Missouri home schools not tracked

Missouri law allows any parent to home-school, said Jim Morris, spokesman for the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. “They are supposed to keep a log or a diary that provides some basic information about what subject they teach and how much time they spend at it.”

Home schooling: First-person perspectives

"There are a lot of things considering home schooling that I could talk about. I think I would like to start by busting a few myths...."

Ferguson found guilty; jury recommends 30-40 years

Ryan Ferguson was convicted late Friday of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the 2001 slaying of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.

Fire Chief speaks out against criticisms

Reading a typed statement in front of board members and a full audience Thursday, embattled Boone County Fire Protection District Fire Chief Steve Paulsell supported bringing in a communication consultant and spoke out for the first time against criticism of how he runs the fire district. Paulsell said he took personal offense to Columbia Daily Tribune columnist Tony Messenger’s Oct. 12 column, in which Messenger said Paulsell views his volunteers as “turkeys,” or people that hinder an organization’s development. Paulsell responded by saying he has turned down better paying jobs because Boone County is his home and because of the firefighters.

Realty group neutral in tax debate

The Columbia Board of Realtors has decided not to take an official position on Propositions 1 through 6, a set of proposals the City Council has placed on the Nov. 8 ballot to pay for an array of capital projects. Propositions 1 through 3 seek extensions of existing taxes to pay for parks and public safety projects. Proposition 4 also seeks a tax extension for streets, sidewalks and related transportation work. Proposition 5 would increase by one-eighth of a cent the capital improvements sales tax for streets.

Man pleads guilty to January slaying

A Columbia man pleaded guilty Thursday to stabbing one person to death and injuring another at a Columbia convenience store in January. Richard Barney Jr., 27, of Columbia pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for an incident that occurred at Break Time on Business Loop 70 East and Garth Avenue on Jan. 10. As part of a plea agreement, additional charges of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action against Barney were dismissed.

Planning and Zoning Commission signs off on golf course, apartments

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday unanimously recommended approval of a 117-acre development complete with a nine-hole golf course. The development, The Links at Columbia, would hold 64 apartment buildings, each housing 12 units, for a total of 768 apartments in addition to the golf course. It would be developed by Fayetteville, Ark.-based Lindsey Management. The proposed property is divided by Clark Lane and is bordered by Ballenger Lane to the west, Thessalia Subdivision to the north and Interstate 70 to the south.

Ferguson denies killing Heitholt

Murder defendant Ryan Ferguson took the stand Thursday and — looking from his attorney to the jury — said he did not kill Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in November 2001. Ferguson, 21, was arrested along with Charles Erickson on March 10, 2004, in connection with the beating and strangulation of Heitholt in the parking lot of the Tribune the morning after Halloween 2001. He was charged with first-degree murder and second-degree robbery in connection with the killing.

Faculty Council considers relaxing admissions standards

Missouri high school students hoping to attend MU could soon face easier admissions standards. MU’s Faculty Council discussed a proposal Thursday by University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd that would automatically admit students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class who have completed high school credit requirements and taken the ACT.

Lectures bring together amateur, professional science communities

The human brain is three times larger than a chimp’s. David Geary, an MU professor of psychological sciences, turned a graduate-level lecture on the origin of the mind into a session for the general public.

Student Hispanic groups to converge at MU for conference

Student Hispanic groups from throughout the Midwest will converge in Columbia on Saturday for the annual conference of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization. “Hispanics in the Community: Looking Ahead to the Future” will begin with a welcome from MU Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton.

Injured officer returns to patrol

Columbia police Officer Curtis Brown had a busy first couple of days back at work. He wasn’t occupied patrolling his new beat in south Columbia on Thursday;. his day was packed with nearly back-to-back media interviews.

GRO wants Medicaid on ballot

JEFFERSON CITY — A welfare advocacy group has launched a campaign to restore Medicaid benefits to thousands of Missourians. Grass Roots Organizing wants the initiative to be on the November 2006 ballot. The People’s Health Care Initiative would prevent the state legislature from ending Medicaid coverage in 2008. It would also change the income requirement for elderly and disabled Missourians to be at 100 percent of the federal poverty level, allowing more people to qualify for the program than under the current guidelines.

Candid camera catches deer

Forget pop idols. Step aside, movie stars. Who cares about sporting heroes? The new celebrities in town are white-tailed deer. “Deercam,” a camera mounted on the heads of deer, will provide up-close and personal footage of the mammals feeding, breeding, grooming, fighting and generally messing around.

Tax would allow funds for new police facilities

Driving by the Columbia Police Department’s headquarters downtown, it’s hard not to notice the police cars spilling out of the garage, parked not only along Sixth and Walnut streets but also in the city-owned lot across from the post office. “You can see outside there are cars parked all over the place,” Columbia Police Capt. Mike Martin said. “We rent spaces in public lots for their cars, not to mention what we take up on the streets.”

Fire Department outlines projects

A relic of decades-old design, the Columbia Fire Department’s Station No. 7 could soon become a casualty of 21st century Columbia-style growth. The walls inside the building are breaking apart. Fire trucks have a hard time getting on the road in emergencies because of traffic at South Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard. Drab green and brown paint make it a bit of an eyesore.

10 years, 15 new trucks

Think you get sticker shock when you go to buy a new car? Try buying a firetruck. The Columbia Fire Department hopes to buy or refurbish 15 firetrucks within 10 years. Some trucks could cost more than a half million dollars each, and the department hopes to cover the total cost of $8.09 million with proceeds from Proposition 3.

A new spin in spelling lessons

The Columbia School Board took a lesson in spelling Thursday morning. Val Garton, language arts coordinator for the district, introduced a spelling program that aims to teach students to spell by using what they already know.

Grave-digging activist found guilty

Columbia activist Lana Jacobs was found guilty of property damage Thursday by Boone County Circuit Court Judge Larry A. Bryson for digging symbolic graves on the MU campus in May to protest the war in Iraq. Jacobs, 56, who runs Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen and St. Francis House homeless shelter, said she was not surprised at the verdict and said she felt it was still a victory for her cause.

Beating inquiry under way

A Maryland man visiting a friend at MU for Homecoming weekend said he was assaulted early Saturday by a group of men who came out of the Kappa Alpha fraternity house. Daniel Maddox, 20, said he was walking past the house at 1301 University Ave. around 3 a.m. Saturday when six men surrounded him, first taunting then attacking him.