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Bush lauds Grant teacher

President Bush commended Grant Elementary School teacher Gail Underwood in a citation “for embodying excellence in teaching, for devotion to the learning needs of the students, and for upholding the high standards that exemplify American education at its finest.”

For that, Underwood, who teaches math, won the 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching for Missouri and a $10,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Teachers to get pay raise

For the fourth year in a row, the Columbia Board of Education will dip into its reserves and increase teachers’ salaries by $600 for the 2005-2006 school year.

The board voted Monday to approve the administration’s recommendation on teachers’ contracts and give them a base salary increase of $300, costing the district $935,000.

Filing for their share

Copyright owners are putting up a fight against companies that distribute file-sharing software, allowing users to download and share music and movies among other users.

The struggle continued at the Supreme Court last month when justices grappled over whether copyright owners should be allowed to sue Internet companies that allow users to download software to swap music and movie files from the company’s server. Once the users download the program, they can transfer files among one another.

City to expand Flat Branch Park

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Commission has plans this summer to begin redevelopment of another part of Flat Branch Creek.

From 2000 to 2001, the city redeveloped part of the creek by removing the concrete that made up its creek bed and developing the surrounding area with walkways, benches and a gazebo.

New Bonne Terre execution area termed ‘ready’

BONNE TERRE — Barring an appellate court’s intervention, within weeks, Donald Jones could make history as the first Missouri inmate to see a place few prisoners ever care to see — the state’s new execution chamber.

Previewed for reporters Tuesday, Missouri’s new execution area was termed ready at the maximum-security prison in this eastern Missouri town. Jones, convicted of killing his grandmother, is scheduled to die by injection April 27.

Greek house fire safety scrutinized

Columbia architect Bob Cunningham is drawing a blueprint for a fraternity house in Mississippi. In the past 20 years, his company has designed 60 to 70 Greek houses. This one belongs to Alpha Tau Omega and might be the most famous. In August 2004, fire destroyed the original house at the University of Mississippi and claimed the lives of three students, ages 19 to 20.

“There is nothing sadder than losing a child,” Cunningham said.

Evolution under Darwin

This week marks 10 years since Darwin Hindman became mayor of Columbia. Steady growth has been the defining feature of the city, but Hindman has worked hard to maintain Columbia's standard of living. "There is great satisfaction in your city being a good place to live in," he said. Here's how the city has changed over the past decade.

Senate nears vote on school funds formula

JEFFERSON CITY — With the bulk of the Republicans’ legislative priorities making fast progress through the legislature, the Senate was set to vote on a change in the formula used to fund schools late Tuesday night.

Although a vote did not come as of press time, Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, who led the effort to change the formula used to disperse state funding to local schools, said he planned to permit floor debate to continue to a vote. These changes would be the first wholesale changes to school funding since 1993.

Abuse suspect to lose horses

SPRINGFIELD — A man accused of neglecting more than 100 horses on his ranch near Republic will lose his animals and face more counts of animal abuse and neglect.

William Zobel faces a total of 38 misdemeanor counts after 27 counts of animal abuse and animal neglect and two counts of failure to dispose of an animal carcass in a timely fashion were added Tuesday, Greene County assistant prosecutor Dan Patterson said.

St. Louis student sit-in gets attention

ST. LOUIS — Washington University students taking part in the ninth day of a sit-in seeking higher pay for the university’s contract workers were notified Tuesday by the school that they were violating the university’s judicial code.

The students received the notices a day after about 15 students launched a hunger strike and as their efforts are drawing support from national politicians and labor activists.

Blunt praises pilot diabetes program

Diabetes patients given special instructions and feedback under a statewide pilot program better managed their blood-sugar levels and lowered their cholesterol, according to results released Tuesday.

Gov. Matt Blunt praised the program, saying these types of preventative efforts for chronic illnesses could save the state millions in Medicaid costs.

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.

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