Job-skills grant aims to train youths

A state grant of $143,213 will help Columbia’s young people develop and improve work skills.

“We know that an educated work force is a key component to building a strong and viable economy,” said Rick Beasley, director of the Missouri Division of Workforce Development. “In order to achieve an educated work force, we must begin teaching key occupational and academic skills, social skills, workplace skills and thinking skills to our youth.”

Well-known book under scrutiny

BLUE SPRINGS — A group of parents has asked the Blue Springs school board to remove the award-winning book, “The Giver,” from student reading lists, saying it contains “negative” themes.

The district has included the book, written by Lois Lowry, on its suggested reading lists for eighth-graders for almost eight years without incident.

After the storm

Although the weather service registered only a trace of precipitation Thursday, freezing temperatures froze the snow and ice that fell Wednesday into a dangerous combination. Columbia street crews began clearing roadways late Wednesday afternoon after a wintry mix began and continued throughout Thursday.

“We had people that worked until 8 p.m. Wednesday and then two people who worked all night,” said Jim McKinnon, Columbia streets department superintendent. “By 6 a.m., they tried to get the whole crew out.”

Gonzales decries torture

WASHINGTON — Attorney General-nominee Alberto Gonzales, under scorching criticism from senators, condemned torture as an interrogation tactic Thursday and promised to prosecute abusers of terror suspects. He also disclosed the White House was looking at trying to change the Geneva Conventions that protect prisoner rights.

Pressed at his confirmation hearing by senators from both parties, the White House counsel defended his advice to President Bush that the treaty’s protections did not extend to al-Qaida and other suspected terrorists.

Missouri women hope to keep rolling

The next challenge: Nebraska.

The Missouri women’s basketball team takes on Nebraska on Saturday.

Special teams not so special

ST. LOUIS — When Jeff Wilkins is using his shoulder pads, the St. Louis Rams know they’re in trouble.

Their kicker is supposed to be the last line of defense on returns, but all too often they’ve needed him to save the day. It illustrates the Rams’ glaring weakness on special teams entering Saturday’s playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks (9-7).

Jackson says ability proven

ST. LOUIS - The day the St. Louis Rams make him their feature back can’t come soon enough for Steven Jackson.

The rookie said Thursday he has shown the past few weeks that he is ready to take over from Marshall Faulk.

Extra Points

Henson’s plan to

coach put on hold

Man charged in stabbing death arrested

A Columbia man was taken into custody Friday and charged with second-degree murder in connection with Thursday night’s fatal stabbing of a 20-year-old man at a convenience store in Columbia.

Robert J. Barney Jr., 26, surrendered to Columbia police at 2:35 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of the former Osco Drug, 111 S. Providence.

Firefighters find body in burning car

Authorities found a body Friday afternoon when they responded to a call of a burning car inside a campus parking garage.

Shortly before 12:30 p.m., the Columbia Fire Department responded to a report of a burning car on the third level of the Maryland Avenue Parking Garage. Once firefighters extinguished the blaze, they found a body inside the car. Authorities did not release any details about gender or race of the victim.

Columbia escapes worst of ice storm

After two days of anticipation, the weather turned nasty just when it looked like Columbia would remain ice-free.

On a day when Columbia Public Schools let out early because of the threat of ice, freezing temperatures remained just to the north until about nightfall.

Harris rejects bid for House speaker

JEFFERSON CITY — Better cooperation between Democrats and Republicans was the overture of the Missouri General Assembly’s first day Wednesday as newly elected Speaker Rob Jetton (R-Marble Hill) brought the 93rd House session to order.

Gov.-elect Matt Blunt presided until the legislature unanimously elected Jetton, who is in his third term, as leader of the 163-member House of Representatives.

School buses in line for fuel-tax break

The Columbia school district could save nearly $60,000 a year if a bill passes to exempt school districts from paying Missouri’s fuel tax.

House Bill 65, proposed by Maynard Wallace, R-Thornfield, would exempt all school districts from paying a 17-cent tax on each gallon of fuel.

MU center to aid Asian youth hurt by tsunami

Syed Arshad Husain has a well-earned reputation for going into war-torn and disaster-stricken areas. He’s been to Pakistan, India, Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait. He’s been to Kosovo 14 times and Bosnia 25 times.

If the financial support comes through, he and a five- to six-member team from MU’s International Center for Psychosocial Trauma will leave Jan. 18 or 19 and travel to Malaysia and Sri Lanka, and then on to Pakistan, to deal with what could be called the second wave of trauma for the child survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Opening night

Ten first-half points.

The Missouri women’s basketball team held Oklahoma State to only 10 first half points Wednesday in a remarkable defensive performance.

Conley finally finds his place

It’s been a long road, but Missouri senior Jason Conley finally seems to have found his place with the Tigers.

When Conley transferred to Missouri in Jan. 2003, the hopes and the pressure were high.

Mo. teams prepare for relief trips

Even though the Rev. Jack Harris makes as many as 10 international trips each year, this one is going to be special.

Harris will lead a rapid response team of six people to Malaysia and Indonesia, two of the countries affected by the tsunami disaster. The team leaves Saturday.

Worth noting

Horizontal roof and window lines, beautiful grounds and community landmarks were all topics of discussion for the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission as it announced its 10 Most Notable Properties of 2005 on Tuesday.

Each year the commission accepts public nominations for properties that are historic and noteworthy to the Columbia community. The commission consists of seven members with varying backgrounds, including lawyers, property owners, architects and historians, commission chairman Brian Pape said.

80 mentors sought for at-risk youth program

West Boulevard Elementary has the money and coordinators to initiate its new mentoring program, but it still needs 80 volunteers.

Stand by Me is an initiative to mentor at-risk students at the Columbia school district’s first model school. West Boulevard is looking to assist minority and low-income students improve academic and social achievement, said Zona Sharp-Burk, one of the program’s coordinators.

Bass Pro opening slowed by rain, design changes

Bad weather and design changes have postponed the opening of Columbia’s 82,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shop for six weeks.

Originally slated to open in mid-February, the outdoor supply store on Vandiver Drive is now scheduled to open March 31.