Gentry pupil wins diversity poster competition

“It’s more than a bus ride, it’s a community,” reads Justin Seabaugh’s poster, which won first place in the inaugural Harmony in Transit poster contest during this year’s Columbia Values Diversity celebration.

The annual diversity celebration, which took place Jan. 13 at the Holiday Inn Expo Center, added the poster contest this year for Columbia middle school students.

Get a board game: It’s family night

Mayor Darwin Hindman’s recent proclamation that tonight is Family Night places Columbia among a small but growing number of cities that are taking back at least one night per year from extracurricular activities, television and even homework.

Hindman’s proclamation urges Columbia residents to set tonight aside to engage in family activities that foster unity and strength without separating them from one another.

Field to fuel

Stainless steel silos rise from some of the most fertile farmland in central Missouri. At the end of January, the silos of the Malta Bend plant in Saline County will begin filling with ethanol from Missouri’s first completely farmer-owned ethanol plant. The sparkling new facility, the third ethanol plant in Missouri, is designed to transform 40,000 bushels of corn per day into 190-proof grain alcohol that will be blended with a small amount of gasoline to make it unfit to drink and pass muster with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

By year’s end, up to 48 million gallons of the corn-derived fuel is expected to have left the Malta Bend plant for blending facilities as close as Columbia and as far away as California — and into the tanks of millions of automobiles.

MAP test standards reduced

The adequate yearly progress goals on Missouri’s standardized tests, the Missouri Assessment Program, will be lowered, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced Friday. Columbia public schools said they won’t be affected by the decision.

AYP goals are standards set by the state in communication arts and math that public schools must meet by performing at proficient levels or higher on MAP tests. Each state sets its own standards for these goals.

Council to wait and see on Sapp annexation

The Columbia City Council will not vote on what would be the largest annexation in the city’s history until it learns whether a petition that seeks to block the proposal is valid.

City Attorney Fred Boeckmann said the council would have no reason to vote at the scheduled time if the validity of the petition remains uncertain.

Blunt looks to limit meth ingredients

Gov. Matt Blunt announced Friday he has gained the support of the Missouri General Assembly to pass legislation that would control the key ingredient used to manufacture methamphetamine in illegal labs, pseudoephedrine. This law also applies to ephedrine, which is another form of the same drug.

Methamphetamine, or “meth,” is a stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. It causes hyperactivity, decreased appetite and sometimes violence.

Last-minute petitioner files for Fifth Ward seat

Three hours before Thursday’s deadline, a fourth and final candidate filed for the Fifth Ward seat on the Columbia City Council. Laura Nauser, a local real estate closing officer, will face Stephen Reichlin, Gayle Troutwine and Joseph Vradenburg for election April 5.

Nauser said she will focus on local education if elected. She is considering her stance on issues such as appropriate city growth and development.

Local resident robbed at gunpoint

A Columbia resident was robbed at gunpoint early Saturday morning outside his apartment complex on the 1500 block of Hinkson Avenue, according to Columbia police.

Police said the suspect approached the victim, displayed a silver handgun, demanded money and left with the victim’s wallet and an undisclosed amount of money.

Columbia man gets sentence for his role in dual murders

Columbia resident Bobby Rohrer and Henry Rehmert of Belle were sentenced Friday in U.S. District court in St. Louis.

Rohrer, 39, was sentenced to 29 years in prison, while Rehmert, 27, received 10 years, said U.S. Attorney James Martin in a news release. Neither will be eligible for parole. In addition, both defendants were ordered to pay $475,000 in compensation to victims.

Santacruz closes after one year of business

For the second time in less than three years, a Mexican restaurant at 220 S. Eighth St. has closed.

Jennie Vogt, a manager at Santacruz Mexican Restaurant, said Friday the restaurant closed because of financial reasons.

Old swing, young musicians

Too young to vote, with one exception, but old enough to swing, the jazz sextet Random Blues performs tunes from an era that predates the birth of the members.

On a recent Sunday evening, the group of Rock Bridge High School students prepares to record its first album in the living room of keyboardist Jessie Roark, 15. Tommy Dorsey’s “Opus One,” Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” and Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train” are among the cuts.

Out of the limelight

Oddly enough, for an artist, Robert Bussabarger would prefer to remain anonymous, to slip beneath the radar of celebrity.

Being famous is a distraction, says Bussabarger, a Columbia painter, potter and sculptor, who has somehow managed to resist creating work aimed at a commercial market.

Son simplifies hotel search in Internet Age

It has been a very long time since my husband and I have taken a trip away from the old homestead. But when my husband received a call from an old high school buddy (now that’s old) saying that they were having a mini reunion in Arizona at the end of January, we decided to go. The original plan was to take our RV, but the days we could be away from Columbia were tight, so we decided to fly and stay in a hotel. My husband hates to fly and I hate to stay in hotels, but the weather this winter has been so depressing that I have rationalized this would be a mental health trip.

I have a history of making bad decisions when booking any kind of reservation, so I called my son and had him place the order for our plane tickets. I also asked him to arrange for a rental car. I thought we were all set and that all I had to do was choose a hotel. Tucson is a very large town, and I’ve been told that there are hundreds of hotels and resorts. I figured if we were not going to travel in our beloved motor home, at least we could stay in a nice hotel — maybe one with spa services.

Call of the wild

On an overcast weekday afternoon just north of Englewood, a solitary goose hovers over a weathered cornfield, a beacon to other geese in search of food. The bird lands amid the dry, broken stalks.

A closer look reveals a different picture: the goose is a flag, a kitelike device hunter Andy Kinder, who is practicing geese landings in the cold but gentle wind, flies. He sets the flag down and continues unloading his pickup truck.

Columbia is... ARTSY

Artsy (ärt´se)

adj. Showily or affectedly artistic.

State of recovery

As end-of-year parties go, this was no gala. Orange punch and Tiger Stripes ice cream were the only freebies available, and the line for scoops stretched almost the length of the University Hospital lobby.

But after several consecutive years of financial losses, leaders of the MU Health Care system had reason to celebrate in November when it announced a record-high profit of $26.4 million for the 2004 fiscal year. By comparison, the system lost $30 million over the previous five fiscal years.

Four arrested in home homicide

Three men and a woman were arrested Thursday morning in connection with the death of a 48-year-old Columbia man who was fatally beaten on Jan. 8 during an invasion of his home.

Police charged Michael Williams, 24, Julian Jackman, 28, Walter Harris, 40, and Amy Garrison, 32, with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action in connection with the death of Fernando Olivares, a Mexican immigrant.

Bush starts second term amid fanfare

WASHINGTON — George W. Bush embarked on an ambitious second term as president Thursday, telling a world anxious about war and terrorism that the United States would not shrink from new confrontations in pursuit of “the great objective of ending tyranny.”

Four minutes before noon, Bush placed his left hand on a family Bible and recited 39 tradition-hallowed words that every president since George Washington has uttered.

Board looks at adding preschool

The Columbia Public School District’s Board of Education is considering a proposal that would create an early childhood education program for children who have not yet entered kindergarten.

“It’s something being weighed and considered because we value those early years in childhood development,” said J.C. Headley, president of the Board of Education. “This proposal deals with a lot of issues trying to close the minority achievement gap.”

Ashland man known for fun-loving attitude

One photo that greeted people as they entered the Ashland Optimist Club to donate blood Thursday hints at the personality of the man they were there to remember.

In it, Arcie Sapp sits next to his wife and first grandchild, teasing smirk on his face for the photographer to capture.