Budget policy expert: Social Security plan ‘bad deal’ for young people

When it comes to the Social Security debate, John Irons thinks “facts are good.”

Irons, director for tax and budget policy for the Center for American Progress, presented facts and analysis on Social Security privatization Wednesday night in Conservation Auditorium at MU. Irons also summarized President Bush’s plan for Social Security reform.

Cut to legislators’ health care fails

JEFFERSON CITY — Rep. Trent Skaggs wants Missouri lawmakers to feel the squeeze in this year’s state budget cuts.

Debate erupted in the House on Wednesday after Skaggs, D-North Kansas City, presented an amendment that would cut elected officials’ health insurance benefits in order to save money for other services targeted for cuts.

Working Overtime

Justin Jackson was eyeing a starting spot on Hickman’s varsity baseball team when he was in Lange Middle School.

“He was basically like a team manager in seventh grade,” said Hickman coach Dave Wilson, who introduced Jackson to the team six years ago.

Harg-area residents, Sapp agree on concerns

Arguments between concerned neighbors and a prominent developer over a proposed development east of Columbia may be coming to an end.

Harg-area residents and Billy Sapp negotiated terms Wednesday that could make his 1,000-acre development proposal a reality.

Possible removal of awning echoes owners’ opinions

Carrie Gartner, the director of Columbia’s downtown Special Business District, said the recent vote in support of removing the canopy that covers downtown businesses between Seventh and Hitt streets reflects a change in the way business owners think about their properties.

“We’re saying we should go with our strengths,” Gartner said.

Senate approves private funding for First Steps

JEFFERSON CITY — A bill placing financial responsibility for the First Steps program into the hands of private insurance providers and families won first-round approval in the Senate on Wednesday.

First Steps provides in-home therapy and services to children younger than 3 who have developmental disabilities. The program could lose its state funding to Medicaid and budget cuts that Gov. Matt Blunt has proposed.

Hindman recognizes victims’ privileges

Mayor Darwin Hindman named this week Crime Victims’ Rights Week for Columbia during a ceremony honoring the 25th anniversary of the National Victims’ Rights Week at the Reynolds Alumni Center on Wednesday night.

“Justice isn’t served until the victims are,” Hindman said.

Suspect in two shootings arrested after tips to police

A man recently featured on Columbia’s most-wanted list was arrested without incident Wednesday.

Koda A. Coats, 18, was the third suspect arrested in connection with two related shootings April 6.

Art in the Archives

Flying french fries and a bright yellow abstract sculpture already greet patrons of the Columbia Public Library. Now, three new works will add to the welcome.

The pieces the library has acquired over the past year — a brightly painted hanging screen, an abstract sculpture and a bronze bust — were introduced at a reception Wednesday afternoon.

County to aid waste enterprise

The Boone County Commission agreed Tuesday to help fund plans for an environmental study and find a site for a wastewater treatment plant in southern Boone County.

The study would look at streams in the Two Mile Prairie area to determine whether they are suitable to carry sewage, said Ashland City Administrator Ken Eftink.

Senators debate how to fund new school formula

JEFFERSON CITY — Now that the Senate has given initial approval to legislation rewriting the state’s funding formula for public schools, the debate turns to how to pay for the new system.

The Senate plan, passed late Tuesday after nearly nine hours of debate, would increase basic state aid for schools from $2.4 billion to about $3.1 billion, not counting items paid separately, such as transportation aid. The new formula would be phased in over five years, starting in the 2006-07 school year.

Bush lauds Grant teacher

President Bush commended Grant Elementary School teacher Gail Underwood in a citation “for embodying excellence in teaching, for devotion to the learning needs of the students, and for upholding the high standards that exemplify American education at its finest.”

For that, Underwood, who teaches math, won the 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching for Missouri and a $10,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Teachers to get pay raise

For the fourth year in a row, the Columbia Board of Education will dip into its reserves and increase teachers’ salaries by $600 for the 2005-2006 school year.

The board voted Monday to approve the administration’s recommendation on teachers’ contracts and give them a base salary increase of $300, costing the district $935,000.

MU students, in memoriam

The last time Nicholas Blanco saw his friend Jesse Valencia, it was a gray and rainy day, just like the weather on Monday.

“I dropped him off at class, and he walked away,” Blanco said. “It was actually on a day just like this.”

Stephens club shows horse skills

Friday through Sunday, Stephens College’s Prince of Wales Club will host the 78th annual charity horse show at the Midway Exposition Center, Interstate 70 Exit 121. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. Some proceeds will go to the Cancer Research Center of Columbia.

Michele Smith, chairwoman of Stephens’ Equestrian Department, is the adviser for the group. She said the organization president, Beth Piper, and student Sarah Sulze managed this year’s show.

Cincinnati’s calculated risk beats Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — Choosing to face Albert Pujols with the bases loaded was a no-brainer for Danny Graves.

Nursing a one-run lead and with runners on second and third and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Cincinnati Reds manager Dave Miley had his closer walk Larry Walker intentionally to load the bases. The move worked out perfectly when the St. Louis Cardinals’ most dangerous hitter grounded into a double play, ending the Reds’ 6-5 victory on Wednesday.

Workshop to focus on pet health, safety

On Saturday, veterinary students will hold a pet emergency workshop at an open house sponsored by MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The student chapter of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society plans to show visitors how to check a pet’s vital signs, how to recognize signs of heat stroke, what to do in case of injuries of being hit by a car, and about common toxins and basic animal restraint.

Speakers come to MU for life sciences week

The first life sciences week to be held in MU’s $60 million Life Sciences Center kicked off Monday and runs through Friday.

“It’s helping this building be what supposed to be,” said Ginny Booker, communications spokeswoman for the center.

Faces: Scott Cairns

For 50 years, Scott Cairns has been on a spiritual migration. It has led this MU English professor on a journey to Mount Athos, a monastic republic in northern Greece.

“About 10 years ago, I became fairly disenchanted with American Christendom,” Cairns said. “I was looking for a richer expression of my faith when I came upon Eastern Orthodoxy.”

Missouri proves it learned lesson

After his Missouri baseball team lost to Southeast Missouri State in extra innings a week ago, coach Tim Jamieson had a lesson for his players.

“It was just to be better prepared, to be more aggressive,” Jamieson said. “Recognize that you have a target on your back, not just because we’re ranked but because we’re Mizzou, and any time you play SEMO … that’s a big game for them.”