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Professor lives through storms on mountain
this week in e-mail internews@ColumbiaMissourian.com views. Ireton made it to the snowEven before Sean Ireton packed summit; a photo he started his solo ascent of El took suggests a crisp, clear Mulhacén, Spain’s second day. But on his descent, a sudhighest peak, his 11-year-old den storm forced him to find son, Aidan, sensed something shelter in what he described might go wrong. as a small refuge 1,000 feet In fact, Aidan was worried below the summit. “even before Sean left, and he Back at the tent, his wife became very upset even after and son waited in the dark Sean had only been gone after cold for him a few hours to appear. — which At one point, seemed odd they went to me since into the vilI’m usually lage to conthe one who tact police. worries,” said Finding no Aidan’s mothone who could er, Megan help, they McKinstry. returned to Two days Sean Ireton the tent and later, Ireton, MU professor who attempted a solo waited anxan associascent of El Mulhacén iously. ate professor A i d a n of German slept fitfully, but McKinstry at MU, returned to his famstayed awake. “I was terriily after a harrowing descent fied, and with every passing through winter storms. He hour, I became more frighthad broken a leg, endured ened,” she recalled. “The two freezing days and nights storms were formidable, and and hobbled on ski poles for I knew that the fact that Sean more than 12 hours. hadn’t yet returned meant Ireton, 44, is on leave this that he had suffered some academic year at the Philsort of injury.” osophisches Institut at the Still, they tried to keep University of Düsseldorf in up each other’s spirits. “We Germany. His wife, McKinwere both trying to keep posstry, 39, is an adjunct instrucitive while Sean was misstor of German education at ing,” McKinstry said. MU. The family had camped On the morning of Jan. 4, out in a tent near the ski vilIreton began his descent to lage of Pradollano as part of a ridge that he knew “would a short vacation. lead me back to the ski area On the afternoon of Jan. 3, and my waiting family.” But Ireton, an experienced mounjust before he reached it, taineer, began climbing the a second, far more severe 11,423-foot peak in the Sierra storm struck. Nevada mountains. He and his wife shared their stories Please see Spain, page 6a
By dOug daviS
“Suddenly I was rolling down the slope and bouncing off the rocks below until I finally came to a stop.”
gov. Jay nixon calls for more budget cuts and job creation in this annual address to Missourians.
Nixon calls for cuts Jobs a top priority for Nixon, Missouri of $253 million
unnecessarily bloated. news@ColumbiaMissourian. “This is more about com demanding more from JEFFERSON CITY — people left behind,” LuebGov. Jay Nixon called job bering said. growth his top legislative The Department of priority in his State of the Social Services would be State address Wednesday, hardest hit by job cuts, but but his budget recommen- Luebbering said many of dation for next year calls these reductions would be for a reduction of 544 state positions already vacant — jobs. although increases in welWith more than 1,000 job fare programs would give cuts slated for the current the agency one of the largfiscal year, the addition- est percentage increases al reduction would mean among the state’s departNixon had cut almost 1,800 ments. state positions in his first Nixon’s budget recomtwo years. mendation calls for $253 State Budget Director million in cuts, $121 milLinda Luebbering said the lion of which is to come reductions do not mean from Medicaid. Missouri’s payroll is Please see Budget, page 6a
By Ben Wieder
news@ColumbiaMissourian. com JEFFERSON CITY — Facing a state budget crisis and high unemployment numbers, Gov. Jay Nixon made clear Wednesday in his State of the State address that he means business — and wants to bring more of it to Missouri. In his annual speech to a joint session of the legislature, Nixon called his plan to bring more jobs to the state his “top legislative priority.” A primary facet of Nixon’s proposed plan is to increase tax credits offered by the state to attract new businesses to Missouri.
By reBecca Berg
The recommendation was met by mixed reactions from legislators, some worried that the move could jeopardize the state’s revenue and burden taxpayers. Meanwhile, state business leaders largely expressed support for the initiative. In his remarks to state lawmakers, Nixon said efforts by the government in the past year have created jobs, helped small businesses and attracted companies to the state. “It’s clear that our key business incentives and workforce investments are bearing fruit,” he said. “But much more needs to be done.” Please see taX, page 6a
UM to survey employees about benefits, value
email@example.com University of Missouri System employees will soon be asked to analyze their current pay and benefits package. System President Gary Forsee wrote in an e-mail to employees that a confidential survey will be conducted online at the end of January to determine what faculty and staff value about their compensation and benefits. Betsy Rodriguez, system vice president for human resources, said it has been at least 10 years since a survey of this kind has been conducted by the university. The survey questions will cover current benefit areas and are designed to allow employees an “avenue for input on the value of various benefits.” Forsee wrote that the results of the survey will be used to assess the value of benefits and determine which features have the most appeal. Different pay and benefit combinations will also be analyzed. “For example, some employees may prefer that the university spend more on medi-
By KOurtneY geerS
go to ColumbiaMissourian.com for goP response to governor’s message
Tax form mistake has MU students concerned
The Social Security numbers were visible on mailed forms.
By KatY Bergen
news@ColumbiaMissourian.com About 100 people responded to an e-mail sent Tuesday afternoon notifying students that their Social Security numbers may have been visible in the envelope window of a tax form sent by the University of Missouri System, said Nikki Krawitz, UM vice president of finance and administration. More than 75,000 Form 1098Ts were mailed at the end of last week. The four-campus system has no way of accessing how many envelopes displayed the numbers. Form 1098-T is an Internal Revenue Service form that reports tuition billed and paid. “People are concerned, as
everyone would expect them to be,” Krawitz said. “They are expressing their frustration and asking for guidance.” Campus Mail Services committed the folding errors but Krawitz said the system is reviewing the entire process. She said concerned students and parents should look into credit monitoring services, such as Experian, that offers a reduced monthly rate of $3.46 to faculty, staff, retirees and students in the system. The UM System also has consistently encouraged students and employees to take advantage of a free service at www.annualcreditreport.com, Krawitz said. Columbia resident Rex Cone received Form 1098-T in the mail Friday for taking a class fall semester. He said his Social Security number
was printed above his name and could be seen through the envelope window. “I was originally stunned,” Cone said. “It was so blatant — Student Social Security Number — boom!” Cone’s calls to the University of Missouri Taxpayer Relief Hotline did not go through on Friday. He made three more calls the next day that did not go through. A cashier’s office representative told him that the problem was a folding error. An accounting services representative told Cone that a supervisor would be notified. Cone, who already monitors his credit, is not concerned but still felt the error needed to be reported. Cone said a friend’s form was sent to the friend’s parents’ former residence, which could place his friend at a
higher risk for identity theft. Krawitz said the UM System Social Security Number Remediation Project will help ensure that this problem does not happen again. The project was formed more than a year ago in the hopes of removing Social Security numbers from as many information systems as possible. Next year all tax forms will only contain the last four digits of Social Security numbers. “It’s a comprehensive project meant to change the way we store information into our system so we can better protect this kind of information,” Krawitz said. The placement of Social Security numbers has been changed on some tax forms, such as the W-2 form, but has not yet been changed on Form 1098-T, Krawitz said.
cal insurance and less on life insurance. Other employees may prefer that benefit dollars are directed toward salary,” Rodriguez said. Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting firm, will be conducting and analyzing the results of the “Pay and Benefits Preference Survey.” “We have used them for a number of years in related surveys,” Rodriguez said. “This survey will complement other Hewitt work for us.” Hewitt Associates conducts a benefits index survey which compares the university’s benefits values to other universities. The upcoming employee survey will compare employee perceptions of value to the actual value of the benefit programs. Although all employees are encouraged to respond to the survey, the expected response rate is approximately 45 percent, according to Rodriguez. The cost of the survey is $100,000 and will be coming from employee benefits. Overall, the university spends $300 million a year on employee benefits.
By The Associated Press JEFFERSON CITY — More than 50,000 gallons of untreated wastewater spilled into the Missouri River after an electrical failure at a Boonville wastewater lift station. The state Department of Natural Resources said Boonville authorities reported the overflow Wednesday. Boonville officials believe a loose electrical connection at a station caused an electrical breaker to trip, shutting off power to the station’s pumps. Wastewater entering the station then backed up and began to overflow, eventually reaching the Missouri River. The city repaired the electrical problem and stopped the overflow on Tuesday. The DNR is investigating to see if the overflow caused environmental damage.
wasTewaTer sPIlls InTo MIssourI rIVer
The City Council voted 5-0 to withdraw a proposed charter amendment that would require council input when city department heads were hired and fired. Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe voted with the other council members present. An article on page 1A Wednesday incorrectly reported the vote. Money raised this week by The Rock church to help Haiti will be matched by a charitable organization, and that combined amount will be given to Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization. A story on page 6A on Wednesday incorrectly described the fundraising effort. The City Council voted to withdraw a bill to amend the city charter to allow more time for council and public discussion of the proposal. The secondary headline on page 1A Wednesday incorrectly described the action.
Cleaning up after winter
The snow’s gone for now, but don’t be fooled. Missouri is infamous for its unpredictable weather. Vox examines who takes care of what when it comes to winter cleanup.
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Today: Patchy fog. Otherwise, cloudy. Temp: 38° Tonight: Cloudy. Temp: 32° Page 2a
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