Education speaker criticizes school practices

An education speaker at the Blue Note Wednesday criticized schooling practices in America, saying they lead to “little people sunk in chronic boredom.” To a crowd of more than 100 people, John Taylor Gatto, a Pennsylvania native who was named New York City Teacher of the Year three times, said America’s school system is failing because quick-fix solutions, such as longer school days and smaller class sizes, do little to actually individualize education.

Citizen Jane speaker focuses on media portrayal of women

Images have the power to evoke strong emotion, define societal roles and expectations, and evoke a feeling of truth. But the power of images, said a speaker at Stephens College Wednesday night, is hurting people’s ability to define themselves. Barabara Wiener is the founder of TVbyGIRLS, an organization that promotes healthy images of girls. Wiener told a packed-out auditorium at the college that advertisements reinforce women’s sexualized image, their inferiority to men, and women’s stereotypical role as wife and mother, through the use of imagery.

Red Cross asks for help

A lone pine French door leans against an office wall at the Boone County chapter of the American Red Cross. A taped sign reads “I need a volunteer to hang me! Please bring a friend!!” Workers at the Red Cross office have been so busy helping hurricane relief efforts that they’ve had no time to install the new door. The relief center’s staff and volunteers have been working 14 to 16 hours a day to meet the needs of people displaced by the hurricane or to help with administrative tasks, Red Cross board member Greg Baker said.

County task force returns

After an 11-day deployment, Task Force I arrived home Wednesday. The incredible number of rescues the task force performed, at one point averaging 100 an hour, left many members in a state bordering on disbelief of their own accomplishments. “We knew it was going to be bad, but I don’t think anybody really had a clue how bad,” said Assistant Chief Doug Westhoff, the task force’s leader. “Having been to New Orleans before and knowing the layout of the place and some of the key areas — primarily tourist areas — I had a feel of the city. “I knew it was densely populated, but we weren’t quite sure how many people had been evacuated,” Westhoff said. “The magnitude of the event though, as widespread as it was — the damage to buildings, to the infrastructure, the inaccessibility because of the flooding — the magnitude of all of those things combined was overwhelming.”

Churches raise thousands to support hurricane victims

Local churches have raised almost $100,000 to support Hurricane Katrina victims. Donations poured in during special offerings at Sunday services and have continued to come into church offices this week. At Missouri United Methodist Church alone, attendees donated over $50,000. The church business manager, Bob Elliot, said part of the money will be used to fill an 18-wheeler with health kits to take to refugee sites. Several other churches also are assembling health kits with some of their donations. First Presbyterian Church raised over $2,500 on Sunday, according to Ruth Thompson, the financial secretary, and is asking members to help make health kits.

Quality of streams still OK

The Missouri Clean Water Commission on Wednesday overruled a recommendation from its staff in deciding to classify three Boone County streams as safe for “whole-body” recreation such as swimming. The Hinkson, Bear and Perche creeks will retain their “whole-body” designation under the ruling that governs water quality standards. That means the Boone County Regional Sewer District will have to limit levels of bacteria in effluent that’s discharged into the streams.

Web law could be repealed

On the second day of the legislative special session, the Missouri House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday afternoon to amend a new law that would have banned the publishing of public officials’ personal information on the Internet. The amendment would repeal the law and replace it with a ban on publishing personal information with an intent to cause physical harm or death.

MU teacher stresses aid for children

When there is a call for help during times of tragedy, Arshad Husain, a professor of child psychiatry and child health at MU, has been quick to answer by traveling to the afflicted area and lending his expertise. Husain, who is making plans to visit areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, spoke Wednesday about his work around the world, including in Bosnia, the West Bank, India and, most recently, tsunami-stricken Indonesia.

UMKC looks to set up fund

A Kansas City task force has found that people and businesses in the area would be more comfortable donating money to the University of Missouri-Kansas City through a nonprofit endowment board. The Greater Kansas City Area’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Higher Education released a recommendation Tuesday for UMKC to establish one or more private endowment foundations, also called a 501(c)(3), to help increase donations. This endowment board would work separately but collaborate with UMKC, said Larry Jacob, senior vice president of community investment for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

Rock Bridge teacher pleads not guilty to molestation

The Rock Bridge High School teacher accused of inappropriately touching a male student pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Thursday. Judith F. Burke, 51, is charged with second-degree child molestation, a misdemeanor. Burke has been free on her own recognizance since Aug. 10, the day of her arrest.

Back to life

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Efforts in mid-Mo. to be coordinated

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Boone County wants to help. The Boone County Chapter of the Red Cross and the Salvation Army have helped 92 evacuees come to their shelters. Boone County Realtors are offering nearly 50 properties for free or at sharply reduced rates to help with long-term housing. The Columbia/Boone County Health Department is providing medical attention, and the Central Missouri Food Bank is collecting food.

Legislation to limit abortions introduced

The Missouri General Assembly’s special session beginning Tuesday convened just long enough for two abortion restriction bills to be introduced. The House of Representatives adjourned after just five minutes, and fewer than 30 representatives were present.

Hit-and-run suspect in jail

A Columbia man was in fair condition at University Hospital as of Tuesday afternoon after two witnesses said he was deliberately struck by a vehicle early Sunday morning in a hit-and-run accident. Jesse Crane, 23, was taken by ambulance to University Hospital and treated for leg and hip injuries after being struck at 2:16 a.m. Sunday in the 3200 block of Gazelle Drive, Columbia police Capt. Stephen Monticelli said.

Baker wins over Oprah’s chef

Since childhood, Sonja Allen’s delicious cooking has attracted attention from all sorts of people. As an 11-year-old growing up in East St. Louis, Ill., Allen would keep busy baking her own version of a neighbor’s lemon cake to bring to her teachers at school. Over the next 30 years, Allen would make a habit of borrowing recipes, tweaking them and testing them on family and friends. Her talent for finding the right blend of ingredients would win over classmates and family members. In January, that technique won over Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef.

Group formed to support tax proposals

Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman has created a committee of 30 residents to inform the community about the six propositions that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. Members met Tuesday night for the first time. “We believe (the ballot issues) are a good package for the community and are very important to the community,” Hindman said.

City to send workers to disaster areas

Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman confirmed Tuesday that the city will send two firefighters and one health department worker to help in hurricane-stricken areas. Hindman also said the city expects to send electric linemen to the area at some point and will provide as many people as necessary in response to further requests.

Postal service urges address changes

The U.S. Postal Service asks anyone unable to receive mail at their permanent address to file a change of address immediately. They can be filed at or by calling 800-ASK-USPS. Beginning Thursday, un- claimed Social Security checks will be sent to the forwarding address. If no change has been filed, checks will be returned to the Social Security Administration.

Columbia-based insurers keep busy

Six thousand claims in Mississippi have been filed with Shelter Insurance Co. in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Joe Moseley, vice president for Shelter in Columbia, is helping out in Mississippi. He said the company has received no claim numbers from Louisiana.