Author

Rudi Keller

Rudi Keller

Rudi Keller covers the state budget, energy and the legislature. He’s spent 22 of his 30 years in journalism covering Missouri government and politics, most recently as the news editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune. Keller has won awards for spot news and investigative reporting.

COVID-19 Testing

First COVID case of the omicron variant found in Missouri

By: and - December 3, 2021

The omicron variant of COVID-19 has made its way to Missouri, with the first case announced Friday. In a news release, the Department of Health and Senior Services said it was notified by public health partners of a presumed positive case for the variant that came from a St. Louis resident who had recently traveled […]

Missouri health department found mask mandates work, but didn’t make findings public

By: , and - December 1, 2021

Mask mandates saved lives and prevented COVID-19 infections in Missouri’s biggest cities during the worst part of the delta variant wave, an analysis by the state Department of Health and Senior Services shows. But the analysis, conducted at the request of Gov. Mike Parson’s office in early November, was never made public and was only […]

Delta variant cases spike again in November as health officials watch for arrival of new strain

By: and - November 30, 2021

A waning delta variant summer surge gave way to a spike of cases in November, as infections and hospitalizations rose amid concerns about a new variant spreading out of South Africa. The omicron variant hasn’t been detected in Missouri, but public health officials are watching. The first place it is likely to be detected is […]

Looming deadline leaves Missouri at risk of losing $2 billion in federal education funding

By: - November 24, 2021

Missouri has so much money, coming so fast, from federal COVID-19 relief bills that it is in danger of losing almost $2 billion dedicated to schools. As Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven last week sought support for projects to improve teacher retention, members of the legislature’s Federal Stimulus Spending Subcommittee wanted to know how a key […]

An image of a multistory building with a tall, glass entrance. It is a proposed industrial research complex at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Gov. Mike Parson wants ‘big ideas’ for using Missouri budget surplus

By: - November 23, 2021

Gov. Mike Parson wants to do big things with the budget surplus of billions of dollars and federal aid coming to Missouri, state lawmakers were told last week. During a hearing of the Federal Stimulus Spending Subcommittee, higher education leaders offered their wish-list for projects the state couldn’t afford in the past. Southeast Missouri State […]

Reporting change adds almost 2,800 COVID-19 deaths to Missouri total

By: - November 19, 2021

Missouri’s COVID-19 death toll increased by more than 20 percent Thursday afternoon, to more than 15,000 fatalities. The 2,771 deaths added to the report aren’t news to local health departments. They have been frustrated for months by the Department of Health and Senior Services’ unwillingness to recognize deaths where the patient’s diagnosis was confirmed by […]

Despite Chase Bank reversal, Donald Trump Jr. event in St. Charles remains canceled

By: - November 18, 2021

A Missouri conservative group cannot go ahead with an event featuring Donald Trump Jr. despite a reversal from the nation’s largest bank saying it will broker tickets for the speech, organizers said Thursday. There is too little time left to make the Dec. 3 Defense of Liberty PAC event in St. Charles a success, said […]

Donald Trump Jr. speaks

Donald Trump Jr. event canceled after Chase bank ends deal with Missouri conservative group

By: - November 17, 2021

The biggest bank in the United States is walking back its refusal to do business with a Missouri conservative group that forced cancellation of an event next month featuring Donald Trump Jr. The Defense of Liberty PAC hired WePay, a payment processor owned by JPMorgan Chase, for the Dec. 3 event at the St. Charles […]

COVID-19 cases rising rapidly in Missouri as cooler weather forces activities indoors

By: - November 17, 2021

For much of October, there were so few new COVID-19 cases in Knox County, Health Director Lori Moots said she began to hope the pandemic was almost over for her constituents. The early September Knox County Corn Festival, she said, didn’t produce the feared spike in cases. And by Oct. 8, the health department was […]

Missouri AG sues Springfield schools in quest to find critical race theory documents

By: - November 16, 2021

Attorney General Eric Schmitt alleges in a newly filed lawsuit that Springfield Public Schools wants to avoid scrutiny of its curriculum and training materials — and is violating the Missouri Sunshine law to do it. The district improperly demanded a deposit of more than $37,000 to search its records for instances where it incorporated elements […]

Cass County lawmaker joins crowded GOP contest in Missouri’s 4th Congressional District

By: - November 15, 2021

State Sen. Rick Brattin became the fifth Republican to enter the 4th Congressional District Republican primary on Monday, announcing his bid by declaring that his conservative record outshines his GOP rivals. As he announced his campaign, Brattin said he didn’t believe Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and that he would have voted against […]

Missouri Attorney General seeks texts, emails about metro mask mandates

By: - November 15, 2021

Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt wants to know what four Democratic executives in Missouri’s largest metro areas said in emails, texts and other communications about mask mandates to fight the spread of COVID-19. His office said Friday seeking the records is part of Schmitt’s determination to fight “tyrannical government overreach.” A spokesman for St. Louis […]