Flocking for flu shots

Hundreds of mid-Missouri residents braved long lines, gray skies and blustery winds for a shot at the limited supply of flu vaccines on Thursday, as the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health held its annual flu clinic. The department used the clinic as a practice run for its mass vaccination plan, organized in response to potential biological threats or disease outbreaks.

“It’s a practice run, but yet we’re actually really dispensing things so it’s much more realistic,” said Heather Baer, spokesperson for the department.

No P&Z nod for rezoning

More than 100 people filled the City Council chambers on Thursday night as the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission voted against a request to rezone 30 acres of land for a new Wal-Mart Supercenter at Broadway and Fairview Road.

The commission voted 6-3 against recommending approval of the developers’ request to rezone about 30 acres of land for planned commercial development. Despite failing to win the commission’s recommendation, the developers’ request will go before the City Council at its Nov. 15 meeting.

Check 21 slowly endorsed

A new law designed to speed up check processing and put an end to “the float” might worry check-writers, but banking industry representatives say not to expect a sudden change.

The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, or Check 21, that went into effect last week, has been described as the death knell for check-floating — writing a check before depositing the funds to cover it. Designed in response to Sept. 11, when stalled transportation caused problems for financial institutions, Check 21 allows banks to transmit checks electronically, freeing them from the obligation to physically transfer the paper check.

Video: Suspect in shooting changed story

A video interrogation of Taron Crawford aired in court Thursday shows Crawford changed his story about the shooting death of Charles Blondis when talking to police.

Crawford, charged with second-degree murder and first-degree armed criminal action, took the stand Thursday afternoon and said he did not kill Blondis. He said others, including Sam Hileman, testified untruthfully.

Foes face familiar plight

During preseason, many experts predicted the winner of one game would have a stranglehold on the Big 12 North.

But the Missouri-Kansas State matchup at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium has dwindled to a matchup between two desperate teams trying to save their seasons.

City to shoo geese from Stephens Lake

A new initiative by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department will attempt to control and reduce the goose population at Stephens Lake Park.

The swimming beach will be closed until April 15, allowing time for construction of a silt fence to prevent erosion and reduce the number of geese in the area. The department will also use artificial harassment techniques, such as simulated shotgun blasts from a propane-run cannon, and chemicals to keep geese away. The chemicals will not have any effect on humans.

Top secret

Entering Jesse Hall’s dome feels like stepping into your Aunt Myrtle’s basement. It’s dark, musty and dirty and feels like it’s stuck in time, like no one has entered since 1952.

But instead of watching every footfall down her rickety stairs, you’re going up the iron rungs of a ladder, through the ceiling in MU’s main administration building and a locked and alarm-triggered trap door.

New arena opening dazzles fans

After $75 million, four years of construction and recent political debates about its existence, Paige Sports Arena finally shined on its opening night.

Those in attendance, even some with a strong attachment to Hearnes Center, received Paige Sports Arena with open arms and lots of superlatives.

Erickson pleads guilty to murder

A 20-year-old Columbia man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery Thursday in connection with the 2001 killing of Kent Heitholt, the Columbia Daily Tribune’s former sports editor.

Charles Timothy Erickson walked into the courtroom handcuffed, wearing a black and white jumpsuit from Boone County Jail, for a brief hearing with Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton.

Linebackers reach higher level

Dedrick Harrington admits to acting like a “dummy” this season.

Henry Sweat said Harrington and fellow newcomers Marcus Bacon and David Richard add athleticism to the linebacker corps, a group that Xzavie Jackson called one of the best units in the country.

Turning a new Paige

The men's basketball team outshined the opening of the new Paige Arena with a big win against Central Missouri State University. In their first full game at Paige Arena, the Tigers have started on the right foot in their new home. The 100-73 win against CMSU was witnessed by 10,328 attendees in the 15,000 seat arena.

Ekwerekwu building confidence

Patience is something not often talked about in football.

Speed, athleticism and emotion are all common attributes of good players, but patience is not necessarily a virtue in the fast-paced, high-contact sport.

Political ads factor in win

Potential voters were bombarded with TV ads for president starting in early March, when it became clear Sen. John Kerry would be the Democratic presidential nominee. Since then more than 630,000 ads have aired, according to the Nielsen Monitor-Plus and the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project.

That figure is almost triple the number of ads that ran in 2000, when TV viewers saw almost 245,800 ads, the project reported.

Alumni support still positive

A day after the NCAA announced its sanctions against the Missouri men’s basketball program, the prevailing mood Thursday at the university was relief that the findings weren’t worse.

Although the NCAA found MU had committed numerous infractions, it did not find evidence to support some of the most serious charges, including academic dishonesty and cash payment of players.

A football player first

Roger and Sheri Hoenes only wanted to know the details and make sure all the questions had answers.

Otherwise, they would not have accompanied their son, Matt, to the local Marines recruitment office.

Snyder redefining backup QB

Bill Snyder is redefining the term backup quarterback this season at Kansas State.

Partly because of necessity and partly to give opposing defenses more to worry about, the Kansas State coach has played two quarterbacks in all but one game this season.

Top Kewpies develop close relationship

Hickman Kewps' cross-country runners Tim Cornell and Matt Richmond have been racing eachother since high school. Finishing first and second in both district and sectional meets, their competitive relationship is just what Hickman needs to capture this year's state title.

Soggy field keeps semifinals delayed

Wet field conditions Thursday postponed the semifinals of the Class 3 District 10 boys soccer tournament at Cosmopolitan Park for the second straight day.

MU shares and shares alike

The MU men's basketball team is working together like family, sharing plays and as a result, success. In the win against Central Missouri State, four players scored in the double digits. Men's basketball coach Quin Snyder has talked about how the Tigers were going to be like a family, and it was evident in the 100-73 win against Central Missouri State.

Rock Bridge seniors hope to triumph in finale

Rock Bridge linebacker Joe Whitener, like 14 other seniors on the roster, hopes to finish his football career on a high note. He, like the others, doesn't expect to play organized football again and plans to make to make this last game count. “There’s really no pressure,” he said. “Just go out there, have fun. Since it’s the last football game you play, just take it for what it’s worth and play as hard as you can.”