Area officials kick around mutual issues

Boone County public officials met on a first-name basis Wednesday night.

The Boone County Commission held a municipal government meeting to discuss countywide issues, including voluntary annexations and transportation options. More important than the agenda items, however, was the interaction between the officials, said County Commissioner Karen Miller.

MU students negotiate animal abuse hearing

A plea agreement is being negotiated between the district attorney’s office and defense lawyers for two MU students charged with animal abuse, prosecuting attorney Connie Sullivan said.

“We’re negotiating whether or not we’re going to trial,” Sullivan said.

NIT defeat abrupt end for Tigers

There are no more games this year. No more tournaments. No more road trips. The Missouri men’s basketball season has come to an abrupt end.

The Tigers still have plenty to keep themselves busy.

Foster parents brace for cuts

Karen Anderson loves children, even those from other parents.

For the past 25 years, the Anderson family has given birth to three children, adopted a son and cared for more than 160 foster children who spent days or years with them.

Senator urges eliminating Medicaid

JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri state Senator pushing a bill that would eliminate the Medicaid program by 2008 described the health care system Wednesday as spiraling out of control.

Sen. Michael Gibbons, R-Kirkwood, promised to “move boldly forward” with a plan to re-envision the state’s Medicaid program and begin again with a “clean slate.”

Columbia leaders share NCAA tournament picks

The brackets that arrived on the fax machine Wednesday weren’t for the office pool. They were for publication.

The Missourian asked five well-known residents to give their predictions for this year’s NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament and then explain their picks.

The Extras

In the market for 12 computer monitors? A medical examination table? A cheap piano? They may not be as hard to find as you think.

The MU Office of Procurement Services has sold university surplus property — including computer and medical equipment — for almost 30 years.

In-demand positions expected to change

For MU freshman Corey Schneider, studying chemical engineering in college seemed to make sense.

“I always felt I would do something with math and science,” Schneider said. “I really liked chemistry in high school.”

Peace rally draws students

Imagine you are an Iraqi citizen.”

This was an invitation to passers-by during a busy noon-hour at MU’s Speakers Circle on Wednesday where the United Activists’ Network protested continuing military operations in Iraq.

NAIA’s No. 1 program too much for Cougars

The Columbia College men’s basketball team lost 77-50 to No. 1 seed Mountain State on Wednesday in the first round of the NAIA tournament at Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium.

The Cougars (21-14) shot poorly in the first half and were unable to account for Mountain State’s height on the perimeter.

Protesters decry Medicaid cuts after bill passes Senate

JEFFERSON CITY — Dozens of protesters gathered on the south side of the Capitol on Wednesday to decry Medicaid cuts that cleared the Missouri Senate on Tuesday night.

The Senate bill, which is backed by Gov. Matt Blunt, would reduce Medicaid benefits for thousands of Missourians and permanently end the Medicaid program in 2008. Medicaid is a federal- and state-funded program for the poor that helps with medical costs.

Tougher seat belt law passes Senate

JEFFERSON CITY — Legislation that would toughen Missouri’s seat belt law easily passed the Senate on Wednesday.

The legislation would let law enforcement officers stop motorists solely for not wearing seat belts. Currently, people traveling in Missouri can be cited for not wearing a seat belt only if they are first stopped for another reason.

Faces: Michael Porter

Michael Porter said he thinks he has one of the best jobs at MU. As a communications professor and director of special degree programs, Porter has the opportunity to get to know the person behind the student number.

“I have one of the best jobs on campus because I get paid to sit around and talk to students all day,” Porter said. “The reason I enjoy that is because I make myself consciously aware that every student has a very interesting story.

Fresh workers’ comp plan moves to Blunt

JEFFERSON CITY — Business was booming at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

The Republican-controlled legislature sent fundamental changes to Missouri’s workers’ compensation law and new limits on lawsuit awards — two measures long sought by business interests — to the desk of Gov. Matt Blunt before the body’s spring break, which begins today.

Senator proposes bill to boost mobile-home owners’ rights

JEFFERSON CITY — A top Democratic leader in the General Assembly is pushing for a bill she says would help Missouri’s mobile-home residents.

Sen. Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis, presented a bill Wednesday to the Senate Economic Development, Tourism and Local Government Committee that would impose new standards on both owners of mobile-home parks and their tenants.

Strong connection

Tears rolled down Charliss Ridley’s face as she leaned on her crutches and clung to her mother.

After transferring from Indiana to Missouri, taking a semester off from basketball, and then coming to play at Columbia College; Ridley injured her knee, tearing her ACL before the seasoneven started in an event for the Show-Me State Games.

Vradenburg opposes taxes, annexation in City Council bid

The upcoming Columbia City Council election might give Joseph Vradenburg the chance to do something he’s been thinking about for long time.

Vradenburg, who is running against Laura Nauser and Gayle Troutwine for the Fifth Ward seat on City Council, has thought about going into governance of some sort since he was in high school. Vradenburg is an epidemiologist for the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services and sees the upcoming election as an opportunity to pursue another avenue of interest.

Protesters fight Social Security privatization

With signs saying, “Hands off my Social Security,” members of Missourians United to Protect Social Security gathered at the Columbia Labor Temple on Wednesday to announce the coalition’s joining of the national campaign against President Bush’s plans for privatization.

The coalition is made up of several groups including the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, the National Society for the Advancement of Colored People and the United Activist Network.

Sen. Green proposes Irish history month

JEFFERSON CITY — Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, a state senator named Green is looking to honor the Irish in Missouri.

Sen. Tim Green, D-St. Louis, has proposed a resolution declaring March 2005 to be Irish-American Heritage Month.

Two face charges in raid of meth lab

An undercover narcotics investigation led to the seizure of a methamphetamine lab and the arrests of two Centralia residents Wednesday.

The Missouri Highway Patrol arrested Tracy McIntyre, 31, and Andrew Voyles, 28, both of 407 E. Simms St., on suspicion of possession of ephedrine and drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell near a school, endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree and possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana, said Sgt. Jason Clark of the Missouri Highway Patrol.