Mar 29

Bullying: The Realities, The Myths And The Impact

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – She knows the loss and the pain that few parents have to experience and she’s working to stop others from suffering through it.

A recent case of violence in a Missouri school has her speaking out again.MWSnap076

Tina Meier, President of the Megan Meier Foundation, discusses the recent high profile case of bullying in Liberty, MO. That’s where a boy who is reportedly diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, was attacked and beaten so badly that he spent several days in a hospital. Among his injuries were a broken jaw, hearing loss and a fractured skull according to media reports.

Meier’s teenage daughter, Megan, took her own life after going through what we now know as “cyberbullying”.

Is there a difference between being a bully and just being rude or being a jerk? Yes. Knowing the difference matters, according to Meier. On this week’s “Missouri Viewpoints” she provides perspective on the realities and the misunderstandings of bullying and also discusses the impact it has on young people and communities. Find out why she believes there needs to be a chance in the law, a change in what school’s teach and a change in the hearts of many parents, classmates and others who are around victims every day.

Meier also offers suggestions for schools, parents and young people on how to deal with bullying when it’s suspected or witnessed.

On the web:

The Megan Meier Foundation:



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Mar 22

Financial Fraud: Protecting Missourians From Crooks

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – A call. An email. Maybe even a knock at the door.

They come to Missouri’s senior citizens and sometimes result in thousands of dollars lost. It’s a growing problem across the nation. Here in Missouri, both lawmakers and seniors’ advocates are working on ways to protect our older friends and relatives from thieves.MWSnap066

This week, Rep. Mark Parkinson (R) discusses his proposal to change Missouri law in hopes of stopping fraud against senior citizens and the disabled. His bill would give some financial agents more leeway in handling financial accounts and contacting family and authorities when fraud is suspected. If a broker suspects fraud, for instance, his bill would give them the ability to stop some transactions and contact either family or the courts to look into the request.

That idea doesn’t have the support of all advocates for seniors even though they may agree on the overall goal.


Also, AARP Missouri’s Craig Eichelman describes today’s most common scams that target seniors. He also offers advice on how to spot a con artist and what to do if you think you or a loved one is a target of financial fraud.

AARP offers a free fraud prevention program to all Americans, regardless of age and AARP membership is not required.

Get the details on this week’s program.

On the web:

Rep. Mark Parkinson:

AARP Missouri:


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Mar 15

Should Missouri “Ban The Box”?

by Mike Ferguson

How long should past crimes affect Missourians? Do employers have a right to know about a past criminal history before they decide to consider someone for a job?

Over a dozen states and three cities in Missouri have already changed the rules when it comes to hiring in an effort to help convicted felons who have completed their sentences get jobs.MWSnap062

State Representative Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) and former St. Louis Judge Lisl King Williams, now with the Fathers Support Center, offer two different perspectives on the effort to “ban the box”. That’s the proposal to make it illegal for employers to ask job applicants if they have felonies on their criminal record.

With some exceptions, the proposal filed in the State Senate would also bar employers from disqualifying applicants from a job based on a prior conviction. A Senate committee voted the bill down recently but supporters say they will continue to push the legislation.MWSnap063

The idea is not popular with business associations, who view the idea as government overreach into a business decision. Supporters of the concept say it’s good for the entire community and state. They believe “banning the box” will create more job opportunities for those with criminal records and that will result in fewer offenders returning to criminal activity.

What do you think? Tell us your opinion on the Missouri Viewpoints Facebook page (linked at the top of this page).

On the web:

Caleb Rowden:

Fathers Support Center:

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Mar 08

Taking “Missouri Made” Around The World

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – From the farm or the factory or your home office to the rest of the world. Growing your small business does not have to rely only on the customers around the block; it can prosper with customers around the globe.

That’s the message of MU Extension’s Small Business and Technology Development Center, which operates offices around Missouri.MWSnap061

This week, Ron Mueller explains what the program does to help Missouri small businesses sell to the international market, why it helps the state’s economy and how that can have a positive impact on each business’ local community.

The services are free to the businesses.

Mueller also explains why using a program like the SMTDC is a good business move due to potential pitfalls of US, foreign and international laws that must be understood.

On the web:

MU Extension:

Small Business & Technology Development Center:

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Mar 01

Lighting Up Another Tobacco Tax Increase Effort In Missouri

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – It’s been tried before (three times) but supporters hope this time it doesn’t go up in smoke.

The effort is called the “Raise Your Hand For Kids” campaign and it’s designed to raise taxes on tobacco in order to pay for more early childhood education and health services.MWSnap059

Brian Schmidt from the campaign, which is an effort by the Alliance for Childhood Education, says the state would collect the additional 50 cents per pack of cigarettes in taxes and then distribute the money to counties. From there, Schmidt says, local governments can decide how best to spend the money – as long as it’s for education and/health for children up to five years old.

Missouri currently has the nation’s lowest state tax on cigarettes.

Former Republican State Representative Carl Bearden now runs United For Missouri, a conservative statewide advocacy organization. He’s not on board with the plan.MWSnap060

While Bearden agrees that most everyone wants better education and health services for children, he argues that another tax increase is not going to accomplish that. During this week’s “Missouri Viewpoints”, Bearden says the tax would actually do more harm than good in some instances because the tax would hit poor Missourians harder than others because, he contends, the poor are more likely to smoke and not likely to quit even when the cost goes up

What do you think? Tell us on the “Missouri Viewpoints” Facebook page.

The “Raise Your Hand For Kids” campaign hopes to put the idea on the statewide ballot in 2016.

On the web:

“Raise Your Hand For Kids” campaign:

United For Missouri:

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Feb 22

Cell Phones, Tablets and Thieves: Does Missouri Need New Laws To Keep Up?

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – It can happen to you. In fact, in 2013, it happened about 3.2 million times in the United States. The target of the crime is likely in your hand right now or is within a few feet of you.

Theft of mobile devices including cell phones and tablets is on the rise. According to one state lawmaker, that means Missouri needs to change at least one law regarding wireless products.MWSnap057

Rep. Mary Nichols (D) is working to require a so-called “kill switch” on all mobile devices sold in the state. That would allow you and your wireless provider to shut down the device and wipe it clean, erasing any personal information stored within it. Increasingly, financial information is stored on phones or on Cloud accounts linked to them.

For many products and services, kill switch applications or programs similar to them are available through your app store.

AT&T Missouri* President John Sondag is not on board with the proposal and believes the other technology companies working in the state also oppose it even though they all share the overall goal.MWSnap058

Sondag says there is already a program being developed and will be launched this year that is similar to a “kill switch” approach but gives consumers more freedom to use it how they see fit. The program, he says, will be offered by most major wireless providers.

He also expressed concern about adding a law because of how fast technology products – and tech savvy criminals – change and adapt. A new mandate, he fears, could slow down implementation of future upgrades to apps and other programs designed to protect consumers.

* AT&T Missouri is a sponsor of “Missouri Viewpoints”

On the web:

House Bill 144


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