Sisterhood of support

Judy Purtell was driving to the Center for Women’s Ministries recently when she saw the dog.

She had seen it before, looking lost, near her home in Rothwell Heights. But this time Purtell leaned over, opened the door and watched the dog — not much larger than most cats, really — bound directly into her vehicle.

Wave of relief

It’s been six weeks since the images of death and destruction, unlike anything we’d seen before, washed across our television screens. The massive undersea earthquake off the coast of Sri Lanka on Dec. 26 unleashed tidal waves that killed as many as 178,000 people in 11 countries and caused an estimated $7 billion in damages.

The staggering loss of life and property was quick to capture the attention of the world community. International relief organizations are still trying to address needs as immediate as food, water, shelter and medical care. Long-term reconstruction is only beginning.

Initiative offers discount drugs to uninsured

While elected leaders and policymakers in Jefferson City and Washington continue to grapple with the spiraling costs of prescription drugs, at least some of the uninsured will soon be able to participate in a new nationwide discount-drug program.

Together Rx Access, set to begin Saturday, is a collaboration of 10 of the nation’s biggest drug companies. The program is an extension of Together Rx, which launched two years ago to help people older than 65 obtain cheaper drugs.

Finding a place for hope

In the midst of excited chatter, warm embraces and aggressive bidding, Glen Sapp stands front and center at the Ashland Optimist Complex to orchestrate a live auction held to benefit an area family that has experienced hardship and tragedy.

Across the room, John Humpf moves from person to person to thank the hundreds who came to support his family. He and his wife, Crystal, were set to leave for California on Saturday. There, Crystal’s rare form of cancer can be treated by one of a handful of doctors in the United States who are qualified to treat the disease.

Little helpers give with big hearts

Jutta Hopkins won’t soon forget the proud dad who walked into the Red Cross office with a blue Reebok shoebox wrapped with duct tape. Inside was $30 in change and a few single bills.

The man’s son and a friend had gone house-to-house in their neighborhood, asking people to help with tsunami relief.

Annual cattle show kicks off as fans show off judging skills

The distinct smell of cattle and grooming supplies were in the air at the Midway Exposition Center arena today after exhibitors, parents and community members kicked off the 11th annual Alpha Gamma Rho Classic steer and heifer show Saturday.

The event started with a judging contest for 4-H and FFA students. The MU agriculture fraternity has been hosting the free contest for several years in an effort to give students more opportunities to judge cattle.

SMSU name bill sits in senatorial limbo

The next step in Southwest Missouri State University’s quest to change its name now rests with one person: state Sen. Gary Nodler.

On Jan. 25, the Senate Education Committee approved a bill 6-3 that would allow SMSU to drop its regional moniker and become Missouri State University. As the chairman of that committee, Nodler, R-Joplin, must now report the approved bill to the Senate clerk.

Amendment supporters starting to see rewards

JEFFERSON CITY – The real news at the Capitol on Wednesday wasn’t on the House floor – it was in the basement.

That’s where the transportation commission dished out $94.6 million worth of projects paid for by a new constitutional amendment.

Sapp development plans in jeopardy

Harg-area petitioners collected more signatures than required to halt the largest proposed voluntary land annexation in Columbia’s history.

A report signed by City Manager Ray Beck declares the objection to Billy Sapp’s 1,000-acre annexation plan valid and advises the City Council not to vote or hold a second public hearing at Monday night’s meeting.

No contest for board spot

Barbara Weaver’s latest campaign to return to the Boone Hospital Center’s board of trustees will be an easy one. In fact, it’s already over. The filing deadline for what was supposed to be an April 5 election was Jan. 18. Since Weaver was the only candidate who filed, there will be no election. The same phenomenon occurred last year, when Greg Steinhoff also won a five-year term without challenge.

“There is no election because only one person filed,” Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren said.

Columbia is... CLEVER

Clever (klev´er) adj. clev·er·er, clev·er·est

Nimble with the hands or body; dexterous.

Comedy program benefits Bowden

Columbia Police Officer Corey Bowden and his father-in-law David Thomas laughed out loud Thursday night — not an unusual occurrence at the Déjà Vu Comedy Club But for injured Officer Molly Bowden’s husband and father, it was a significant moment.

The two haven’t had much to laugh about, lately. Bowden remained in a drug-induced coma at University Hospital in serious condition after being shot by Richard Evans during a traffic stop the evening of Jan. 10. As of Friday, she was recovering from a serious infection, though a family spokesman said she was continuing to improve.

Citizens back Katy bridge

BOONVILLE — The MKT Bridge, a historic and engineering feat, stood strong Friday night as citizens gathered at a town meeting to discuss future of the bridge.

The meeting, held by the Save the Katy Bridge organization at Turner Hall, brought 54 people to what economic developer Sarah Gallagher referred to as a “gauge for citizen support.”

New tower symbolizes city’s boom

During the past two months, commuters on U.S. 63 couldn’t help but notice a change in the landscape just south of Columbia. What started as four columns of gray steel stretching skyward near the junction of Highway 163 has taken shape.

The new water tower, which will stand 192 feet tall with a capacity of 1 million gallons, is a symbol of more than just engineering bravado. It represents the changes to come in the largely undeveloped area not far from the city’s southern borders.

Legislators respond to community

Five local legislators fielded questions on issues ranging from Medicare cuts to meth labs Thursday night at the Columbia Public Library.

A crowd of about 50 gathered to attend a town meeting held by the League of Women Voters. The legislators took questions from the audience on a variety of subjects. The common topic in all the legislators’ responses was Gov. Matt Blunt’s newly-proposed budget.

City flips switch on green power

When Columbians flip on the light switch, brew their morning coffee or turn on their televisions, a small portion of the electricity powering those devices now comes from a renewable-energy source.

Columbia began receiving electricity generated by burning landfill gas, or methane, and turning it into electricity on Tuesday. Three megawatts of renewable electricity — approximately 1 percent of the city’s electric needs — flow from electric turbines at the Milam landfill in East St. Louis, Ill., to Columbia homes and businesses.

HARG expects ruling today

The public will likely learn today the results of Harg residents’ petition to block the voluntary annexation of 1,000 acres east of town owned by developer Billy Sapp.

Harg-Area Residents for Responsible Growth, or HARG, submitted the 260-page petition with 2,739 signatures on Jan. 28. Since then, County Clerk Wendy Noren and her staff have been reviewing the signatures.

USDA closes animal supplier

The U.S. Department of Agriculture revoked the license of an animal dealer that supplied animals to MU and other Missouri research facilities.

The USDA charged C.C. Baird of Martin’s Creek Kennel in Williford, Ark., with numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act, such as selling stolen pets and animal abuse and neglect. The department revoked Baird’s license and fined Martin’s Creek Kennel more than $260,000. Penalties also include a five-year probation and a $250,000 penalty if Baird engages in any of the activities for which his license was revoked.

New school funding panel created

JEFFERSON CITY — The appointment of a 23-member House committee to examine the state’s formula for funding public schools drew a mix of praise and criticism from legislators Thursday. Some say the committee is necessary if the General Assembly is to succeed in revamping school funding, while others predict it will complicate the search for a solution.

House Speaker Rod Jetton appointed the committee, composed of five representatives from urban districts, eight from suburban districts and 10 from rural districts. The new panel comes after a joint House-Senate committee was named earlier in the legislative session to review education funding.

To the moon and beyond

Red lights appear on the control board, indicating there is a simulated emergency on the mock space shuttle at Hickman High School.

The student astronauts find the problem: a water pipe has burst in the floor. Water sporadically sprays students as they try to fix the pipe, but the directions are in German. The group, under the leadership of space commander Hector May, a Hickman senior, decides to send the directions to their control base for translation as they cover nearby electronic equipment.