Don’t be afraid to make changes

Well, we’re off and running again. Off to face another season with gas prices at the pump accelerating and gaggles of motorists screaming in rage. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been through this in my lifetime. The thing I do know for sure is that between these seasons nothing significant ever happens to eliminate the necessity of going through another one. There’s never a big push for developing alternative fuel, automobiles get bigger instead of smaller and conversations about the need for mass transit become virtually nonexistent. My conclusion is that we Americans are not really concerned about having an inexpensive, sustainable source of fuel to keep our automobiles running. I suppose we are hoping someone will invent a car that doesn’t need gasoline and our problems will be over.

We’re like that about a lot of things. The way we elect our leaders, for example. We know that presidential elections are out of hand. We know that it shouldn’t require millions of dollars for an individual to run for the presidency. But it does, and we accept that, even though we can put a stop to it any time we choose. Money has corrupted our entire political system. Ask any person on the street, and she will tell you so.

Study: Pupils eating poorly

When Stephanie Jackson’s three children put up a fight about the food she serves, she repeats what has become a family mantra: “Eat what you don’t like, and enjoy what you do like.”

Jackson, of Columbia, tries to ensure that her kids eat enough fruit and vegetables by offering carrots as a snack and salad with dinner. She tries to limit the amount of junk food they consume, but it’s not always easy.

Board to vote on teacher contracts

New money and favorable state budget discussions could complicate the Columbia Board of Education’s vote tonight on whether to issue teacher contracts that would offer no base pay raise and cut 50 staff positions from the district.

Board policy and state statues require the district to notify teachers who will not be rehired for the next year by April 15. The district issues all contracts at that time.

A new pot of gold

Sharon Tepper spends much of her time caring for underprivileged children. As Tepper walks through the halls of the Rainbow House, a Columbia children’s shelter where she serves as executive director, one of the children looks up to her and says with a pouty face, “There’s too many beds in my room.” Tepper, with a half smile, acknowledges the child as though she’s heard such complaints before.

Soon, Tepper and her staff of 23 employees and nearly 40 volunteers will have that problem solved.

Mavs spot strength at tryouts

After finishing in last place in the Frontier League’s West Division last season, the Mid-Missouri Mavericks will take all the help they can get.

The Mavericks signed 13 players to spring training contracts Sunday after two days of invitational tryouts. Jon Williams, a former Missouri catcher, was one of two catchers to sign contracts.

Philips tract’s lazy days

It’s become a symbol for urban sprawl and a hot-button topic for Columbia’s environmentalists. It’s inspired one of the city’s most emotionally charged public debates in recent memory.

But the highly publicized Philips farm remains a remarkably private place.

Council to revisit guns in city parks

Hidden handguns might soon be banned in city-owned buildings, but Columbia and other cities can do nothing to prohibit them in city parks.

An ordinance originally discussed and tabled by the Columbia City Council in October has been reintroduced and will be up for final approval at the council’s April 19 meeting. It would change city law to match Missouri’s new law regarding concealed guns.

Cost of MU basketball inquiry mounts

MU’s investigation into the Missouri men’s basketball program has cost Missouri’s athletic department more than $31,000.

MU’s six-member investigation team, led by MU engineering professor Michael Devaney, spent about $21,000 on a transcriptionist and a court reporter for several confidential interviews with National Collegiate Athletic Association officials between October 2003 and the end of March this year, according to expense records acquired by the Columbia Missourian.

Oklahoma rallies by MU in ninth inning

Oklahoma’s Jeff Scuderi singled to left field to drive in Aaron Ivey and the Sooners finished a three-run ninth-inning rally to beat Missouri, 4-3, and sweep the Tigers on Sunday.

Ole Sheldon started the rally for Oklahoma (22-11, 10-2 Big 12 Conference) with a single into center field. Eric Thornton doubled two plays later to score Sheldon and Matt Bose to tie. With no outs, Mark Alexander relieved Dustin Braud to pitch to Scuderi.