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Vets’ families would benefit under bill

JEFFERSON CITY — House members endorsed legislation Tuesday that would provide a free college education to the spouses and children of military members killed or seriously wounded in combat.

Sponsoring Rep. Mike Cunningham, R-Marshfield, said 31 Missourians had been killed in the war in Iraq, but he did not know how many family members would qualify for the scholarships. They could be granted to the families of anyone killed or suffering 80 percent disability from combat action after Sept. 11, 2001.

Students lobby for vote on Board of Curators

JEFFERSON CITY — It has been more than 20 years in the making, and on Tuesday, student lobbyists from MU said they are on the verge of successfully gaining full voting rights on the university’s governing board of curators.

“This could be the year we get it done,” MU student lobbyist Charles Stadtlander said.

Symphony society announces full summer lineup

A 17-year-old piano virtuoso, a Generation-X violinist, a multi-choir community concert and tributes to both the Beatles and Beethoven are just a few of the featured performances scheduled for the Missouri Symphony Society’s summer season.

The society announced its eight-week schedule Monday for the 2005 Hot Summer Nights Music Festival. The series will comprise 17 performances in June and July, held mainly at the Missouri Theatre. This year’s festival is a week longer than last summer’s and includes three additional concerts.

Little and loving it

As the bell rings for school to end, Barbara Stratton knows her job. She’s the crossing guard for kids, the greeter for parents and the dismissal coordinator for the school. That, and she’s the principal.

“Is your mom coming to chess (club) tomorrow night?” Stratton asks one student as Cedar Ridge Elementary School is being dismissed. When he says Mom can’t make it, she runs to her office to send home a flier.

Medicaid faces more cuts

JEFFERSON CITY — Sen. Chuck Purgason, R-Caulfield, has a problem with Medicaid.

“The system we’ve got here sucks,” Purgason told a Senate committee Monday. He was there presenting a bill that would eliminate a number of state health services, including coverage for expenses related to dental work, podiatry, wheelchairs, eye care and prosthetic limbs.

Off the Ground

With a few strong pushes, Alex Hoffman launches himself into a skateboarding flow.

The 13-year-old Smithton Middle School student speeds down a vertical ramp at Columbia Skate Park, continuing through a concrete half-pipe, gaining momentum and confidence with each successful move.

Request prompts smoking ban study

City and county health officials got the thumbs up to investigate proposed changes to Columbia’s smoking ordinance at Monday night’s Columbia City Council meeting.

The council voted 5-1 to let the Columbia/Boone County Board of Health form a committee to look into a potential indoor smoking ban.

Annexation proposals delayed by City Council

Opponents of Billy Sapp’s 1,000-acre annexation proposal fought and won round one Monday. Now it’s round two, and opponents are ready for another fight.

Harg Area Residents for Responsible Growth spokeswoman Renee Richmond voiced the group’s concerns at a public hearing on the revised Billy Sapp annexation proposal at a Columbia City Council meeting Monday night. The proposed annexation would bring 170 acres into the city limits.

Environmental stances challenged

A nationally recognized scientist and author challenged conventional wisdom about the environment and its relationship to the U.S. economy in a speech at MU’s Life Sciences Center on Monday.

Jay Lehr began his presentation by warning, “What I’m going to tell you is not what you’re used to hearing.”

Substance-abuse agency would lose half of funds

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Department of Mental Health opened its books to a Senate committee Monday amid protests against Gov. Matt Blunt’s proposed cuts.

Department director Dorn Schuffman told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the division of alcohol and drug abuse would lose nearly half its funding to Blunt’s proposed Medicaid cuts, which total about $12 million.

Legislators left waiting to hear from students

The scene Monday in Brady Commons was in ways reminiscent of a junior high school dance — only this time the wallflowers were state legislators waiting to talk with MU students.

Sitting at their own tables in Brady, lawmakers who represent areas of Columbia were there by invitation to meet students and to find out what issues concern them.

Blunt taps Rolla native as director of services

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s new director of social services says improving child safety is his top priority.

Gary Sherman, who was named to head the Department of Social Services by Gov. Matt Blunt on Monday, has experience working in Missouri government stretching back to 1974, including two stints as a division director in the 1980s.

17 brush fires fought in northern Boone

By JOE MEYER

news@columbiamissourian.com

Development is in works east of Columbia

A trio of property owners are planning to develop their land to create Richland Crossings, a 250-acre development on both sides of Richland Road east of Columbia.

Developers Garry and Drake Lewis and David Atkins began discussing plans in November to create a commercial and residential development at the intersection of Richland Road and a proposed extension of Stadium Boulevard to be called Highway 740.

Living in denial can hinder change

It’s hard to function around people in denial. You have to be so careful not to jar them out of their state of bliss.

  It’s not so bad when their condition is based only on personal relationship issues. For example, if they are in denial that their mate is unfaithful or that their children are deadbeats. People caught up in that kind of denial are usually harmful only to themselves.

Anti-porn bill gets first-round Senate OK

JEFFERSON CITY — With little debate, the Senate gave first-round approval Monday to legislation aiming to make it tough for the adult entertainment industry to operate in Missouri.

The bill, SB 32, would impose a charge of $5 per customer for sexually oriented businesses, from strip clubs to adult bookstores, and a 20 percent tax on their revenues. The provisions are similar to what casinos in the state already must pay.

600 more workers at UM shift to hourly

Last month, an additional 600 employees in the University of Missouri System became eligible for overtime pay, a result of new Fair Labor Standards Act regulations imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2004.

That brings the number of new nonexempt employees to 1,200 since August.

MU instructor mulls home guru’s image

Well before domestic guru Martha Stewart left a federal prison in West Virginia on Friday morning, a team of public relations experts was working to reshape Stewart’s public persona.

They might want to give MU’s Melissa Click a call.

County would lose 178 jobs under Medicaid proposal

Boone County workers and businesses could lose 178 jobs and $12.6 million under Gov. Matt Blunt’s proposed Medicaid overhaul, a statewide study by Saint Louis University economists shows.

In a county-by-county assessment, two SLU economics professors examined the fiscal impact of reduced Medicaid spending by the state, which would trigger losses of federal matching funds. Boone County ranks seventh among the state’s 67 counties in terms of projected job losses and lost revenue in the community.

County growth causes concern

At the center of Harrisburg, Palmer’s Market is not only a gas station, convenience store and restaurant, but also a town square. This is where many people in the town of 184 gather to exchange news and gossip over a cup of coffee and a bite to eat.

“When they walk in the door, we can say, ‘Hey, Bill!’ ‘How you doing, Dale?’ ‘Hello, Toby,’ ” market owner Dana Palmer said. “That’s what I like about living here. Everybody knows everybody.”

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