They’ve got the beat

Drums beat in the background. The Mid-Missouri High Steppers clap their hands, move their feet in a fast–paced pattern.

The steady rhythm connects them as they practice their precise movements with confidence. Dancers move off to either side and sit on the ground. The drummers take center stage. The dancers get up and perform again. The drummers move back.

Exposing the tapes of Watergate

The revelation that former FBI second-in-command W. Mark Felt was “Deep Throat” has brought new attention to the role reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein played in unraveling the Watergate conspiracy.

But Michael Sanders says another man, who was just as responsible for bringing down Richard Nixon, has been mostly forgotten by history. That man was his father, Don Sanders, who was a lawyer, an FBI agent, Boone County commissioner, and the man who, during the Watergate hearings, discovered there was a tape recorder in the Nixon White House.

Crew mourns lineman’s death

Steve Ebert had a reputation among Columbia linemen as a man who couldn’t say no.

So when the city of Independence asked Thursday if Columbia could send a crew to help repair its power system in the wake of a Wednesday storm, it was no surprise that Ebert was among those who answered the call.

Local coverage gets first priority

Dear Reader,

The classic debate over community newspapers — local news vs. big national happenings — came up in the newsroom last week.

State Medicaid cuts hit home

The impact of state Medicaid cuts on Boone County is just beginning.

“We’re already getting calls about people anticipating losing their coverage,” said Steve Hollis, a social services supervisor at the Columbia/Boone County Health Department.

DNR appoints private lawyer for bridge suit

JEFFERSON CITY — The Department of Natural Resources has hired a private attorney to go up against Attorney General Jay Nixon in a dispute over whether the agency can relinquish rights to a Boonville railroad bridge.

The department said Friday that Kent Lowry, at the Armstrong Teasdale law firm, will represent DNR.

Striving for Normalcy

Every morning, Rebecca Wylie, 20, gets dressed, brushes her teeth and eats breakfast. A junior graphic design major, she goes to class, hangs out with her friends and downloads everything she can find by heartthrob John Mayer, just like hordes of other MU students.

But life requires something more of Rebecca.

A personal aide dresses and feeds Rebecca and brushes her teeth. She uses a motorized wheelchair to get to classes. A 12-inch mouth stick with a charcoal pencil attached allows her to draw.

My talent pool quite shallow in swimming

My husband never learned to swim. The main reason, he says, is because there was no swimming pool where he lived, a small town in Iowa. And he says he almost drowned in a neighbor’s pond when he got tangled in some undergrowth. His fear of water was so intense that he insisted that all of our children learn how to swim.

I can remember as a kid taking swimming lessons from the American Red Cross. I don’t remember the lessons, but I remember carrying a card stating that I was a junior lifesaver. Thank God I never had to save anyone.

Police get help with painful job stress

Dan Newman has seen the ugly side of law enforcement. He’s been on the emotional roller coaster that many police officers go through, feeling alert and alive one moment and tired and isolated the next.

The “high” you get while on duty, can quickly dissipate, said Newman, a mental health counselor and former assistant police chief in Tucson, Ariz. Eventually, the police officer becomes the job, and the job becomes the officer.

MU Council talks about controlling alcohol use

The percentage of MU students who consumed alcohol multiple times a week in the spring of 2005 was significantly higher than the national average, according to information presented at Thursday’s Faculty Council meeting.

Kim Dude, the director of Wellness Resource Center at MU, said faculty can help in reducing that statistic.

Charity earns prize for student

Tessa Vellek wants to be remembered like Shakespeare. She has a passion for writing and wants to be a journalist or an author. She dreams of winning a Pulitzer Prize. “I live to be published,” she wrote in her award application.

Tessa, 11, is one of 25 students nationwide between ages 10 and 18 to receive a 2005 Nestle Very Best in Youth award. The biannual program, sponsored by Nestle USA and Reading is Fundamental, honors students for their community service and academic records.

Two arrested in Internet investigation

Two men were arrested this week by the Boone County Sheriff’s Department under suspicion of enticing a child on the Internet.

Alan Becker, 50, of Jefferson City was arrested Monday for suspicion of attempted enticement of a child, first-degree attempted child molestation and attempted abuse of a child. On Wednesday, Michael Tincher, 44, of Sedalia was arrested for suspicion of attempted enticement of a child and attempted statutory sodomy.

Fulton grabs national attention in magazine

Fulton is more used to local attention for playing host to the county fair than any sort of national recognition, yet this year two nationwide publications are taking note of the town’s remarkable history and small-town appeal.

Dan Kaercher, editor-in-chief of Midwest Living magazine, mentioned the town’s unlikely past in a June 3 USA Today article about “10 great places to discover Midwest charm.”

Man implicated in Tuesday shooting surrenders to police

A 19-year-old Columbia man turned himself into Columbia police Wednesday afternoon after he was implicated in a shootout in a central Columbia neighborhood on Tuesday.

Joshua Lambert of 212 Unity Drive was charged with unlawful use of a weapon in connection with the shooting early Tuesday at the corner of LaSalle Place and Allen Street. He is being held at Boone County Jail on $100,000 bond.

Rally protests cutbacks

Rosanna Cassidy knows what it’s like to be homeless. While living in Springfield in 1994, she and her 2-year-old daughter lived in a shelter for three months before getting a helping hand from the federal government.

While in college, Cassidy was able to study and raise her daughter at the same time thanks to a $485 monthly rent voucher she received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 program. After college, she landed a job, and by 2003, she was earning enough money that she no longer required the government’s help.

Reality show sends teacher home

Brook Harlan, culinary arts teacher at Rock Bridge High School, had to relinquish the glow of the spotlight for the warmth of his hometown. Harlan, one of eight finalists in the Food Network’s reality show, “The Next Food Network Star,” was the first contestant eliminated from the series on Sunday.

Finalists on the show compete for their own cooking series on the Food Network. Although Harlan was eliminated from the series, he said he has no regrets.

Columbia worker killed while repairing utility pole

A Columbia Water and Light employee was killed and another injured this morning while repairing damage in Independence from Wednesday's storms.

Steve Ebert, 33, was electrocuted at 8:50 this morning when the boom of an electrical truck he was touching made contact with a 7,600-volt wire overhead, said George Morrow, Independence Power and Light director.

Ebert was working with a team of Columbia Water and Light employees to replace a utility pole that was damaged, cutting power to parts of Independence.

Columbia Water and Light has not had a worker killed since 1954, when Charles Pollack died from injuries suffered while repairing lights on a baseball field.

Ebert worked for Columbia Water and Light since 1993. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Charles Schouten, also of Columbia, was injured in the accident and admitted to Independence Regional Health Center.

- Brian Hamman

Updating a Columbia Landmark

Wabash Station has led a quiet existence for the past 40 years since the shrill whistles of the old iron horses that once shuttled residents to and from McBaine fell silent in 1964.

The grinding of diesel engines now fills the 95-year-old rail depot as Columbia Transit buses carry commuters throughout the city. But the building, which the city bought in 1977 as a hub for its bus system, is showing its age.

IT’S NOT ALL FUN IN THE SUN: A shallow pool of lifeguards

The city needs more lifeguards and could face staffing problems if it cannot find and hire enough certified staff this weekend.

“Right now, we’re understaffed,” Janel Twehous, aquatic supervisor for the city, said on Wednesday. “I am short at almost every facility.”

HARG likely to end Sapp protests

After twice preventing annexation requests by developer Billy Sapp, Harg residents probably will step aside this week and let the city decide whether to add 805 acres to east Columbia.

Renee Richmond, spokeswoman for Harg Area for Responsible Growth, met with Sapp representative Don Stamper on Wednesday to iron out the details of a statement of intent. If both parties sign, which seems likely, Harg residents will not petition a third time to keep the city from voting on the annexation request.