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Charity gets TV aid

A family’s loss and a community’s need has prompted the host of The Learning Channel’s “Moving Up” to bring his crew to Columbia for a $100,000 makeover of the Ronald McDonald House. Doug Wilson, also a designer on TLC’s “Trading Spaces,” started working Sunday to spruce up the family room of the Ronald McDonald House near University Hospital. Ronald McDonald houses offer donations-only shelter for the families of hospitalized children.

Principal explains resignation

Crystal Church said her decision to step down as principal of Grant Elementary School was “extremely difficult” but also a heartfelt move to spend more time with family. “I was working 70 hours a week, and my children were growing up before my eyes,” said Church, who has a school-age son and daughter. “My oldest daughter is in sixth grade, so I only have seven more years to spend with her.”

Film Office to get tourism funds

The Missouri Film Office will be able to operate a lot closer to full strength thanks to a donation from the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. The state of Missouri cut the Film Office’s budget for fiscal 2006 from $200,000 to $150,000, but members of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board want to help the office cope by giving it $30,000.

Edgy artist brings taboo work to MU

Like many artists, the photographer Andres Serrano has often been described as iconoclastic and controversial. But not many others have been publicly denounced as a “jerk” by a U.S. senator. That was in 1989, when Jesse Helms, a Republican from North Carolina, took offense to a $15,000 federal grant to Serrano, whose most notorious work at the time was an image, entitled “Piss Christ,” of a crucifix submerged in the artist’s own urine.

Educators wary of panel proposal

Columbia School Board members and two of Missouri’s major education associations have voiced concerns about proposals from the governor’s reorganization commission that would give the governor more power over the state’s top education officials. “It seems to me like a move to consolidate power in the governor’s office,” said Greg Jung, president of the Missouri National Education Association.

Construction of ethanol plant in Laddonia to be discussed

Alternative energy production is coming closer to Columbia. East Central Ag Products members are expected to gather this afternoon at Mexico’s Presser Hall to discuss recent developments in their goal of building an ethanol plant in nearby Laddonia. ECAP has invited all of its estimated 600 members.

Developers to repair creek bank

Developers of land along Grindstone Parkway will beautify and stabilize a section of the bank of Hinkson Creek in Stephens Lake Park to compensate for watershed damage their development will cause downstream. The work by THF Red Oak Development will fulfill an obligation to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which required the “off-site mitigation” as a condition of the permit it granted for the Grindstone Parkway project.

Challenger announces bid for Harris’ state seat

The 2006 general election is more than a year away, but some battle lines are already being drawn. Officials at several levels of government will be up for election, from county officials to U.S. senators. On Tuesday, Christopher Davis said he would challenge Democratic incumbent Jeff Harris for the 23rd District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives. Harris is the House minority leader.

Fulton man shot himself as he slept

A Fulton man who is still a “person of interest” in connection with the slaying of his wife in June was in good condition Tuesday afternoon at University Hospital after shooting himself in the leg Saturday morning. Fulton Police Chief Steven Myers said John T. Reed, 29, called police around 5 a.m. Saturday to report the accident. Myers said Reed told police that he fell asleep with a loaded gun in his lap and that the gun went off, but Myers said police are not sure exactly what happened.

Tax watchdog creates Mo. bureau

A national agency that examines the effects of tax policies is now working alongside Columbia’s grass-roots advocacy groups. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has opened its first Midwest regional office at 611 N. Garth Ave. The national nonprofit research organization’s goal is to ensure fair tax practices and to keep legislators, media and the public informed of the effects of existing and proposed tax polices.

Four Columbia fire instructors honored

Four Columbia Fire Department instructors received honors Saturday at the Missouri Emergency Services Instructor Conference in Jefferson City, including one who was named 2004-05 instructor of the year. The state’s highest honor for instructors, which was first awarded in 1997, was presented to Lt. Rusty Bradley. A 21-year veteran of the department, Bradley has spent 15 years teaching for the Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute.

New battery fee to help clean up Mo.

The next time someone buys a battery in Missouri, they could be helping to clean up the state. A new state fee, going into effect Saturday on certain kinds of battery purchases, will help pay for hazardous waste cleanup.

A fair to remember

In their award-winning documentary, “The World’s Greatest Fair,” Scott Huegerich and Bob Miano bring to life a world without computers, without television and without microwaves. In just over two hours, the directors show an America before war and atomic weaponry, a time that was simpler, yet revolutionary. The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition brought the world to St. Louis — and vice versa. The story told by Huegerich and Miano is a snapshot of the early 20th century, from the romanticization of another era to that era’s attitudes toward minorities and women, which were on full display at the fair.

Columbia: A best bet for bargain beef

For lovers of bowling and hamburgers, Columbia is a pretty nice place to live. According to the most recent cost of living survey by the Counsel for Community and Economic Research, Columbia is No. 9 in the nation for the lowest price for a pound of ground beef. Columbia is also No. 15 for the cheapest game of bowling.

Crayton sets meeting on economic development

A meeting on economic development in Columbia has been called by First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton and the Frederick Douglass Coalition. The meeting will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at St. Luke United Methodist Church, 204 E. Ash St. Crayton has invited state and local officials, residents and members of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

Mom lectures on hate crime

Judy Shepard called for an end of the hate Tuesday night that led to her son Matthew becoming a victim of a hate crime seven years ago. Her speech in Jesse Hall Auditorium at MU was part of a two-week campus event, “Confronting Violence Project: Words and Actions,” which was created to start a dialogue about violence in the community. In October 1998, 21-year-old Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyo., and beaten to death. His death galvanized people to address hate crimes and battle intolerance. The soft-spoken Judy Shepard began her lecture by reading the statement she made at the trial of her son’s two killers.

CLARIFICATION

A story in Wednesday’s Missourian inadvertently omitted the names of three Columbia firefighters honored Saturday at the Missouri Emergency Services Instructors Conference in Jefferson City. They were Chief Dean Martin, Chief Robert Atkins and Capt. James Weaver; they obtained perfect scores for their course delivery.

Passengers flee after accident on Providence

Three men attempted to flee the scene of an accident late Monday afternoon after their car was hit by a motorcycle at Providence Road and Fourth Avenue. One of the men was caught immediately by a passer-by, while the other two left on foot. The motorcyclist, Clifton A. Woods, 22, struck the side of the maroon Toyota Camry from the north as it attempted to cross the road from Wilkes Boulevard.

Columbia man charged with fraud

A Columbia businessman was arrested Monday on charges of fraud after a joint investigation involving the FBI, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Missouri secretary of state’s Securities Section. Daryl Miles Brown, chairman of Vertical Mortgage Banc LLC, 3210 Bluff Creek Drive, and an executive of Cerberus Inc. was taken into custody and charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of travel fraud. The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Brown bilked investors out of $3.1 million from a high-yield investment scheme.

Rita fuels panic over gas prices

Fears of soaring gas prices have not been quelled, despite government reassurances, since Rita hit the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. The run up to the hurricane sent many Columbia residents straight to gas stations to top off their tanks. With no real sign of a gas shortage, consumers reacted to fears that gas will become scarce and expensive as it did in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

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