Stephens Lake festival to be held on Sunday

A Sunday dedication will celebrate the completion of a major phase of development at Stephens Lake Park.

Events will begin at 12:30 p.m. with performances by the acoustic band Ironweed, a scavenger walk for children, fishing demonstrations by Bass Pro Shops, kite demonstrations from the Funky Fliers Kite Club, and canoe and kayak demonstrations and rides.


In a Page 1A story Thursday about invasive species, a crayfish was misidentified. It is an invertebrate. Also, in the same story, the new state law regulating invasive animals is separate from an earlier state law regulating invasive plants.

In a Taste section story Wednesday about water gardens, a caption misspelled koi.

MU rec center upsets faculty

When Stephen Stanton, a library information specialist at MU, found out his membership fee at the new Student Recreation Complex would triple, he was disgusted.

“I started looking for another place to go as soon as I received the brochure,” Stanton said.

Three suspects held in van crash

While most of the survivors of Sunday’s fatal van accident on Interstate 70 have been released from hospitals and have left Columbia, immigration officials have detained three people, including the suspected driver, who faces federal immigration charges.

Meanwhile, the bodies of three people who died in the accident have been identified, said Eddie Adelstein, Boone County’s deputy medical examiner.

Downtown gets digitized

Browsing through the posters and clothes available at Missouri Shirt Co., checking out all the ice cream flavors at Sparky’s and perusing the concert lineup at The Blue Note could involve a lot of walking and time, but a project done by a group of MU computer science students shows the potential for people to explore The District from the comfort of their own homes.

Amanda Stiles, Bryan Johnson, Michael Vincent and Vanja Jovisic developed an online virtual tour of a piece of downtown Columbia as their final project for a software engineering class.

New law leaves no room for ‘invasive species’

For Vince Smith, owner of Nemo Bait Co. in northeast Missouri, all crayfish were pretty much the same.

That is, until the fall of 2003 when he retrieved a batch of crayfish sold to more than a dozen bait stores from Kirksville to St. Louis, put them in garbage bags and killed them.

Alzheimer’s Association gets boost in tax credit

The Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association will receive a $250,000 Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credit in fiscal 2006 to help pay for a new resource center.

“This program will facilitate funding for the project and reward generous people for helping us,” said Penny Braun, executive director for the project and the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “It’s terrific. It will bring the project to a close sooner, and it will bring assistance to families sooner.”

School board to discuss funding

The Columbia School Board will meet today to discuss the new state foundation formula and its implications for Columbia Public Schools.

Deputy Superintendent Jacque Cowherd said Columbia schools receive between $1.5 million and $2.2 million each year under the current formula. With the new formula, Columbia schools would receive about $1.3 million over seven years, Cowherd said.

Law extends time to claim war medals

JEFFERSON CITY — Veterans of World War II and the Korean War have more time to seek medals of recognition from the state under legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Matt Blunt.

The current World War II medal program expired in July 2004, and the Korean program expired in January. That left the state with medals to give out but no authority to distribute them.

Legislators divided about merits of 2005 session

Missouri lawmakers are taking a breather in the wake of a tumultuous 2005 legislative session, but Boone County representatives are already anticipating the work ahead for next year.

Although there were predictably mixed reactions to the session that ended in May, local representatives agreed the atmosphere in the House of Representatives has improved.

Nixon sues to cover costs of tire cleanup

JEFFERSON CITY — Attorney General Jay Nixon is suing a man to help cover cleanup costs for 60,000 tires dumped near Plattsburg.

Nixon said he already reached an agreement with the landowner, who agreed to pay $11,000 to help clean up the site and a $3,000 penalty.

Junk food in jeopardy at Columbia’s schools

The glow of vending machines in the halls of Columbia Public Schools could soon grow dim.

The Columbia School Board has formed a committee that will meet next week to discuss and make recommendations whether to place healthier foods in school vending machines.

New law requires license for fireworks

ST. LOUIS — A new state law could take some sparkle out of Fourth of July celebrations this year.

The law, which passed in the last legislative session, requires anyone who wants to shoot Class B fireworks — the kind that go off after home runs and cap off small-town parades — to get an additional license or to have a licensed operator on site during the display.

Hickman to start program for gifted students

After a year of discussions, Hickman High School has decided to launch a program for gifted students.

The school delayed the start of a gifted program because it already offers advanced and honors programs.

MU researcher predicts rise in child obesity

MU researcher Frank Booth predicts that every child in America will be obese by 2044.

Booth qualifies his prediction by saying that while this is mathematically possible, it might not actually happen. He uses data that shows a three- to four-fold increase in the percentage of overweight children since the mid-1980s, and extrapolates it to arrive at the grim forecast.

Council scraps Smiley Lane plan

The Columbia City Council talked over the road, park and public safety projects they want to make a priority for the next 10 years in an evening work session Wednesday. Without reaching any final decisions, council members shuffled one road project — an extension of Smiley Lane — out of the mix in favor of building a new distribution center for road salt.

The council plans to present these projects and others to voters in November as a package of ballot initiatives that would cost taxpayers more than $100 million if approved.

Ray Beck announces retirement

[Updated 11:01 a.m.] Ray Beck, Columbia’s city manager for 20 years, will retire at the end of the year, he said at a news conference Thursday morning.

"It has been a privilege to serve our city for 45 years," Beck said. "Working in local government allowed me the opportunity to help make a contribution to the total environment of our city."

Consuls try to aid crash victims

Consular officials from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — frustrated by a lack of communication with federal immigration officials — spoke Tuesday to coordinate their response to Sunday’s deadly van accident on Interstate 70, a crash that injured 15 people from their countries and killed five people of unknown nationality.

Meanwhile, as survivors of the accident continued to be released from hospitals Tuesday, the man authorities suspect was the van’s driver was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials for possible prosecution.

Eyes on the stars

From the age of 5, Angela Speck has had her head in the clouds — actually more like 240 miles above the clouds. She wanted to be an astronaut, orbiting the Earth studying the closest reaches of space.

The childhood dream influenced Speck through her undergraduate years at Queen Mary, University of London, where she studied physics.

Floyd’s review of fixed tuition gains support from governor

A decision to look at fixed tuition rates as a possibility for the University of Missouri System garnered support Tuesday from Gov. Matt Blunt.

“I commend (UM System President) Elson Floyd for proposing a practical solution to help control rising tuition costs,” Blunt said in a statement. “…His proposal will provide parents and students with a road map to plan savings and estimate costs.”