Jacob McCleland

Jacob spearheads KRCU’s local news effort. His reporting has been heard on NPR’ Morning Edition and All Things Considered, PRI’s The World, and Harvest Public Media. In addition to reporting, Jacob directs KRCU’s team of student reporters and producers.

Jacob graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 2000 with degrees in Anthropology and Spanish. He spent three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama where he worked on sustainable agriculture projects and hosted a weekly agriculture radio program.

America's death penalty is under scrutiny after a series of botched executions, drug mix-ups and difficulty acquiring lethal injection drugs. Just last month, President Obama called certain parts of capital punishment "deeply troubling."

Some say long waits and repeated last-minute delays are tantamount to torture.

Protests at the University of Missouri and other college campuses are forcing universities into uncomfortable discussions about race and diversity. One school got a head start.

Earlier this year, the University of Oklahoma came under intense pressure when a video showed two members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity singing a racist chant.

Now, students are comparing the reaction of their university with the recent controversies at Mizzou.

Math teacher Sherry Read's classroom is a total mess. The students are gone for the summer, and light fixtures dangle from the ceiling. The floor has a layer of dust. Down the hallway, workers make a racket while they renovate the school, which dates back to the 1890s. They're working in what has become an archaeological site.

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A new report from the environmental group The Center for Food Safety says a Monsanto herbicide is to blame for a vast decline in the monarch butterfly population.

The Glyphosate herbicide, commonly known as Roundup, destroys weeds, including the common milkweed. And that’s a problem for monarch butterfly caterpillars, which only eat the plant.

As milkweed has disappeared from Midwest farms, there’s been a steady decline in the number of monarchs overwintering in Mexico.

Mike Lee

Mike Lee steers his plane over the Missouri-Arkansas state line, checking out a checkerboard of green and brown fields of rice, cotton, corn and soybeans. Lee is the owner of Earl’s Flying Service, a crop dusting business in Steele, Mo., and he’s scouting some farm fields that his pilots will treat later in the day.

Jacob McCleland for Harvest Public Media

Fair-goers pack the stands at the East Perry Community Fair in Altenburg, Mo., on a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon. They aren’t here for the blue ribbon pigs, the truck pull or the beauty contest. These people are here for the fair’s biggest attraction -- the jumping mules.

Jacob McCleland for Harvest Public Media

As a young man, Elisha Pullen never imagined he would spend his days on the farm.

Growing up near rural Bell City in southeastern Missouri’s “Bootheel” region, Pullen longed to leave the farm and get an education.

“I grew up in the day and time when we had to do a lot of chopping and stuff like that. Hard labor,” Pullen said. “I’m going to college, I’m getting my degree and I’m going to work in the air conditioning.”

Every day this month, the Army Corps of Engineers is working hard to deepen the Mississippi River's shipping channel in an effort to keep navigation open between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill.

Water levels are forecast to remain high enough through January to float loaded barges, but some say the only way to keep the river open next month will be to release water from the Missouri River.