Region/state digest 11/23/03

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Advance teen crashes auto on Highway 74

Brian Koechner, 16, of Advance, Mo., was taken to St. Francis Medical Center with serious injuries early Saturday morning after overturning his 1997 Geo on Highway 74, one mile east of Delta, said the Missouri State Highway Patrol. His passenger, Caity Smith, 14, also was seriously injured and was hospitalized. Koechner apparently fell asleep at the wheel, the patrol said. The car ran off the right side of the road, struck a ditch and overturned.

Two universities merge online master's programs

JOPLIN, Mo. -- Missouri Southern State University and Northwest Missouri State University leaders approved an agreement to offer students master's program classes online. As early as next fall, Missouri Southern and Northwest Missouri will provide online classes for master's degrees in early childhood education, biology, instructional technology, health and physical education, recreation and reading. Tuition for the courses has not yet been determined. Students who graduate from the programs will receive a diploma with the names of both institutions inscribed on it.

Man wins lawsuit over flesh-eating bacteria

JOPLIN, Mo. -- A Jasper County jury ordered a Joplin hospital and doctor to pay $320,000 in damages to a man infected with flesh-eating bacteria after a biopsy procedure. James Welsh, 73, of Neosho, underwent a biopsy at Freeman Health Systems three years ago to test a lump found in his prostate. Soon after the procedure, he was misdiagnosed him with a kidney or urinary-tract infection. Later, emergency room doctors discovered flesh-eating bacteria had spread around his buttocks and prostate area, killing tissue and muscle.

Former St. Louis man resigns EPA position

ST. LOUIS -- G. Tracy Mehan III, the former St. Louisan who ranked as the nation's top water official, announced he is quitting his job as assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Mehan, 54, headed the Missouri Department of Natural Resources from 1989 to 1992. He has told allies that he had differences with White House policies but made no mention of them in a resignation letter to President Bush on Friday. Mehan was not available for comment.

-- From staff, wire reports

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