Planners narrow options for I-70

The Improve I-70 Advisory Group on Thursday narrowed down the number of plans it is considering using to overhaul the state’s busiest interstate.

When the committee met in November, three different types of road proposals were on the table. Since that meeting, the proposal has been consolidated into one road plan with different options at seven intersections.

State Farm to close 14 offices

State Farm Insurance may be staying in Columbia, but the company is closing it doors in other areas of Missouri.

As part of the company’s consolidation plan announced Wednesday, Missouri will lose 14 of its 17 claims offices, including one in Columbia. The three remaining offices will become larger field operation centers located in St. Louis, Springfield and Independence.

Seven layers, and still cold

Three pairs of socks, long underwear, sweatshirts, flannel, coveralls, boots, knit hats and multiple pairs of gloves: Those guys who work construction sure know how to dress.

As this week’s temperatures remain below February’s mean — 33.7 degrees, according to the National Weather Service — those who work outdoors have to pile it on to stay warm.

MU Registration revisions revealed

MU students who want to register to learn next semester will have to learn to register.

MU sent a campuswide e-mail Thursday saying that a longer registration period, new course numbers and an online course catalog will affect registration beginning Feb. 26 — the start of early registration for this year’s summer and fall semesters.

Tigers need run to start in Nebraska

Missouri senior Arthur Johnson is known for swatting down more shots than any other Missouri player, and his game staple is pounding the ball in the post.

Patience, however, isn’t one of his distinguishing traits.

Stephens looking for local art talent

A Missouri artist likely will be chosen to create artwork for Stephens Lake Park, the city’s Standing Committee on Public Art has decided.

The committee chose to restrict the search to Missouri artists because of funding for the project, which is financed by the city’s Percent for Art program.

Dreams of space

Paul Mahoney never had elaborate childhood fantasies about being an astronaut. He never made space costumes out of tin foil or brought supposed moon rocks to show and tell.

Nevertheless, today Mahoney is one of 35 people, culled from a pool of 16,000, in line to become an astronaut.

Bill aims at law on open records

JEFFERSON CITY — A Senate committee backed a bill Thursday that could make it more affordable for people to access public records but more costly for government employees who violate the state’s Sunshine Law.

Sen. Sarah Steelman, R-Rolla, said her legislation will “stiffen” the law on open records and meetings, although the committee’s version does not go as far as she initially proposed.

Bruins’ Longo longs for state times

Rock Bridge senior Greg Longo is confident he can accomplish what he has not been able to do so far this season.

He will have his final shot at qualifying for the state finals in the 100-yard breaststroke Saturday at the Last Chance swimming meet at Hickman. The meet features the Rock Bridge and Hickman boys’ teams.

Freshman following sis’s path

Yelena Olshanskaya can remember growing up watching her sister Kristina Olshanskaya play tennis for Missouri.

“It was exciting,” Yelena Olshanskaya said. “When I was 12, I looked up to the 18- or 19-year-olds and now I’m one of them.”

Cougars win despite foul play

Nothing disrupts a team’s offensive rhythm like a myriad of whistles. Fortunately for Columbia College, Khamari Ballard found an effective tempo well before the opening tip.

The Cougars beat Illinois-Springfield 88-74 on Thursday at The Arena of Southwell Complex in a game with 56 fouls. The win broke a tie for third between the Cougars and the Prairie Stars in the American Midwest Conference.

Chavez-Newby to enter Central Methodist Hall

Women in Columbia’s recreational basketball league better be ready to play this season. They might be lining up against a Hall of Famer.

Columbia’s Debbie Chavez-Newby will be inducted into Central Methodist College’s Hairston Hall of Fame on Saturday. Chavez-Newby will be honored for her athletic achievement on the basketball court and the track.

Doubly determined

Rock Bridge’s Chris and Jake Hardesty plan to wrestle in the state tournament. It’s a goal that has helped form a strong bond between the brothers.

Chris Hardesty, a 135-pound senior, and Jake Hardesty, a 140-pound junior, practice together every day at Rock Bridge. Outside the wrestling room, though, they usually follow different paths.

High standards

Lauren “Bunny” Schwartzman ran out of the locker room for Monday’s practice as cheery and energetic as her nickname. A casual observer would guess from the skip in her step that she was content with the way the season is progressing.

Schwartzman started this season ranked No. 1 in the balance beam after she scored a 10 against Iowa State on Jan. 11. It was the first perfect score on any event in the program’s 25 years. She scored 9.90s against New Hampshire on Jan. 16 and Southeast Missouri State on Jan. 25.

On a slippery slope

Although Thursday’s mix of wintry weather created hassles for some Columbia residents, Art Gerhard saw the day as an opportunity to take a day off of work to spend time with his children.

Gerhard’s two children, Jake, 6, and Bretta, 10, woke up this morning, like many other Columbia students, to the news that snowy weather had canceled classes at Ridgeway Elementary and other Columbia Public Schools.

Floyd: Strengthen K-12 to help colleges

More than 100 members of the community braved the elements Thursday evening to hear UM system President Elson Floyd speak on education’s role in the black community.

The Black Business Students Association and the dean’s office of the College of Business sponsored the event.

Chance at ‘Dream Job’ thrills student

An MU student has landed himself the ultimate journalistic opportunity: a top-12 spot on ESPN’s reality TV show, “Dream Job.”

Mike Hall, 21, will begin competing later this month for a one-year, on-air contract with ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Holden vows to veto Senate bill on union fees

JEFFERSON CITY — Senate Republicans passed legislation Thursday to block the collection of union negotiating fees from state employees who aren’t union members. But Democratic Gov. Bob Holden promised a veto.

The political showdown marked the latest development in a battle stemming from Holden’s June 2001 executive order granting collective bargaining rights to thousands of state employees.

Columbia considers ways to boost business growth

State Farm Insurance is staying in Columbia, but that doesn’t mean the city’s future business growth is being ignored.

At Thursday night’s work session, the City Council heard a proposal for an incentive package to lure business growth to Columbia.

MU psychologist helps select NASA candidates

MU psychologist Daniel Orme was asked down to Johnson Space Center to evaluate prospective astronauts four years ago, but he had to decline due to a scheduling conflict.

When NASA called him again last July, he jumped at the opportunity and headed down to Houston in September and then again in November.