to U.S. health officials lifting an 11-day pause on the single-dose vaccine. The state said that providers with J&J vaccine in stock can immediately begin administering it and that shipments from the federal government will resume next week.

Just over 105,000 doses of J&J had been administered in Missouri before the pause.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

According to the ACLU of Missouri, there are currently 15 bills in the Missouri legislature that target the LGBTQ community – many of them targeting transgender youth. These include bills that would prohibit trans kids from competing in gendered sports and criminalize parents who provide gender-affirming healthcare to their children.

So, following this slew of proposed legislation – and the killing of Dominque Luscious, a 26-year-old Black transgender woman, in Springfield in early April – folks gathered in Jefferson City last Saturday at a "March for Trans Liberation" to protest the proposed legislation and bring attention to the needs of all Trans Missourians.

Here are the voices of a few of those who gathered.

The Missouri Supreme Court has declined to pause a capital murder trial for a St. Louis man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, her mom and his baby boy after, despite two positive COVID-19 tests for potential jurors who had appeared in court.

The ruling on Friday came two days after attorneys for Eric Lawson requested a two-week delay, citing concerns that COVID-19 infections could spread to other potential jurors, trial staff and lawyers. 

Sara Shahriari / KBIA

About 1,500 University of Missouri graduates who didn’t get the chance to walk across the stage last year because of the pandemic are returning to campus this weekend for a long-delayed celebration.

Jordan Richards and Tracy Davis are both Board Members at The Center Project, an LGBTQ+ resource and community center for Mid-Missouri.

They spoke about some of the barriers transgender Missourians face when they need to go to the doctor – for gender-affirming health care or even for a simple checkup.

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

"Bonds have dropped in value because inflation is seen as a big negative for bond holders. So, year-to-date, the bond market, generally in our country, is down about 3.5%. So, people are selling their bonds and buying stocks." -- Alex LaBrunerie, financial advisor at LaBrunerie Financial April 23, 2021

A mass vaccination clinic that was planned at the stadium where the Kansas City Chiefs play has been canceled due to the suspension of the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

KSHB-TV reports that the clinic had been planned for April 29-30. But the Jackson County Health Department said it had to be canceled because Arrowhead Stadium and National Guard were not available to administer a second dose if they were to use the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Columbia’s Earth Day Festival Blooms This Weekend

Apr 23, 2021

The Columbia Earth Day Festival is back on, with two green thumbs up.

The Columbia Earth Day Coalition will be hosting springtime events throughout Boone County with hopes to start a conversation about our carbon footprint. The coalition sprouted its first event - The Earth, The Sun, The Art - at Logboat Brewing Company Thursday afternoon and will continue its celebrations throughout the weekend.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says he hopes to have a new health director within the next two months.

Parson said Thursday that he thought it was in the best interest of his office and Cabinet to part ways with former health director Randall Williams. The governor did not elaborate on on specific reasons but noted that the coronavirus pandemic had created a “stressful environment” and he pushes his Cabinet members hard. The governor's office announced Williams' resignation on Tuesday.

Curators Look at Tuition Hikes, New Vet School Program, Five-Year Capital Plan

Apr 22, 2021
Sara Shahriari / KBIA

A plan to increase tuition above the rate of inflation at MU and throughout the UM System was proposed Thursday to the system’s governing board.

The University of Missouri System Board of Curators is likely to take up the proposed increase next month at a specially called meeting. It was unclear whether the board would vote on the increase then or at a future meeting.

The Check-In: MU's Social Justice Centers

Apr 22, 2021
Rebecca Smith/KBIA

On Monday, more than 100 MU students stood outside Jesse Hall and protested alleged plans to shakeup staff at the university’s social justice centers. Students said they are worried that some or all of the staff at these centers would be fired, and that the shakeup would affect the quality of services at the centers. Students also shared personal stories about how those staff members have helped them get through traumatic experiences on campus and find their sense of community. MU says the allegations are false and that they are simply restructuring the social justice centers - but much remains unclear.


Unbound Book Festival is holding its last panel Friday night. The festival has brought together authors from all around the world for discussion of literature and poetry since 2016.

The pandemic has had an enormous impact on everyone, really, but especially grade school children who have had to adapt to both learning from home and in the classroom over a period of months. Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbia executive director VALORIE LIVINGSTON hopes to get those affected the most back on track through a planned expanded summer program, but only if funds allow! April 22, 2021

Transgender girls would be banned from playing on girls' sports teams under a bill advancing in the Missouri House.

House lawmakers voted 100-51 on Wednesday to add the proposal to another bill. Republican supporters argued the change is needed to protect girls in sports. They decried the risk of being called bigots, hateful or transphobic for proposing the rule. Democrats at times wept and said the rule change could push transgender children to kill themselves.

Doses of the coronavirus vaccine that were sent to rural areas of Missouri at the beginning of the state’s immunization campaign often didn’t reach locals, state data shows.

That means that vaccinations in parts of largely rural southern Missouri have stalled at some of the lowest rates in the country, even though rural areas initially received more doses per person than cities. For instance, 46,000 doses were allocated as of April 13 to a cluster of nine counties in an area of south-central Missouri where West Plains is located.

Many things about this year's True/False Film Festival have changed, but one that hasn't is our annual programmer preview. This year, programmers Angela Catalano and Amir George join the podcast to preview some of the films coming to this year's outdoor fest, which starts May 5. Angela and Amir preview Questlove's directorial debut Summer of Soul, Pete Nicks's Homeroom, and a number of other films and events fest-goers can look forward to. 

In Missouri’s woods this time of year, there’s something new to see every day.


For weeks, redbud blooms have stolen the show, painting pink streaks through the understory, but this week, Missouri’s state tree takes the spotlight. 


Common, especially in the Ozarks, the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) lives along wooded slopes, ravines, bluffs, upland ridges, and successional fields; preferring well-drained, acidic soils, and shade. 


Randall Williams Leaves State Health Department After Four Years

Apr 21, 2021

After four years as Missouri’s health director, Randall Williams announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from the position, effective immediately.

Gov. Mike Parson said he received Williams’s letter of resignation Tuesday morning but did not give a reason for his departure.

Robert Knodell, Parson’s deputy chief of staff, will serve as acting director for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Throughout the pandemic, Knodell has been active in the state’s COVID-19 response and vaccine distribution.

Missouri House Expels Lawmaker Accused of Abusing His Kids

Apr 21, 2021

The Missouri House has expelled a lawmaker accused of sexually and physically abusing his children years ago.

The GOP-led House on Wednesday voted almost unanimously to kick out Republican Rick Roeber.

His now-adult children testified to House investigators this year that he sexually abused two of them at the ages of 5 and 9.

The committee found records that show his children reported the abuse years ago but that prosecutors didn’t file charges. Roeber didn't immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment.

Bill Would Require Schools to Allow Homeschooled Students to Join Extracurriculars

Apr 21, 2021

Lawmakers largely agreed upon the idea of requiring public schools to allow homeschooled students to participate in extracurriculars during a debate Tuesday.

The division occurred with the part of the proposal that would take away a district’s core state funding if it failed to do so.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Josh Hurlbert, R-Smithville, requires schools to give homeschooled students the opportunity to try out or apply to join extracurricular activities, including sports, theater and academic clubs.

A St. Louis husband and wife facing criminal charges for waving guns at racial injustice protesters last summer are asking a judge to send their case back to the grand jury, citing concerns about Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s handling of it.

Attorney Joel Schwartz, in an email Wednesday, says that “bias” from Gardner's office tainted the grand jury process."

A hearing on the motion to remand is scheduled for April 30.

Museum of Missouri Military History Sees Influx of Artifact Donations During Pandemic

Apr 21, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has created some challenges at Jefferson City’s Museum of Missouri Military History. But they might not be the ones you expect.

Like many other museums, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to less visitors at Jefferson City’s Museum of Missouri Military History, but it has also kept the museum busy, as it is scrambling to accommodate the influx of new artifacts people have been donating.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of the murder of George Floyd. On this week’s episode of Views of the News, a look coverage of Tuesday’s verdict and reactions to it. Also, properly archiving digital news and how it is so many Republican lawmakers are landing on the bestseller lists. From Missouri School of Journalism professors Amy Simons, Earnest Perry and Kathy Kiely: Views of the News.