Public works director retires

Lowell Patterson got far more than the obligatory cake and punch that many people receive at their retirement parties. Dozens of well-wishers, including numerous colleagues, friends and family members, packed the Columbia City Council chambers Wednesday afternoon to help Patterson celebrate the end of his 19 years of service as the city’s public works director.

The reception included proclamations from the city of Columbia, the City Council, the governor’s office and the Missouri General Assembly in recognition of Patterson’s 40-year career.

Confident Tigers seek Big 12 title

Missouri coach Ty Singleton was verbose after the No. 15 Tigers’ regular season-ending 1-0 win against Nebraska on Sunday.

He praised senior Erin Kalka’s final home start, a three-hit shutout in which she struck out 10 Cornhuskers.

The stories she hears

Let me tell you about the time Elaine Lawless spent a summer visiting women’s shelters in Missouri. Everywhere she went, she heard story after story after story. A woman would start by saying, “My God, last Thursday …” and Elaine knew that behind “My God, last Thursday” were the words “once upon a time.”

Lawless is an ethnographer — basically, someone who collects stories. She teaches students at MU how to collect the stories of communities, and she goes to academic conferences and speaks about how to listen when people tell their stories.

Columbia College to create Molly Bowden scholarship

To honor and memorialize fallen Columbia Police Officer Molly Bowden, Columbia College is expected to announce today the establishment of the Molly S. Thomas Bowden Memorial Scholarship.

Bowden, a 2002 graduate of the criminal justice program from Columbia College, was shot in the line of duty on Jan. 10. She died Feb. 10 from complications related to the shooting.

Committee to hold forum on racial achievement gap

Teachers, administrators and community members are taking an active approach to closing the educational achievement gap among Columbia's black students.

A multicultural committee from Jefferson Junior High School and the Community Committee for Educating Black Youth in Columbia will meet at 7 p.m. tonight at St. Luke's United Methodist Church to educate the public about the achievement gap, discuss what's being done to fix it and how people can further the efforts to close the gap.

Hickman Review spotlights high school poets, authors and artists

Sixteen-year-old Noah Myers took on the weighty topic of war for a journalism class assignment that led to his prose piece, “When Will We Ever Learn?”

A Hickman sophomore, Myers said his piece was written “in the height of the presidential election, when Vietnam was a strong issue,” and later published in the annual Hickman Review, a literary magazine designed by Hickman students.

Honoring exercise despite physical disability is focus of fitness awards

Becky Beach, chairwoman of the Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health, is passionate about encouraging healthy habits, even when it comes to those who are already in admirable physical condition.

“Aren’t you guys hungry?” she asked, wandering through the room at the council’s Fitness Forum on Tuesday evening, motioning to the table full of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Looking to Bounce Back

“Bear down, Chicago Bears.”

The famous first line of the Chicago Bears fight song is played after each Bears touchdown at Soldier Field. But in 2004, with the Bears finishing last in the NFL in offensive touchdowns with 19, the song was rarely heard.

Fire damages residence of suspects arrested for arson

A late-night fire Tuesday left one firefighter injured and caused an estimated $40,000 worth of damage at 601 Washington Ave., the former residence of three suspects arrested on first-degree arson charges in connection with fires at two Columbia Wal-Marts on May 5.

Thaddeaus Lee Harvey, 48, Alana DeCapua, 26, and Jason Riley Baucom, 31, remained at the Boone County Jail on Wednesday in lieu of bonds totaling $78,250. According to Gerald Garner, the owner of the property, Harvey, DeCapua and Baucom were evicted last week.

Suppan, Walker boost Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — Larry Walker had three of St. Louis’ season-high 19 hits and drove in three runs, backing a strong seven-inning effort by Jeff Suppan in the Cardinals’ 9-3 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.

David Eckstein had four hits and an RBI to extend his hitting streak to 12 games for St. Louis, which has won seven of eight at home against the Dodgers counting the playoffs. Of the Cardinals’ 19 hits, only three were for extra bases.

Kansas City scavenger in hunt for new skipper

KANSAS CITY — Hiring a new manager might not be as simple as finding the man the Kansas City Royals want. It will have to be someone who wants the Royals.

The small-market Royals have fallen upon hard times. Deep problems may prove sobering to any would-be successor to Tony Pena, who resigned Tuesday night with the worst record (8-25) and second-lowest team payroll ($36.9 million) in the major leagues.

Kansas City looks to NASCAR’s future

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Other cities might have more stock car racing history, bigger international profiles, brighter star power.

But backers of a bid to win the NASCAR Hall of Fame for Kansas City, Kan., where the relatively new Kansas Speedway is entering its fifth season of operation, said Wednesday they represent the sport’s future and NASCAR’s best chance to reach beyond its traditional fan base in the southeastern United States.

Extra Points: Six Tigers named to All Big 12 team

Six Missouri softball players were named to the All-Big 12 Conference Team and four earned Academic All-Big 12 honors.

Senior shortstop Heather Kunkel and junior outfielder Janessa Roening were first-team selections. Sophomore outfielder Leanne Bowers, sophomore catcher Kathy Masterson, redshirt freshman outfielder Micaela Minner and freshman first baseman Amanda Renth made the second team. Bowers, Kunkel and Masterson first team Academic All-Big 12 and sophomore pitcher Erica Peterson was on the second team.

School funding formula progresses

JEFFERSON CITY — Negotiators from the House and Senate agreed Wednesday evening on a proposal to change the formula used to distribute state money to local schools. The revised proposal made it to the Senate floor several hours after the compromise was reached, and Senators planned to discuss the revised proposal into the evening.

On Tuesday night, the House debated its version of the bill, which seeks to address a lawsuit filed on behalf of more than half of the state school districts, for 10 hours as Gov. Matt Blunt watched from a gallery. The House eventually passed the proposal at 3:20 on Wednesday morning.

Bad weather lengthens dismissals

Students heading home Wednesday afternoon encountered more after-school traffic congestion than the usual when two tornado warnings and several thunderstorm warnings were issued in Boone County.

Heavy rain, hail — ranging in size from peas to golf balls — and flash flooding characterized the storm, said Suzanne Fred of Boone County’s Public Safety Joint Communications Center.

Pharmacists cite morals for pill bans

As arguments intensify nationwide over pharmacists’ right to dispense prescriptions based on personal beliefs, an unprecedented survey found limited access to emergency contraception, or EC, in Missouri’s pharmacies, particularly in rural areas.

In March and April, the NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Foundation conducted its Pharmacy Access Survey of 920 pharmacies in Missouri.

Methodists to pay $6 million in rape suit

A judgment in a civil suit over the alleged rape of a choir director has saddled the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church with a damage award that exceeds the conference’s total available cash.

A Greene County jury last week ordered the conference, headquartered in Columbia, to pay $6 million in compensatory and punitive damages to Teresa Norris, who alleges that the Rev. David Finestead raped her in Campbell United Methodist Church in Springfield on the night of March 25, 1998. Norris kept silent about the alleged rape for more than a month before contacting the city prosecutor, said her lawyer Daniel Craig. She never brought criminal charges against Finestead, who Craig said threatened and belittled Norris so she wouldn’t talk.

Bike journey gets risky with rain

When Bike, Walk and Wheel Week was created three years ago, the idea was to have people leave their cars at home so they could get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors through alternative forms of transportation.

It was not created with Wednesday’s weather in mind. I awoke yesterday morning and noticed that it was overcast, but I didn’t think much of it. Thunderstorms had been projected two days before and that had been a beautiful day.