Another sultry day

Parents in the Columbia Public Schools should expect their children home early again today. For the third day in a row, district leaders decided to close schools early because of excessive heat, said Assistant Superintendent Chris Mallory. Schools will start closing at noon, beginning with those that are not fully air-conditioned. The last to close will be Lange Middle School at 2:15 p.m.

Clemons enrolls in classes at MU

Former Missouri guard Ricky Clemons is enrolled in classes full time at the MU for the fall semester, the Office of the University Registrar confirmed Tuesday.

Clemons was released from Boone County Jail on Sunday afternoon after serving a 60-day sentence. Classes started Monday.

Maxwell says no second term

JEFFERSON CITY — In a surprising announcement that could reshape Missouri’s political field, Democratic Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell said Tuesday he will not seek re-election next year because of his wife’s ill health.

“There are challenges in my life that as a husband and a father, I must put first,” Maxwell said while announcing he would not seek a second four-year term in 2004.

High court sets aside order for execution

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside the death sentence of a man who was convicted of murder for killing a St. Louis-area woman when he was 17 years old.

The high court’s 4-3 decision relies on the U.S. Supreme Court’s reasoning in a 2002 ruling that barred the execution of mentally retarded people. The Missouri justices ruled that decision should apply to juveniles as well.

Earthlings to get intimate view of the Red Planet

People around the world await tonight’s party with Mars as its reaches its closest opposition to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. For more than a month, Doug Kniffen has been watching and photographing the Red Planet as it moves along its eccentric orbit.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve just felt a magnetic pull from the sky,” said Kniffen, an astronomy enthusiast with his own observatory near Warrenton.

Supreme Court discards appeal of tuition ruling

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday turned back the University of Missouri system’s appeal of a judge’s ruling that it illegally charged in-state tuition.

The state high court’s decision not to hear the case means a lower court judge will now have to determine the exact amount of damages in the case, which has been estimated at $472 million.

Full funding urged for Twilight Festival

Downtown Columbia might have its own celebration of the bicentennial of Lewis and Clark’s expedition next year.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board on Monday issued recommendations for how the city should distribute money from its Tourism Development Fund. The board suggested organizers of the Twilight Festival receive the full $12,594 they requested.

Red Cross tour to hit Columbia

The American Red Cross wants to save a life in Columbia today. The Save a Life Tour 2003, a nationwide campaign to encourage Americans to make regular blood donations, will be at Memorial Union on the MU campus between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for us to educate 23,000 students and the city of Columbia about the ongoing need for blood donations and give everyone an opportunity to save a life,” said Anne Farrow, donor recruitment account manager for the American Red Cross for Boone and Cooper Counties.

Bringing down your house

Insects the size of a grain of rice cause more than $1.5 billion in property damage each year to more than 600,000 homes in the United States. These tiny home-wreckers have a name that will likely send a chill up your spine if you own a home: termites.

Richard Houseman, an MU assistant professor of entomology and state urban entomology extension specialist, studies the biology of household insects. Ongoing termite research in his laboratory includes studies on the impact of mulches on termite activity, the effectiveness of soil insecticides and a study on termite behavior.

Nuts about Missouri pecans

Although Missouri is known for its smaller variety of pecans because of the shorter growing season, the state is also home to the world’s largest pecan, a concrete replica weighing in at 12,000 pounds.

The massive nut is displayed in front of James Pecan Farms in Brunswick, which holds a pecan festival every October and is home to Missouri’s only pecan museum.

Schlosser gets home win for Mavericks

Mavericks manager Mark Schlosser finally walked out of Taylor Stadium a winner.

Grant Dorn threw seven strong innings, and the Mavericks capitalized on poor fielding to defeat Cook County 7-3 on Tuesday night. Schlosser had lost three straight home games since becoming manager Aug. 17 after Papo Davila resigned.

MU soccer team bonds in Brazil

For the Missouri soccer team, a trip to Brazil was more than a chance to play more matches.

Not only was the trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, a chance for the Tigers to prepare for the season, but it also was a trip that allowed the team to learn more about itself. The Tigers saw the second-largest city in the world and visited some of the sights.

Group uses music to give kids boost

The Columbia Public Library recently offered a program for 3- to 5-year-olds, combining music, movement and storytelling. The program - in conjunction with Kindermusik - could be repeated in Columbia in the coming months.

Columbia, Stephens colleges kick-start school year

As the lazy days of summer come to a close, students at both Columbia and Stephens colleges jump-start the semester with a wealth of opportunities to get involved and new resources to use.

For the women and few men at Stephens College, orientation activities for freshmen and transfer students ended last week with the yearly "Song Fest." The event gives newcomers an opportunity to get to know their peers and perform skits in front of classmates. The skits are led by Orientation Group Leaders, and each group vies for victory.

Sweeney, Guiel power K.C.

Mike Sweeney and Aaron Guiel hit home runs and drove in four runs, leading Brian Anderson and the Kansas City Royals to a 9-2 win against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

Anderson, acquired in a trade with Cleveland on Monday, turned in a solid start as the Royals stayed one game behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.

Cardinals slip to third

Mark Prior allowed three hits in eight sharp innings, and Randall Simon and Aramis Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs in a six-run third inning as the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4 on Tuesday night.

The Cubs won for the third time in 14 games at Busch Stadium the past two seasons and moved a half-game ahead of the Cardinals for second in the NL Central. First-place Houston defeated Los Angeles 18-4 and is one-half game ahead of the Cubs. It was the first of eight games in 11 days between the rivals.