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Mo. to use high-tech fingerprint service

Missourians who need background checks will be able to bypass messy ink, intimidating booking rooms and, most importantly, lengthy delays thanks to a new electronic fingerprinting service.

The state awarded a contract for the service to a Minnesota-based company April 20. The aim is to decrease the turnaround time for fingerprint checks by reducing the number of paper fingerprint cards, which are less accurate and require manual entry into the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s database. The contract requires the services be available within 90 days of its signing, but the Division of Purchasing and Materials Management would not confirm a specific starting date.

Harg’s History

It is only a vacant aging house on the south side of developer Billy Sapp’s property, but traces of a small community’s rich history are embedded in the land that surrounds it.

In front of the red-brick bungalow once owned by her family, Columbia resident Laura Crane sits on a stone fence built by her father, Paul Lindell Pace. She recalls memories of the farm and stories about a place called Harg. Her father lived in the house on 193 acres called Walnut Home Dairy Farm until it sold in 1928.

Competing for Sight

People in swimsuits ran around barefoot in the parking lot of Wilson’s Total Fitness Center on a chilly Sunday morning eager to register for the Merrill Lynch Race for Sight Triathlon. Sign-ins completed, they stormed the gym and hopped in the pool for the first event, a 300-yard swim. They followed that with a 17.5-mile bicycle ride and a 3.4-mile run.

More than 550 people participated in the event, now in its seventh year. Proceeds benefited the Amblyopia Prevention Program of the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation. Amblyopia, or lazy eye, can cause learning and behavioral difficulties in school and can potentially lead to permanent blindness. The condition usually can be cured if detected and treated early.

Birthing options explored

For Jane Bush, a pre-medical student at the University of Washington, the Future of Birth Conference was about more than lectures and networking. It was an opportunity to be inspired.

As a birth assistant or doula, she came to the Columbia conference hoping to find some direction in her life.

Summer cleanup to relieve Mo. River

Missouri River Relief will stay busy this summer doing its part to clean up the Missouri River. The Columbia nonprofit organization has already finished the first of four summer cleanup operations this weekend at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, near St. Louis.

But the big adventure for the “river rats,” as Jim Karpowicz fondly refers to the group he founded, will be three consecutive three-day weekends in July, when the group will conduct a “mega-scout” of trash along the river.

High school requirements may change

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is holding 10 regional forums starting today to get feedback on proposed changes to high school graduation requirements that would put greater emphasis on math, social studies and science instead of electives.

The High School Task Force, a 25-member committee consisting of education, business and labor representatives, recommended that graduation requirements increase from 22 to 24 credits, according to a press release from task force chairman Jerry Valentine. One unit equals one yearlong class.

Correction

A story on Page 11C Sunday about home birthing misspelled the name of an obstetrician who spoke at Stoney Creek Inn. His name is Michel Odent.

Smoking ban foes inflamed by revisions

Kevin Goodwin sits on a leather couch in the back of his store smoking a cigar. Inside the recently opened Tinder Box in the Broadway Shops development, the smoke of his cigar mixes with the smell of fine tobacco.

Even though Goodwin’s store would still be exempted from the latest proposed revisions to Columbia’s no-smoking ordinance, he remains opposed to it. He jokingly calls it the “anti-American ordinance.”

Columbia man among four killed in Iraq

FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) -- A Columbia, Mo., soldier was among four soldiers killed when a homemade bomb exploded near their vehicle in Iraq, the Army said Monday.

First Lt. William A. Edens, 29, of Columbia, died Thursday in Tal Afar, Iraq, when the bomb detonated near his Stryker military vehicle.

Donation will fund autism center

One family’s contribution to the For All We Call Mizzou campaign will offer new hope to families and children dealing with autism.

William Thompson, co-chairman of the campaign steering committee, and his wife Nancy donated $8.5 million to fund the Thompson Family Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton announced Friday. Deaton said the new center will conduct autism research and provide service and teaching.

Teens scope summer gigs at youth job fair

Approximately 200 Columbia teenagers packed a Ramada Inn conference room Saturday, snacking on hot dogs and scouting information booths for summer activities.

“We’re doing this for you,” Mayor Darwin Hindman told participants. “We’re trying to make your summer better.”

Is third time a charm for Sapp and Harg group land agreement?

After weeks of negotiations with neighbors, developer Billy Sapp filed an annexation and zoning request for 805 acres on Friday.

The request is his third effort to start developing the land he owns east of Columbia on both sides of Route WW. Two earlier requests were blocked by a group of neighbors known as the Harg-Area Residents for Responsible Growth, HARG, who say they have now come to tentative agreements with Sapp.

River Tales

In George Caleb Bingham’s 1852 lithograph “In a Quandary (Mississippi Raftsmen Playing Cards),” a quartet of raggedly dressed men float down the river on a raft. Two players are sitting on a long bench; one man has just made his play, and the other is pondering his next move. The other men stand ready to give advice. Behind them, a bluff overlooks the steady Mississippi River, and a fearsome line of thunderclouds looms in the distance.

The vessel isn’t carrying cargo but actually functions as cargo itself. At the time, lumber cut upstream was bound together in “flats” and sent adrift downstream. At its destination, the rafts were split up and the lumber sold.

Missouri's stake in Cuba

Increasingly, when Cuban families sit down for dinner, the chicken and rice they eat and the milk they drink comes from Missouri.

That’s because American capitalism has crossed the Florida Straits for the Port of Havana in the form of cargo ships full of agricultural goods from big business and small farmers alike. For the past four years, Fidel Castro has been playing political poker, betting he can influence U.S. policy toward Cuba by going to famers and local decision-makers. But now, the Bush administration has raised the stakes, and Missouri farmers could be among the players to lose their chips.

Crafty doctor

At first glance, the woodworking shop behind the Abernathie home looks like a guest house. It is a large room with cathedral ceilings that smells of the great outdoors. The tables are covered with blueprints, metal objects and wooden planks.

Dennis Abernathie keeps office hours as an orthopedic surgeon in Columbia. In the evenings and on weekends, he retires to his workshop, making headboards, cabinets, foot stools and other furniture.

To pack fast, be sure to keep husband away

We’re moving out of our lake house next weekend and though I only have one and a half boxes packed, I’m not worried. I was an Army brat in my youth and had to learn the art of packing if I wanted to see my personal stuff in one piece on the other end.

Packing begins with selecting the right box. The perfect size should be no larger than 3 feet by 3 feet. I refuse to pay for boxes that will only be used to transport items from one place to another, so I go to grocery stores and beg for any box they haven’t already pitched. I think it would be a terrific service if the local grocery stores placed bins in a covered area where I can drive up and get what I need without having to go into the store, bother a clerk who has to go to the back room and search, and then once he hands me the two or three he’s found I have to walk through the store bumping into displays while people stare at me and shake their heads in pity, secretly thanking God that it’s not them moving. The warehouse store east of town has the right idea, but they cut off the lids and moving with boxes without lids is worthless.

Blunt’s budget to cut funds for arthritis centers

“One, two, take your time, three, four, shoulders back, five, six, happy thoughts and a big smile — all together,” exercise instructor Fabiola Lopez shouts in time to the music of Frank Sinatra while 13 seniors gently raise their arms and legs.

The 11 women and two men remain seated in plastic chairs, their movements limited by various degrees of arthritis.

Home Delivery

In a darkened room lit only by candles, John Hahn cleared away all distractions to create a safe and quiet space for his wife, Jessica, to give birth to their son, Riley.

Away from a fast-paced hospital with its monitors and IV tubes, the Columbia couple opted for the comfort of their home to deliver their second child. After four hours of labor — most spent in a bathtub that only hours before had been cluttered with toddler bath toys — Jessica Hahn, 32, welcomed Riley into the world with the help of a birth assistant. A doctor arrived about a half-hour before full dilation to finish the delivery.

Devoted Teaching

Sister Nadine Flott awakes before 6 a.m. each day and says her prayers in the quiet of the pre-dawn light that filters through her blinds. She arrives at St. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Boonville about an hour later, taking her customary post at the school’s side door to greet each arriving student, most of them by name. “Here comes my best friend,” Sister Nadine hails first-grader Morgan Browning.

“No jacket, today?” she asks another student who is wearing short sleeves on a chilly March morning. “Aren’t you going to be cold during recess?”

House panel rejects state schools plan

JEFFERSON CITY — A plan to change the state’s school foundation formula suffered a significant setback Thursday with a House committee’s vote to defeat the proposal.

“What you saw here was a rural versus urban divide,” said Rep. Brian Baker, R-Belton and chairman of the House Special Committee on Education Funding.

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