Putting a positive spin on youth

The message to the more than 200 high school students, parents and community members gathered Thursday night in Douglass High School’s gym was simple: There are positive things going on for Columbia’s youth.

The crowd gathered to watch a basketball game between various rap artists from Kansas City and St. Louis and basketball players from the Amateur Athletic Union of Basketball in Columbia.

Relief agency seeks to clear name in court

The Islamic American Relief Agency will have its first day in court today at a hearing in Washington, D.C., on a motion filed by the relief agency to unblock its assets. The Columbia-based charity filed the request in November to the Office of Foreign Asset Control, part of the U.S. Department of Treasury, asking that its funds be released.

Today’s hearing will determine whether the agency’s property will be unblocked and assets will be unfrozen to pay operating costs and possibly allow the charity to resume operations.

Forum criticizes SMSU proposal

The phrase “Missouri State University” weighed on many minds at a legislative forum hosted by the Boone County chapter of the MU Alumni Association on Thursday night.

Six local legislators were on hand at the Stoney Creek Inn to discuss issues related to higher education, ranging from the proposed name change of Southwest Missouri State University to Gov. Matt Blunt’s plans to increase education funding.

Blunt’s cuts affect 90,000 statewide

JEFFERSON CITY — An official for Missouri’s hospital industry warned Thursday that the governor’s budget cuts for Medicaid could cause people with health problems to turn to emergency rooms for primary care — a decision that could adversely affect their health.

Dave Dillon, vice president of media relations for the Missouri Hospital Association, said the newly uninsured will wait as long as possible to see a doctor. If they do, patients will be turning to emergency rooms statewide as their conditions worsen because hospitals are required to care for any patient, regardless of health coverage.

Picket could delay housing work

Unionized plumbers and pipefitters on the Southwest Campus Housing Project construction site at MU are threatening to have a full-blown picket that could delay construction of the $38 million project.

Right now, the union members are taking turns on an “information picket;” that is, telling non-union workers at the site that if they come through the union workers’ gate, a picket will go up that could stop construction. The picket could influence union workers in other trades on the site to stop working as well.

Reichlin ends bid for seat

Stephen Reichlin dropped out of the Fifth Ward race for the Columbia City Council on Tuesday.

Reichlin could not be reached for comment. Candidate Laura Nauser, however, said Reichlin dropped out of the race because he didn’t want to split the vote of the business community.

Outside found indoors

Columbia’s new Bass Pro Shop will serve as more than just a haven for outdoors enthusiasts. The store — set to open March 31 — is designed to educate people on conservation and the outdoors.

The inside of the 82,000 square-foot building on Vandiver Drive is decorated with real trees, stuffed deer, elk and bears and animal tracks set in the floor — all of which create a surreal sense of being outdoors. But such decor is not unique to the Columbia store. Each Bass Pro Shop includes murals and displays that are unique to that region.

Gross serious about sports ban

While Columbians are characterizing it as a political joke, State Sen. Chuck Gross, R-St. Charles County, meant business when he filed a bill last week to prohibit high school sports events in Columbia.

“It falls in my category of a silly bill,” said Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia. “I don’t see any chance it will become law.”

Harg residents to submit petition

Members of the Harg Area Residents for Responsible Growth will present a petition to the city clerk at 3:30 p.m. today to stop Billy Sapp’s voluntary annexation proposal.

The group has actively opposed Sapp’s plan to have Columbia annex the 965 acres he owns east of Columbia.

18-year-old arrested in shooting incident

Columbia Police have arrested a suspect in the Jan. 16 shooting of a 25-year-old Columbia resident.

Timothy Sherrod Ellis, 18, was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and armed criminal action, according to a press release issued by Columbia Police Sgt. Stephen Monticelli. Bond for Ellis is set at $200,000.

Rocky roads in rearview mirror, MoDOT says

JEFFERSON CITY — Stakeholders in Missouri’s transportation system are starting the year with high expectations.

Missouri Department of Transportation executives met with contractors and state legislators Thursday morning for the annual transportation conference at the Capitol Plaza Hotel & Convention Center.

Postseason chances depend on road play

BOULDER, COLO.— After a disheartening 64-62 loss to Colorado on Wednesday, Missouri sophomore forward Linas Kleiza was asked if he felt his team was running out of time on its season.

Kleiza took a long pause, apparently trying to craft an answer that wouldn’t sound too pessimistic.

Missouri wrestlers seeking payback

The Missouri wrestling team hasn’t forgotten. It knows how important this match is.

It has been slightly more than a year since then-No. 3 Missouri fell to then-No. 4 Nebraska 23-13 at the NU Coliseum in Lincoln.

Kewps strive to finally win close game against Bruins

Many expect Hickman (5-14) to give way to the impressive Rock Bridge Bruins (15-2).

The Kewpies’ record, though, is deceptive.

Texas humble away from home

Performance on the road is important. It can win a team the national title.

Ask Texas women’s basketball coach Jody Conradt.

Spiritual movie premieres

The Missouri Theater will be one of more than 700 venues worldwide hosting the premiere Saturday of an independent film about a child with extraordinary spiritual abilities.

“Indigo” is directed by veteran Hollywood producer and filmmaker Stephen Simon, who said the movie is part of a new genre called “spiritual cinema.” Simon coined the term in his 2002 book, “The Force Is With You: Mystical Movie Messages That Inspire Our Lives.”

William Woods could challenge Cougars

Usually, facing an opponent with a 4-1 conference record means a tough game ahead. But for Columbia College, its upcoming game against William Woods has a somewhat different character.

The Cougars are 4-0 all-time against William Woods, and they boast an average victory margin of 24.1 points.

Tigers try to topple Nebraska

The Missouri gymnastics team has the talent to be dominant . At 7 tonight, it has the chance to prove it.

The Tigers face No. 23 Nebraska at Hearnes Center. The Tigers, 0-1 in the Big 12 Conference, are 3-26all-time against the Huskers.

Cougars top Prairie Stars

Terrance Smith had 24 points to help Columbia College beat host Illinois-Springfield 93-68 on Thursday to improve to 13-10.

Smith was 9-for-13 from the field and 5-for-6 from beyond the 3-point line. Nahowan Saxon finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Aaron Edwards, Andreas Jakobsen and Tim Melz also scored in double figures.

Bowden back in critical condition

Wounded Columbia Police Officer Molly Bowden's condition took a turn for the worse Thursday.

Bowden, who had had a low grade fever on Tuesday, developed a serious infection Wednesday that has left her fighting for her life.