Gulf Coast cities take a beating from Katrina

NEW ORLEANS — Announcing itself with shrieking 145 mph winds, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast just outside New Orleans on Monday, submerging entire neighborhoods up to their roofs, swamping Mississippi’s beachfront casinos and killing at least 55 people.

Mo. lacks way to track Medicaid cuts’ impact

JEFFERSON CITY — As thousands of Missouri adults lose Medicaid coverage because of cutbacks, Missouri’s welfare agency says it does not have a plan to track the impact of the cuts on those who lose medical coverage. Under legislation approved earlier this year, Medicaid coverage will be eliminated for about 100,000 Missourians, effective Thursday. Nearly 250,000 more will lose partial services under the state health care program.

CHA gives six housing proposals

A Columbia Housing Association task force presented six options Monday for the redevelopment of the Park Avenue Housing Project. All but one called for the complete demolition of the existing 70 multifamily homes. Immediately after the meeting, a group called Grass Roots Organizing held a press conference to announce a survey report that found 86 percent of Park Avenue residents surveyed oppose complete demolition of their homes and 74 percent said they do not feel that the CHA has involved them in the planning and decision-making process.

Evidence limits sought in slaying

An evidentiary motion filed Monday by attorneys for murder defendant Ryan Ferguson revealed that hairs recovered from a slain Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor’s body in November 2001 did not match hair from either of the two men accused in his killing or the victim’s hair. Defense attorneys Charles Rogers and Jeremy Weis want to either prohibit the state from speculating about the source of the unidentified hairs or require the state to test the DNA of all emergency personnel on the scene.

MU police got lots of reports over weekend

An unusually high number of MU campus police reports were filed last weekend, including four burglaries, two sexual assaults and two trespassing incidents in MU residential halls. MU police said they also received two reports of men entering restrooms while women were showering and then leaving after being confronted by the women. MU police Capt. Brian Wei­mer said there might be more reports from the weekend once all the paperwork is completed. He said the high number of incidents prompted a mass e-mail to all MU students and the posting of signs in residential halls detailing ways to curb the problem.

Columbia workers to help in storm area

Even though the Gulf Coast communities most affected by Hurricane Katrina are hundreds of miles away, the storm’s effects are hitting home for many in Columbia. Several local groups and charities have begun sending aid.

Fallen bricks take boilers out of service on MU campus

A 20-foot section of bricks fell off a 70-foot storage structure at the MU power plant around noon Aug. 19, causing no injuries but taking three boilers already scheduled for maintenance out of service early. The cause is being investigated by campus facilities staff and outside consultants, including a structural engineer.

Nothing replaces good education

My niece moved recently into a school district in another state where her children will be required to wear uniforms to school. She is delighted as are other members of the family. When it comes to education, we continue to embrace the old school standards that were in force when we attended school. As far as we are concerned, it wasn’t broke so it didn’t need fixing. School uniforms solve a number of problems for my niece. Perhaps the most important one is that it renders the entire subject of wearing apparel moot. That means that parents and school administrators can give their attention to matters of curriculum and other important issues. I’m glad that I grew up in a generation that took education seriously. This keeps me in touch with people of other generations who share the same attitude. This group includes grandparents, parents and children who understand that the world of technology has made the pursuit of learning more, not less, valuable. A simple visit to a public library confirms the fact that the thirst for knowledge is alive and well.

McCaskill to run for Senate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Democratic state auditor Claire McCaskill announced today that she plans to challenge Republican Sen. Jim Talent.

Getting ready to go

In the car—On our way to Katrina

Big Easy clears out as Katrina roars in

NEW ORLEANS — A monstrous Hurricane Katrina barreled toward New Orleans on Sunday with sustained winds of 160 mph and the threat of a 28-foot storm surge, forcing a mandatory evacuation of the below-sea-level city and prayers for those who remained to face a doomsday scenario. “Have God on your side, definitely have God on your side,” Nancy Noble said as she sat with her puppy and three friends in six lanes of one-way traffic on gridlocked Interstate 10. “It’s very frightening.”

Medicaid recipients swamp clinics

John Young, 60, went to the Family Dental Center last month and had cavities filled. He’s scheduled to return in September, but at his next visit, he will no longer have Medicaid to cover four tooth extractions and the partial dentures that will replace them, all of which will cost $1,433. Instead, he will be paying out of pocket on the sliding fee schedule the clinic offers to those without insurance. Young said he plans to pay for the next visit using the disability check he receives for arthritis and spinal stinosis.

Police investigating car shooting

Columbia police were investigating a shooting on Third Avenue near Garth Avenue on Sunday. There were no injuries or identifiable damage to any property, according to a release from Sgt. Ken Smith of the Columbia Police Department. Shortly after the report of shots fired, police stopped a blue car at about 2 p.m. near Providence Road and Switzler Street. Four men, ages 17 to 20, were taken into custody for questioning. They had been identified as potential shooters by a 911 caller, but police later said they were the target of the shooting.

Columbia man charged with drug trafficking

A Columbia man was arrested Saturday night on a drug trafficking charge after a search of his residence revealed marijuana, cocaine and Ecstacy, according to a release from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. Adam B. Stutesman, 22, was charged with one count of distribution, delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance. Members of the department’s drug unit served a search warrant at 917 North Cooper Drive, turning up the drugs as well as drug paraphernalia, a digital scale and $730 cash.

Community Band director is fondly remembered

Sitting on the hood of a Model A Ford listening to the Sweet Springs Band, 3-year-old Keith House’s heart was captured. It was his first memory of falling in love with music and he never let go. Years later at Central College in Fayette, Mr. House’s heart was captured once again when he met his wife of 55 years, Ilene, a piano player who began to accompany his trumpet solos.

Tuition plan gets mixed reactions

Whether you like what you have heard about a guaranteed tuition rate floated by University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd, it all comes down to money. “This will be a lot better plan,” said David Fagen, a Marceline father of future college students, at the town’s public forum on Aug. 16. “It will be like a car payment or a house payment. You have a set amount that you know and you can plan ahead for that.

Art out of junk

Creating art from the less-than-mundane is nothing new. In 1917, Marcel Duchamp, combining shock value with a complex intellectual statement, scribbled on a urinal and called it art.

Few appeal Missouri’s Medicaid cutbacks

JEFFERSON CITY — The public outcry over Missouri’s Medicaid cuts seemed significant — Capitol protests, critical editorials, frequent news conferences by advocates for the poor and disabled. But officially, the Department of Social Services reports a mere whimper of objection.

Grass Roots Organizing releases anti-Blunt film

A crowd of protesters with the anti-poverty interest group Grass Roots Organizing chanted loudly outside Gov. Matt Blunt’s Capitol office in April, criticizing his efforts to push Medicaid cuts through the General Assembly. “Matt! Matt! Come on out! See what Missouri’s all about!” the group chanted, but to no avail. The scene is one of the more compelling in “Blunt Trauma,” a 30-minute video that premiered Thursday night at the organizing group’s office on Garth Avenue.