Rolla-Region Coverage | St. Louis Public Radio

Rolla-Region Coverage

A drone flies near a bridge
Sodapix | Thinkstock

Missouri could soon send flying drones to the state's bridges, using them to doing difficult and dangerous work long done by workers.

About 56,000 bridges in the United States require major repairs, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Missouri ranks No. 4 in the country for its number of structurally deficient bridges. 

At an experimental mine at the Missouri University of S&T in Rolla, scientists are setting off explosives around lab mice and cell cultures to study how exposure to blasts in combat damage the brains of military personnel.

Neuroscientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Stanford University are leading the research, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. The study is focused on mild traumatic brain injury, the most common type of brain injury affecting military personnel. However, the condition is difficult to diagnose and not well studied.

 

FortLeonardWood.net

Plans by the Army to reduce overall strength by 40,000 troops will mean 774 fewer uniformed positions at Fort Leonard Wood by September 2017. The announcement comes as Senate Democrats continue to refuse to debate Republican budget bills, insisting that lawmakers first negotiate an end to mandatory spending caps. The connection to the two issues is a Republican plan to boost the Pentagon’s budget in what Democrats say is a “budget gimmick” designed to avoid hitting spending caps.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

No one has ever mistaken Rolla, Mo., for Cambridge, Mass. But new college rankings place the schools in both towns on just about the same level.

The report from a unit of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., is an attempt to determine how well colleges prepare students for high-paying careers.

Philae Lander on Comet
ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

There is a St. Louis-area connection to the mission that recently landed a spacecraft on a comet for the first time.

Paul Friz is wrapping up an internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

His interest in space started as a teenager looking at the stars at his family’s home in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

When he was 14, Friz saved money from a summer of mowing lawns to buy his first telescope.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel issued a report aiming to shore up the state’s military installations and contractors.

The report comes several months after Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Zweifel to head the Missouri Military Partnership, an initiative to bolster defense installations throughout the state. Missouri is home to several major military bases, including Whiteman Air Force Base in western Missouri and Fort Leonard Wood in mid-Missouri.

Mo. National Guard

Gov. Jay Nixonhas issued an executive order designed to help prevent military bases in Missouri from being closed or downsized.

The order creates a partnership between state and local officials and business leaders. The goal is for those groups to examine ways to keep and expand the nation's military presence in Missouri.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport
Michael R. Allen | Flickr

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is preparing for a surge in visitors as the busy travel period surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Day begins Friday.

Public Relations Manager Jeff Lea says the airport is expecting a 15 to 20 percent increase from normal passenger traffic at peak travel times over the next two weeks.

“The biggest travel day prior to Christmas for air travel is going to be Friday,” he said.

In addition, he adds that holiday travelers can expect to be flying with a significant number of men and women in uniform as well.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2013 - UPDATE: In the VA's central region, the Chicago office has the highest and the St. Louis office the fifth-highest percentage of disability claims pending for more than 125 days. VA statistics indicate that nearly 72 percent of the 19,741 claims on file at its St. Louis office -- which handles Missouri's disability claims -- have been pending for more than 125 days. END UPDATE

Missouri S&T

Researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology are conducting work that could shape the next generation of nuclear reactors.
 
The state's first nuclear reactor was constructed more than 50 years ago at the Rolla school. Now, researchers there are tracking and measuring the movement of radioisotopes. Their goal is to understand how nuclear fuel pebbles would behave in what are called "fourth generation" nuclear reactors.
 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 9, 2012 - WASHINGTON – Moving through a carpeted room at Fort Leonard Wood, a squad of soldiers – equipped with headsets, helmet-mounted video screens and rifles with virtual bullets – view their avatars taking action in a simulated firefight in Afghanistan.

It’s what’s called a “fully immersive” training session – a military gamer’s dream that involves footsoldiers with backpack processors who learn Army tactics and rules by watching their on-screen avatars move through a limitless number of virtual scenarios.

Fort Leonard Wood to honor female St. Louis soldier

Jul 18, 2012
(NSA.gov)

Updated to correct date of dedication.

Fort Leonard Wood is dedicating a new building in honor of Missouri's first female solider killed by hostile fire.

The south-central Missouri Army base says a memorial plaque honoring Sgt. Amanda N. Pinson of St. Louis will be formally unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 26 for the new Training Support Center.

Pinson was 21 in March 2006 when a mortar exploded in the central Iraq city of Tikrit, killing her and 22-year-old Spc. Carlos M. Gonzalez, of Middletown, N.Y. Both were based at Fort Campbell, Ky.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Three members of Missouri’s congressional delegation met at the State Capitol Wednesday to voice opposition to another round of base closings.

Although there are no scheduled base closings anywhere in the U.S. right now, the Obama Administration is pushing for another round of discussions that could begin as early as next year.  Congressman Todd Akin (R) from the St. Louis area says now’s not the time to close military facilities, especially in Missouri.

Morning headlines: Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jan 3, 2012

Durbin supports calls for repeal of Defense of Marriage Act

Some U.S Senators will be looking to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act this year.

The law prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Ill. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin says he wants it repealed as it relates to federal benefits.

"I believe that we should have marriage equality in this county, that we should treat people fairly, that we should not discriminate against them in this circumstance," said Durbin.

Mo. universities to get foothold in China

Sep 22, 2011
(St. Louis Public Radio)

Two of Missouri's public universities will be partnering with a college in China to open a new university in the central part of the country.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis and Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla will work with Tianfu College in Mianyang, in Sichuan Province, to open Sichuan Missouri University.

Lockdown lifted on Missouri S&T campus after shooting suspect apprehended

May 12, 2011

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The location of Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Mo.

Updated 1:40 p.m.

  • 31-year-old Cody Willcoxson, the alleged shooting suspect, is in custody. He was captured when a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper on a routine patrol spotted the stolen car Willcoxson was driving.
  • Willcoxson was taken into custody following a short pursuit, but Capt. Lee Ann Kenley, Troop I's commander, says Willcoxson did not resist arrest.
  • Willcoxson suffered a superficial wound sometime during the day and was being evaluated by emergency medical personnel. He will be taken to the Phelps County jail after receiving medical treatment.
  • Willcoxson already faces four felonious assault on law enforcement charges for firing at Rolla police during the pursuit. Bail has been set at $1 million. Rolla police chief Mark Kearse expects Willcoxson to face additional charges from authorities at Fort Leonard Wood, St. Robert and Pulaski County.
  • Authorities found drugs, believed to be methamphetamine, in Willcoxon's original car, which he abandoned in Rolla. They have not located the original weapon, which is believed to be an assault-like rifle.
  • Police believe Willcoxson acted alone, and have no motive for the shooting.

Updated 1:21 p.m.:

According to Missouri S&T's Twitter account:

  • "Shooting suspect apprehended south of Rolla, Missouri S&T lockdown is lifted by Chief Laughlin."

Updated 12:12 p.m. via the Associated Press:

Authorities say a gunman who entered and left Missouri University of Science and Technology building earlier tried breaking into a nearby Army base and fired on police who pursued him.

Fort Leonard Wood spokesman Mike Warren says the suspect tried to enter the Army installation through its west gate Thursday morning. The security guard determined the man's identification didn't look legitimate and told him to leave. Instead, the driver accelerated and drove through the gate.

Military police pursued him until he fled the base, and police from nearby St. Robert chased him toward Rolla about 30 miles away.

St. Robert police chief Curtis Curenton says his officers were fired on with what appeared to be an AK-47 machine gun during the pursuit.

The Rolla campus is on lockdown.

The commanding general of Fort Leonard Wood says the Army is aggressively investigating sexual assault complaints.

Major General David Quantock met with reporters on Wednesday, one day after 17 current and former soldiers filed a federal class-action lawsuit accusing the Pentagon of failing to take their complaints of sexual abuse by other soldiers seriously.

The University of Missouri system board of curators voted today on their recommendations for tuition increases for each of the system's campuses.

KMOV reports the recommended increases for in-state undergraduate tuition as follows:

Missouri S&T Chancellor Carney to retire

Jan 26, 2011

At the conclusion of his State of the University Address today, Missouri University of Science and Technology Chancellor John F. (Jack) Carney III announced his plans to retire.

A press release from the university shared a portion of his announcement:

Paideia Academy, which had planned to open its school year the day after Labor Day despite having lost its charter to operate, won't be opening after all.

Fred Robinson, president of the school's board, said Thursday that an effort to secure financing for the school had not worked out, so it would not be accepting students, at least for now. He said the decision was made earlier this week.

"The deal we were working on didn't work," Robinson said, declining to give further details. "The deal we were working on fell through."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 18, 2009 - Major Gen. Gregg F. Martin, who heads Fort Leonard Wood, let his soldiers know where they stand with him in an article published in a post magazine last winter, shortly after he took command:

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