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Paddlers Prepped to Preserve Clean Water

PHOTO: More than 600 paddlers, plus hundreds more support staff and officials, will take to the water over the next several days to draw attention to water quality concerns and raise funds to preserve the Missouri River. Photo courtesy Missouri American Water
PHOTO: More than 600 paddlers, plus hundreds more support staff and officials, will take to the water over the next several days to draw attention to water quality concerns and raise funds to preserve the Missouri River. Photo courtesy Missouri American Water
July 7, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Paddling for a purpose. That's what more than 600 people will be doing tomorrow (Tues.) when they launch their boats in the world's largest canoe and kayak race, an event that raises money and awareness for the Missouri River.

The Missouri 340 River Race is sponsored by Missouri American Water. The group's communications manager, Ann Dettmer, calls the race "a mix of extreme sports and environmental stewardship," and says all Missourians have a stake in protecting the river.

"The Missouri River is a home to wildlife," says Dettmer. "It's a source of drinking water for more than half of all Missourians. It's a wonderful resource for people who love the outdoors – and it's even a highway for boats."

The 340-mile race begins at 8:00 a.m. at Kaw Point Park, at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, and finishers will begin to arrive roughly 88 hours later, at the Lewis and Clark Nature Center and Boathouse in St. Charles.

Dettmer says many people think of water pollution as something that happens only at a large, industrial level, but she stresses that the small choices Missourians make every day – from what goes on the roads to what goes on their lawns – have a huge impact on the health of the river.

"When it rains, the rain carries all of that stuff over the soil, and it goes to the lowest point, which is the river," she explains. "So, there are things that all of us can do every day as simple as just not overloading our yards with fertilizer and pesticides."

In addition to the Lewis and Clark Nature Center, proceeds from the race will also go to Missouri River Relief and the Healthy Rivers Partnership.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO