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MU Healthcare and Boone Hosptial Center halt negotiations

Thursday, January 25, 2018 11:47:00 AM CST in News

By: Elli Fitzgerald & Daytona Everett, KOMU 8 Reporters


COLUMBIA - After more than a year of negotiations, MU Healthcare and Boone County Hospital trustees have decided to put a pause on their mission to collaborate.

In a release sent out Thursday, the two organizations said they were unable to align on the mission and direction needed for a successful partnership.

Both parties spoke highly of the collaboration efforts despite the halt of negotiations.

“It would’ve kept the focus right here, it would’ve kept jobs here, we would’ve grown here,” Boone Hospital Board of Trustees Chairman Brian Neuner said. “Resources wouldn’t have left Boone County like they are now going to Saint Louis with BJC.”

"We are extremely grateful and appreciative of the time and energy all parties invested to discuss what a partnership could look like," said Jonathan Curtright, chief executive officer of MU Health Care, in a joint statement. "While our decision to pause negotiations is difficult, there is a tremendous amount of mutual respect for the BHC Board of Trustees and we know that they share our ultimate goal to do what is in the best interest of those we serve."

Neuner is optimistic about BCH's mission to continue grabbing any opportunity to improve patient care.

"The Boone Hospital Board of Trustees will continue to pursue opportunities that effectively position our community hospital as a vital health care resource for the people and communities we serve," Neuner said.

MU Healthcare and BCH Trustees said their mission to best serve their patients and communities remains a priority.

Now that the organizations are no longer seeking out a partnership, Neuner said they’re back to friendly competition with MU Health.

“It’s friendly competition, but competition is great. If you don’t have competition, you have mediocrity.”

At the end of 2018, Boone Hospital will have to choose whether they continue with BJC in St. Louis.

With many parents not paying costs of stay, detention center overshoots budget

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 6:26:00 PM CST in News

By: Jessica Porter and Elli Fitzgerald, KOMU 8 Reporters

FULTON - Overspending, combined with parents refusing to pay child detention costs, has put the Callaway County Juvenile Detention Center in a budget crisis.

About 99 percent of the time, the cost of detention is footed by the taxpayer. But the program tries to get parents to pay whenever a child is held.

"They have to be put in detention, so somebody has to pay that bill," said Callaway County presiding commissioner Gary Jungermann.

At about 50 dollars a day, it costs $1,500 for one child to stay in a detention center for 30 days.

The center has spent tens of thousands of dollars on detaining children in 2017.

"From parental support, I bet you this year we haven't collected $100 from the $35,000." Jungermann said.

The budget for detention was only $29,000, so the center is $6,000 in the red with two months to go.

"It's not way over, but it's over enough that we need to start talking about it," Jungermann said. 

A rise in the number of detentions has contributed to the shortfall. The issue is confined to the juvenile care budget.

"The court system budget is pretty big, but this year there's a portion of the budget that deals with the juveniles," Jungermann said. "But, the detention part, about mid-year we knew the budget was in trouble."

In an effort to raise funds, judges are trying to work with parents on a case by case basis and determine how mandatory it is for those parents to pay the cost of their child's detention based on their income.

For some parents, the extra bill isn't something they can manage. Jungermann said that means doing a better job of holding the financially-able parents accountable. 

Although the overall budget will absorb the shortfall, the juvenile detention budget has been adjusted for 2018.


Columbia man receives 22 year sentence for child exploitation

Friday, January 19, 2018 2:37:00 PM CST in News

By: Elli Fitzgerald, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA- A federal judge sentenced a man to more than 20 years in prison Friday for exploiting several children under 18 years old.

Jayme Walker, 43, had evidence on his cell phone of him repeatedly seeking out minors to engage in sexual activity. The victims in the case were between the ages of 13-17, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The investigation started in June 2014 when a the parents of a victim called Illinois State Police. The victim told authorities he had never met with Walker in person but they talked about it several times, despite him telling Walker of his young age. Investigators found numerous sexual and non-sexual conversations between Walker and the child victim, including dozens of photos and six videos.

Another victim, 17, exchanged sexually explicit photos with Walker and engaged in sexual activity with him. Walker attempted to set up a sexual rendezvous with a 13-year-old victim as well, but did not succeed.

Walker will serve 22 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced him to a term of supervised release for 25 years following his sentence.