Bill would penalize people for being high

Missourians under the influence of drugs could be arrested for being high if a proposed House bill is passed.

Reps. Brian Baker, R-Belton, and Therese Sander, R-Moberly, proposed House Bill No. 983, which would make it a Class A misdemeanor to be under the influence of a controlled substance. Current law prohibits only the possession, purchase, distribution or manufacturing of a controlled substance.

911 service enhanced by digital mapping

The office that handles emergency dispatching for Columbia and Boone County has added real-time digital mapping to its arsenal of blinking and beeping gadgetry, integrating yet another expensive piece of equipment into a system that relies more on high technology than some might think.

The mapping program is the latest in a quickly evolving line of emergency tracking gizmos that help dispatchers pinpoint and display the origins of 911 calls, even if they come in on cellular phones. The whole package cost $197,000, about $161,000 of which came from the county’s phone bill surcharge for 911 service. The rest was covered by a grant from the Public Safety Foundation of America.

New technology can pinpoint calls

The new mapping system employed by Columbia/Boone County dispatchers could not have authenticated an infamous autumn call reporting that a helicopter had gone down in a rural area, said Jim McNabb, director of the dispatch agency, but it would have helped them quickly pinpoint the origin of the call.

In early October, dispatchers received a cell-phone call from an area west of Columbia claiming a helicopter had crashed. Rescuers combed the area for more than two days before calling off their search.

Tigers’ bubble could be burst

Missouri’s last-second loss to Kansas on Sunday was frustrating enough, but, to make the situation worse for the Tigers, the defeat might push them out of the NCAA Tournament picture.

After the game, senior guard Josh Kroenke was hopeful about the Tigers’ chances.

Identifying Cedar Ridge

Sarah Darr loves cartoon monkeys and has been saving her money to decorate her room with “monkey stuff.” Instead of spending the money she received on her ninth birthday to buy wallpaper and pillows, however, she bought the letter “C.”

Cedar Ridge Elementary School’s student council of fifth- and sixth-graders has decided to get the school’s name on the front of the their building, which is now bare.

Paulding, Johnson gain Big 12 honors

Despite an onslaught of early media criticism, Missouri seniors Rickey Paulding and Arthur Johnson proved they are among the Big 12 Conference’s best when the Associated Press announced its All-Conference teams Monday night.

Paulding and Johnson, who both average a team-leading 15.7 points per game, were named to the All-Big 12 second team. The same media panel picked Paulding and Johnson as preseason first-team prospects in November.

Hands up, hopes high

The Missouri women's basketball team took one step closer to earning a ticket to the big dance Tuesday night after defeating No. 10 seed Oklahoma State 75-52 in the opening round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament.

Go fish

For the 61 million practicing Catholics in the United States, the Lenten season means Fridays full of fish fries, tuna casseroles and other meat-free dishes.

The word Lent comes from “lengten,” meaning spring. It is the 40-day period, excluding Sundays, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. It is a period for penance and a time to remember Jesus’ time fasting and praying in the wilderness.

Skepticism greets UM merger

JEFFERSON CITY — Leaders of Northwest Missouri State University and the University of Missouri system sought Tuesday to persuade lawmakers that a merger of their institutions would spawn academic and economic improvements.

But the first legislative hearing on the proposed merger revealed skepticism among some senators as to whether the schools had the commitment to make the marriage work, and whether the union would damage the state’s relationship with its other universities.

Missouri advances this time

DALLAS — Missouri made it known early it would be around for the second round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament this year.

The seventh-seeded Tigers shot nearly 66 percent in the first half before winning 75-52 against No. 10 seed Oklahoma State in the first round of the tournament Tuesday at Reunion Arena.

Forum questions science reporting

Sensational news media coverage is contributing to an unrealistic view of the power of human genetics, said Peter Conrad, a speaker at a two-day conference sponsored by the MU sociology department.

This was just one of many issues raised at the Symposium on the Social and Cultural Implications of Human Genetics, which was held Monday and Tuesday at MU’s Memorial Union.

Campaign aims for smoke-free dining

The Columbia/Boone County Board of Health plans to start an educational campaign with the Boone County Coalition for Tobacco Concerns in hopes of having more restaurants voluntarily become smoke-free.

“If you start looking into the facts of second-hand smoke, it’s hard to believe that people knowing the facts would want to continue to have secondhand smoke in their place,” said Chris Coffman, public health planner for the Columbia/Boone County Board of Health and member of the Boone County Coalition for Tobacco Concerns. “I think we have an intelligent, caring community and once education starts, I would expect results like that from Maryville.”

Man pleads guilty to July 5 murder

Gerald Alan Duncan, 43, pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree murder and armed criminal action for the shooting death of James Pruitt on July 5.

In a plea agreement, Duncan received a life sentence with parole and 10 years for armed criminal action. He is required to serve a minimum of 251/2 years to be eligible for parole, said Kevin Crane, Boone County prosecuting attorney.

Image of black Greek houses is focus of forum

Once upon a time, when hip-hop music was “old school,” rapper Ice-T rhymed ominously about the perils of gang warfare over “Colors” in South Central Los Angeles. Those streets, hopefully, would be a far cry from the atmosphere of most college campuses.

Based on this notion, MU’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., decided to enter the fray and ask, “Have Black Greeks Become Gangs?” to an audience of at least 100 students and Columbia residents Tuesday evening.

Ballard’s 52 carry Cougars

Khamari Ballard didn’t beat Harris-Stowe State by himself Tuesday, but the box score suggests he could have come close.

His school-record scoring performance helped Columbia College defeat the Hornets 119-45 in the first round of the American Midwest Conference Tournament at The Arena of Southwell Complex.

Physical therapists could help animals in proposed bill

JEFFERSON CITY — An effort to help pets brought a former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals to a committee of Missouri legislators Tuesday.

Whitey Herzog, who led the Cardinals to a World Series championship in 1982, testified in favor of a bill that would let licensed physical therapists provide rehabilitation to animals without requiring a veterinarian be present.

Legendary playwright lectures on free speech

For a man who was kicked out of all but one school he attended, playwright Edward Albee has proved his literary abilities.

Albee, winner of three Pulitzer Prizes and two Tony Awards, spoke at Jesse Hall Tuesday evening. He was invited by MU’s Center for the Literary Arts’ Master Class Series.

Board OKs permit for Western Oil

The Columbia Board of Adjustment approved a request by Western Oil Inc. for a conditional-use permit Tuesday night.

The permit is for the land on the southwest corner of Ash Street and Stadium Boulevard. It will allow Western Oil Inc. to tear down the vacant Crown Shoes building and the current Phillips 66 gas station and car wash and replace them with a new gas station and convenience store and a Lion’s Choice restaurant.

Skibbe’s departure benefits Missouri

DALLAS — Oklahoma State came to the Big 12 Conference Tournament reeling from the loss of its best player, but Missouri showed the Cowgirls no mercy Tuesday.

Trisha Skibbe, who led the Big 12 in scoring with 19 points per game, quit the team March 1, leaving Oklahoma State without its senior center heading into its regular-season finale March 3.

Politics and fashion

After a harsh winter, the upcoming Pro Choice/Pro Fashion show is just the event to satisfy anyone starved for juicy colors, innovative design and original creations. The Pro Choice/Pro Fashion show on March 13, is a benefit to help local activists go to the March for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C., on April 25. It is expected to be the largest pro-choice majority to march on Washington. It is a collaborative event sponsored by seven leading national women’s rights groups. The fashion show is one of several local fund-raising events.

The show is designed to be a cultural and fashionable medley with a political twist. It features 11 local designers, all women, who have created original designs or reconstructed recycled garments to showcase.