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Blunt defers state hospital payments

JEFFERSON CITY — The state is delaying about $30 million in payments to hospitals that treat Medicaid patients to try to ease Missouri’s continued cash flow problems, the governor’s office said Tuesday.

The funding cutback is the second in recent weeks by Gov. Matt Blunt’s administration. The state already is delaying $100 million in payments to its major universities.

Officials OK faster Cold War compensation

ST. LOUIS — The Department of Health and Human Services has given the go-ahead to speed up payments to some Missouri Cold War-era workers stricken with cancer from exposure to radiation, Sen. Kit Bond’s office said Tuesday.

The decision takes effect 30 days after it is submitted to Congress, unless Congress halts the payments.

Brewer would boycott Mo. over biopharm rice

WASHINGTON — Anheuser-Busch Cos., the nation’s No. 1 buyer of rice as well as its largest brewer, says it won’t buy rice from Missouri if genetically modified, drug-making crops are allowed to be grown in the state.

The St. Louis-based beer giant, which says it is concerned about possible contamination, is the latest company to express concern over plans by Ventria Biosciences to grow 200 acres of rice engineered to produce human proteins that can make drugs.

Kemper school proposal unveiled

BOONVILLE — Sign-carrying protesters greeted a controversial educator who on Monday night publicly unveiled a proposal to open the shuttered Kemper Military School as a new school for troubled teens.

With messages such as “Say no to child torture in Boonville” and “All children deserve basic human rights,” five protesters stood outside the Boonville City Hall chambers as brothers Randall and Russell Hinton shared their plans with 75 spectators.

Amnesty International director questions limits on rights during war on terror

The executive director of Amnesty International USA began his talk at MU on Monday night with a question:

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains more than 40 rights. What do we do when one right comes in conflict with another right?” William F. Schulz asked. “What do we do when, to protect our rights of security, we must sacrifice other rights? How many limitations on our rights are necessary?”

First Ward aims to increase the peace

For the more than 40 residents who crowded into the cafeteria of Douglass High School on Monday night, it was not just about the gunfire that occurred last week at Allen Street and LaSalle Place or Fourth and Grand avenues or a March 29 fight at Douglass Gym.

In addition to a lack of parental guidance, many said problems with rising violence among the area’s youths can be attributed to a lack of economic opportunities.

Grant school wary after car hit pupil

After the final bell rings at 3:45 p.m. at Grant Elementary School, Principal Crystal Church changes from school administrator to crossing guard and traffic director.

On Monday afternoon, Church was out in the rain battling mid-afternoon traffic on Garth Avenue. One moment, she was standing in the middle of the street directing traffic. The next, she was holding a student’s hand as he crossed the street.

Oates discusses life as an author

Joyce Carol Oates has at least a few loyal fans among the maximum security prison population.

Though Oates doubts that they are reading her work, the letters the prisoners have written left a lasting impression on the author. Monday night, years after she received one particular letter, she read it to her audience at Jesse Hall at MU, still mock-apprehensive about whether this particular criminal had been released yet, the one who wrote cryptically at the end of the letter, “PS — The U.S. started World War II.”

Schools use service for learning

Five AmeriCorps members will work with teachers and students in Columbia Public Schools next year after the Columbia Board of Education unanimously voted to approve the submission of a grant to the Missouri Department of Education for further review Monday night.

The grant focuses on teachers and students becoming familiar with service learning, a method that applies classroom knowledge to the community. Students take things they learn in school and use them when volunteering in the community.

Nostalgia welcome in ‘Little House’ trip

Several years ago, someone gave me a special diary in which to record my Missouri memories. It’s a handsome piece, but because I have other diaries, I’ve put off using it. Finally, last week, I decided to whip it out. The occasion? A friend and I decided to make our first spring road trip. Destination? The home of Laura Ingalls Wilder in Mansfield. We both have a soft spot in our hearts for cozy memories, and they don’t get any cozier than the “Little House on the Prairie” books.

I admit, I’m not a big fan like my friend, who until last week had collected all but two of the series’ books. She is a Florida native, and unlike her, I’ve heard these kinds of tales all my life. Ingalls Wilder’s stories, for me, strike a familiar note. Most of us who grew up in the Midwest in an earlier generation have been hearing about the situations described in her books for much of our lives. Still, it was a wonderful visit and time well-spent in the home where Ingalls Wilder wrote all of her books.

Eighth Street plan is ready for action

One unified, vibrant street, from columns to columns.

That’s the goal of the Historic Avenue of the Columns Committee, a group that has been trying to revitalize the downtown stretch of Eighth Street, from MU to the county courthouse, for years.

Suspect is linked to gunfire

A warrant was issued Monday for a suspect who police say was involved in two related gunfire incidents last week.

Police are looking for Koda A. Coats, 18, of 1706 Stanford Drive. Coats was not apprehended or arrested as of 5 p.m. Monday, and police said he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Floyd: Beef up coordinating board

JEFFERSON CITY — University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd wants state lawmakers to drop out of the classroom.

Appearing before a government reorganization task force assembled by Gov. Matt Blunt, Floyd argued for boosting the role of the Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education and taking power away from the General Assembly.

Korean office for Mo. marketing shut down

JEFFERSON CITY — An office charged with marketing Missouri products in South Korea is targeted to be closed by July 1.

The move to shutter the Seoul, South Korea, office follows the House Budget Committee’s recommendation to slice more than $800,000 from the division that oversees the marketing offices in the Department of Economic Development.

Pizza jobs hurt by inflated gas prices

Delivering pizza has never been considered a high-paying job, and the recent spike in gasoline prices isn’t helping.

Padraic McGrath, who delivers pizza for Domino’s, said he’s paid 65 cents for delivery runs that average 12 miles.

Heat in the streets

Community activists and residents who gathered in the Columbia City Council’s chambers Wednesday dread what youths look forward to for months: the beginning of summer.

The meeting was organized by First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton to discuss summer work and volunteer opportunities for youths.

Boonville to discuss Kemper proposal

Honor is an important part of Mark Farrell’s life. As an alumnus of Kemper Military School in Boonville, he keeps a copy of the school’s honor code on a wall in his Columbia home.

“To anyone who has gone to Kemper, that’s something that follows you for your whole life,” said Farrell, who is secretary of the school’s alumni association.

Embalmers prepare for bioterrorism

The tools of the trade for funeral directors normally consist of embalming fluid, safety gowns and sterile gloves.

But thanks to the greater scrutiny now given to homeland security, Missouri funeral directors could soon find themselves wearing full-body biohazard suits when preparing a body for its final farewell.

Woman opposes lifting implant limits

A Columbia woman is set to testify today in Washington, D.C., before a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel that will determine whether silicone breast implants are safe enough for widespread use after 13 years of strict regulations.

Kathy Keithley-Johnston is the founder of Toxic Discovery, a national consumer advocacy group based in Columbia. Her testimony will be one of many from women who have had breast implants.

Architects dream of green park

Bob Berkebile, the principle of BNIM Architects in Kansas City and the architect for the Discovery Center Project at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, did not have a vision for the building when he came to Columbia this weekend. He left that part up to the community.

Berkebile said he signed on with Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in 2001 as the architect for the Discovery Center, a new visitor’s center that would overlook the part of the park. Meredith Donaldson, director of the Discovery Center Project, said Berkebile was selected to head the project because of his reputation for constructing “green” buildings.

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