October 21, 2014

Missouri deer hunting seasons underway (AUDIO)

Missouri hunters already have started thinning the state’s deer herd. The serious hunting starts in less than a month.

Archery hunting season and the urban deer season kick off a series of seasons that last until early January. Still ahead is the firearm season, November 15-25, antlerless season November 26-December 7, alternative weapons season December 20-30, and two youth seasons–the first the weekend of November 1&2, and January 3&4.

The department says the mild summer means the deer are likely to be healthier this year. Food sources are good but not fantastic in southern Missouri, meaning deer will be moving rather than clumping together in food areas. The big corn crop in north Missouri could impact where they’ll be found.

Resource Scientist Emily Flinn says disease might have an impact though, particularly hemorrhagic disease breakouts in 2012 statewide and in northeast Missouri last year.But she says the disease itself does not cause health problems for humans–although hunters should watch out for secondary infections that can be spotted when dressing the animal.

This year’s sampling for chronic wasting disease ion northern Missouri with continued efforts in the containment zone in Sullivan, Adair, Macon, Randolph, and Chariton Counties.

Last year’s kill was the lowest in the last five years, 252,574, more than 60,000 below the previous year’s total of 313,254.

Deer kills the last five seasons:

2009-10 301,187

2010-11 276,650

2011-12 293,527

2012-13 313,254

2013-14 252,574

AUDIO: Flinn interview

Schweich to test for fat budgets and speeders (AUDIO)

Don’t say state auditor Tom Schweich is going to audit ten Missouri speed traps.   He’s going to make sure ten municipal courts are follow a state law that limits the use of speeding tickets to pay city bills.

The notorious Lake Ozark-area speed trap of Mack’s Creek so incensed state lawmakers that they passed a law almost twenty years ago limiting the percent of a community’s budget that could be financed with traffic tickets. The law has been tightened since then and an even lower limit has been set.

Schweich is sending staff members to check the records of ten municipal courts to see if they’re ignoring the law.   He says one person who contacted him told of being stopped in a town where the speed limit sign was obscured suggested the sign be put in a more visible position. The complaining motorist told Schweich the officer responded, “If we did that, I’d be out of a job.”

The list is based on hotline complaints and studies that indicate a per-capita ticket rate greater that a community’s population might warrant. Most of the communities are small ones where Schweich says the pressure might be greatest to raise money to finance basic community service. The courts to be audited are: Mosby, Leadington, Linn Creek, Foristell, Winfield, Foley, Ferguson, St. Ann, Bella Vista, and Pine Lawn.

If more than thirty percent of a city’s budget comes from traffic violations, the city must refund the overage to the state. If it doesn’t, the state can end the municipal court’s authority to handle those tickets.  Schweich calls that a strong incentive to follow the law.

AUDIO: (Schweich interview 8:46

Missouri Legislature asked to protect courageous children (AUDIO)

The legislature has been asked to protect courageous children who describe how they’ve been abused. Missouri Child Advocacy Centers do forensic interviews with those children who are strong enough to describe what has happened to them.  The interviews are used by the state Children’s Division and law enforcement in their investigations.

But Deputy Director Emily vanSchenkhof of Missouri Kids First says centers are increasingly facing subpoenas for those recordings from lawyers who want to use them in custody cases. She says one lawyer recently wanted to play the child’s interview in a courtroom full of people. “Seeing a 7-year-old sit in a chair and talk about sex acts  that most adults wouldn’t be comfortable doing is life changing to me. To hear and to watch children’s little bodies as they disclose things that should never have been done to them has changed my life forever,” she says.

VanShenkhoff says it takes tremendous courage for a child to describe abuse. She says the state  has no way now to protect children from having the interviews used in ways that will come back to hurt them.  She says the organization doesn’t want to keep people who need to make good decisions from seeing the recordings.  But she tells a legislative committee that the confidentiality of those children must be protected but Missouri has nothing that will do that.

She’s afraid those recordings could someday show up on Youtube unless the legislature limits access to them.

AUDIO: vanSchenkhoff testimony (2:36)



Missouri hospitals say they’re ready for emergency (AUDIO)

Missouri hospital leaders have been holding their annual emergency preparedness confercnce this week. Emergency preparedness by hospitals is in the spotlight because of Ebola cases that are being treated in Ameircan hospitals. Missouri has not had any Ebola cases, but a spokesman for the state’s hospitals says they’re ready to handle any emergency.

The Missouri Hospital Association says emergency preparedness has been an action item for hospitals since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Association Vice President Dave Dillon says the annual get-togethers keep the preparedness fresh. “That is how you improve quality across the board,” he says.

Dillon says hospitals have a lot of experience dealing with emergencies. As he puts it, “Every day is an emergency in a hosital in one way or another.”

He says hospitals have plans in place and people who can affect outcomes in emergencies have been trained to operate the systems needed to respond to emergencies, whether it’s a natural disaster such as a tornado, or a disease outbreak such as the flu or even Ebola.

AUDIO: Dillon interview with Missourinet’s Bob Priddy 11:04

We’ll be drying out in Missouri (AUDIO)

Finally we’re seeing some sunshine after one of the wettest starts to October on record.

Missouri is a pretty soggy place, though, halfway through October–and some places have seen some tornados and high straight-line winds.

Patrick Guinan

State climatologist Pat Guinan says history shows late September and early October can have elevated chances of severe weather. He says the statewide rainfall average is about six inches, almost double the usual statewide average for the entire month.

This is the wettest start to an October since 2009, which is the second-wettest on record. The all-time wettest October was in 1941.

But this October is not expected to reach the wetness levels of those years.

AUDIO: Guinan says the outlook is for warmer and drier weather into November. (Interview 7:22)