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Christmas at the Chateau

Chateau Christmas

Holiday-theme movie filmed in St. Joseph to hit streaming service next month.

Details on Page B4

Game of the Week preview

Week 9


This week’s preview features Lafayette vs. Maryville at the Hound Pound.

Details on Page C1

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MWSU sees deficit, offers solutions during Board of Governors meeting

Missouri Western’s Board of Governor’s meeting Thursday afternoon was highlighted by a revised budget discussion showing a $3.1 million deficit for the university.

The deficit itself is the result of various unanticipated expenditures — such as new boilers for Remington and Agenstein Hall that were approved during Thursday’s meeting — coupled with student enrollment being down for the fall semester. Limited state support and a high number of scholarship recipients also are having an impact.

As part of the university’s budgeted expenses, scholarships are sitting at 23%. For reference, utilities are currently sitting around 3%, with salaries and compensation at 38%. Morrison explained that scholarships typically should sit at about 15 to 17%.

“We do have a plan as a university,” Darrell Morrison, vice president for financial planning and administration, said. “We feel very confident in where we’re going and how we’re going to take care of this. We still have eight months left in this year, so we’re in good shape. And we’ve already made some changes that are not reflected in that budget and we have other additional changes that are forthcoming. Then we’ll make additional changes even yet for FY21.”

He mentioned the Griffon Guarantee Scholarship, an initiative that will begin in the fall 2020 semester. The scholarship will renew and increase in value each year, starting from $500 to $6,500 for incoming freshmen and from $500 to $1,500 for transfer students.

“That’ll be a money-saver for us. It’s not only beneficial for students but for the university as well,” Morrison said.

In regard to the university raising tuition to possibly help offset the deficit, Morrison said that administration hasn’t made the decision yet.

“We will look at that. We did not as a university go up all that we could go up last year on tuition. Is that potentially where we’ll go? We’re still debating that,” he said. “It’s a very touchy topic. We’re going to see what the legislature does in the spring before we set those numbers to see if we can get some additional funding there, of course.”

He added that Missouri Western is currently looking to expand enrollment and recruitment efforts nationwide and internationally.

Also at the board meeting, Missouri Western is moving forward with plans to work with the St. Joseph School District. Student teachers soon may see expanded opportunities to work in local schools and during the district’s summer school programs.

Shana Meyer, vice president for student affairs, took to the podium as well during Thursday’s meeting. As of Oct. 4, the Student Health Center mental health assessment encounters are up 43% compared to the 2018 fall semester, Meyer said. She also shared that the counseling center has been seeing more students as well.

“I think we’re starting to see this more in high school students. They’re being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and students are more aware of it,” Meyer told the board. “Some of it is the decrease in the stigmatization of mental health … and people are willing to get help, which is ultimately a good thing. That’s how we can help.”

Near the end of the meeting, President Matthew Wilson also announced that Missouri Western recently received a check for $1 million from the Sutherland Foundation dedicated to the Potter Art Annex. He thanked members of the administration as well as previous president Dr. Robert Vartabedian for his dedication in helping to land such a donation.

“It’s not every day that you receive a $1 million check. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I took a photo. So if anybody wants to see what a $1 million check looks like, you can come and see me,” Wilson said, smiling.

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Ashcroft rallies poll workers ahead of election

Missouri’s top election authority personally thanked dozens of volunteer poll workers Thursday at a luncheon hosted by the Buchanan County clerk’s office.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft spoke to the group before shaking hands with 85 election officials, who also were given a certificate of appreciation.

“Election judges are what allow us to have elections. Without them none of us can utilize our right to vote,” Ashcroft said in an interview with News-Press NOW. “It’s wonderful we have people willing to work long hours for small pay as a matter of civic duty to help other people let their voice be heard.”

It’s not always an easy task to locate or even retain the judges needed for any election, let alone the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

“It’s difficult finding election judges, especially the great ones that we have,” said Mary Baack-Garvey, Buchanan County clerk. “Sometimes not everyone can make it to (the polls), so it’s great to have subs and great to have fresh blood out there.”

Baack-Garvey said her office always is looking for new poll workers. Anyone interested should contact her office at 816-271-1412.

Missouri senators question impeachment processes

Missouri’s two U.S. senators appear to be singing from the same hymnal when it comes to the impeachment inquiry taking place down the hall, and down the stairs, at the Capitol.

The Republican lawmakers, Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, have spoken this week about the process being used by members of the U.S. House in compiling information about President Donald Trump’s alleged offenses in office.

Neither of the Missourians is impressed.

“We have a process that’s going on in secret,” Blunt, the senior senator, said. “We have selective leaking without much material coming out.”

Hawley, a freshman in the Senate, said, “I think it’s a circus. I think it’s a farce.”

The senators joined a chorus of fellow Republicans questioning the procedures being used in the House-led investigation. They say fairness and transparency have been sacrificed as the Democratic-majority chamber builds a case against the president.

On Wednesday, more than two dozen House Republicans entered a closed-door hearing as a demonstration of their objections to the procedures being used.

The hearing, open to members of the respective Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, Democrats and Republicans, came to a halt for five hours, then continued later in the day.

If the House eventually produces articles of impeachment, the Republican-majority Senate will sit in judgment of Trump. Blunt, a former history teacher, cited the nation’s founders when attending a press conference with other Republican Senate leaders this week.

“In the early Federalist Papers, looking at impeachment, they understood that impeachment was a very vaguely defined thing in the Constitution, and because of that they said that impeachment has to be public,” he said. “It can’t be entrusted to just a few people.”

In an interview with the News-Press this week, Hawley said the House process has strayed from standards established in previous impeachments.

“They won’t allow the president’s counsel to be there. President Clinton got to have counsel involved in the proceedings. That’s the norm. Democrats won’t allow that,” he said from Washington. “They won’t even take a vote to start the proceedings.”

Hawley added, “I think it shows they are not interested in the facts, they’re not interested in figuring out what’s going on. They just want to punish this president. Unfortunately, they’re willing to punish the country to do it.”

North Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, not a member of any of the investigating committees, said that partisan motivations pervade the process.

“If we’re going to have a transparent process, first of all, let’s vote on it. Let’s have a vote to open an inquiry,” Graves told KHQA TV this week. “This gives credence to the idea that this is all political and they’re coming after him.”

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Local law enforcement support prescription drug take back day

The Drug Free Community Coalition, St. Joseph Youth Alliance, St. Joseph Police Department and the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department are sponsoring National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at East Hills Shopping Center on Saturday, Oct. 26.

People in the community are encouraged to bring unused or expired medications for safe disposal. The medications include controlled, non-controlled, and over the counter substances.

Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Puett said this day plays a large role into law enforcement’s work against drugs.

“Pills are one of the biggest concerns right now because of how readily available they are,” Puett said.

The event takes place twice a year, once in the fall and spring. It’s another resource to help get drugs off the street.

“Our goal is to get drugs out of the hands of people that shouldn’t have them,” Puett said.

After all of the prescriptions are collected, the DEA takes them and disposes of them in an environmentally safe way. Volunteers make sure the plastic bottles are separated from the pills and recycled.

“We don’t want them thrown into a landfill or flushed into a water stream,” Puett said.

They won’t be accepting needles, but Puett said he gets questions about them often enough that they’re working on providing a needle drop-off box at the Sheriff’s Department.

For all of the other days of the year for individuals needing to dispose of prescriptions, the Sheriff’s Department also has a drop-off box inside its building.

“The take back day and our drop box are extremely successful and hundreds of pounds of pills are recovered each year,” Puett said.

Law enforcement wants to give the public as many opportunities possible to make sure drugs stay out of the wrong hands and they’re helping this issue facing the community.

Anyone can drop off prescriptions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at East Hills Mall in St. Joseph.