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Today's question: How has the state government handled the Ozarks E. coli controversy?

Thursday, October 1, 2009 | 9:14 a.m. CDT; updated 4:33 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 1, 2009

In the ongoing saga of a report about E. coli in the Lake of the Ozarks, the latest news is that Gov. Jay Nixon suspended the director of the Department of Natural Resources for passing the governor's office false information.

At issue is a May 29 Department of Natural Resources report, which said at some places in the lake, levels of E. coli were 19 times higher than the state standard. That report wasn't released until June 26. Another report that showed lower levels of the disease was also released that day.

The department deputy director will investigate how false information got disseminated, Nixon said at a Wednesday news conference.

Nixon, a Democrat, had held a news conference Sept. 24 to announce what he called a bold plan to clean up the lake, including immediate water tests and facility inspections.

Less than a week later, former department spokeswoman Susanne Medley said she told Nixon aide Jeff Mazur about the report on May 29, about a month before Nixon said he knew about it. Nixon said the problem was a breakdown in communication.

E. coli is a potentially deadly bacteria generally found in the intestines.

This issue comes less than a year into Nixon's first term.

How do you think Nixon handled this controversy? What about the Department of Natural Resources? What should be done differently next time?


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