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Inside look at the Pope

Pope Benedict XVI assumed Peter’s throne April 19, leaving behind an extensive paper trail from his years as a theologian in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal overseer. The conservative Ignatius Press has issued many of his writings.

So there’s little mystery about the outlook of the man who rules more than a billion Roman Catholics. But there’s a solid, quick overview in “Let God’s Light Shine Forth,” that Robert Moynihan edited.

A commitment to community

Anthony Evans, a 42-year-old Columbia resident and former van driver, went to the “State of Black Men in Columbia Conference” Saturday seeking knowledge and guidance from both the elders in the community and young people.

At the end of the day Evans said he found what he was looking for.

Mural of a mentor

Sidney Larson stands in his modest studio, a diminutive room in his basement that is bursting with sketches, photographs and newspaper clippings. Larson picks up a rectangular box, pries off the cover and fingers through the neatly arranged index cards inside. After a moment, he pulls out two of the cards, looks them over carefully and hands me one.

“What do you think?” says Larson, his baby-blue eyes steady behind his spectacles.

Filtering secondhand smoke

MU fans in Columbia might consider the Kansas Jayhawks to be their biggest rivals, but when it comes to a new smoking ordinance, Columbia residents can look to Lawrence, Kan., for guidance.

Outdoor areas are becoming the new hot spots in Lawrence as downtown businesses add patios and porches to accommodate smokers in the wake of a smoking ban in public areas. Inside Lawrence’s restaurants, bars, bingo halls and bowling alleys, once ubiquitous clouds of smoke have disappeared. Patrons and workers are no longer exposed to secondhand smoke, and their clothes smell fresh after a night on the town.

Student organization opposes fixed tuition

A University of Missouri System student organization opposes fixed tuition rates for undergraduates — a plan under consideration by UM system President Elson Floyd.

Craig Kleine, chairman of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, said the biggest problem his organization has with the proposed idea is that it could put the burden of higher tuition on incoming freshmen during financially lean times.

Road route fuels debate

Boone County commissioners and Columbia officials will meet Tuesday morning to discuss the reorientation of Blue Ridge Road.

The road has been rerouted from what once was a planned connection that would have taken traffic south of a dangerous curve on Creasy Springs Road, in accordance with the Major Roadway Plan. The new alignment, which has taken shape with city approval of a series of developments by Steve Herigon, will place the intersection of Blue Ridge and Creasy Springs north of the curve. That alignment has drawn the opposition of Prairie Hills subdivision residents, who worry about increased traffic in their neighborhood and on the curve.

MACC streamlines education transfer

By enlisting Columbia College, Moberly Community College has created a larger collaborative education program, reducing the time aspiring teachers spend in college.

The new education program streamlines the transition between MACC’s two-year associate degree program into a four-year program. This streamlining could take a year off these students’ education, said Robert Williams, a teacher education coordinator at the community college who helped develop the program.

Victim’s neighbors investigated

FULTON — Another neighbor of a 28-year-old woman found dead in her home June 7 has been identified as a “person of interest” in her death.

Georgette Henley, who lived at 3204 Nicklaus Court — across the street from victim Shawnda Reed — was arrested on Thursday and charged with possession of a controlled substance and two counts of stealing.

Community Sketchbook

Although Citro started with oil and watercolor, he works mostly with acrylic paints. He has been working with acrylics for five years.

Citro said art has always appealed to him.

Do you know where your grammar is at?

I was at the grocery store the other day minding my business when a woman approached me. She began by saying she read my column. However, she hadn’t stopped me to praise my literary talents; this woman was clearly on a mission.

“Why is it that everyone around here always says, ‘Where are you AT?’”

Patriot Act challenged at forum

The Bush administration calls the USA Patriot Act a necessary tool in protecting civil liberties.

On Saturday more than 100 people at the Holiday Inn Expo Center challenged that assertion.

Strolling through the Twilight

Look closer.

Past the vendors.

Past the bands and booths, for they are only props in the play.

The real action and drama of Columbia’s Twilight Festival is in the people.

On Cherry Street, a family rock band belts out Beatles hits.

Down at Flat Branch Park a blues band’s oldest fan listens.

Prayer requests are being taken on Tenth Street.

You’ve just taken a stroll through Columbia’s biggest block party:

Called-up soldiers leave job vacancies

When Columbia Police officer Kyle Lacy left in early May for military duty, he left a vacancy that couldn’t be filled by just any police officer.

Before leaving, Lacy was a resource officer at Rock Bridge High School, a job that requires special training, including counseling and teaching skills.

No change in forecast for gas costs

Missouri motorists can expect gas prices to remain above $2 per gallon through next year, according to an energy report released Wednesday by the Department of Natural Resources.

The forecast for gas prices in the Missouri Energy Outlook for summer 2005 is based on the likelihood that the price of oil will remain at or above $50 per barrel through 2006.

Missouri drivers gaining speed

Generally speaking, Americans love to speed. Speed limit signs are typically seen as a suggestion rather than an uncompromising requirement.

Although the signs along Interstate 70 read “70,” the difference between the posted limit and the real one can be as much as 10 to 15 miles per hour.

Hospitals to upgrade monitors

Spacelabs Medical, an Issaquah, Wash., company, will provide MU Health Care with new patient monitoring and telemetry equipment. The $6.3 million deal will upgrade and standardize all such equipment at University and Columbia Regional hospitals.

The equipment is designed to improve information availability throughout medical facilities, a release from Spacelabs Medical stated.

League of Women Voters to host Patriot Act talks

While the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is immersed in debate over the Patriot Act of 2001, the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County is gearing up for a debate of its own.

The League will host a half-day seminar, “Local Voices: Citizen Conversations on Civil Liberties and Secure Communities,” noon to 5 p.m. Friday at the Holiday Inn Expo Center.

MU Health Care gets $2 million

MU Health Care is closer to beginning construction on a $180 million Health Sciences Research and Education Center.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved $2 million in federal funds Thursday to be put towards the center, following a request by Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo.

Neighbor of Fulton victim charged with home burglary

A 34-year-old neighbor of a Fulton woman discovered dead in her home last week was found in a Jefferson City motel Thursday afternoon after he was identified by police as a “person of interest” in her death.

Fulton Police Chief Steven Myers said investigators found Francis H. Kempker about 2:15 p.m.

School reports model scores

After seeing positive changes in its first year as a “model school,” West Boulevard Elementary School next year plans to strengthen life skills, reinforce relationships between parents and teachers and add an aide to help kindergarteners’ transition into school.

The model school concept is meant to try to bridge academic achievement gaps among students. At West — Columbia’s first model school, selected in part because of its failure to meet state test-score standards — the goal was to raise overall student achievement, specifically in literacy.

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