Prosecutor looks for mistakes in old cases

ST. LOUIS — After landing a job at a prestigious law firm, Jennifer Joyce was making good money with an office overlooking the Gateway Arch — and was miserable.

So, she took a job at half the pay as an assistant prosecutor, sharing a dingy office with three other lawyers and one computer.

City health coverage gets checkup

Rising health-care costs have forced the city to make several changes to its 2006 health insurance plan. The changes include a 20 percent increase in premiums and $810,000 in cost-saving measures. An additional $500,000 from the general fund will be transferred to cover the remaining costs.

Margrace Buckler, the city’s human resource director, called the changes “make-up money.”

Puppy stolen from parked car

A woman who recently moved to Columbia discovered her puppy was missing Thursday evening when she returned to her car after a quick trip to the Gerbes supermarket on Paris Road.

Ciera Martin said she left her two dogs in her car with the windows rolled down while she went into the store for 10 minutes. It was a relatively cool 84 degrees, but still far too hot to have the windows up and two dogs inside. When she returned, the younger of the two dogs was gone.

MU center tries to fend off crop-killing fungus

PORTAGEVILLE — The threat of an easily transmittable fungus has forced soybean researchers in Missouri’s Bootheel region to go into high gear.

Allen Wrather and Grover Shannon, at MU’s far-flung Delta Research Center, are among those trying to find a way to divert the potentially devastating Asian soybean rust from Missouri’s leading crop.

Fitness films focus on wellness

What pops in your mind when you think of an exercise video? The still-popular “Jane Fonda Workout Video for Exercise” with Fonda working out in her aerobics room and counting “one, two, three and four” out loud?

If so, the “Fitness and Wellness for a Lifetime” video series created by Stephen Ball would give you a different take on exercise videos.

Community Faces: Anthony Lupo

Anthony Lupo has wanted to understand weather since he was 7 years old.

“Thunderstorms fascinated me,” Lupo said. “I became very interested in how the weather works.”

Digital Rocker

Tom Atwood, a 49-year-old documentary filmmaker, has been making music most of his life. He began writing songs on a guitar when he was just 17, then recording them on an old multitrack tape recorder in his closet.

“No one would ever hear them,” he says.

A Colorful array

The Artist

Jennie Williams, who is a painter, collagist and assemblage artist, attended MU for a year before transferring to the Kansas City Art Institute, where she earned an undergraduate degree in fine arts.  At 39, the Fulton-born artist has made Columbia her home with her son, Dane, 4.

Shell Shocker

Most animal species have an inherent defense mechanism for survival.

At the first sign of danger, a turtle will hide its legs, tail and head in its shell for protection. However, 90 percent of these slow and “harmless” reptiles are hiding an offensive mechanism to which people do not have a natural defense.

Building the faith

The new Ashland Christian Church is a modest gray and white building on Route DD, just past the Ashland city limits. The church sits on an otherwise empty corner lot. All around, the corn is head high.

“It’s kind of like The Field of Dreams thing; if you build it, they will come,” said Mark Kummer, Ashland Christian’s pastor.

Much ado about evolution

Rep. Cynthia Davis hurries along the basement corridors, looking for the hearing room where she will defend her bill calling for evolution criticism in Missouri textbooks. She peeks around the door and focuses on the back two rows, where her witnesses fidget while waiting to present their case.

Davis smiles and heads to greet them. All but one in her crowd are members of two home-schooled families who drove as long as nine hours to change public education.

How the evolution debate evolved

1925 In the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, high school teacher John Scopes is convicted of violating Tennessee law by teaching evolution to high school


Ken and Barbie well worth the trip to Indiana

It was five years ago when I first saw them. I wasn’t working that summer but I heard that the school had hired a new assistant sports editor and his wife, who was going to work on the design side of the paper. I was in the newsroom that day, working in my office and preparing to start the new school year. I saw the couple across the newsroom talking with another editor.

It has been said that impressions are made about another person within the first 10 or 15 seconds. Well my first impression was “Oh my gosh, it’s Ken and Barbie.”

Community Sketchbook: Danielle Eldrid

Artist: Danielle Eldred

ART: “Lost in the System”

Hidden evidence

On the floor of a pitch-black classroom, a bloody trail of bluish, glowing footprints is illuminated when a student sprays them with Luminol. They lead to the feet of Michael Himmel, who is far too calm to play the part of an actual murder suspect.

“We use real pig blood,” says Himmel, a criminal justice instructor and investigator with the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad.

Budget pitch reflects new utility rates

The city will spend more than $280 million during the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, according to a proposed budget presented by City Manager Ray Beck on Thursday. That is a 1.4 percent increase from fiscal 2005.

While property taxes will remain the same under the proposed budget, city residents can expect to see increases in sewer, water and electric utility rates.

Volunteers riled over modified block grants plan

Members of the Community Development Commission expressed disappointment about changes the city staff made in its recommendation for distributing Community Development Block Grant money in the next fiscal year.

The commission, made up of nine community volunteers, last month submitted its recommendation for how to distribute block grant money in fiscal 2006.

City chosen for $25 million sidewalk project

Columbia expects to soon have $25 million to build more bike lanes, pedways, sidewalks and trails in an effort to reduce traffic congestion.

Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., requested the money as part of a $286.5 billion federal highway bill, which also contains money for two local road projects tacked on by Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo. The bill is expected to pass out of the House and Senate this week.


An ingredient, 1 (14 ounce) can of artichokes, was omitted from the recipe for Vegetable Aspic Supreme in Wednesday’s Taste section.

Merger renames familiar clothiers

Early shoppers for the 2006 holiday season won’t be able to purchase gift items from Columbia’s Famous-Barr department store. Beginning in the fall of next year, customers will be able to shop at the same location, operating under the nameplate of Macy’s.

Columbia’s Famous-Barr is one of 330 stores nationwide that will take on the Macy’s name.