Well-grounded family

The farmer is 79 years old. Her farms are ages 107 and 140. In the rosy dusk, Grace Butler powers her big red SUV across a creek and winds up a hill to feed and count her cattle. She talks to them as if they’re old friends, and they really are.

As she counts the herd, she spies a black cow in a clump of trees. “You naughty girl, hidden here,” she says in a brisk voice. “I see you have a baby to come, don’t you?”

Gov. Blunt spells out state’s reduction plan

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Matt Blunt spelled out Thursday how various agencies would cut nearly $240 million from their budgets for the coming fiscal year, with social services taking the hardest hit.

Among the cuts are eliminating the grandparent foster care program, temporarily shutting down the Central Missouri Correctional Center, which is six miles west of Jefferson City, and eliminating the state’s payment to keep Amtrak trains running between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Options near end in Schiavo conflicts

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — With Terri Schiavo visibly drawing closer to death, her parents were rebuffed by both the U.S. and Florida supreme courts Thursday in their battle to reinsert their brain-damaged daughter’s feeding tube.

Bob and Mary Schindler held onto the slim hope that Gov. Jeb Bush would somehow find a way to intervene or a federal judge, who had turned them down before, would see things their way. But Bush warned that he was running out of options.

Grocery store seen as perk of rezoning

A grocery story is one of the first things people mentioned when the would-be developers of land at Range Line Street and Blue Ridge Road approached neighborhood associations to see what type of commercial uses they would support.

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday recommended the Columbia City Council approve the developers’ request for rezoning to accommodate planned commercial and office uses that might include a grocery store. Magnus Enterprises LLC submitted the request, which seeks to rezone three tracts totaling 45 acres at the southeast corner of the north-side intersection.

Priday lifts Missouri’s run total

Each time Missouri outfielder Jacob Priday comes to bat at Taylor Stadium, the loudspeaker plays Blake Shelton’s country song “Heavy Lifting.”

“I hit the ground runnin’ with the mornin’ sun. When a job needs doin’, I get it done.”

Missouri rises in rankings for Directors’ Cup standings

Missouri’s athletic program jumped 12 spots to 36th in the United States Sports Academy Directors’ Cup standings, released Thursday.

The rankings, which include Missouri finishes for fall and winter sports, are released 11 times during the Division I school year.

Cards’ Eckstein eager for opener

JUPITER, Fla. — David Eckstein can hardly wait for his first regular-season game with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Eckstein had a hit and two walks Thursday to raise his spring average to .416. Rick Ankiel had his first hit since giving up on pitching and trying to make it as an outfielder and the Cardinals beat the Nationals 5-1.

Hundreds mourn patrolman

DEXTER — During a funeral that drew hundreds of police from at least four states, a Missouri state patrolman ambushed and slain outside his home was tearfully eulogized Thursday as a Christian man who masterfully blended passion for his job with adoration for his 4-year-old son.

“Family, you’re wrapped in blue; they’re all around,” Denny McGinley — alluding to mourners largely dressed in police uniforms — told Sgt. Carl Dewayne Graham Jr.’s survivors at a packed First Baptist Church in this Missouri Bootheel town where Graham grew up.

Coastal powers meet in Missouri

Associated Press

For years it lurked as a potential rivalry that hasn’t happened. Stanford on the West Coast, Connecticut in the East, each the dominant program in its region.

Childhood inspired candidate’s school goals

Darin Preis grew up in a family of educators and remembers dinner discussions that revolved around the successes and challenges in the classroom. His upbringing inspired him to keep education a priority, which is one of the reasons he decided to run for the Columbia School Board.

Preis said the board could use his expertise to bring a new perspective to early childhood education and to further work to close the achievement gap. Preis said being the director of the Missouri Head Start, State Collaboration Office has prepared him to deal with important school board issues.