Reading First grant considered

As some states rebel against the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the Columbia Public School District is looking to implement one of its central programs.

Today, the Columbia Board of Education will vote on whether the district should apply for a Missouri Reading First grant. Reading First gives money to schools and districts to use science-based reading research in instruction and assessment, according to the No Child Web site.

Sports, recreation centers integral to fairground plan

It might be 25 years before the Boone County Fairground is fully developed as the sports and recreation complex envisioned by city and county officials, Boone County Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin said Wednesday.

On Monday night, the Columbia City Council ended four years of deliberation on the future of the fairground by endorsing a master plan known as Option III. That $5.5-million plan calls for trails, shelters, a dog park, concession stands, parking lots and numerous athletic fields on the fairground and the adjoining 80-acre Atkins tract, which is jointly owned by the city and county.

Tenant’s junk sparks meth investigation

What police and fire investigators said might be the makings of a methamphetamine laboratory inside a Sexton Avenue house were nothing more than old welding equipment, chemistry textbooks and radioactive warning stickers, according to an MU student who rented the house last year.

Around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, police and firefighters arrived at a vacant house at 707 W. Sexton Ave. after two maintenance workers reported finding suspicious materials that could be used for radioactive explosives inside the house.

Soaring airport business good news for Boonville

Wayne and Doris Shoemaker keep a small airplane in a hangar at the Jesse Viertel Memorial Airport near Boonville. The Columbia couple can make it from their home off of Scott Boulevard to the Boonville airport in 20 minutes — considerably faster than the time it would take to drive to Columbia Regional Airport.

It’s not just convenience that attracts the Shoemakers to the Boonville airport. They know most everyone by sight and enjoy the friendly atmosphere.

High honor: Stewart’s 22 comes down

Before Norm Stewart’s No. 22 jersey descended from the Hearnes Center rafters Wednesday night, he had to make one thing clear.

“I want to dispel the rumor that your name has to start with ‘S’ to get your number retired,” Stewart said.

Ashcroft returns to Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY — U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft returned to the state capital Wednesday for the first time since he joined the Bush administration in 2001.

Ashcroft took his staff on a surprise tour of the Missouri Capitol while he was in town to speak to the state’s business leaders.

On the coming of spring

Spring cannot be found through the wisdom of a groundhog, a creature that lives in the cold, dark, stale air of a hidden lair. To find hope of winter's passing, we must look beyond feet caked with cinder-stained slush and roadside sand. Hope is above in the sunlight, the blossoms of trees and the voices of birds. Creatures of flight bring us the renewed sounds of spring's refreshing warmth and beauty.

4 guards = 3 straight

Six weeks don’t mean anything in any conventional relationship or job, but in the Big 12 Conference, that time can make all the difference. It did for Missouri.

The Tigers trounced Iowa State 82-70 on Wednesday at Hearnes Center, expunging almost every blemish that plagued them in a conference opening letdown to the Cyclones more than a month ago.

Construction causing crowds at Rec Center

During peak hours, there are lines six deep waiting to use treadmills. Any number of basketball players, from five to 25, are waiting to get court time at the MU Student Rec Center.

Construction scheduled to last until next year is the reason for all the holdups. Peak hours at the center have broadened to between 12-1 p.m. and 2-10:30 p.m. during the week.

Gliding grace

Thirteen-year-old Ali Kitchen of Columbia huddled in the back seat of her mother’s car, wrapped in an extra blanket and hunched over to produce more body heat.

“When it’s cold here, it’s cold in the ice arena,” Ali said. Her hands pulled up under the fringes of the blanket.

Spates’ mat milestone

Jeremy Spates didn’t celebrate, but he had 100 reasons to.

Spates, Missouri’s 149-pounder, earned his 100th victory during the dual against Northern Illinois on Wednesday. Spates, ranked third, helped the Tigers defeat the Huskies 31-7 at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse.

Martin hoping he’s all the rage

Three years ago, Will Martin’s father urged him to join the wrestling team. Now Martin wishes his father had acted earlier.

Martin said he loves to wrestle. He doesn’t love the practices. He doesn’t care much about winning. He loves the six minutes on the mat when he and his opponent compete to determine who’s better.

Third time could be Conn’s charm

Marquette High wrestler Bobby Conn has waited all year for this weekend.

“It’s been the focus of his life,” Marquette coach Joe Wier said.

Mother urges insurance coverage for hearing impaired children

JEFFERSON CITY - Jody Pacheco, mother of 7-year-old Augustine and 5-year-old Wayne, both with a hearing loss, testified Tuesday in favor of a bill aimed at providing insurance coverage for hearing aids to children up to age 19.