Drought dampened, not quenched

Even with cooler temperatures and Tuesday’s rain, Missouri farmers are facing the loss of millions of dollars worth of crops destroyed by drought.

“It could be even much higher than that,” said Tim Kelley, executive director of the Missouri Farm Service Agency. “Nationwide, the 1980 drought cost the nation more than $35 billion dollars.”

Organic growth

Local growers at the Columbia Farmers’ Market know there is an increasing demand for all-natural products and try to meet the needs of consumers by selling “organic” foods. But farmers like Dan Kuebler know the rigorous process involved in becoming a certified organic grower.

“When I decided to seek certification from the state department, I didn’t realize all of the paperwork it entailed,” said Kuebler, owner of The Salad Garden, three miles east of Ashland. “I spent nearly 80 hours compiling a farm history, business plan and outlining specific planting methods used to grow my produce. It was a very long process.”

Lights, Camera, 'ELECTION'

With just a few pieces of video equipment and a budget of less than $500, the mission seemed overwhelming: Document the political strife and polarization of the 2004 presidential election.

Nonetheless, with borrowed cameras and their own money, local filmmakers Seth Ashley, 26, and Christy LeMaster, 28, hit the streets of Columbia, where a distinctive blend of college-town liberals, Midwest conservatives and everyone in between were preparing for a day that would capture the attention of the entire world.

Fire board considers hiring a consultant

An external consultant might be able to help the Boone County Fire Protection District resolve problems surrounding allegations of unethical and unprofessional behavior on the part of Fire Chief Steve Paulsell and Assistant Chief Sharon Curry, district board members agreed in a closed meeting Monday.

Meanwhile, board member Myrtle Rapp acknowledged Tuesday that the meeting might have violated Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

Money for higher ed addressed at forum

While several speakers painted a dire picture for the future of higher education funding, the majority of Missouri’s education leaders, gathered for a symposium Tuesday at the Reynolds Alumni Center, agreed that better dialogue could lead to real improvements.

Education consultant Dennis Jones said that because the state, higher education institutions and students all have their own agendas, the only way funding will improve is by finding a way to align everyone’s priorities.

Blunt low in governor poll

A nationwide poll shows that Gov. Matt Blunt has the third-lowest approval rating among the nation’s 50 governors.

Blunt tied with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for 47th place in the July poll, conducted by Survey USA in New York City. The survey shows that Blunt has an approval rating of 35 percent and a disapproval rating of 60 percent.

NBC news to feature Columbia mother

Columbia resident Tracy Della Vecchia has sent more than just her son, Cpl. Derrick Jensen, to Iraq. Every six weeks she sends 835 care packages to combat-deployed Marines overseas.

NBC Nightly News will feature Della Vecchia tonight in a story intended to show what it’s like to have a child deployed and what people are doing from home to help. Camera crews came to Columbia twice to film Della Vecchia and volunteers assembling care packages and participating in a roundtable discussion.


The University of Missouri-Kansas City has been in the UM System for 42 years, since 1963. A story online Tuesday, about the appointment of a new chancellor to UMKC, stated the wrong number of years.

City, county to opt out of sales tax holiday

The city of Columbia and Boone County will both sit out this year’s statewide sales tax holiday Aug 5-6.

This marks the second year the city and the county have abstained from the tax holiday, which offers consumers a break from sales taxes on back-to-school items such as school supplies, clothing and shoes and up to $3,850 worth of computer equipment and software.

Blunt appoints UMSL English major to UM Board of Curators

Maria Curtis of Grandview will be the new student curator on the University of Missouri Board of Curators, a position appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt.

Curtis, 23, is an English major at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and will succeed Shawn Gebhardt on the board.

Survey: 32 percent of Missouri adults gambled

JEFFERSON CITY — Nearly one out of every three Missourians gambled in the past year, according to new survey results released Tuesday by the state Department of Health and Senior Services. But state gambling officials bet the actual figure is much higher. After weighting the results to correspond with the demographics of Missouri’s adult population, the health department concluded that 32 percent of the state’s adults gambled.

Quite a week for J-Rod

ST. LOUIS — Even factoring in the nuisance created by a pesky nail on the dugout steps, it has been a fantastic first week in the major leagues for John Rodriguez.

Not long ago, he was a face in the minor league crowd, and at 27 an aging one at that. Now, he’s a daily, productive fixture in the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup, to the extent that manager Tony La Russa held off completing his lineup card on Sunday until Rodriguez, who missed his first start because of a sprained ankle caused when his cleats got snagged by the nail, could test the injury.

Former MU star Crudup awarded damages

KANSAS CITY — Jurors couldn’t reach a verdict Monday on whether the Raytown School District discriminated against former Missouri basketball star Jevon Crudup when firing him from a coaching job.

But they did decide that the parents of a former player contributed to Crudup’s firing as sophomore basketball coach at Raytown South High School, awarding actual damages of $3,249.80, plus another $25,000 in punitive damages.

Bureau divvies up event funds

Flying acrobats, documentary filmmakers and a spooky haunted house are among those recommended to receive money from the city’s Tourism Development Fund in fiscal 2006.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau released its recommendations for how to distribute the money in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. It received 13 applications requesting a total of $271,316. The board’s recommendations total $228,109 and are subject to the approval of the Columbia City Council at its Aug. 15 meeting.

Park and road tax duration discussed

Faced with the possibility of public opposition to proposed parks and roads taxes, the Columbia City Council discussed ways to cut the life span of two of the proposed measures at a work session Tuesday.

The potential cuts could drop the proposed extension of a one-eighth-cent sales tax for parks to $12 million from $20 million by reducing the tax’s duration from eight years to five years. The portion of the tax set aside for a permanent farmers market and an ice skating rink would remain.

Diving Club makes splash at nationals

The Mizzou Diving Club performed well on the first day of competition at the 2005 Amateur Athletic Union Diving National Championships in Largo, Florida on Tuesday.

David Bonuchi, 13, finished fourth on the 3-meter springboard in the 13-and-under age group. His teammate Dylan Parham, 12, finished ninth.

Rain stops Mavs

Rain postponed Tuesday’s series finale between the Mid-Missouri Mavericks and the Rockford RiverHawks.

The game is rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on August 28 in Columbia.

Columbian athletes qualify for Special Olympics

Several Columbia Special Olympics participants qualified for the first national games held in the United States, scheduled for July 2-7, 2006 in Ames, Iowa.

Columbia athletes who made the national games qualified in aquatics, track and field, basketball, bocce, golf, or tennis. These athletes are: Matt Hood, Matt Montgomery, Dena Muskopf, Brianna Perry, Beth Brokamp, Sarah Byland, Steven Harris, Cory Johnson, Kevin Kempker, Derrick Sandbothe, Rodney Stokes, Jeff Johnson, Mike Pitts, Micah Brimer, Diane Brimer, Seth Brimer, Ryan Brimer, Grace Wheeler, Jim LaRue, Scott LaRue, Duke Simmons, Shirlene Treadwell, Robert Eichelberger, Kerry Pilz and Tina Jones. Harry Beslame, Marshall Harding, Ricky Rost, Chris Mounts, Jim Morris, James Kindred and Amanda Bjorklund have qualified as alternates.

Local Little Leaguers win State

The Daniel Boone National Division 13-14 year-old all-star baseball team won the Little League Junior Division state championship Monday in Higginsville.

Daniel Boone National won with a 4-3 victory against McDonald County. Garrison McLagen ended the game by stealing home with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Police report raises questions about Missouri football death

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri football player who collapsed on the field and later died after a pre-season workout wasn't immediately taken to the hospital across the street once he was unconscious but instead driven to the football team's offices, a university police report shows.

Aaron O'Neal, 19, was ``in full cardiac arrest'' by the time campus police officer Clayton Henke and University Hospital paramedics arrived at the Tom Taylor Building on July 12, Henke wrote in a police report obtained by The Associated Press under Missouri's public records law.