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Forum criticizes SMSU proposal

The phrase “Missouri State University” weighed on many minds at a legislative forum hosted by the Boone County chapter of the MU Alumni Association on Thursday night.

Six local legislators were on hand at the Stoney Creek Inn to discuss issues related to higher education, ranging from the proposed name change of Southwest Missouri State University to Gov. Matt Blunt’s plans to increase education funding.

Blunt’s cuts affect 90,000 statewide

JEFFERSON CITY — An official for Missouri’s hospital industry warned Thursday that the governor’s budget cuts for Medicaid could cause people with health problems to turn to emergency rooms for primary care — a decision that could adversely affect their health.

Dave Dillon, vice president of media relations for the Missouri Hospital Association, said the newly uninsured will wait as long as possible to see a doctor. If they do, patients will be turning to emergency rooms statewide as their conditions worsen because hospitals are required to care for any patient, regardless of health coverage.

Picket could delay housing work

Unionized plumbers and pipefitters on the Southwest Campus Housing Project construction site at MU are threatening to have a full-blown picket that could delay construction of the $38 million project.

Right now, the union members are taking turns on an “information picket;” that is, telling non-union workers at the site that if they come through the union workers’ gate, a picket will go up that could stop construction. The picket could influence union workers in other trades on the site to stop working as well.

Reichlin ends bid for seat

Stephen Reichlin dropped out of the Fifth Ward race for the Columbia City Council on Tuesday.

Reichlin could not be reached for comment. Candidate Laura Nauser, however, said Reichlin dropped out of the race because he didn’t want to split the vote of the business community.

Outside found indoors

Columbia’s new Bass Pro Shop will serve as more than just a haven for outdoors enthusiasts. The store — set to open March 31 — is designed to educate people on conservation and the outdoors.

The inside of the 82,000 square-foot building on Vandiver Drive is decorated with real trees, stuffed deer, elk and bears and animal tracks set in the floor — all of which create a surreal sense of being outdoors. But such decor is not unique to the Columbia store. Each Bass Pro Shop includes murals and displays that are unique to that region.

Gross serious about sports ban

While Columbians are characterizing it as a political joke, State Sen. Chuck Gross, R-St. Charles County, meant business when he filed a bill last week to prohibit high school sports events in Columbia.

“It falls in my category of a silly bill,” said Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia. “I don’t see any chance it will become law.”

Harg residents to submit petition

Members of the Harg Area Residents for Responsible Growth will present a petition to the city clerk at 3:30 p.m. today to stop Billy Sapp’s voluntary annexation proposal.

The group has actively opposed Sapp’s plan to have Columbia annex the 965 acres he owns east of Columbia.

18-year-old arrested in shooting incident

Columbia Police have arrested a suspect in the Jan. 16 shooting of a 25-year-old Columbia resident.

Timothy Sherrod Ellis, 18, was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and armed criminal action, according to a press release issued by Columbia Police Sgt. Stephen Monticelli. Bond for Ellis is set at $200,000.

Rocky roads in rearview mirror, MoDOT says

JEFFERSON CITY — Stakeholders in Missouri’s transportation system are starting the year with high expectations.

Missouri Department of Transportation executives met with contractors and state legislators Thursday morning for the annual transportation conference at the Capitol Plaza Hotel & Convention Center.

Spiritual movie premieres

The Missouri Theater will be one of more than 700 venues worldwide hosting the premiere Saturday of an independent film about a child with extraordinary spiritual abilities.

“Indigo” is directed by veteran Hollywood producer and filmmaker Stephen Simon, who said the movie is part of a new genre called “spiritual cinema.” Simon coined the term in his 2002 book, “The Force Is With You: Mystical Movie Messages That Inspire Our Lives.”

Bowden back in critical condition

Wounded Columbia Police Officer Molly Bowden's condition took a turn for the worse Thursday.

Bowden, who had had a low grade fever on Tuesday, developed a serious infection Wednesday that has left her fighting for her life.

Blunt: Cut Medicaid, boost school money

JEFFERSON CITY — Here come the cuts.

Gov. Matt Blunt delivered the State of the State address to the Missouri House on Wednesday night and proposed slashing the budget by $1.1 billion. The cuts include the elimination of 1,194 state jobs, the privatization of state services and the end of Medicaid coverage for “thousands” of Missourians.

Residents take early look at Sapp plan might sap school, bevy says

Half of Cedar Ridge Elementary School’s classrooms are already in trailers, and several hundred more students could be on the way.

As Columbia City Council weighs the merits of developer Billy Sapp’s plan to build 1,800 homes east of the city, a Columbia Public School District deputy superintendent met with area residents Wednesday night to discuss the potential impact of the development on nearby Cedar Ridge.

First Ward group, CPD collaborate

Members of the First Ward Ambassadors want to be known as mentors to youths in central Columbia. After tonight, however, they may be known more for their presence at a concert and celebrity basketball game.

The civic group that formed two months ago consists of African-American males who mentor youths at risk for dropping out of school, becoming fathers at an inappropriate time or facing unemployment.

Stolen firearms link seven thefts

Seven daylight burglaries of houses in Boone County in the last 10 days may be related, said Boone County Sheriff’s Department investigators Wednesday.

The link appears to be the theft of weapons. Electronics, jewelry and ammunition have also been reported stolen in the break-ins.

Workers’ comp under scrutiny

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s workers’ compensation program could be in for some major reconstructive surgery.

A bill sponsored by Sen. John Loudon, R-St. Louis County, would rewrite the state law and narrow the definition of a work-related injury. The changes are something that members of the Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Matt Blunt say are necessary to fix a system that is scaring jobs away from Missouri.

Local lawmakers join committees

Area legislators received committee marching orders from House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, last week and said they hope to use their new positions to shape legislation in the interest of their constituents.

Perhaps most notable was the appointment of 21st District Rep. Steve Hobbs, R-Mexico, as chairman of the Conservation and Natural Resources Committee. Hobbs, who is in his second term, was a member of the committee during his first term in the House.

Columbia College receives $3.1 million

An alumna from Columbia College has donated $3.1 million to the university, which the school says is its largest gift to date.

Carol Vinkemulder Frobish, a 1949 English graduate of what was then Christian College, had made several donations in recent years to establish a scholarship in her name. The latest and largest donation was given to the college before Frobish died in September of 2003.

Team will teach therapy techniques

Psychologists Arshad Husain, Barbara Bauer and Kathy Dewein will spend the next two weeks in regions devastated by the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami to help local children deal with the psychological aftereffects.

Tsunami victims will struggle with grief, guilt and depression, according to Husain. Survivors need to stop trying to understand why the disaster happened, he said.

Students read to raise money for new playground

Jordan Crane, a third-grader at Cedar Ridge Elementary, spent Friday enjoying one of his favorite books — in his pajamas. He was right on task.

Students showed up in nightgowns and flannels that morning to participate in the school’s sixth annual all-day read-a-thon raising money for a new playground.

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