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.

MU 85th on list of universities

MU and Columbia College were ranked among the nation’s best colleges in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best College List, released online Aug. 19 and in print today. MU placed 85th among top national universities. Its graduate program rankings were 17th for primary care in medicine, 35th in education and 69th in law. Columbia College ranked 35th among Midwestern comprehensive undergraduate colleges.

Hallsville roller hockey league names arena for former member

HALLSVILLE — Although the Hallsville Twisters Roller Hockey League’s biggest fan wasn’t present Sunday, everyone could feel her influence. The Whitney Briggs Memorial Hockey Arena was dedicated to a deceased former league member in a ceremony held before the first face-off.

After the Cuts

Alice and Jeff Vandyke have faced their share of hardships during their 19 years of marriage. Jeff has a developmental disability that’s left him with limited mobility from his neck down; Alice suffers from a back injury.

MU: No O’Neal settlement

MU officials expressed sympathy but indicated they did not feel any blame or responsibility for Aaron O’Neal’s death, according to attorneys representing Lonnie O’Neal, father of the deceased MU football player. Several weeks ago attorneys Bob Blitz and Scott Rosenblum contacted MU officials and asked them to accept responsibility for O’Neal’s death by making a public apology and paying a financial settlement that they termed “reasonable.”

Ashland rodeo: a muddy affair

Bulls, broncs, barrel racers and 150 contestants braved the mud at this weekend’s 29th annual Cattlemen’s Day Rodeo in Ashland. Despite soggy field parking and a soupy arena, rodeo events continued as planned with seven events: bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, barrel racing, team roping and bull riding.

Group holds summit to prepare for ‘06

A political activist group focusing on gay rights issues gathered on the MU campus Saturday to organize legislative, electoral and rural outreach for the 2006 elections. Personal Rights of Missourians, or PROMO, a statewide nonpartisan political organization focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, convened Saturday’s summit. The program featured a discussion on organizing volunteers for the 2006 elections, a session on reaching out to rural communities in Missouri and a lunch with three state legislators.

Use of new stem cells in doubt

A discovery last week showed that fusing adult skin cells with embryonic stem cells could lead to the creation of stem cells without having to create and destroy human embryos. But the preliminary findings, disclosed Aug. 20 on the Web site of the journal Science by a group of Harvard University scientists, are strictly theoretical, said Michael Roberts, director of MU’s Life Sciences Center.

Debate continues to surround death

On the 50th anniversary of the death of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy whose brutal murder stirred national outrage, his story continues to provoke strong emotion and controversy. The case has been reopened, Till’s body has been exhumed, and an MU professor has become the center of a heated debate about the details of the death — and plagiarism. Clenora Hudson-Weems, an English professor at MU, claims that the upcoming film by Keith Beauchamp, “The Untold Story of Emmett Till,” does not credit her for her contributions to the subject.

In any language, Christians

The smell of moth balls and warm potluck dishes drifts up the stairs into a wood-paneled room with small stained-glass windows. The steep steps are the only way to reach the sanctuary tucked away within the recesses of the brick building off of Rock Quarry Road. The tiny room evokes the upper room in the Book of Acts, where “each one heard them speaking in his own language.” (Acts 2:6) But for American visitors, the words spoken at Columbia’s Chinese Christian Church might be as confusing as those heard by the visitors to Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.

Glass Treatment

Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” The words ring especially true for glass artist Jane Domke. Seven years ago, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. At the time, Domke sang and played piano. The disease changed her voice and the mobility of her hands, and she could no longer hold a tune or negotiate the keyboard.

Menopause wreaks havoc on female lives

I hate watching courtroom dramas when the defendant on trial for murder is being cross-examined by the prosecuting attorney. The prosecutor asks an incriminating question such as: “Isn’t it true that you said in a bar last month that you would kill for an ice cream sundae?” “Yes, but-”

Focusing on vision

Mariam Decker and Shaon Fry have the kind of vision where everything is fuzzy in the morning, even a clock sitting inches away on a nightstand. Their first step of the day used to be putting on glasses or contacts. Not anymore. They have joined the approximately 12,000 to 15,000 patients in the United States who are using corneal refractive therapy. By wearing contact lenses overnight, CRT gently reshapes the corneas, or outer dome-shaped window covering the eyes. When the rigid lens is removed in the morning, most patients have up to nine hours of corrected vision.

Twelve-year-old and 8-year-old tied in watermelon-seed spitting contest at Summer Fest

Dozens of mid-Missouri residents competed Saturday morning to find out who can spit watermelon seeds the farthest. On the line was a $15 gift certificate to be used at the Columbia Farmers’ Market and the bragging rights that come along with being Summer Fest’s best spitter.

Medicaid recipients, health providers protest spending cuts

Roughly 30 Columbia health care providers, Medicaid recipients and others gathered Thursday to rally against the budget cuts responsible for Medicaid coverage reductions set to take effect Sunday. Bob Pund said he used to tell wheelchair users they would be able to get on with their lives. Because of Medicaid cuts, he said he’s not so sure any more.

Musician hopes residents get a taste of his craft

Saint Louis Symphony concertmaster David Halen envisions his music to be like fine dining, including his program at this weekend’s 30th annual Missouri River Festival of the Arts in Boonville. Halen said he wants his performance on Friday to be “an experience to be savored.”

Judge blocks part of Web law

A judge on Thursday granted a temporary restraining order to Boone, Cass, Jackson and Platte counties, blocking part of a new state law that would have prohibited the online publication of public officials’ personal information. Section 1 of Senate Bill 420, which would have taken effect Sunday, states no court, state or local agency shall post on the Internet the address, Social Security number or telephone number of any elected or appointed official without obtaining the official’s written permission first. The law would have applied to everyone from Gov. Matt Blunt to police officers.

Meth law fix ends in arrests arrests

A Boone County couple was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of producing methamphetamine after local pharmacies reported that the couple purchased meth-making ingredients. Their arrests were the first directly resulting from a new Missouri law that lets pharmacies and law enforcement track suspicious sales, Boone County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Stubbs said.

Technology adds to safety of roads

The Missouri Department of Transportation wants you driving with eyes wide open and inside the lines. To meet that goal, the Transportation Department began making three major improvements to 2,200 miles of major highways in July as part of the Proposition 3 initiative passed by voters last November. The Transportation Department will lay down a new system of “rumble strips,” new lane marking tape and a revamped mile-marker system.

Liability cases fly in before reforms

Attorney Larry Ferguson thought he was ahead of the game on Thursday. And then he received one more call. “I just took a call from a lady for a malpractice case, and I’m getting her in here tomorrow,” Ferguson said Thursday. “I thought I had all my cases filed.”