Missouri ponders Web Amber Alerts

KANSAS CITY — Missouri and Kansas are close to joining an Amber Alert system that uses the Internet to spread the news about missing children more quickly.

Terri Durdaller, a spokeswoman for Missouri Public Safety director Mark James, said James will recommend the system to Gov. Matt Blunt as soon as next week.

Teacher returns home after risky operation

Grant Elementary School music teacher Melissa Guillotte returned to Columbia Thursday, a week after surgery for what turned out to be a malignant brain tumor. She has been recovering at home since her return.

Guillotte’s doctors told her she has a Grade III Astrocytoma, considered a moderate level brain tumor, which usually spreads to surrounding brain tissue, according to the Mayo Clinic Web site.

Pulitzer Prize winner to talk about covering Falun Gong

Ian Johnson, a 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner, will talk about his experiences reporting on the Falun Gong movement in China at 4 p.m. today in Jesse Wrench Auditorium in Memorial Union.

Falun Gong, which means “the Practice of the Wheel of the Dharma,” emphasizes truth, compassion and tolerance. The movement does not consider itself a “religion,” but rather a discipline of practice. Its members engage in Ch’i gong, which involves stretching, meditation and slow movement. Fearing the group was gaining too much influence, China’s communist government declared Falun Gong illegal and released propaganda labeling it an “evil cult” in 1999. According to the Falun Dafa Information Center, police abuse and torture have led to 1,583 deaths.

Feminist author to speak in Columbia

Meredith Peebles, a senior at MU, appreciates the irony in the reason bell hooks doesn’t capitalize her name.

“I’ve heard she wants people to listen to her message and not pay attention to the name on the work,” Peebles said. “Despite this, her name has become iconic. That is what has happened for me, anyway.”

Unlocking the Shackles of Grief

Columbia Police officer Corey Bowden woke up one January morning in John Beall’s nightmare.

Beall, a police officer in Dayton, Ohio, married his first girlfriend and high school sweetheart. They had three children. He and Mary Lynn Beall both worked at the Dayton Police Department.

Commission douses ideas for fire codes

Fire Marshal Steve Sapp wants to protect young adults in Columbia from fire by adding more sprinkler systems to nightclubs and Greek houses.

At Monday’s public hearing for fire protection codes, Sapp proposed two amendments to codes related to the installment of sprinkler systems. Both failed to get approval from the Building and Construction Code Commission.

Pedophilia suspect arrested

Efforts by the Boone County Sheriff’s Department to crack down on child molestation resulted in deputies arresting a man Friday on suspicion of enticing a child.

Deputies arrested a man who had allegedly communicated with a detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl online, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Department. After communicating for about two weeks, the man allegedly arranged to meet the fictitious girl at a prearranged location for sex.

Suspect has robbed Pizza Hut four times, police say

The past two weeks have not been good ones for a Pizza Hut in north Columbia.

Police say they think the same person is responsible for four robberies in 11 days at the Pizza Hut at 2000 W. Worley St. The suspect is described as a man in his late 30s, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, and 170 pounds, with blue or green eyes.

Math team counts another win

After two years of preparation and competition, four West Junior High eighth-graders earned a chance to show off their math smarts — and they won first place in the state MathCounts competition last weekend, beating 44 other schools for the title.

This is the second year in a row that West Junior High has won first place in the competition.

Magazine aimed at local elites launches today

Columbia’s elite will now have some provocative reading material aimed toward them, thanks to local media creator Fred Parry.

Parry’s latest magazine, Inside Columbia, his 12th publication in the city, is geared to homes with an average income of more than $125,000. The magazine will focus on homes, business and leisure in Columbia.

Vote is on for next One Read book

Book lovers in Boone and Callaway counties have the opportunity to choose between saving Earth from space aliens or exploring Afghanistan’s changing lifestyles and regimes.

They can participate in One Read and choose their favorite of three books picked by a panel of residents from Boone and Callaway counties: “Ender’s Game,” by Orson Scott Card; “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini; and “West of Kabul, East of New York,” by Tamim Ansary.

Some questions have no answers

I was saying to someone the other day that whether in spite of or because of the state of the weather, spring flowers seem to bloom in their own time. There have been spring mornings when I have seen crocus blossoms spread open in the snow. Daffodils, iris and forsythia always seem to flower, no matter the temperature. I think there is a life lesson here that we could all learn from. I think there are special moments when the rhythms of life, for no apparent reason, blend together in a harmonious refrain without the assistance of other identifiable forces.

I am always amazed at the number of times, for example, when I have had phone calls or letters from several special friends on the same days without reason, though I may not have heard from them for several months. People call such occasions coincidental acts, and for lack of a better explanation, I accept that. Frankly, I like to think there are forces moving in the universe that I don’t know about which trigger that kind of activity.

Political women invite others to cause change

Six powerful women sent a powerful message Monday: Women must support each other in order to change society.

“It is absolutely critical that we stand together, that we encourage each other to run (for office),” said Wendy Noren, Boone County clerk, who participated in the discussion at Stephens College on “Navigating Political Cultures: How Women Affect Policy Change.”

Math teaching adapts to technology

It is material that John Nies, a Derby Ridge Elementary School teacher, knows: basic math.

The problems and solutions haven’t changed since Nies was an elementary school student more than 20 years ago. The way students go about finding those solutions, however, has changed. Thanks to the continued advancement of technology, mathematics is drastically different from what it was two decades ago.

Six injured, one critically, in I-70 crash on Saturday

A Tennessee man remained in critical condition Sunday after a weekend car accident on Interstate 70 that blocked traffic in both directions. The five passengers of the car were listed in stable condition.

The initial investigation indicates Ron Benedict, 57, of Brentwood, Tenn., fell asleep while driving, according to the Columbia Police Department. His black sport utility vehicle left the interstate about a mile west of Stadium Boulevard and overturned.

Businessman emphasizes diversity, fairness, trust

Arch Brooks’ experience in the Columbia Public School District spurred his determination to try to change the system — from the inside.

“When I was in elementary school, my family moved to the white neighborhood,” he said. “We were not allowed to go to Grant School because we were African-American. The only school we could go to was Douglass. You have a tendency to remember that.”

Thrill of the hunt

On a recent Saturday, Frank Noel and his 14-year-old son, Josh, wove through nature’s cage of thicket and fallen trees in search of a hulking animal with razor-sharp tusks — the Russian boar. Noel followed a few paces behind Josh as the unusually warm afternoon faded into a late-day chill. The falling temperature would bring the boars out of their beds of uprooted trees.

“Do you see him?” whispered Noel as he halted and pointed down the ravine to a brown, hairy beast.

Spring break review gives Blunt mixed marks

JEFFERSON CITY— It’s legislative spring break, which means it’s time for midterm evaluations. Today’s subject: Gov. Matt Blunt.

In office just 11 weeks, the new Republican governor already has accomplished at least three political goals with the help of a friendly Republican-led legislature. Lawmakers have sent Blunt bills renaming Southwest Missouri State University and overhauling the workers’ compensation system and how Missouri’s courts handle injury complaints.

Unchained memories

Traci Wilson-Kleekamp often lies awake until 2 a.m. reading cemetery records. Her husband calls it sick and teases her about her fascination with dead people.

She calls it one of her life’s passions, and it goes far beyond reading about burials.

Park’s dog fence plans unleashed

Gone are the days of chasing joggers and begging for food from children at family reunions, at least for dogs at Twin Lakes Recreation Area.

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department is taking steps to alleviate conflicts among users of the park by building fences to enclose a leash-free area for dogs, creating Columbia’s first dog park.