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Briefly in the News: January

Virtual vets:  Classes begin this month for the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine’s online master’s program. The biomedical sciences degree with an emphasis in veterinary medicine and surgery is a 30-hour program designed for working vets and vet technicians. The online program allows them to earn their degree without having to relocate or even leave work.

“Our goal is to help students better understand the intersection of veterinary and biomedical sciences as a whole so they can combine their technical knowledge and real-world experience to become more effective in their professions,” says C.B. Chastain, DVM, professor of veterinary medicine and surgery at MU. The same professors who teach in the classroom setting teach the classes held online. And even better than the convenience of the program? All students pay in-state tuition, regardless of location.

 

Airport dollars:  The Department of Transportation confirmed that it contributes 100,621 jobs with payrolls totaling $3.1 million to the Missouri economy through the 108 airports it supports. The total economic output of Missouri’s system of airports is estimated at $11.1 billion, which equals 4.3 percent of the gross state product. During the past decade, Missouri airports have contributed 17.1 percent more to the economy, and Don Elliott, airport manager at Columbia Regional Airport, says it was predicted that 2013 would be the year for the most passengers flying in and out of that airport.

 

Treehouse Treasures:  Sara Cochran, an assistant director at Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship in 2011, decided she needed to experience firsthand the trials of being an entrepreneur. The outcome? Treehouse Treasures, an online boutique specializing in eco-friendly items for babies and children, which launched on Sept. 25. Cochran is now a higher education doctoral student at MU who participates on the #BOOM Task Force, is a member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and supports other local startups.

 

MIZ-BIZ:  Graduates of the Trulaske College of Business now have the opportunity to leave college with specialized skills in risk management and insurance for corporations, individuals and businesses. The $1 million in donations was funded with the help of corporate and private donors such as Duncan and Shirley Matteson, Tom and Betty Scott, Peter and Ellen Clune, Missouri Employers Mutual, Columbia Insurance Group and Shelter Insurance. The introduction of this program, along with recognition from Bloomberg Business Week about the school’s execMBA program, gives the college a lot to celebrate in its centennial year.

 

Smoke signals:  Research at MU reminds smokers that their habits are the No. 1 cause of preventable cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed each year with lung cancer. Although other factors play into the diagnosis of lung cancer, smoking remains the single most frequent cause. More than 150,000 people die from this disease each year.

“In order to understand lung cancer, you need to know about smoking and the effects of secondhand tobacco,” says Dr. Vamsi Guntur, a pulmonologist at University Hospital.

The good news? “The decrease we’ve seen in smoking rates in the U.S. during the past several decades has saved countless lives,” Guntur says. “We still have a very long way to go, but history has shown we can make tremendous strides toward eliminating lung cancer by reducing tobacco use.”

 

Pet therapy:  Grieving is a natural phase in the passing of a loved one, and in today’s world, there are numerous resources and outlets to help sooth someone who has recently experienced a loss. However, the MU College of Veterinary Medicine noticed a lack of resources for those who are struggling with the death of an animal. Together in Grief, Easing Recovery (TIGER) is a new grief counseling program that caters to people suffering from pet loss. Francesca Tocco, a doctoral student in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and the MU Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction (ReCHAI), is using her background to help pet owners come to terms with their loss. Rebecca Johnson, director of ReCHAI, says it’s a great opportunity to put research into action. For questions and inquiries about the program, email mucvmvmthgriefsupport@missouri.edu.

 

Fighting the flu:  Forty-one percent of enrolled Boone County elementary and middle school students received flu vaccinations during clinics held from Oct. 1 until Nov. 6, 2013. All 7,651 students received the free vaccination from public health nurses who were supported by MU Children’s Hospital and the David B. Lichtenstein Foundation. Vaccinations are still available at 1005 W. Worley in Columbia, and adults and children are encouraged to come in from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

 

Roots N Blues N BBQ:  An astonishing 35 countries were represented at the 2013 Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival that took place from Sept. 20 to 22. A total of 22,250 fans traveled to Columbia to experience the music, food and entertainment of the festival. Roots N Blues brought in $1,205,842 in economic impact to the city of Columbia and the state of Missouri, according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau Economic Impact Study. The Blues in Schools program saw growth from the previous year by adding four more participating schools. The half marathon and 10K races had 1,378 runners, and the location change to Stephens Park offered 49 acres of space to utilize. Next year’s festival will take place from Sept. 26 to 28.

 

Safety tech:  Tech Electronics is now offering a new Technical Service Desk that will allow customers to better maintain life-safety and communications systems. Across six area locations, the service provides faster response and a more cost-effective way to maintain the systems. “Our mission is to help our customers work smarter, feel safer and collaborate more effectively,” says John Pile, director of Tech Electronics of Columbia. “We are excited to offer a more convenient, less expensive way to resolve issues our customers may be experiencing with their life-safety and communications systems, regardless of their location.”

 

Granted success:  Students at William Woods University won a $33,000 grant for SERVE, a nonprofit social service agency in Fulton. Using the grant money, the nonprofit was able to purchase equipment for its food pantry. The winning students were learning successful techniques in their grant-writing class at WWU. Katie Atterberry and Heather Rogers wrote a proposal to the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, which is providing the funding to SERVE.

 

Eighth best!:  Missouri students’ math and reading scores have continued to increase since 2009, and Missouri is now ranked the eighth-highest state for high school graduates, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations are now looking toward Missouri to find a highly skilled workforce. More than 1 million Missourians currently hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

 

Running at Rock Bridge:  Rock Bridge Elementary will now have a track on the school’s property, thanks to grants, donations and pledges that helped the school reach its financial goal. The fundraising committee was made up of Rock Bridge parents and staff, and they began their endeavor last spring. The new track will be built on the east side of the playground. Local contributors include Boone Electric and the MFA Oil Foundation. Construction on the track will begin as soon as Columbia Public Schools completes an updated HVAC system on site.

 

PGA:  A new Purchased Gas Adjustment offers Ameren customers lower rates for natural gas this winter. Jim Massmann, gas supply director, says Ameren Missouri has secured adequate natural gas supplies to meet customers’ needs during the upcoming heating season. A significant portion of the gas supply costs are hedged or price protected to insulate customers from market price volatility. The lower rates result in lower wholesale costs. The PGA has been effective since Nov. 1, 2013.

 

International studies:  Missouri is ranked 12th in the nation for the number of international students enrolled in state colleges and universities. During the 2012-2013 academic year, more than 17,300 international students chose to study within the state of Missouri, according to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors 2013 report. More than a third of those students have temporarily relocated from China, while other high-represented countries include India, South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia. MU enrolls the most international students with 2,490 students. In addition, the number of Missouri students studying abroad has increased from 4,650 to 4,938.

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