2013 Missouri Urban Journalism Workshop

Pollution plagues Hinkson Creek, but tests show the water is improving

Clyde Bentley fishes in the Hinkson Creek behind his house on July 18, 2013. (Quint Smith/MUJW)

COLUMBIA — Clyde Bentley walked out his back door and headed down a homemade trail to the creek behind his house. It was time to go fishing.

He picked up his poles, crossed the creek and stopped at a sandbar where he dropped a line.

Within 10 minutes, Bentley had a bite. Altogether, in the space of 45 minutes, he caught three fish in a stream scientists have determined cannot fully support aquatic life. (more…)

Surge in popularity puts more customers on solar grid

COLUMBIA — Two years ago, Floyd Hansen saw the way electric prices were rising.

An example of solar panels. Photo: Know My Backyard Flickr

So he looked around for another way to power his Jefferson City home. He ended up installing a 9.87 kilowatt photovoltaic system on his roof that provides enough energy for 70 percent of his needs in the winter and all of his energy use in the summer.

Hansen paid roughly $60,000 for his system, but he has already recovered $40,000 in rebates and tax credits. He said he expects to recoup all of his costs within 10 years.

“With the way electric grids are going to be going up in the future, I figured it was either pay now or pay later,” he said.

Hansen is one of the growing number of people who have installed solar panels on their homes to generate electricity. (more…)