MUnity to assist students in Africa

Jordan Smith has spent her life creating and organizing service projects. Now taking her cue from actor Brad Pitt, she is breathing life into her latest one. Smith, a senior business major, in May founded MUnity, an organization to raise money to send African children to primary school.

Women see benefit of female schools

Compared to the glory days of the 1960s and ’70s, women’s colleges across the nation have watched their popularity plummet. But with a renewed interest and increased enrollment in recent years, things are starting to look a little brighter, and Stephens College is reaping the benefits. Creating that change has not been easy. Stephens, like other women’s colleges across the country, has gone into survival mode by implementing a five-year Renaissance Plan: changing curriculum, focusing on strengths and eliminating majors with little interest.

Three arrested after series of robberies

Two women and a man were arrested Sunday after a series of armed robberies over the weekend. The suspects face charges of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action in at least one of the robberies, though a police report said more charges might be brought pending further investigation into similar incidents.

Suspect arrested in party shooting

A 21-year-old man was shot in the chest at a party early Monday morning and driven to a hospital by the man suspected of shooting him. Corey Frye, 19, is accused of shooting the man with a handgun at a party at 5001 Kirk Hill Road, according to Columbia police Sgt. Scott Young. The shooting occurred just after midnight, police said. Frye was later arrested and charged with assault.

WANTED: Male teachers

Like most elementary school classrooms in Columbia, the environment in Clint Darr’s room at Cedar Ridge Elementary School caters to children. The air smells of glue and markers. A border of red and yellow apples runs the length of each wall. A reading corner has a couch and beanbag chairs. As the school day winds down, children clean up their desks in preparation for the final bell. Darr stands at the door as his fourth-graders file out, hunched slightly under their book bags.

Housing prices drive ballot debate

Carol Van Gorp worries about the future of affordable housing in Columbia. As chief executive officer of the Columbia Board of Realtors, Van Gorp thinks approval of Proposition 6 on the Nov. 8 ballot will price some people out of the housing market. Proposition 6 asks voters to authorize the Columbia City Council to increase development charges by 400 percent, from 10 cents per square foot to 50 cents per square foot, over the next five years. The increase would happen gradually, producing an estimated $19 million for major street projects.

Fire board approves gas voucher increase

For the first time since the 1980s, the Boone County Fire Protection District board voted unanimously to increase the value of gas vouchers given to volunteer first responders. Board member John Gordon said gas vouchers have been a part of the fire district since the early 1970s. The purpose of the vouchers is to reimburse first responders — such as volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians — who often arrive on the scene of an incident in their personal vehicles.

School bus drivers in high demand

At a time when the Columbia Public School District has hit a new high in its enrollment — up 431 students, or 3 percent, over last year — there are fewer bus drivers to get students to school. It’s more a struggle than a shortage. Blake Tekotte, the district’s coordinator of transportation, said it’s always a challenge to obtain and retain a full staff of qualified bus drivers.

Americans dole out billions of dollars for Halloween

Hollow pumpkins bearing toothless grins guard front porches, and the candy section at the local supermarket has grown from one aisle to three. This can only mean one thing: Halloween is at the door. Consumers are expected to spend $3.29 billion on the ghostly holiday, up 5.4 percent from $3.12 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2005 Halloween survey.

Legislators consider options for covering uninsured

JEFFERSON CITY — Social advocates say health care for the uninsured is a major problem, one that’s only getting worse in Missouri after the state knocked thousands off Medicaid this year and increased requirements for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But there’s no easy solution to the issue. A panel of lawmakers working to overhaul the Medicaid health insurance system for the poor says they must also deal with the uninsured but haven’t yet figured out the course to take.

Advocate: Racism behind health gap

ST. LOUIS — An advocate for the state’s uninsured and underinsured said racism is partly to blame for blacks’ relatively poor health in St. Louis. James Kimmey, president and chairman of the Missouri Foundation for Health, said Saturday that “the built-in racism and discrimination in our health care system” treats some people as less deserving of quality health care.

Woman robbed at gunpoint, police say

A woman was robbed on the 900 block of Spencer Avenue at 7 p.m. Saturday, according to Columbia police. The woman told police that, after entering her car, she was approached by three men. According to the Police Department, the men pointed a handgun at the woman and stole her purse, then fled on foot. No injuries were reported.

Police: Man robbed while working on car

A 47-year-old Columbia man was robbed at gunpoint Sunday afternoon while working on his car on Claudell Lane, police said. The man, who was not injured, told police the suspect approached him and demanded money. The suspect was last seen fleeing the scene, headed north.

Officials: Shots limit flu mutation

A toss-up of cold chills and fever, debilitating lethargy, respiratory secretions and the chance for a secondary illness are just a few reasons to be vaccinated to avoid a seasonal bout with influenza. But now there may be a new, more noble reason to expose yourself to the needle. “That flu shot protects you from the currently circulating strain of flu,” said Eddie Hedrick, emerging infectious disease coordinator with the state of Missouri.

Columbia male injured in shooting

A Columbia resident went to the hospital Saturday after an incident involving a gun earlier that morning. Torrey Donte Williams of Columbia was treated for a bullet wound at University Hospital’s Emergency Room, a news release by the Boone County Sheriff’s Department said.

MU System not looking to buy Kemper property

Although Elson Floyd, president of the University of Missouri System, toured the unused Kemper Military School in Boonville on Wednesday, his spokesman said the system has no plans to pursue the property. “Dr. Floyd often hears proposals or tours facilities,” said Joe Moore.

Property lawsuit threatens Cooper’s Landing home

Cooper’s Landing owner Michael Cooper’s mobile home is being threatened by a lawsuit over property lines. Crowley’s Cove Farm, which filed the lawsuit Aug. 31, owns the 82.5 acre area next to Cooper’s property. Parcel maps on the Boone County Web site,, show that about half of Cooper’s mobile home crosses the property line. Mick Wilson, Cooper’s attorney, said in the response to the petition filed by Crowley’s Cove that Cooper believed the “disputed portion” of land belonged to him since he had used the land for more than 10 years. Wilson also included in the response a letter written by William J. Crowley Jr., owner of Crowley’s Cove Farm, to demonstrate that Crowley was aware of Cooper’s presence on the land.

Who’s on list? City waits to ID picks

While the Columbia City Council has asked the public to submit questions for the five finalists vying to become the next city manager, some residents and organizations are frustrated that they don’t know who the candidates are.

Burning tires to fuel fires

People looking to get rid of their old tires Saturday had an opportunity to dispose of them at the Boone County Fairgrounds. The Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District administered a waste tire collection where residents could pay to have unwanted tires scrapped. The district accepted car tires for $1 each and tires larger than 16 inches for $5. Tires brought in with rims were charged double the price. Last year the tire collection was free, but the costs of dealing with the tires forced District Coordinator Matthew Harline to charge money for the service.


HALLOWEEN TIGER NIGHT OF FUN A free alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating with activities for children in sixth grade or younger; 6 to 8 p.m. Monday; Hearnes Center Field House, use east entrance.