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Injured wrist won’t force me to pack it in

I was up just after dawn Friday. We were closing on our old lake house the next day, and although most of the furniture had been moved, it was up to me to pack what was left in the house.

I felt up to the task. As a matter of fact, it was one of those rare days when I had extra energy.

Fighting for fitness

Fifteen years ago, Patty Cornell’s fifth-graders could swing from the uneven bars, toe the balance beam and handle other gymnastic feats with ease.

Now, Cornell doesn’t offer that gymnastics unit; most of her students don’t have enough upper-body strength, she said.

Douglass honors graduating seniors

Standing in her blue cap and gown with a smile on her face, Marjorie Quinn told her teachers and classmates not to cry. “This is not the end,” she said.

She and other Douglass High School seniors received their diplomas Friday night, confirming that it is the end, at least, of their high school careers.

Corrections

Slight tax increases anticipated

Boone County Assessor Tom Schauwecker said 2005’s property reassessments will show signs of the burgeoning real estate market but predicts relatively conservative tax increases.

Schauwecker foresees no sweeping changes but said assessed valuations will shift the tax burden.

MU Police Chief cleared of assault charges

U Police Chief Jack Watring was cleared of any wrongdoing Friday after MU officials wrapped up a nearly three-month investigation into charges that he assaulted a University of Kansas fan at a basketball game.

High honor salute

When Russell Gray releases his parachute 3,000 feet above downtown Columbia, he can hear the roar of the crowd waiting on Broadway.

His scheduled touchdown at 9:55 Monday morning signals the beginning of the annual Salute to Veterans Parade.

Deal sought for pot law

Although the marijuana ordinance has sparked bitter debate between the police who want to see it repealed and the voters who passed it, the two sides may soon reach a compromise on the issue.

Proposition 2, which passed in November’s election, has come under attack by prosecutors and police officers because it allows offenders in possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana not to be prosecuted. However, attorneys and police officers said a compromise to the ordinance has been in the works for the last couple of weeks to limit the law under certain circumstances.

Residents scrutinize Blue Ridge Road plans

Residents of Prairie Hills subdivision voiced complaints Thursday about a plan approved by city officials that will route Blue Ridge Road into Creasy Springs Road north of a curve where, according to Boone County Presiding Commissioner Keith Schnarre, 15 accidents have occurred in two years, one of them being fatal.

The city approved the realignment as part of plans for the developing Vanderveen subdivision being built by Steve Herigon of Herigon Construction.

MU Health Care alliance creates space

MU Health Care and the MU School of Medicine are combining money and efforts to construct a $26.3 million building that would provide both with much-needed space.

The Clinical Support and Education Building is expected to be built on the west side of the existing hospital and medical school complex, according to documents prepared for a meeting Thursday of the UM System Board of Curators.

Hollywood veteran heads to Stephens

Ken LaZebnik knows the entertainment business. After nearly 30 years producing film, theater and television across the country, his work will soon bring him back to his childhood home. In June, he will leave Hollywood to be dean of a new school of performing arts at Stephens College.

Rex Stevens, vice president of academic affairs at Stephens College, said he thinks LaZebnik’s success and experience, including work as supervising producer for “Star Trek: Enterprise” and “Touched by an Angel,” will allow him to build a school that combines various entertainment studies such as theater, dance, film, television and radio.

Water Patrol set to target permits

This Memorial Day, on one of the busiest boating weekends of the summer, the Missouri State Water Patrol will be scouting for more than just careless and intoxicated boaters.

Officers will also be checking for boater permits, said Capt. Matt Walz, director of training for the water patrol. A law that took effect on Jan. 1, requires that individuals 21 and younger — anyone born after Jan. 1, 1984 — carry permits while operating boats, sailboats and jet skis. Boats that rely on paddles or oars are excluded.

Talk launches kids’ dreams

Fourth-graders sat scattered around the computer lab at Field Elementary School peering at a big screen on the wall. This was no normal class video about space.

Instead, the 40 students not only watched but talked with astronaut and Missouri native Linda Godwin.

Experts discount tree fungus

Tree experts in Columbia are advising property owners not to worry about a fungus that is affecting the appearance of sycamore and ash trees this spring.

Simeon Wright, coordinator of MU’s Plant Diagnostics Clinic, has heard reports of the anthracnose fungus from colleagues across the state. In affected trees, Wright said, new shoots appear wilted and brown.

Lawsuit aims to save relic

Attorney General Jay Nixon made a bold move Thursday by suing the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and its director to stop plans to relinquish the state’s stake in the historic MKT lift bridge at Boonville.

Gov. Matt Blunt and the DNR want to give the bridge to Union Pacific Railroad, which intends to demolish it and reuse the parts to help refurbish a bridge over the Osage River.

‘In Flanders Fields’ inspired poppies

Memorial Day, which commemorates American soldiers who died in war, was first observed on May 30, 1868. The “National Moment of Remembrance,” signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000, encourages a moment of silence or the playing of “Taps” at 3 p.m.

Wearing red poppies to honor the dead came into fashion following the publication in 1915 of “In Flanders Fields” by Moina Michael:

Summer weather increases fire threat

While fire safety is nothing new, the summer months make fire prevention more critical.

The typical weather during the summer — dry, hot and humid — is a fire hazard itself. According to the National Weather Service Forecast Office, wind speed, temperature, and relative humidity impact the rate and intensity of a fire dramatically.

Seat belt campaign starts this weekend

In an effort to encourage safe driving during the holiday weekend, the Missouri Highway Patrol will be enforcing safety belt regulations with the Click It or Ticket campaign through June 5.

Last year, 76 percent of Missouri drivers were wearing seatbelts, while the national average was 80 percent, said Tim Hull, Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman.

Tip for safe travel: Get lots of rest first

AAA estimates 31.1 million travelers will take to the nation’s roads this holiday weekend, up 2.2 percent from last year. Michael Right, vice president of public affairs for AAA, recommends motorists get plenty of rest before driving —especially if the departure time is late at night or early in the morning — and make frequent rest stops. And, of course, don’t forget to buckle up.

Swimming pools opening for season

Oakland Family Aquatic Center will be the first city pool to open for the season. The pool will be operating on special hours, from noon to 6 p.m., between Saturday and June 3.

“This year’s extended opening is to accommodate the Columbia schools letting out a few days earlier than usual,” said Tammy Miller of the city Parks and Recreation Department.

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