Charges dropped against Williams

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- A former Veterans Affairs hospital nurse who was accused of killing 10 patients in 1992 walked free Wednesday after prosecutors said the tests that led to the murder charges were flawed.

Charges filed in vandalism case

The rest of the graffiti had been cleaned up from the Boone County Government Center and the Boone County Courthouse on Monday afternoon. But the words “WHO’S STREETS? OUR STREETS!” remained painted on a crosswalk at the intersection of Eighth and Walnut streets, evidence of an early morning protest on Sunday that led to misdemeanor charges against seven people.

About 50 people gathered in the area just after midnight on Sunday and spray-painted the fountain and street with messages opposing U.S. involvement in Iraq, said Sgt. Tom Reddin of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. An American flag from either the courthouse or government building was burned during the protest.

New plan would create athletic complex

The few buildings and shelters at the Boone County Fairgrounds aren’t much, but they do the job when the fair comes to town. But planners from Columbia, Boone County and MU are weighing three options for developing the fairgrounds into an area that could facilitate all kinds of recreation year-round.

At a public forum Monday night, the Boone County Fairgrounds master plan was introduced to the public by David Vaught, an instructor in MU’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism who helped develop the plan.

Culture club

It’s an ancient Yoruba tale about an aging king, looking for a successor, who tests his subjects by demanding what they’ve grown from the seeds he gives them. He doesn’t tell them the seeds are infertile, and some of the subjects buy plants at the nursery to appease him. Only one, the future king, is honest enough to admit he has nothing.

Parents told that story by moonlight as a lesson to their children, in the south of what is now Nigeria. At Oduduwa Day on July 26, children performed it, wearing the traditional flowing, colorful attire of their parents’ homeland. Some of the parents were videotaping.

County jail inmates to get striped uniforms

Johnny Cash once sang, “I got stripes — stripes around my shoulders.” Early next year, the inmates at the Boone County Jail will be seeing stripes of their own.

Boone County Sheriff Ted Boehm said the jail will make the fashion change as it switches from the current solid orange and solid green to the traditional black and white.

Faith, health and love

A triangle drawn on the map of Missouri directed St. Louis native Tony Cook and his family to the mid-Missouri town of Fayette. There, in a local church, Cook found his calling.

At the points of Cook’s triangle were three Missouri cities with university medical clinics. In the middle was Fayette, a town with a population of 2,800 and a large university clinic, and so Fayette became his new home. Cook came to Fayette with his wife and son in 1994.

Restaurant wants to buy out Osama’s

A St. Louis-based fast food restaurant is in negotiations to purchase Osama’s, a popular coffee house and restaurant located off the MU campus.

Lion’s Choice would like to open two to three restaurants in Columbia, including the Osama’s location.

Conference looks to plant family trees

Many people wonder about their ancestry of long ago, but not everyone realizes there are many ways to trace the past.

The Missouri State Genealogical Association will teach people how to trace their family genealogy during its 23rd Annual Family History Conference on Friday and Saturday in Columbia. The conference is intended to educate people about the growing trend of genealogy and to recognize those who have been instrumental to Missouri genealogy.

Amphitheater concert series earns first-ever profit

For the Amphitheater at Mizzou Concert Series, the third time was the charm.

Tim Hickman, associate athletic director of operations at the Hearnes Center, said in its third year the venue earned between $40,000 and $50,000. Comparatively, the second season, which also hosted three shows, broke even.

Guitar House to get neighbors

One of the oldest antebellum homes in Boone County, the Guitar House, built in 1860, will soon be a neighbor to homes of the 21st century.

The City Council signed an agreement Monday between Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity, the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office and the city that will allow Habitat to build the Norbury Hill subdivision off Oakland Gravel Road. The subdivision will harbor 27 homes at an estimated budget of more than $1.3 million for materials and land.

Tigers getting it together

The grace period is gone for the Missouri football team’s incoming freshmen.

Players check in today, and starting Wednesday, the Tigers practice or scrimmage for 16 straight days.

Patton pending

Rock Bridge quarterback Chase Patton gets at least three or four recruiting letters a day, but there is one criterion they must meet for him to open them.

They have to be handwritten.

Strong start sours for Mavs

Mid-Missouri looked poised to start another win streak early Monday night, but was unable to contain the Richmond Roosters offense.

The Mavericks fell 5-0 to the Roosters at Taylor Stadium, losing for the second-straight night. Mid-Missouri (26-39) lost despite committing no errors.

Playing golf for a good cause

For PGA professional Trevor Dodds, Monday’s Stan Utley Rainbow House Classic was worth a 30-hour trip.

Dodds, from St. Louis, was one of 13 professionals who participated in the event Monday at the Country Club of Missouri. He said he came back to St. Louis on Sunday from Namibia, Africa, where his parents live. Dodds won the 2001 BUY.COM Virginia Beach Open.

George looks for another victory

Gabe George is not from Columbia, but he plays as if he has a home-course advantage.

George, of Salisbury, won the Coca-Cola Jr. Championship last month in Columbia in the first year he participated in the event.

Finding Refuge

After the flood of 1993, John Sam Williamson’s 1,100 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat were under nine feet of water or covered by three feet of sand.

Williamson, whose family has farmed the McBaine land for six generations, lost all of his crops that year.

Mo. River solution offered

Tony Prato has spent years studying the Missouri River and believes adaptive management is the best solution for managing the river.

Prato, professor of agricultural economics at MU and director of the Missouri River Institute, said adaptive management was developed in the 1970s to manage natural resources where there is uncertainty about the impact of different management plans. The process combines science and the stakeholders.

Art auction benefits disabled

Karin Davis has a passion for painting and drawing. The ability to create a work of art for herself and others to enjoy is one of the greatest satisfactions she has ever known.

Davis is a breast cancer survivor of six years, but the battle led to the development of fiber myalgia, a connective tissue disorder. Although the illness has affected her mobility and other aspects of her life, she is determined not to let it hinder her ability to paint.

Curfew talks heat up again

After lying low most of the summer, discussions on alternatives to the curfew ordinance are beginning to heat up again.

On Thursday, Bill Whitcomb of the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service will discuss ways the community can curb problems with youth out late at night, said Mary Ratliff, president of the Columbia branch of the NAACP.

Don’t just look the other way

Looking the other way has become part of a new lifestyle for some people. It’s not about being politically correct or even being polite, it’s about being embarrassed. It can either begin or end with the fact that it becomes impossible to look authentic war heroes in the eye until we know the true story about Private Jessica Lynch’s ordeal in Iraq. It’s not about politics or patriotism, it’s about human decency. The way it always comes down to, is in every aspect of life the way most older people’s parents told them it would.

Sometimes for expediency’s sake, we all resort to behavior that we like to believe is a one-time thing. Making a hero out of a villain at his funeral to spare the family’s feelings, is one example. Still, if we’re not careful, it can become a bad habit. We certainly don’t want to keep looking the other way while our neighbors and friends are losing their jobs and their homes are disappearing into the great wasteland of the chronically unemployed. We don’t want to turn away from the high cost of prescription drugs, that are forcing many people to do without food in order to stay well.