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Sheriff sends strangulation case evidence to 2 other law agencies

Evidence sent to two Missouri law enforcement agencies may help investigators make an arrest in the strangulation death of 77-year-old Zelpha Turner in the next few days, an official with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department said.

Sgt. Tom O’Sullivan said evidence collected from the crime scene at 6060 N. Highway VV and surrounding areas has been sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Kansas City Police Department for review.

Columbia College demonstrates unity

On a sunny, breezy morning, 125 graduating seniors of all ages walked through Rogers Gate at Columbia College, linked by an ivy chain.

Before commencement Saturday, seniors at the college took part in a tradition called the Ivy Chain Ceremony. The 104-year-old ceremony symbolizes how the students have grown close over the years. The chain of ivy is cut upon graduation to allow them to be themselves, while reminding them that they came from the same place, said senior Julie Kendrick, who sang at the event.

Restaurant wins award

Thomas Bair said he felt honored when he was awarded the Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s 2005 Small Business of the Year award, but added it’s not all about winning.

“Our business is not better than anyone else’s,” said Bair, owner of the Cherry Street Artisan cafe. “The fun thing about this is recognizing all the hard work that these business owners put into their job.”

Partners in Education celebrate 21st year

The air was full of blue and white flags and inspiration as a few hundred parents, teachers and students gathered for the 21st annual Partners in Education Flag Celebration on Thursday.

Partners in Education is an organization of businesses and public schools in Columbia that helps to promote educa-tion among students by sharing human resources. The celebration is held each May.

Victim feared repairman, sister says

Zelpha Turner told her sister only days before she was strangled that she was afraid of a neighbor she had hired to repair the roof of her garage.

Margery Wade of Centerville, Iowa, said Turner, who was 77, told her during an April 29 telephone conversation that she was thinking of investing in a home security system.

Report outlines security spending

JEFFERSON CITY — The state has received about $135 million in federal homeland security money since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and about $49 million of it has been spent, a report from Gov. Matt Blunt’s office said Thursday.

Blunt asked state agencies for an accounting of how that money is being spent in February, saying it was tough to track where the funds had gone. The figures cover funds received after Sept. 11, 2001, through 2004.

Senate OKs bill to ban inmate spit

JEFFERSON CITY — The Senate gave final approval on Thursday to legislation that makes it a felony for inmates to throw spit, urine or other bodily fluids on prison guards.

Another provision of the bill allows the state to collect up to $60 a month from those on parole or probation. The state parole board could consider an inmate’s ability to pay and allow for lower or no payments.

MOBIUS plans move to save money

Two state information technology providers will combine locations to save money after receiving cuts in the state budget.

Employees of the Missouri Bibliographic Information User System, also known as MOBIUS, information technology providers will move across the street to join the Missouri Research and Education Network, also known as MOREnet.

Music Cafe liquor license to be revoked on May 30

Music Cafe, located at 120 S. Ninth St., has lost its liquor license, said Terri Durdaller, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety.

The bar will lose its license to serve alcohol on May 30, Durdaller said, adding that the bar can appeal the department’s decision to the Administrative Hearing Commission.

State House sends budget to governor

JEFFERSON CITY — One state prison, one inmate work camp, more than 90,000 Medicaid recipients and more than 1,000 of the state’s full-time positions will be cut in the budget passed Thursday by the Missouri General Assembly. But $113 million has been added to the school foundation formula in the state’s $19.2 billion budget.

“We are still doing many great things for this state,” said House Budget Chairman Brad Lager, R-Maryville. “Many want to do more. We all recognize and acknowledge this, but at the end of the day, we can only help those with the greatest need.”

Two Wal-Mart fires cause damage, but no injuries

Arson is suspected in fires started at two Columbia Wal-Marts on Thursday night. The first blaze started at 9:24 p.m. in the women’s clothing department of the Wal-Mart Supercenter, 415 Conley Road. The second fire, also in the women’s clothing department, was called in 20 minutes later from the Wal-Mart at 405 E. Nifong Blvd.

The fires are presumed to have been intentionally set, Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Sapp said at a news conference held at 10:20 p.m. outside the Conley Road store. Sapp said that after the second fire, all the other Wal-Mart store locations in Columbia were alerted, as were the stores in Boonville, Fulton and Mexico, Mo.

Floyd mentioned as candidate for UNC presidency

A North Carolina newspaper has mentioned Elson Floyd, president of the University of Missouri System, as a possible candidate to lead the University of North Carolina System.

The Herald-Sun in Durham said in its April 23 edition that Floyd had “been mentioned privately among university faculty and administrators.”

Planning and Zoning reviews corridor plan

Columbia might soon have a plan to ensure consistent development along North Providence Road.

At Thursday night’s work session, the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed a plan for the commercial development on the North Providence Road corridor between Business Loop 70 and East Broadway. The plan, after revision, could be adopted by the City Council as not only a guideline for the Providence Road corridor development, but also as a model for similar plans in other areas of Columbia.

Funds to propel diversity plans

MU academic divisions might receive more money for having an improved diversity plan, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said Thursday.

At MU’s Faculty Council meeting, Deaton said he would allot an estimated $1.5 million to $2 million to be divided among the university’s divisions, but he would not grant the funds until he sees an improved diversity plan.

Investigation: Officer’s shot accidental

Columbia Police have released the name of the officer whose department-issue Remington .12 gauge shotgun discharged into the floor of a north Columbia duplex on April 16.

Officer Paul E. Dickinson, who has been with the Columbia Police Department for less than a year, faces disciplinary action for improper conduct, Capt. Sam Hargadine said. Although Hargadine would not say what disciplinary measures are being taken, he said Dickinson will not be dismissed.

Smoking ban for Columbia restaurants gets airing at subcommittee meeting

Jason Ksepka said he recently spent an entire Saturday in bed with a crippling headache, the result of consecutive nights out on the town at Music Cafe and Soco Club. He attributes the pain to the smoke-filled air at both venues.

“I was immobilized with a crippling headache. I could not do anything,” he said. “I couldn’t work; I couldn’t even sit in my bed and do my homework that I need to do because it was painful to look at the paper.”

Travelers declining at airport

The declining number of passengers at Columbia Regional Airport and possible ways to reverse the trend were the subject of a presentation to the Airport Advisory Board on Wednesday afternoon.

The airport has seen passenger numbers drop from 41,000 in 1994 to 18,000 in 2004. The situation has caused some fear about potentially losing commercial air service. Airport Superintendent Bill Boston responded to those fears Wednesday.

Police seek motive in death of 77-year-old

Investigators are looking for a break in the case of a 77-year-old woman who was strangled inside her rural Boone County home earlier this week.

Boone County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Tom O’Sullivan said there is no evidence that anyone forced their way into Zelpha Turner’s home at 6060 N. Route VV or took anything from the home. The victim’s granddaughter found Turner lying in her living room shortly before noon Monday.

Funding change advances

JEFFERSON CITY — A House committee approved an overhaul of how Missouri funds public schools on Wednesday, a change that Republicans say would balance the underfunded and highly criticized system. The plan, however, wouldn’t take full effect for more than seven years.

One day after Gov. Matt Blunt demanded action, suburban Republicans, who last week blocked the bill, reversed their votes. The shift proved strong enough to muscle the plan, which Blunt says will fix the state system, onto the House floor.

Remembering Kent State

First came the tear gas. Second came the 61 bullets. Then came the loss.

Columbia Peaceworks Director Mark Haim lost a childhood friend, Jeffrey Miller, on May 4, 1970, when Miller and three other Kent State students were killed by Ohio National Guardsmen after protesting the Vietnam War and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.

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