Road improvements past and future

Author, retired professor gives lecture on tolerance of religious diversity

The world’s major religions were not formed with the intention of fighting one another, said Martin Marty, the renowned author and retired professor of religious history at the University of Chicago. So, why is religion the source of so much conflict in society today?

Returning home

NEW ORLEANS — When a room smells, most people leave it. Monique Nelson did the opposite. Before pulling a painter’s mask down from her forehead to her mouth, Monique takes one last deep breath. “Be careful and don’t touch the walls,” Freddie Owens, her uncle, says. “The mold is dangerous.”

Vigil to protest Iraq war draws crowd

More than 170 children, students, parents and elderly people were present to protest the war in Iraq on Wednesday during a candlelight vigil at the Boone County Courthouse. The vigil was held in response to the death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq reaching 2,000 on Saturday.

Rights activist’s impact still felt

Although it was 50 years ago that Rosa Parks made the decision not to give up her seat to a white passenger, her simple act of citizenry, humanity and equality still resonates in Columbia. Parks’ death on Monday at 92 is a time for reflection for many people in the community.

Legislators to fight spring river rises

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s congressional delegation plans to continue to fight the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ latest draft to induce two Missouri River spring rises in order to revive an endangered fish, the pallid sturgeon. The draft is the latest in an ongoing debate among interested parties since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and various environmental groups advocated for flow changes around 1990.

Health care sees racial disparities

Rohan Gunansingham recently treated a diabetes patient who hadn’t taken her insulin in 10 months. Her reasoning was simple: She couldn’t afford it. On a typical day, Gunansingham sees about 20 patients at Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Care Centers in St. Louis. Most of the people visiting the publicly funded facility are lower-income minorities. Their willingness to follow medical advice poses challenges, Gunansingham says.

Housing residents express concerns

The Columbia Housing Authority Task Force did its best to calm the nerves of Park Avenue residents and the general public Wednesday night about the planned redevelopment project. At a meeting at the J.W. “Blind” Boone Center, residents were updated on the project and given an opportunity to voice their concerns.

St. Louis man arrested after reports of gun threats

Dannie Brown, 27, of St. Louis was arrested Wednesday on charges of armed criminal action, third-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. According to the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, Brown pointed a gun at a woman and made death threats.

Parent arrested after Rock Bridge fight

A Columbia woman arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer at Rock Bridge High School on Tuesday could face a felony assault charge because the incident occurred on school grounds. Jennifer Mitchell, 35, of Columbia could face a charge of third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, said Columbia police Sgt. Eric White. The charges stem from a fight that took place at the school’s east front entrance Tuesday morning.

Broadway repairs affect ­businesses

After months of reconstruction, the intersection of East Broadway and Trimble Road will reopen Monday. Still, progress on the $4.8 million project hasn’t been quick enough for business owners in the area. Traffic has been gridlocked for months because of the construction, which merchants anticipated would be finished within the month. Instead, the work won’t be complete until the end of November, weather permitting, said Pat Fitzgerald, supervising engineer for the Columbia Public Works Department.

Agencies make changes to cope with high gas costs

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers are driving around less and spending more time parked on the side of a road watching motorists, and transportation officials have cut back on mowing along some roadways. Those are among the changes state agencies have made in response to this year’s higher-than-expected gas costs.

Teach for America deadline Sunday

Sunday marks the first of two application deadlines for Teach for America, an organization of recent college graduates who teach for two years in rural and urban public schools. The second deadline is Feb. 17.

State case against activist dismissed

The state dismissed its case Wednesday against Columbia activist Steve Jacobs, 50, whose wife was found guilty last week of property damages to the MU campus in a May mock grave-digging in which he was also involved. The Jacobses were both arrested May 2 during the demonstration to protest the war in Iraq. The couple dug symbolic graves in the front lawn of Crowder Hall, which houses the Army, Air Force and Navy ROTC classes at MU, to symbolize the deaths of soldiers and civilians in what they say is an unjust war.

Miers withdraws her nomination to Supreme Court.

Under withering attack from conservatives, President Bush ended his push to put loyalist Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court Thursday and promised a quick replacement.


An article on page 1B Tuesday incorrectly reported the number of Missouri executions this year. Gray’s execution would be the fifth.

Execution is fifth of year

Marlin Gray, 38, was put to death at the Eastern Reception Diagnostic & Correctional Center in Bonne Terre. He died by lethal injection shortly after midnight today.

Elkin to run for state House seat

Northern Boone County Commissioner Skip Elkin officially announced his candidacy Tuesday for the 21st District Missouri House seat in his daughter’s sixth-grade Hallsville Middle School classroom. Elkin, a Democrat, will challenge Republican incumbent Steve Hobbs in the 2006 election. The county would have to hold a special election for a new commissioner if Elkin is elected. “It was a tough decision that I made with my family,” Elkin said. “If I am successful with my bid I will still be serving the citizens of Boone County but on another level.”

Professors discuss Scopes trial

The OJ Simpson trial has nothing on the Scopes Trial, which explored the controversy over the origin of life 80 years ago in much the same way the teaching of intelligent design in public schools is currently being debated. MU Chancellor Brady Deaton moderated a forum in which a historian, a journalism professor, a biochemist and a religious studies professor discussed the impact of the 1925 Tennessee Scopes Trial on society. The forum at MU’s Life Sciences Center was intended to provide context to the play “The Great Monkey Trial,” part of the University Concert Series, which will be performed Oct. 30 and Nov. 1 in Jesse Auditorium.

Man pleads guilty to transporting illegal immigrants

Gelson Omar Mancilla-Santiago pleaded guilty Tuesday at the federal courthouse in the Jefferson City to conspiring to operate a business to transport illegal immigrants and illegally re-entering the U.S. Mancilla-Santiago, 22, said he was riding in and not driving a Chevy van that rolled over in June on Interstate 70, according to the Kansas City U.S. Attorney’s office.