Miss Mo. prepares for Atlantic City

Missouri’s contestant in the Miss America pageant started this year’s pageant bid as Miss Columbia.

But she’s never lived in Columbia.

Tighter rules sought in child murders

Bothered by the difficulty of charging the parents of 3-year-old Erica Green with first-degree murder, House Minority Leader Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, wants to toughen child-abuse homicide laws.

Erica was known as “Precious Doe” for years while Kansas City police struggled to identify her decapitated body, which was found in April 2001 in a wooded area near a church. Her head was found nearby in a trash bag a few days later.

Study: Italian stereotypes might fit Americans

From Don Corleone to Rocky Balboa, the popular portrayal of Italian and Italian-American men can be less than flattering. Think sleeveless T-shirts, gold chains and hot tempers.

Fuhgedaboutit? Forget about it.


About 500 children attended the 15th annual Rottmann Memorial Kids’ Fishing Clinic on June 11. A photo caption in the June 12 edition contained incorrect information. Marcia Flesner’s name was misspelled in a quotation with a story Tuesday about her collection of nursing books.

Academy attracts Mo.’s top teens

Kara Oberkrom is finishing her final week at the Missouri Scholars Academy and isn’t quite ready to go home.

“There’s a sense of community that makes (the program) great,” said Kara, one of 330 high school juniors participating in the three-week academic program. The scholars academy, run by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, is held each year on the MU campus and attracts teens and faculty from around the state.

Extra credit for Rainbow House

The Missouri Department of Economic Development has ap-proved $230,680 in tax credits for Rainbow House, an emergency shelter for abused and neglected children and regional child advo-cacy center.

Organizations apply for the tax credit as part of the Department of Economic Development’s Youth Opportunities Program. Rainbow House is now a beneficiary of the program.

Social Security plans questioned

Missourians United to Protect Social Security unveiled a report on Tuesday saying the Bush administration’s plans to privatize Social Security and reduce benefits would jeopardize the financial future of 386,120 rural residents statewide who receive checks each month.

“I’m really troubled that this administration would want to replace a program that has relieved more people living their golden years in abject poverty than any other program,” state Rep. Wes Shoemyer, D-Clarence, said during a news conference detailing the findings of the report.

A crush on crustaceans

While in graduate school at Virginia Tech University, Bob DiStefano won a $50 prize for dressing up in a homemade crayfish costume fashioned out of red foam and cardboard. More than 20 years later, he’s still getting paid to dress like a crayfish.

Granted, that probably isn’t in his job description.

Nursing an interest

A dozen years ago, Marcia Flesner, a clinical instructor at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and president of District 7 of the Missouri Nurses Association, started collecting nursing books published before the 1950s with her partner, Diane Spalding.

By then, Spalding, a nurse practitioner, had been collecting old nursing books for years, and Flesner was drawn into Spalding’s collector’s world.

Area Briefly

Two more arrests have been made in connection with an armed assault on two people that occurred Monday in the area of Providence Road and Business Loop 70.

The male victim was shot in the shoulder and has been treated and released from a local hospital. The female victim was held at gunpoint and forced to drive east of Columbia until an assailant exited the car.

Attacked woman in serious condition

Seventy-two-year-old Earlene Bradshaw was sitting in her lawn chair, snapping beans for a dinner she was having with family and friends. Described as small but tough, Bradshaw was suddenly struck in the face with a board.

The blow, which was meant for her son, knocked Bradshaw backward in her chair, causing her to hit her head against the sidewalk. As of Tuesday evening, Bradshaw was in serious condition and on life-support. She was admitted to University Hospital on Monday night with internal injuries to her head, family members said.

Local channels vie for contract funds

A tug of war over cable fees among Columbia’s local broadcast stations dominated a city hearing Monday night. The Cable Task Force meeting was intended to allow the public to sound off on a new cable television contract to be written by the end of the year.

A 15-year franchise agreement between the city and cable providers Mediacom and Charter Communications ends Jan. 1, and the city wants to write a new contract by that time.

Residents want improved traffic flow

Columbians want something done about traffic and the condition of city streets.

A survey conducted this spring found that almost half of residents surveyed are dissatisfied with how the city manages traffic flow and congestion, and more than a third are unhappy about how well city streets are maintained. Fixing problems in those two areas should be the city’s highest priority, according to a ranking provided by ETC Institute, the market research firm that carried out the $20,800 survey for the city.

Beck replacement process under way

The Columbia City Council asked city staff Monday night to begin the process of soliciting consultant agencies that specialize in hiring city managers.

The council is likely to approve a request for agencies’ bids at the July 5 City Council meeting, taking it one step closer to filling the position.

Enjoy festivities, not electronic daze

Nostalgia, for me, is at its highest when summer festival time rolls around. One of the advantages of warm, sunny days among my memories is that there always seemed to be something interesting to do. I love adventure and opportunities to enjoy new experiences. This is why I feel so ill-suited for this particular period in American history. I especially mourn the passing of Yankee ingenuity when individuals were more likely to “do their own thing,’’ unlike today when people seem to want to only do what others are doing. In my youth, people took pride in inventing games to play and challenges to overcome.

Banners added downtown

The bright-orange banners hanging from light poles on Elm Street are hard to miss.

The banners, which read “Shop, Eat, Live, Play,” are the middle phase of a five-phase downtown beautification program and part of the Special Business District’s “Discover the District” campaign.

Board doubles YouZeum bid, offers $100,000

The creators of the YouZeum got more than they bargained for when they asked the Columbia Convention and Visitors Advisory Board for $50,000.

The board unanimously voted on Monday to send $100,000 from its attraction development fund to the exhibit. Board member Ed Baker moved to increase the amount.

Money sought for new center in First Ward

Like some families have dream homes, one Columbia organization has architectural plans drawn up for a dream facility. What it doesn't have yet are the resources to fund it.

Positive Regional Impact Diversified Enterprise was established in December to create a central community space that would include meeting rooms and classrooms, gym space and a commercial kitchen. The group wants to merge a recreation center with office space for agencies that will provide support for residents of the First Ward.

Walton son dies in plane crash

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — John Walton, the billionaire son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and a member of the company’s board, died Monday in a plane crash in Wyoming.

Walton, 58, of Jackson, Wyo., was piloting an ultralight that crashed shortly after takeoff from the Jackson Hole Airport in Grand Teton National Park, the company said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and the cause of the afternoon crash was not known, officials said.

Fashionably high results

With fall registration in full swing Monday and today, Stephens College is getting a look at its largest incoming class since 1991.

The new class has 237 freshmen and transfer students, up from 199 last year. The 19 percent increase — a 35 percent increase in freshmen only — marks the start of a four-year plan to increase full-time undergraduate enrollment to 900.