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Coach accused of bartering tickets

A house painter has accused MU assistant basketball coach Tony Harvey of giving him free MU basketball and football tickets as partial payment for painting sections of Harvey’s Columbia home. The painter is suing Harvey for nearly $5,000 still owed.

Ken Hensel of 2605 Oak Gate Court, who lives around the block from Harvey, filed the lawsuit Jan. 16 in Boone County Circuit Court claiming Harvey defaulted on their “oral contract” in which Hensel would paint interior sections and the pool house of Harvey’s residence at 2605 Chambray Road in exchange for MU football and basketball tickets.

Bringing Iraqi dog home no easy trick

Army Pfc. Jeremiah Smith had just finished his shift guarding a gate to a U.S. military compound in Baghdad when he saw a starving, lost and homeless Iraqi refugee. Smith’s humanitarianism kicked in, and he took the refugee back to camp, where she was fed a steady diet of Spam, Vienna sausages and other leftovers.

Now, Smith, a National Guard reservist from Fulton, wants to bring the refugee — a black-and-white puppy — back to the United States. In an e-mail from Baghdad to the Missourian, Smith said that his unit is scheduled to leave Iraq in early June and that he hates the thought of leaving the Middle East without the dog, whom he and his unit have named Niki.

Educational gift

MU Chancellor Richard Wallace said Tuesday morning that he found it difficult to keep his composure while announcing the largest gift ever presented to the College of Education. The $2 million contribution, made by MU alumni Harold Hook and Joanne Hunt Hook of Houston, will create the first endowed dean’s chair at MU, as well as a center for educational leadership.

At a press conference in the Reynolds Alumni Center, Harold Hook corrected Wallace, saying the $2 million was not a gift.

Hopefuls set sights on Missouri voters

Sens. John Edwards and John Kerry and the Rev. Al Sharpton will make campaign stops in Missouri today — the first of the remaining Democratic presidential candidates trying to capitalize on voter indecision after Rep. Dick Gephardt dropped out of the race last week.

Edwards will speak at 7:15 p.m. at Southwest Missouri State University’s Strong Hall and is scheduled for a 9:15 p.m. appearance at the Blueberry Hill restaurant in suburban St. Louis. Kerry will hold a rally at St. Louis Community College’s Forest Park campus at 4:30 p.m. today, and Sharpton will tour the St. Louis area all afternoon and into the evening.

Philips developer seeks leeway

Would-be developers of the Philips farm don’t think they should be forced to comply with the city’s policy on impervious surfaces.

The policy, intended to limit potential pollution from storm-water runoff in environmentally sensitive watersheds, suggests developers should limit the proportion of impenetrable surfaces on projects to 30 percent.

Changes to city’s bus lines possible

For the first time in more than three years, officials with the Columbia Transit System are planning significant changes to the city’s bus routes, but they won’t do it without giving the public a chance to comment.

If accepted by the Columbia City Council, the route changes could be implemented as early as June. The main goals, Columbia Public Works Director Lowell Patterson said in a December report to the council, are to ensure the buses run on time, to boost the number of riders and to expand routes to popular destinations in the city.

Worm slithers into Columbia PCs

The Novarg computer e-mail virus that started Monday has slithered its way into Columbia.

In an e-mail inbox this worm appears as an attachment to a message with familiar words such as “hi,” “test” and “status” in the subject box. A worm is a virus that replicates itself among networked computers by sending infected e-mails.

Office Depot closes indefinitely for building repairs

Confused customers stood outside a “Temporarily Closed” sign hanging on the doors of Office Depot, 101 S. Providence Road, on Tuesday morning.

At 11:45 a.m. Richard Sternadori, Columbia’s chief building inspector, ordered the store to be evacuated and to close its doors for an undetermined amount of time. He cited lateral soil pressures from the foundation wall on the building’s south side that had spread to the roof, making the building unsafe for occupants.

Task forces to tackle meth

Although the 320 seventh-graders scheduled to attend Gov. Bob Holden’s speech Tuesday were at home enjoying a snow day, the governor still spoke firmly about a new statewide initiative on methamphetamine education, prevention and treatment.

Addressing a small crowd of law enforcement officers and state officials gathered at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Jefferson City, Gov. Holden emphasized the widespread dangers associated with Missouri’s methamphetamine problem, including addiction, violent behavior and the environmental hazards related to meth production.

New health facility gets U.S. grant

Construction of a new, comprehensive health facility at Worley Street and West Boulevard is nearing completion.

The project got a boost last week when the U.S. Senate approved an appropriations bill sponsored by Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo.

Missouri knows stopping 3s will be key

Missouri sophomore Jimmy McKinney remembers his previous trip to Boulder, Colo.

After Colorado defeated the Tigers 89-68 on Feb. 22, he left Coors Events Center with a headache.

Big problems in Big 12

After a promising start, the Missouri women’s basketball team is trying to recuperate from a rocky first three weeks in Big 12 Conference play.

Missouri (10-6, 1-4 Big 12) seemed poised to reach the postseason for a school record-tying fifth straight year after posting a 9-2 record against nonconference opponents. After the quick start, the Tigers lost their first four Big 12 games and face an uphill battle to earn a spot in the WNIT or the NCAA Tournament.

Bruins clamp down after halftime

There was one thing Rock Bridge coach Jim Scanlon made sure his team knew before it left the halftime locker room; the first three minutes are the most important time of the second half.

The team responded with a defensive intensity that sparked a 62-43 victory against St. Charles on Tuesday at Rock Bridge High.

Missouri showing in-state success

If the Missouri football coaching staff were a baseball player, it would almost certainly be the league’s batting champion.

When coach Gary Pinkel took over the Missouri football program Nov. 30, 2000, repairing the anemic relationships with state high schools that tainted the recruiting efforts of his predecessor, Larry Smith, was one of his first orders of business.

Cougars’ defense key

A small adjustment the Columbia College women’s basketball team made has made a big difference lately.

The Cougars’ interior defense played halfway in front of the opposition and challenged the passing lanes for much of the season, but its recent focus has been playing behind and contesting shots.

Missouri braces for best of Big 12

Missouri is running with a tough crowd.

The Missouri women’s basketball team (10-6, 1-4 Big 12 Conference) will face all seven Big 12 teams that are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Monday. The Tigers have lost their past 16 games to ranked opponents.

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