Patience: The Watchword is on hiatus

The Watchword is taking a bit of a breather while the Missourian is in summer session. Watch for its return in the fall semester, when a new group of Public Life reporters will take up the challenge of covering city and county government.

Daily Dish: May 16, 2013

County, city officials talk about timeline for new 911 center: Bailey Otto of the Columbia Missourian reports that a tentative timeline for the new 911 center is being drafted by officials, with the goal of hiring five full-time employees for the center by November. The sales tax that passed in the April election to pay for the new center will take effect in October.

Taxpayers cover cost of housing inmates: Emily Spain of KOMU 8/NBC reports her findings after breaking down the costs to taxpayers to house jail inmates. She found that Boone County taxpayers spend $59.63 per inmate per day.

Missouri’s Medicaid director leaves: Elana Gordon of KBIA/91.3 FM reports that Ian McCaslin, Missouri’s Medicaid program director, has left his position for unknown reasons. McCaslin had been in the position for six years. The department of social services now plans to engage in a national search to replace him.

Missouri lawmakers pass changes to worker’s comp claims: The Associated Press reports that lawmakers have given final approval to legislation that will add funds to benefit disabled workers and change how people will be compensated for job-related illnesses.

Daily Dish: May 15, 2013

Developer says student apartments a good fit for city, MU: Chris Jasper of the Columbia Missourian reports on a developer’s new proposal for a six-story student apartment complex on Fifth Street next to Mark Twain Residence Hall. The tentative completion date would be August 2015.

Transportation sales tax measure stalls in Senate: Rudi Keller of the Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the proposal for a one-cent transportation sales tax that passed the Missouri House on Tuesday has stalled in the senate after anti-tax lawmakers blocked it with a filibuster. If the measure passes the senate by Friday, it will go on the November 2014 ballot.

Missouri law to require newborn heart test passes House and Senate: Gina Cook of KOMU 8/NBC reports on a bill that, once signed by Gov. Jay Nixon, would require all Missouri hospitals to perform an extra screening on newborns to detect congenital heart defects. The bill is called “Chloe’s Law” after a newborn saved by the extra heart screening.

ANALYSIS: Blacks ‘overrrepresented’ in Columbia traffic stops and arrests: Jon McClure and Joe Vozzelli of the Columbia Missourian present their findings after analyzing 2012 traffic stop records in Columbia.

Daily Dish: May 14, 2013

Fire reported at vacant home Tuesday morning: Allissa Fisher of the Columbia Missourian reports that a fire causing $6,000 in damage to a vacant home in northeast Columbia is currently under investigation by Columbia police and fire officials.

School gun policy draws mixed reviewsCatherine Martin of the Columbia Daily Tribune  reports that a new policy that would allow Columbia Public Schools’ security officials to carry loaded firearms with them on school property is slated to go before the Columbia Board of Education for a vote in June.

Missouri lawmakers pass farm constitutional amendment: The Associated Press reports that a constitutional amendment protecting farmers’ rights will appear on Missouri’s November 2014 election ballot. The measure would “forever guarantee” the rights of farmers to engage in farming and ranching in Missouri.

House passes sales tax for road repairs: Garrett Bergquist of KOMU 8/NBC reports that the Missouri House passed a proposal for a sales tax increase to pay for highway repairs and public transit projects. An edited version of the bill will return to the senate, where if passed, it will appear on the November 2014 ballot.

Daily Dish May 3: Latent TB testing and treatment

Hello! This is my last post this week (and semester) to The Watchdog and I wanted to end it with a personal note. Here goes….

 

I began taking Rifampin medication earlier last month. I remember how the doctor spent a good chunk of time talking to me about the importance of receiving treatment for latent tuberculosis during a visit to the student health center to receive my QuantiFeron-GIT Tuberculosis test results in February.

Being a new student at the University of Missouri, I was screened for tuberculosis during an international student orientation week in January. Now I am from Kenya, a country I believe is considered “high-risk” because it is located on the African continent where TB cases are quite common. At the time when blood was drawn from arm for testing, I did not feel sick, on the contrary, I was in robust health except for random spells of fatigue I attributed to jet-lag and school: I flew 17 hours from Kenya to the United States, and was literally transplanted into a classroom 9 hours later after I arrived into Columbia. See, a two-week boot-camp was not easy for the body.

Nevertheless, my tuberculosis blood test came back positive and now the doctor was urging me to consider medication saying it would help prevent the latent TB infection from becoming active.

Latent TB infection is not the same as TB disease. People with lTB do not have symptoms, do not feel sick and although infected with the germ Mycobacterium tuberculosis, they do not have TB disease. The only sign of infection is a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test or TB blood test. Importantly, though, persons infected with lTB are not infectious and cannot spread TB infection to others.

Overall, without treatment, about 5 to 10 percent of infected persons will develop TB disease at some point in their lives.

The doctor and, later, the nurse I met when I went to pick the medication towards the end of March gave the impression that many international students, especially from certain specific countries decline TB treatment for whatever reasons. That is a story I expect to explore in the next semester.

In the meantime, I’ll continue imbibing Rifampin for the next three months in spite of minor inconveniences and side effects: headaches, lethargy, drowsiness, urine discoloration, etc., in the hope of a cure.

Elsewhere, a Missouri bill requires colleges to have tuberculosis tests. Associated Press reported that the Missouri legislature has sent Gov. Jay Nixon a bill that would require colleges and universities to develop targeted testing programs for tuberculosis. The bill is sponsored by Republican Sen. David Sater, of Cassville.

 

Thank you!

 

Daily Dish: May 2

Rudi Keller of the Columbia Tribune reported about a state senate hearing Wednesday where the list of Missouri concealed weapon permit holders was prepared four times for a federal investigator who dropped his plan for ferreting out disability benefits cheaters because the data were too hard to read. Special Agent Keith Schilb, his supervisors and an attorney from the Social Security Office of Inspector General spent almost two hours testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Read more….

 

Staying with legislative matters,

 

Chris Blank, Jordan Shapiro and Associated Press wrote in the Missourian that Missouri officials moved forward Thursday with efforts to add funding for improvements to the state mental hospital, Capitol and park system. The efforts coincided with a favorable financial report released by Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration Thursday that showed state revenues through April were 11.2 percent higher than at this point last year. Read more….

Daily Dish on May Day 1: Opinion piece

J. Karl Miller likens politics to Vince Lombardi’s description of football: “Football is not a contact sport, it is a collision sport — dancing is a contact sport.”

The reason for the analogy is politics as a sport is not for the fainthearted, the squeamish, and definitely, not for the thin-skinned fellow. Miller goes on to say that politics, like “football and other competitive activities,” is all about winning. Wins that are not always mediated by any specific rules, rather players and participants are bound by a collective conscience that favor the bashing of respective competitors.

Miller argues that the dichotomous relationship of the two major parties — Democrats and Republicans — is characterized by “repetitive knee-jerk” strictures, which in effect are largely futile and useful only for peddling by the lower ranks of each party’s faithful.

Read about his descriptors of each party’s perception of their rivals and a swipe at the media in his self-titled piece J. Karl Miller: Throwing stones in a glass-walled political arena on the Missourian website.

Daily Dish: April 30th

Welcome to Daily Dish Tuesday:

 

Eric Adler wrote an article Monday in The Kansas City Star titled, Autoworkers build ramps to help disabled residents; a piece of news Gov. Jay Nixon found important enough to tweet about earlier today.

Bailey Otto of the Missourian reported that budget cuts won’t affect Columbia’s Memorial Day festivities. The Salute to Veterans Airshow is slated for May 25th and 26th from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Columbia Regional Airport. The parade will begin at 9:55 a.m. on May 27. Some of the demonstration teams and aircraft confirmed for participation include: The World War II B-25 Mitchell Bomber “Show Me” with the WWII P-51 Mustang “Gunfighter,” The SkyHawks: Canadian Forces Parachute Team, and World War II Tuskegee Airmen and Women Air Force Service Pilots Annual Reunions.

Meanwhile,

David Brennan of the Columbia Tribune reported that a man who was armed with a handgun demanded money from the clerk at a Break Time convenience store on 900 Conley Road at 3:11 a.m Tuesday. Police are investigating the Break Time robbery.

Last week, the Missourian reporter Valentine Lamar wrote the story of police searching for suspect in Friday morning Break Time robbery. An armed man entered the convenience store at 1410 Forum Boulevard at 1:35 a.m. and later fled on foot with an undisclosed sum of money.

April 29: Trending topics and a watercooler

Good afternoon from The Watchdog. Read about some hot topics trending in Columbia and a watercooler story from elsewhere.

So,

Hope Yen/Associated Press wrote an article posted in the Missourian about the changing face of the American nation, revealing analysis showing that In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites.

and

Brennan David at the Columbia Tribune on Sunday reported about a group of teens who vandalized a home while its owners vacationed. The dastardly act “caused approximately $70,000 in damages, as well as destroying or stealing more than $300,000 worth of valuables and personal items.

Meanwhile,

Foreign Policy borrowed a leaf from BuzzFeed with their 14 Hairless Cats that look like Vladimir Putin. Kevin Baron at Foreign Policy tweeted, “Obama really called Putin today? POTUS: “Hey, Vlad! See the hairless cat thing?!” Vlad: “Nyet.” POTUS: “Here…”

 

See you tomorrow!

Valentine Lamar

Daily Dish: April 4

Kander Issues Cease and Desist Order Against Mamtek Firm: Micah Smith of KOMU/NBC reports that Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander issued a cease and desist order to investment firm Morgan Keegan & Co. in response to the company’s Mamtek investment in Moberly. The order requires the company to better examine bond offerings before making deals, and it prohibits excluding important facts when selling bonds to investors.

City launches new branding effort: Jacob Barker of the Columbia Daily Tribune reports that Columbia’s new brand now has a shorter tag line: “What you unexpect.” The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau hope the new logo portrays “COMO”, the city’s nickname included in the brand, as more than just a college town.

MU faculty vote to give voting rights to nontenure-track faculty members: Katie Yaeger of the Columbia Missourian reports that non-tenure faculty are now allowed to vote on all campus issues except those focused on tenure. The vote passed with 65 percent in favor of the proposal. The change will be up for approval by the UM System Board of Curators next week.