Blockbuster offers refunds for ‘no late fees’ program

When Blockbuster announced the end of late fees in December, some customers were unaware of the program’s fine print.

On Tuesday, Blockbuster announced that it will improve communication of the program as part of a settlement with 47 states, including Missouri.

MUHC faces proposed budget cuts

Medicaid might not be the only part of Missouri’s health care system to undergo budget cuts from Gov. Matt Blunt. Last week, Blunt handed down

$239.2 million in proposed budget cuts across state agencies and, though he promised no reductions in higher-education funding, the MU Health Care system was on the list.

Bruins dominate first match

Rock Bridge’s Claire Schaeper-koetter’s eyes got wide as she tried to score the second goal of her young soccer career.

Minutes into Rock Bridge’s opening game of the season against Hannibal, freshman Jeanna Ross had centered the ball to Schaeper-koetter.

Forum urges MU to open civic discourse

MU needs to start a dialogue with the people of Missouri to emphasize the value of higher education, panelists at the Chancellor’s Global Issues Forum said on Tuesday.

Richard Wallace, MU chancellor emeritus; Mel George, a former MU mathematics professor and interim chancellor; and Ron Turner, a former University of Missouri System executive vice president, presented points, posed questions and then facilitated discussions during the Higher Education in a Global Context Forum. The panelists addressed the problem of funding and breaching communications between the public and the university.

State execution location changed

The state will move all future executions to a prison in the eastern Missouri town Bonne Terre, starting with the scheduled April 27 execution of convicted killer Donald Jones, Department of Corrections officials said on Tuesday.

Missouri has executed 62 men since the death penalty was reinstated in 1989, most recently executing Stanley Hall on March 16 for abducting a woman and throwing her over a Mississippi River bridge railing in 1994.

Schools candidate criticizes NAACP

Tuesday night’s school board candidate forum began on a negative note with candidate Arch Brooks speaking out against the sponsoring organization, the NAACP.

Brooks said the worst mistake he has made since moving back to Columbia from Chicago was joining the Missouri National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

NCAA eyeing scalpers

ST. LOUIS — Police and the NCAA will be watching closely for ticket scalpers — including coaches — as college-basketball fans converge on St. Louis for the sport’s grand event.

St. Louis is hosting the men’s Final Four for the first time since 1978. The 46,688 seats at the Edward Jones Dome were sold out months ago, and with a large contingent of Illinois and Louisville fans coming — Champaign, Ill., is 2 1/2 hours away, Louisville is four hours — ticket scalping is a big concern.

Latino progress report

MU faculty and students got a sneak-peak Tuesday of what’s in store at the fourth annual Cambio de Colores conference, which begins today and ends Friday.

This year the conference, which focuses on the education, health and legal issues of immigrants, is titled “Latinos in Missouri: Connecting Research to Policy and Practice — Hoy y Mañana.”

Well-heeled flats

Women are ditching their often painful, pointy-toed stilettos for comfortable flat-heeled shoes.

Flat-heeled shoes are making a comeback, reminiscent of the 1950s look of Audrey Hepburn. Flat-heeled shoe styles reflect trends in fashion this spring — they have classic, feminine looks. Celebrities such as Kate Hudson and Sophia Coppola have been spotted wearing them.

Panel OKs plan to pay for roadways

After hearing public and committee comments, the Transportation Finance Advisory Committee approved a draft of recommendations for financing road improvements Tuesday night.

The recommendations will now go to the City Council for final approval. In addition to the recommendations, the committee voted to submit a list of additional suggestions and to have a representative address the council.

Jennings shines in Hickman victory

For a second, it looked like Hickman sophomore JaBarbara Jennings had finally encountered an event she couldn’t win.

The speed that had served her so well in triple jump, long jump and 100-meter dash was fading fast. With 200 meters left in the 400-meter race, Jennings said she could feel her legs starting to slow.

Colorful Crocs attack the Midwest

Their bright colors and distinct look can be spotted a mile away. After gaining popularity in Colorado and then spreading to the coasts, Crocs shoes are showing up across the Midwest.

Crocs — ventilated waterproof clogs — have been around since 2002. The company has grown exponentially, according to Tia Williams, Crocs public relations executive. The shoes made their debut at the Miami Boat Show and were marketed as perfect for boating, water sports and beachwear.

Mueller throws perfect game

Monica Mueller hasn’t been perfect in three years.

She was pitcher of the year in the American Midwest Conference and the All-Region 5 pitcher of the year in 2004, but she still wasn’t perfect.

Council hopefuls talk diversity

Diminishing numbers and time constraints didn’t stop NAACP and other community members from getting in key questions before the April 5 City Council election.

With a diverse group of Columbia citizens in attendance at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People panel at the Second Baptist Church Tuesday evening, it wasn’t surprising that defining and increasing community diversity was the main question put before the candidates.

Tigers earn academic honors

Sophomore Shawn Jasper of the Missouri men’s golf team and Junior Ashley Patten of the women’s track team were named this week’s Lathrop & Gage Student-Athletes of the Week for their athletic and academic achievements as well as contributions to the community.

Patten, a business management major, has a 3.19 grade point average and recently finished eighth in the 800-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 12. She has contributed to the community by spending time with the Ronald McDonald House Benefit.

Man arrested on suspicion of touching minor

A 22-year-old Columbia man was arrested Monday after an acquaintance’s daughter said she was touched inappropriately on Sunday inside the Quick Trip convenience store at 3211 Clark Lane, Columbia police said on Tuesday.

Justin J. Blaine was charged with sexual misconduct with a child and possession of child pornography after police said they found several items of child pornography among his possessions, Columbia police Capt. Zim Schwartze said.

Asphalt plant site approved

The Boone County Commission unanimously approved a request Tuesday from APAC-Missouri Inc. to build a temporary asphalt plant in Hartsburg, despite eight neighbors speaking in opposition. APAC brought its plan to the commission after the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission denied the request.

Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin said that of all places, the quarry in Hartsburg is most suitable for an asphalt plant.

Missouri ponders Web Amber Alerts

KANSAS CITY — Missouri and Kansas are close to joining an Amber Alert system that uses the Internet to spread the news about missing children more quickly.

Terri Durdaller, a spokeswoman for Missouri Public Safety director Mark James, said James will recommend the system to Gov. Matt Blunt as soon as next week.

Teacher returns home after risky operation

Grant Elementary School music teacher Melissa Guillotte returned to Columbia Thursday, a week after surgery for what turned out to be a malignant brain tumor. She has been recovering at home since her return.

Guillotte’s doctors told her she has a Grade III Astrocytoma, considered a moderate level brain tumor, which usually spreads to surrounding brain tissue, according to the Mayo Clinic Web site.

Pulitzer Prize winner to talk about covering Falun Gong

Ian Johnson, a 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner, will talk about his experiences reporting on the Falun Gong movement in China at 4 p.m. today in Jesse Wrench Auditorium in Memorial Union.

Falun Gong, which means “the Practice of the Wheel of the Dharma,” emphasizes truth, compassion and tolerance. The movement does not consider itself a “religion,” but rather a discipline of practice. Its members engage in Ch’i gong, which involves stretching, meditation and slow movement. Fearing the group was gaining too much influence, China’s communist government declared Falun Gong illegal and released propaganda labeling it an “evil cult” in 1999. According to the Falun Dafa Information Center, police abuse and torture have led to 1,583 deaths.