Paratransit providers and passengers affected by bus driver shortages

OATS Transit is facing bus driver shortages and it's affecting the fulfillment of transportation requests.

OATS provides rides to individuals with developmental disabilities, senior citizens and those who use wheelchairs. Before the pandemic, OATS Transit had nearly 750 employees, but now it is down to around 560.

With not enough drivers, OATS has had to suspend non-essential routes. These routes may include employment and shopping transportation, among others. The transit company focuses on emergency services, such as medical care. 

OATS is looking for more drivers. To learn on how to apply, visit its website. 

CPD investigating homicide of MU staff member after responding to well-being check

The Columbia Police Department is investigating a homicide after responding to a well-being check request Wednesday.

Police said officers found 52-year-old Columbia resident James R. Hundle in his home with a gunshot wound. 

According to MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Hundle was the assistant to the vice chancellor and dean. He was also involved with MU's Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. 

Emergency medical personnel determined he was deceased. Officers said they found factors present that suggested a suspicious death. 

Students, faculty react as MU mask mandate set to expire Friday

The University of Missouri has decided to let its mask mandate expire Friday. 

The mandate was originally voted into place on Aug. 2,  and was renewed in a 5-4 vote by the UM System curators in September. 

Students, faculty and staff will now have the option to wear masks while indoors. MU is still recommending the use of masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 

Christian Basi with the MU News Bureau said if students don't feel comfortable in class where people are not wearing masks, they can request accommodations. 

Butterball is recalling more than 14,100 pounds of turkey

Butterball has recalled more than 14,100 pounds of ground turkey products. 

This includes Gerbes brand 2.5-pound "farm to family Butterball all natural Ground Turkey" trays with a sell-by date of October 18, and the three pound ground turkey trays with a sell-by date of October 17. 

The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said these items "may be contaminated with extraneous materials."

So far, the inspection service has received no confirmed reports of consumers getting injured or ill from eating the turkey. 

Boone County posts data from upward mobility grant

The Boone County Upward Mobility Team released data Thursday that outlines key priorities the Columbia and Boone County communities want to be addressed.

This data give the public insight into information that drives the teams decision-making process. 

Megan Bania from the Boone County Community Services Department hopes to start the planning process in November, wrapping up in the spring. Funding from the Urban Institute expires in June 2022. 

Data from the dashboard show improvement in child poverty rates over the past decade in Boone County and Columbia, and these rates are lower compared to Missouri as a whole. Median income has also improved, increasing by over $5,000 in the past decade. 

The team is funded by a $125,000 grant from the Urban Institute awarded to Boone County in March. Boone is one of eight counties in the country that was awarded the grant aimed at promoting social and economic mobility. 

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