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Missouri News

Librarians across Kansas struggled in March to find a balance between serving the intellectually curious and protecting public health.

Now, a statewide state-at-home order from Gov. Laura Kelly appears to mean that all Kansas libraries will close or remain closed through April 19.

The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri will soon have a new bishop. The Rev. Deon Johnson officially will become the 11th bishop of the diocese when he is consecrated on June 13. Johnson’s transition into the role is historic: He’s the first openly gay bishop to lead the Diocese of Missouri. 

He and his husband and their two kids moved to St. Louis in February with hopes of getting adjusted to the region. That was put on hold as the coronavirus pandemic grew. St. Louis Public Radio’s Marissanne Lewis-Thompson spoke with Johnson about his new role and how he’s approaching the position in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Rob Schulte, a registered nurse at Research Medical Center, was taking care of a patient with COVID-19 symptoms and wearing a surgical mask but thought he needed the additional protection of an N95 medical mask.

So he asked his supervisor for permission to don one. Her response, according to Schulte: If she let him wear one to treat a patient who had not been confirmed with the disease, everyone at the hospital would be asking for one.

The spring semester is when most soon-to-be educators do their student teaching, but now they’re trying to figure out distance learning even as their own education has been interrupted.

Moriah Stonehocker is in her final semester at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a student teacher at J. A Rogers Elementary in Kansas City Public Schools.

“It's 2 p.m., so I should be at recess right now with my kids, but I'm here at home,” she said last week.

In this episode of KCUR's new podcast, A People's History of Kansas City, host Suzanne Hogan and Matthew Long-Middleton tell the story of the pugnacious Kansas sheriff and attorney general Vern Miller, whose antics seemed to be a throwback to the Wild West era but left a surprising legacy.

St. Louis Public Radio podcast host Gabe Fleisher has been selected as the winner of the 2020 Horace Mann Friend of Education award in the field of Journalism – Radio for his work on Wake Up to Politics, a podcast that explains the inner workings of American politics.

In a major reversal after an outcry from workers, Children’s Mercy Hospital announced Wednesday that it will allow all of its employees to continuously wear face masks during shifts for protection from the coronavirus.

In addition, the hospital said it will begin screening workers on Thursday, according to an email obtained by KCUR. As of March 31, the hospital had tested 255 employees, three of whom were positive for the virus, Children’s Mercy announced on its website.

A group that wants to radically change the way candidates are elected to some offices in St. Louis has collected enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot.

City law currently calls for partisan primaries in March for mayor, comptroller, the Board of Aldermen and its president. Because the city is so heavily Democratic, the April general election usually does not matter. That means candidates can effectively win citywide office with much less than 50% of the primary vote.

If approved, Proposition D would make all those posts nonpartisan. Voters would be able to select as many candidates as they want in March, and the top two would go to a runoff in April.

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Tuesday (April 7). This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

About three weeks ago — which feels more like months in coronavirus time — Rob Gatter and his St. Louis University School of Law colleague Ana Santos Rutschman drew attention in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to what they consider to be Missouri’s problematic use of “informal quarantine.”

Officials’ decision in early March to simply ask, rather than formally order, a suburban St. Louis family to self-quarantine while awaiting COVID-19 test results seems to have backfired. The family’s attorney has said they weren’t told to stay home until after their trips outside the home made headlines.

Gatter is quick to acknowledge that in many cases people do and are abiding by informal quarantine measures, and he notes that the success of public health actions requires a great deal of public cooperation.

But “the current practice of oral requests to self-quarantine accompanied by an oral threat of a formal order is dangerous for several reasons,” he and Santos Rutschman write. They believe that includes the potential for miscommunication, mistakes and mistrust. Court orders, they say, increase transparency and forces health officials to do their homework.

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Thursday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

In 2015, a cohort of lawyers sued the city of Ferguson to stop municipal court abuses widely publicized after the killing of Michael Brown the previous August.

ArchCity Defenders, the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics, and the Campbell Law Firm filed on behalf of Roelif Carter, a Ferguson resident charged with court fees that the suit argued were illegal. In the class-action lawsuit, Carter stood in for nearly 10,000 people harmed by the city’s revenue generating practices. 

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Thursday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

In 2015, a cohort of lawyers sued the city of Ferguson to stop municipal court abuses widely publicized after the killing of Michael Brown the previous August.

ArchCity Defenders, the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics, and the Campbell Law Firm filed on behalf of Roelif Carter, a Ferguson resident charged with court fees that the suit argued were illegal. In the class-action lawsuit, Carter stood in for nearly 10,000 people harmed by the city’s revenue generating practices. 

Segment 1: "No one is immune" to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, said Mayor Carson Ross.

The spread of the new coronavirus has already delayed local elections in Blue Springs, Missouri, but the full extent of the damage is yet to be known. It will undoubtedly include hits to public health, residents' wallets, tax revenue and more, says the suburb's mayor.

Segment 1: "No one is immune" to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, said Mayor Carson Ross.

The spread of the new coronavirus has already delayed local elections in Blue Springs, Missouri, but the full extent of the damage is yet to be known. It will undoubtedly include hits to public health, residents' wallets, tax revenue and more, says the suburb's mayor.

The surge in demand for personal protective equipment during the coronavirus outbreak has caused shortages nationwide.

To make up for a manufacturing lag, local health care systems and first responders have turned to crowdsourcing strategies.

Are you an employee of Stormont Vail or another Kansas health care providers that is reducing pay during the COVID-19 crisis? We want to hear from you.

TOPEKA, Kansas — A major hospital in the state’s capital slashed pay this week for many employees to try to weather financial woes spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

The merger of Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc., a start-and-stop combination years in the process, is official. With it, the Kansas City area’s largest public company no longer is based here.

On Wednesday, the wireless carriers announced the closing of their merger, creating New T-Mobile. The combination introduces a company that officials hope has the size and spectrum to better compete with industry giants AT&T and Verizon and push forward the rollout of 5G service.

Like parents around the country, Michelle Haffer never imagined having to become her child’s full-time teacher. But Haffer’s daughter is out of school and mostly stuck in the house.

And her daughter, Maddy, isn’t loving it.

“Well, she’s been struggling. It’s mostly the social distancing, in that nothing is open,” Haffer said.

A few minutes of your time and about $100 gets you certified for Missouri’s medical marijuana program. A clinic near St. Louis even offered a “Pot of Gold Legalization” discount for St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t want to leave your house? Try an online appointment, no medical records needed.

Missouri’s fledgling program, approved by voters in 2018, is under an intense amount of scrutiny — and not just by lawmakers. Physicians themselves are concerned about loopholes like telemedicine and a lack of oversight when it comes to certifying patients for pot. 

Missouri’s 2020 campaign season is effectively on ice because of the focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

But that doesn’t mean that candidates haven’t been signing up to appear on the August primary ballot.

By the time the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline hit, 490 people filed to run for federal, state, county, city and judicial posts. That included 31 stragglers who decided to make the trek to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office on Tuesday.

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Thursday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

Things have been pretty quiet lately at one of the region’s most visited attractions — the St. Louis Zoo. On March 17, it closed its doors to the public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

While the organization is operating under unusual circumstances and with limited staff, zoo fun continues on its social media feeds. Their #BringTheStlZooToYou initiative involves photos and videos of the zoo’s residents from its animal care teams. 

This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Thursday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

The current coronavirus pandemic has left many homebound — mostly around family, addicting snacks and pets. What’s a true virtual work meeting if a pet doesn’t end up making an appearance?

For those without pets, this might be the ideal time to add an extra addition to the household. They provide something for a family or an individual to care for and can be a source of fun and pleasurable activity. During frightening times, they create a sense of constancy and comfort. 

The Humane Society of Missouri has adjusted its efforts to connect people with furry companions. While its shelter doors are closed to comply with the region’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, they implemented a curbside pick up model

In the past several weeks, as metro Kansas City began working to avoid being overwhelmed by Covid-19 like big cities elsewhere, rural places like Wright County in southern Missouri have been barely touched by the disease.

But Wright County family physician Dr. David Barbe, along with other health care providers who work in remote parts of the state, have been pleading with Gov. Mike Parson to force their patients and neighbors to shelter in place.

Johnson County government has started furloughing employees whose office functions are curtailed due to the coronavirus and who can’t work from home. Overland Park is also planning to furlough about 200 part-time employees.

Johnson County's furloughs affect 46 front-line workers in motor vehicle registration offices in Mission and Olathe, which have closed to the public during the pandemic.

EDWARDSVILLE — College students should respond to the 2020 census as if they were still living on campus or in their off-campus apartment, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The coronavirus outbreak has added confusion to this question because most college students are now back at home, finishing their semesters online. 

The decennial headcount tracks where people in the U.S. live and sleep most of the time. 

Updated at 5:30 p.m., March 31 with comment from Washington University School of Medicine

St. Louis University doctors are using an experimental drug to treat hospitalized patients who test positive for COVID-19. 

The National Institutes of Health recently launched a study on remdesivir at SLU and about 60 research sites around the world. The intravenous drug has been used to treat a small number of COVID-19 patients, but there’s not enough evidence to show that any drug is an effective treatment. 

Determining whether remdesivir works could save lives, said Sarah George, an infectious disease researcher at SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development.

In determining the best guidelines for government action during the COVID-19 outbreak, city leaders and officials are looking at how different metros responded during the 1918 flu pandemic. The general consensus is that because St. Louis implemented more extensive quarantine measures, the area had a lower death rate than other cities — like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York City.

In his latest piece, Chris Naffziger, who writes about history and architecture for St. Louis Magazine, wrote that while city officials managed to prevent the deaths of thousands during the pandemic of 1918 through 1920, St. Louis’ response to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic wasn't quite what we've been told.

One day after the Jackson County Health Department told Bass Pro Shops to close its Independence store because it is a nonessential business, officials now say "the situation has changed."

Kayla Parker, a spokeswoman for the health department, said in an email Tuesday that officials are now "working with" Bass Pro Shops. She did not provide further information.

The store remained open Tuesday, with workers limiting customers inside the building to 50 at a time. There was no line outside the store. Inside, employees seemed to outnumber customers. 

For live theater, the audience is essential. 

"You come to a show, you sit next to a stranger, you guys are laughing at the same thing, or you're intrigued by the same thing, or you're saddened or angry by the same thing," says actress Chioma Anyanwu. "It brings people together and we cannot come together right now. So that's really, really strange to be in that position."

North St. Louis’ first COVID-19 testing site opens Thursday in the Carr Square neighborhood. 

Affinia Healthcare's 1717 Biddle St. location will begin drive-thru and walk-up testing in its parking lot for individuals who are experiencing symptoms and need to be tested for the virus.

Kendra Holmes, the center’s chief operating officer, said having a COVID-19 testing site in north St. Louis is vital because African Americans in low-income areas often don’t have access to necessary health care. 

Segment 1: How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the least fortunate among us.

One advocate for people experiencing homelessness says that population is always in crisis. When you add a worldwide pandemic to the mix, the stakes are even higher for them and the organizations that work to provide them the resources to survive.

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