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Missouri teen breaks dad’s state record for longear sunfish

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Mo. – Thirteen-year-old Robert Audrain IV of St. Louis became latest Missouri state record holder for longear sunfish using “alternative methods.” That unseats the previous record holder, his own father.

Audrain was fishing from a private pond in Franklin County July 3 when he caught the 5-ounce fish. The previous record was caught by Audrain’s father on the same day in 2020 from the same location.

We were at the lake fishing all day and having fun,” recalled Audrain. “I was using my handline and after about five minutes of trying I pulled out the fish. I’m really proud of myself and pretty competitive so it’s cool I beat my dad’s record.”

The sunfish was weighed on a certified scale at MDC’s St. Louis Regional Office. It’s the seventh state record fish recorded in 2021.

Audrain said he will likely mount his record and place it next to his dad’s on their wall at home.

“We were actually joking that it would be funny if we had a new record on the wall each year that is an ounce bigger,” he said. “I think we’re definitely going to keep trying to break our records.”

Missouri state record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternative methods. Alternative methods include: throwlines, limb lines, bank lines, jug lines, spearfishing, snagging, snaring, gigging, grabbing, archery, and atlatl.

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Peyton Manning comes to Pittsburg for PSU speaker series

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State University announces two-time super bowl champion Peyton Manning as the next speaker in its “H. Lee Scott Speaker Series: An Examination of American Life.” Manning will come to campus on August 30. Tickets go on sale July 27.

The event, “A Conversation with Peyton Manning” is planned for 6:15 p.m. in the Linda & Lee Scott Performance Hall in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.  

“It’s amazing to think about the caliber of individuals this series has brought to our campus, including President Bill Clinton, Republican presidential nominee Senator Mitt Romney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,” said Vice President for University Advancement Kathleen Flannery. “We’re thrilled to add Peyton Manning, who is not only a legendary quarterback, but an inspiring leader in philanthropy, to that list.”

The speaker series was created in 2015 as a result of a $2.079 million gift made by former Walmart CEO Lee Scott and his wife, Linda, both PSU alumni, with a mission to deepen the level of discourse, enrich the university experience, and elevate the university’s reputation by examining American life from the perspective of nationally prominent leaders and innovators.

“We hope that the exposure to these successful leaders will enhance the educational experiences for students and inspire them to someday be invited to speak about leadership on this same stage,” Lee Scott said in making the gift.

Tickets can be found online at www.pittstate.edu/office/ticket-office/ and in person at the PSU Ticket Office in the Weede for $30.

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School board: Critical race theory not taught in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas State Board of Education on Wednesday released a statement saying that critical race theory is not part of state academic standards after hearing from at least one candidate for office who is claiming that it is.

Board Chairman Jim Porter, a Fredonia Republican, said it was important for the board to issue a statement partly because he had read a comment from a candidate for office, whom he wouldn’t name, that inaccurately claimed that critical race theory is being taught in Kansas schools.

Board Member Jean Clifford, a Garden City Republican, said that not commenting on the issue could be interpreted as a statement in itself.

“I think it’s important to let everyone know where we stand on this,” Clifford told The Associated Press.

Critical race theory centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people in society. There is little to no evidence that critical race theory itself is being taught in K-12 public schools nationally, though some related ideas, such as lingering consequences of slavery, have been.

The Kansas board’s statement said that critics are conflating critical race theory with “federal and state policies and requirements for measuring achievement, fairness and opportunity in education.”

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Missouri Republicans face heat over Planned Parenthood money

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Anti-abortion advocates are pushing Missouri lawmakers to block Planned Parenthood funding during a special session.

Missouri Right to Life Executive Director Susan Klein on Tuesday questioned whether the GOP-led House is willing to block Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood during the special session. Republican Gov. Mike Parson called lawmakers back to work to renew a tax on hospitals and other medical providers.

The tax money is used to drawn down federal Medicaid funding. But the tax renewal has become entangled with debate over Planned Parenthood funding. Senators last week passed the tax renewal without acting on Planned Parenthood.

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Four-State Staycation: Brown Mansion

COFFEYVILLE, Kan.  – Built in 1904, the three-story, 16-room Brown Mansion has become a fixture of Coffeyville, Kansas. Once owned by wealthy natural gas tycoon W. P. Brown, the colonial style home now sits on the National Register of Historic Places.

The mansion was designed by Edward Wilder and Thomas Wight. Some features of the home were designed to accommodate Brown’s petite wife, Nancy, who was only 4’11”. Their sole heir to the mansion, Violet Brown sold the home to the Coffeyville Historical Society in 1970.

The mansion has a living room, parlor, music room, library, conservatory, dining room, billiard room, kitchen, maid’s quarters, five bedrooms and three full baths. The basement includes butler’s quarters, additional bath, laundry, wine cellar, single bowling alley, and other storage rooms. The entire third floor is a ballroom.

Tours are given at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The Mansion can also be rented for special events such as weddings. More information can be found at coffeyvillehistory.com/brown-mansion

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PSU rescinds mask mandate on campus

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State University announced Wednesday it will no longer require masks on campus.

The change comes in accordance with new CDC guidance. It states fully vaccinated people do not need to wear mask indoors or outdoors unless they are in a large gathering.  People who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated are still encouraged to wear face masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

PSU enacted the campus-wide mask mandate in June ahead of the Fall 2020 semester. It’s remained in place since.

(Previous Story: Masks will be required on the campus of Pitt State starting Monday)

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MSSU graduates walk for first time since pandemic began

JOPLIN, Mo. – Missouri Southern State University hosted it’s 76th commencement ceremony Saturday. Because of the pandemic, it still wasn’t a ‘traditional’ graduation, but students still got to walk in a different way. The university hosted a walk-through ceremony, with special video presentations and well wishes from the faculty and staff displayed along the way.

“It was great, as I have lots of friends that graduated in December,” MSSU Graduate Colton Smith. “Even last Spring that they didn’t even get the chance to have a graduation. So it’s nice to have it a little personable and get to see some of my professors at an actual graduation.”

A professional photographer was also on hand to record the moment as students were awarded their degrees.

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Missouri lawmakers vote to keep lottery winners secret

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation that could keep the names of state lottery winners secret.

State House members Jay Mosely said Thursday that the intent of his bill is to keep winners from being harassed or threatened. The bill, which won final approval Wednesday, would make it a misdemeanor crime for lottery officials to identify winners.

The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries says all but a very few states require the names and cities of winners to be made public. The Missouri Lottery says releasing the identity of winners helps promote sales and ensures the integrity of the games.

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Kansas State changing mask policy, cites CDC guidance

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) – Kansas State University is altering its mask policy for outdoor settings, citing updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WIBW-TV reports that starting May 17, those who are fully vaccinated can participate in campus outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in crowded settings and venues. Those exceptions may include live performances, parades and sporting events.

The university says masks will still be required in all indoor spaces on university property.

The CDC announced the new guidance in late April, saying fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to cover their faces anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers.

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Missouri Senate panel votes down Medicaid expansion funding

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri Senate budget committee has voted against funding Medicaid expansion.

The budget panel voted 7-7 Wednesday on a Republican-sponsored proposal that would have set money aside to pay for the program. The tied vote meant the proposal failed. Missouri voters last year amended the state Constitution to extend government health care to thousands more low-income adults. But now the Republican-led Legislature is arguing over whether to pay for it.

The leader of the budget committee says it’s now up to the full Senate to make a final decision on funding for the program.