Gov. Parson introduces new state health director, statewide vaccine incentive program

Donald Kauerauf will take over as the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services director effective Sept. 1.

Gov. Mike Parson announced the new director at a news conference Wednesday. In addition, Missouri will incentivize Missouri residents to receive the vaccine by awarding $10,000 to 900 residents through biweekly drawings.

Kauerauf served as the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Public Health from 2016 until his retirement in 2018, and later served in various emergency management roles in Illinois.

There are three categories for entries into the vaccine lottery, and vaccinated residents can enter online. The first drawing will be held Aug. 13. The three category groups are red, white and blue.

  • Red: Missouri residents aged 18 and older who have had at least one dose of the vaccine after July 21.
  • White:Missouri residents aged 18 and older who have had one dose or more of the vaccine before July 21.
  • Blue: Missouri residents aged 12-17 year-olds who have had at least one dose of the vaccine at any time.

Columbia education union recommends masks for fall at Columbia Public Schools

The Columbia Missouri National Education Association sent out a letter asking Columbia Public Schools to require all individuals in district buildings to wear a mask during the upcoming school year.

"Despite all our fervent desire to have a normal school year, the pandemic is not over yet," the committee said in the letter. "We cannot ignore the risk that continues to test our steadfastness to safety measures because we wish for normal and simple."

Vaccination rates in the district have not reached 70% as the delta variant continues to spread.

The committee recommends masks for safe in-seat instruction. Students should be required to wear masks until children under 12 have received their doses and passed the waiting period. Unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks even after students 12 years or younger have been vaccinated.

MU athlete and coach head to 2020 Tokyo Paralympics

Two weeks after the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games conclude, the biggest and brightest stars in adaptive sports take center stage in Tokyo, Japan, for the 2020 Paralympic Games from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

Two members of MU's Wheelchair Basketball team have been named to their respective country's roster.

MU head coach Ron Lykins will lead the U.S. Men's National Team in defense of its second gold medal, while junior forward Colin Higgins, of Rothesay, New Brunswick, looks to earn a gold medal with Team Canada as a player.

It will be Higgins' first Paralympic Games, while Lykins is going into his fourth Paralympics as a coach. He led the Women's National team to gold medals in 2004 and 2008 and a gold with the men's team at Rio 2016.

For more 2020 Olympic coverage, click here.

Fulton Police arrest man after car chase into Columbia

One man was arrested after a car chase that began in Fulton and ended near Route WW and Legion Drive near Columbia.

Fulton Police were called to a residence to assist a case worker with a man who was threatening self harm. The man got in the car of the case worker and struck the case worker and a Fulton Police officer. He then fled the scene.

Officers pursued the man west of Fulton on Route F and Route WW. Spike strips were used to stop the man at Legion Drive and Route WW.

Charles McMasters was taken into custody and charged with first degree assault with a vehicle, first degree assault on law enforcement and other charges. He is being held without bond at the Callaway County Jail.

MR340 brings paddlers, supporters together

Hundreds of paddlers kicked off the MR340, the world's longest nonstop canoe and kayak race, from Kansas City yesterday.

Paddlers will travel on the Missouri River all the way to St. Charles, and must complete the race by Friday.

There are multiple checkpoints and different stops paddlers can choose to take a break at. However, this race is different because it does not require the competitors to stop.

There are 13 different divisions that competitors could choose to compete in.

Missouri clergy members plead for Christians to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

A diverse group of faith leaders of different Christian denominations held a virtual meeting to ask for the religious community to receive vaccinations.

A statement was signed by over 200 Christian pastors and ministers which urges "every follower of Jesus to realize their responsibility to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly [and] at this moment that means increasing vaccination rates in our community."

The decision to hold the meeting came from the steady rise of COVID-19 case counts, hospitalizations and deaths across the state.

The meeting aimed at addressing hesitancy within the Christian community to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Faith leaders spoke about the different problems of hesitancy they've seen in their own communities all over Missouri, including misinformation about the vaccine.

KOMU 8 Digital Producer

KOMU 8 Digital Producer. I'm a current junior at the University of Missouri, studying Print & Digital News Reporting. Reach me at, or on Twitter @HannahNorton89.

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