Faithful crowd supports ‘Passion’

On Ash Wednesday, as the sun beamed down on her open black-and-flowered umbrella, Carolyn Marshall stood in front of the Hollywood Stadium 14 Theaters and handed out free tickets to the 2 p.m. showing of “The Passion of The Christ.”

Marshall, a member of the Evangelical Free Church and a volunteer for the International Friends ministries, bought 64 tickets to the film in order “to share the Gospel” with interested international students, her acquaintances and any of their friends. She was among thousands of Columbians who attended opening-day showings, many of them sold out, of director Mel Gibson’s film.

Bill to ban racy billboards triggers debate

JEFFERSON CITY — State lawmakers are a step closer to taking sex off Missouri’s roadsides. A Senate ban on adult billboards cleared for final passage Wednesday.

Supporters say citizens are saddened by what has happened on Missouri’s roadways.

Bill to update Sunshine Law

JEFFERSON CITY — Under a new bill proposed by Rep. Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, any public governmental meeting conducted through electronic communication — conference call, video conference, Internet chat or Internet message board — would have to be made accessible to the public.

Missouri’s open meetings and access to public records laws constitute what is known as the Sunshine Law. Harris’ bill aims at broadening the Sunshine Law.

Holden defends non-union fees

JEFFERSON CITY— Gov. Bob Holden vetoed legislation Wednesday that sought to block the collection of union bargaining fees from state employees who do not belong to unions.

The Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders have been sparring over unions’ role in state government since Holden signed an executive order granting collective bargaining rights to thousands of state workers in June 2001.

Victory boosts Tigers and MU fans

When Missouri senior Travon Bryant hit the floor seconds after time expired in the Tigers’ blood-pressure surging win against Oklahoma State on Tuesday, he didn’t have time to think about what he and his teammates had accomplished.

The Missouri student section blitzed the Hearnes Center floor to celebrate the 93-92 double-overtime victory before he could piece together how much his team could profit from that one-point margin. After everything the black-and-gold devoted lived through at Hearnes this season, Bryant was glad they were there for the biggest celebration of the year.

Entertaining imagination

The stage is set for children in this town — Columbia is rich with performing arts groups and classes for young people. The number of adults and children dedicated to furthering theater education hints that theater’s effect extends well beyond the curtain call.

Columbia’s new performing arts group, Performing Arts in Children’s Education, translates theater experiences into lessons that permanently influence a child’s personality and identity. Children, parents and child psychologists are lauding these groups for their positive lessons for participants.

Son says murder planned

Dressed in a white turtleneck, his shaggy brown hair grazing his eyes, 14-year-old Jeremiah Robertson looked as though he’d rather be playing video games, talking with friends, even doing homework — anywhere but on a witness stand in the Boone County courthouse testifying against his mother.

Lucille Faith Duncan, Robertson’s mother, is on trial for first-degree murder in connection with the July 5 shooting death of her ex-boyfriend, James Pruitt. Duncan’s brother, Gerald Alan Duncan, is also charged in the case. And Robertson, who spent the July 4 holiday with his mother and uncle, testified Wednesday that he saw the whole thing.

Helias downs skittish Kewps

JEFFERSON CITY — Poor shooting in the first quarter put Hickman behind early and the Kewpies could not recover.

The Helias Crusaders defeated Hickman 43-41 in the second round of the Class 5 District 10 tournament Wednesday night in Jefferson City, ending the Kewpies’ season.

Soybean prices still climbing

Analysts were surprised last week when the price of soybeans jumped to $8.69 per bushel, the highest price since 1997 for the No. 1 cash crop in Missouri. They’re even more surprised this week.

Lower-than-expected yields in South America, where it’s harvest season, helped push the U.S. soybean price to $9.33 a bushel on Wednesday.

Boone County caucuses tonight

Boone County Democrats will gather for caucuses at various sites at 7 p.m. today to nominate delegates they hope will eventually attend the Democratic National Convention in Boston this July.

At each of the five caucus meetings, participants will be asked to split into groups based on their presidential candidate of choice.

Intelligent design bill irks faculty

MU’s Faculty Council today will consider a resolution that would ask the Missouri General Assembly to reject House Bill 911, which would require that theories of intelligent design and evolution be taught equally in public school classrooms.

The resolution says the theory of intelligent design — the idea that life was created by an intelligent being or beings — does not represent science in any form.

Sales tax extension sought

Although the city’s quarter-cent sales tax for capital improvements won’t expire for nearly two years, city staff and the Columbia City Council are gearing up to ask voters to extend it and perhaps to make half of it permanent.

The sales tax, which will raise a projected $3.91 million for the city this fiscal year, is scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2005. Proceeds of the tax cover major capital expenses such as street and sidewalk construction, new buildings, fire trucks and other public safety equipment.

Cougars split doubleheader with Truman

Neither Columbia College nor Truman State has been able to practice outside much.

The teams didn’t show it, though.

Tigers rally to defeat Huskers

After losing three close games at home, Missouri decided to make its move on the road.

After trailing most of the game, the Missouri women’s basketball team rallied in the second half to win 78-76 against Nebraska on Wednesday in Lincoln, Neb.

It’s how you finish

Aaron Edwards hasn’t started all season, but he certainly knows how to finish.

Columbia College has won two games at the buzzer this season, and Edwards made both winning shots.