Rolla-Region Coverage | St. Louis Public Radio

Rolla-Region Coverage

 Steelville High School senior Caleb Dicus is honored at the event in Waynesville for his decision to enlist in the Army. More than 90 students from 12 high schools were recognized.
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

Many high school students choose college as their destination after graduation, and receive lots of attention for that decision. A collection of high schools near Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood wanted to bring that same recognition to students who join the military.

Waters continue to rise around I-55 near Butler Hill on Wednesday morning. May 2017
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Engineers at Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla are developing algorithms that could provide early warnings for motorists about flooded roads.

The system could warn drivers to stay off flooded roads. Researchers began the yearlong project to use artificial intelligence to enhance flood evacuation plans in February for transportation agencies in the Midwest, including the Missouri Department of Transportation. The work focuses on the Meramec River basin in eastern Missouri and the areas of Nebraska and northwest Missouri that experienced record-breaking floods in late March from the Missouri River.

A group playing The Detective room at Great Xscape in Rolla. The four month old business is trying to cash in on the escape room craze in a smaller city.
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

The escape room experience sounds a lot like putting yourself in a stressful situation for the sake of fun. These are games in which a group of people are put in a room. A clock counts down. The players have to find clues and solve puzzles hidden in the room before time runs out.

The popularity of escape rooms has increased dramatically, with just a handful in existence in 2015 to more than 2,300 nationwide operating today. There are national chains that operate rooms in dozens of big cities across the country, including St. Louis. But they are so popular that they are opening in smaller cities, usually run by individuals and families.

Staff Sergeants Bradley Miller and Rafael Agosto are one of the teams from Fort Leonard Wood in the Best Sapper Competition.
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

“Sapper” is the Army’s nickname for the combat engineers who take on a variety of duties all centered around clearing the way for infantry to get where they need to go.

The name comes from the French word “sappe,” meaning to undermine and collapse a wall.

This week, 50 two-person teams of sappers from around the world are at Fort Leonard Wood in the Missouri Ozarks to compete against each other in an event designed to test the wide-ranging skills a sapper needs.

Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

Soldiers and their families who live on base at Fort Leonard Wood will now have quarterly opportunities to express any concerns about their homes directly to the Garrison Commander.

And the staff that handles inspections and oversees repairs to the more than 1,800 homes at the base in the Ozarks will increase from three to five.

Those changes are the result of a national effort to review the quality of military housing and address concerns about delays in repairs.

Missouri S&T's Mark Bookout stands near one of the drones being tested to help inspect and repair bridges.
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri University of Science and Technology could be part of the solution to the state’s bridge-maintenance problem.

The state is behind on its maintenance and is working with Missouri S&T on robots to make it easier to inspect and repair bridges.

New recruits line up for outdoor lunch on a cold and windy day at Fort Leonard Wood. Some of them are wearing the current version of the boots, others are testing new designs.
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

Lt. Col. Alfred Boone saw a disturbing trend among the new recruits he oversees at Fort Leonard Wood in the Missouri Ozarks.

“Infected blisters, hairline fractures, hip strains,” Boone said, describing the increase in injuries among the new soldiers.

Boone said the Army had a hunch that its iconic boots — the tan, heavy, high laced footwear — were to blame, because so many of the new recruits have never before worn hard-soled shoes.

Sam O'Keefe | Missouri S&T

A team at Missouri University of Science and Technology has received a $1 million grant to research better kinds of cyber security.

They aren’t looking to stop outside hackers — they want to stop threats from the inside.

Facilities and systems like power grids, water plants and driverless cars could all benefit from the research funded by the National Science Foundation.

Nashville-based Contour Airlines will start serving the regional airport at Fort Leonard Wood with 30-seat jets on Feb. 12.

That will be a upgrade from Cape Air, the current provider, and its nine-seat turbo-prop planes that have been flying out of the airport for the past eight years.

And the ninth passenger seat was actually the unused co-pilot’s seat.

The four campuses of the University of Missouri System are seeing an increase in requests for student counseling and other mental health services and are working together to meet the demand.

Chris Sullivan, who oversees counseling services at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said the increase is part of a national trend as students face rising pressure ranging from stress over finances to trying to succeed in a new environment.

Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

Fort Leonard Wood in Pulaski County will start building a new hospital and seeing expanded commercial air service in 2019.

Both moves will create construction jobs and are expected to help the local economy.

Carrie Miller (right), a member of the Rolla Mom Huggers group, hugs a student in front of the library at Missouri S&T on Dec 3, 2018.
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

Being away from home at college, especially during finals week, can be a stressful experience.

That’s why a group of moms from Rolla Vineyard Church stand in front of the Missouri University of Science and Technology library once a month shouting words of encouragement and giving high-fives and hugs.

Students head to class at Missouri S&T, one of the campuses that are part of a plan to increase enrollment and improve graduation rates. November 2018
Sam O'Keefe | Missouri S&T

Three University of Missouri campuses are part of a national program looking to increase college access for minorities and lower income students and increase their graduation rates.

The University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla and the University of Missouri-Kansas City are participating in the project. The Association of Public Land-grant Universities has assembled 130 schools around the country to address the issues of college costs, barriers to enrollment and graduation rates of students who start degree programs.

This is one of the solar powered homes in the study of new lead acid batteries on November 9. 2018
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri University of Science and Technology and two companies that manufacture batteries in Missouri are teaming up on a research project that could make it easier for homes to run exclusively on renewable energy.

The university and representatives from the businessesannounced the three-year project Friday on the Rolla campus.

A charging Nissan Leaf.
Nissan

Engineers in Missouri are taking on a challenge that could make owning an electric car far more convenient — building a charging station that fully charges up a car in 10 minutes.

Electric cars can help reduce carbon emissions and the human contribution to climate change. But the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle’s battery represents a major roadblock to owning one. The fastest available technology is the Tesla Supercharger, which takes an hour to fully charge a car.

The U.S. Department of Energy has given $2.9 million to a team of engineers develop fast-charging electric vehicle stations. The team includes engineers from Missouri S&T, Ameren Illinois, battery maker LG Chem Michigan and Bitrode, a St. Louis battery testing company. The goal is to develop a charger that works almost as fast as a gas station, said Jonathan Kimball, an electrical and computer engineer at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

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.

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