Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Monarch butterflies are disappearing. Scientists agree that in the last 20 years, populations of the black and orange insect have been in precipitous decline. But there's much less certainty on what’s causing them to vanish.

As each new scientific paper on monarch decline is published, the image becomes slightly less opaque. So far, potential culprits include disease, climate change, drought, deforestation, and nectar plants. Blame has been cast on everyone from loggers to farmers to suburban developers.

A cost cutting practice for prescription drugs known as “step therapy,” is driving a wedge between insurance companies and doctors. With the rising cost of prescription drugs, many insurance companies are requiring patients to use a cheaper alternative of the insurer's choice to cover the cost.  KRCU’s Marissanne Lewis-Thompson spoke with Midwest Health Group physician, Dr. Victoria Damba about why step therapy is causing problems for some Missourians.

Lewis-Thompson: So, let's break down what exactly step therapy is.

Jason Brown / KRCU

Ariana Brocious for Harvest Public Media

  Every spring farmers and ranchers intentionally burn their fields to jumpstart the natural process of renewal. But those fires can be dangerous. That’s why researchers in Nebraska are designing a new drone to start fires, which may help protect people and the environment.

On a warm spring morning, a big burn crew dressed in yellow and green flame-resistant clothing gets ready to set 26 acres of tallgrass prairie on fire at Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, Neb.

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU

Many parents across the country find themselves in court fighting for custody of their child. In some Missouri counties though mothers are disproportionately favored over fathers in joint custody agreements. But now a new Missouri bill is hoping to equalize joint custody rights between parents. KRCU’s Marissanne Lewis-Thompson spoke with Missouri House Representative Kathy Swan about the bill.

Lewis-Thompson: Representative Swan thanks for joining me today.  

Swan: Well thank you for the invitation.