Dual role stirs interest

Gov. Matt Blunt’s choice to have UM curator Doug Russell lead the state Republican Party has the potential to politically charge the University of Missouri System’s governing body.

Russell is expected to be formally elected as chairman of the state GOP Saturday by the Missouri Republican State Committee.

Floyd does not rule out UNC move

University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd says he has no plans to seek a return to his home state to lead the University of North Carolina System, but he declined to reject the idea outright.

Floyd addressed speculation in both states that he will bid to succeed UNC system president Molly Broad, 64, who has announced plans to step down at the end of the 2005-06 academic year.

Columbia Fire Department asks for taxpayer help to fund projects

The 2005 budget for the Columbia Fire Department is $10.77 million. During the next 10 years, the department wants taxpayers to chip in an additional $13.7 million to its annual budget.

If approved by voters in November, the tax money would go toward new equipment, relocation of a fire station and two additional stations.

‘Religion Matters’ host to leave MU

When Steve Friesen pioneered the “Religion Matters” radio show, he hoped to provide a forum for voices from across the religious spectrum.

Friesen, the chair of MU’s Department of Religious Studies, featured Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and atheists in an effort to capture the religious and ideological diversity of mid-Missouri.

Columbia firefighters begin training for high-rise crises

In a simulated training exercise, firefighters were dispatched to Schurz Residence Hall on the MU campus Tuesday evening ready to battle the flames and smoke of a high-rise fire.

The firefighters were faced with a situation mimicking a real emergency in a fog-filled nine-floor building. They were told a victim had been left inside and to treat every situation as if it were real.

Low enrollment threatens independent school’s future

Morningside Community School is in trouble.

The independent school for children in kindergarten through seventh grade might be forced to close due to limited enrollment. Last year, 30 students attended the school. The enrollment for next fall is down to nine.

Appeals court upholds ruling against church

A Missouri appeals court has denied a motion to dismiss a $6 million civil judgment against Missouri United Methodist Church.

Teresa Norris, a former choir director at Campbell United Methodist Church, had sued the church in 1999 after she said she was raped by the church’s former pastor, the Rev. David Finestead.

Home buyers to get guidance

A pre-purchase home buyer’s seminar will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Columbia Public Library.

The classes are open to anyone in the community.

Safety first for all

Dan Cosby works with hazardous materials in the MU environmental health and safety department. He does laboratory inspections on campus now, but six years ago he was a member of the chemical clean-up crew.

Cosby remembers one particularly unpleasant clean-up at Eva J’s Dining Hall in Johnston Residence Hall. He ended up “dumpster diving” for mercury that had been discarded.

Schools expand positive behavior program

A program used in Columbia Public Schools to praise children when they do right instead of criticizing them when they do wrong is being expanded.

The Columbia public school district is adding two full-time consultants to its positive behavior support system.

Biking to the scene

In pursuit of four juvenile suspects, Columbia police Officer Mark Brotemarkle cornered them in a dead-end parking lot.

Two of the suspects trying to flee the scene were apprehended immediately by the officer. The other two evaded him but were caught soon after by other officers reporting to the area.

Residents share input about proposed sales tax

City officials answered questions and listened to input from about 50 people Wednesday night regarding proposed city improvements that would raise Columbia’s sales tax.

The event was the first of two sessions about proposed improvements to parks, transportation, and fire and police departments. These improvements would be funded by renewing and adding sales taxes.

Medical examiner will conduct independent investigation into O'Neal's death

Valerie Rao, medical examiner for Boone County, said this morning that she plans to conduct an investigation of MU football player Aaron O’Neal’s death Tuesday. Rao said she will interview athletes, coaches and trainers who were at the practice.

“Hopefully, they will be open to that or I will have to get help from law enforcement,” she said.

Funeral and visitation services arranged in St. Louis

Funeral and visitation services have been arranged for MU football player Aaron O'Neal, but plans for memorial contributions have not been finalized.

MU football player dies

Aaron O’Neal, a redshirt freshman on MU’s football team, died Tuesday after collapsing at a voluntary practice.

Mary Jenkins, University Hospital Public Relations manager, confirmed O’Neal’s death and said he was brought to the hospital.

A fitting profession

Clad in leather chaps, with an anvil by his side, Jerry Stone stoops, then carefully lifts and folds the horse’s front leg. Hunching over, he tucks its hoof between his knees, cleaning and trimming it in preparation for shoeing.

After Stone cleans out the packed dirt from the underside of the hoof, he clips the hoof wall and trims the sole. Stone customizes each shoe by measuring the hoof and then carefully molding the shoe to it, shaping the steel with his hammer and anvil.

MU doctors earn certification

Nine endocrinologists from MU Health Care’s Department of Internal Medicine were recognized as certified clinical hypertension specialists — a recognition only 1,115 physicians in the United States have received since the certification’s creation in 1998.

This year, MU Health Care has the largest group of physicians at one single hospital to be certified under the specialist program.

Solar car team sees limited use for public

Imagine owning a $60,000 car with no air conditioning or stereo that must be driven from a reclining position and would be demolished by a hail storm. And forget about driving at night.

These are the limitations of SunTiger VI and other solar cars. MU will soon be racing in the North American Solar Challenge, a 2,500 mile cross-country solar car race that begins on Sunday. Although team members learn useful skills through the experience, they say there isn’t much of a future in solar cars.

Stephens blends fashion, theater in new major

For as long as Ashley Harrison can remember, she has had a needle and thread in hand. At age 5, Harrison began creating new outfits from her wardrobe and designing costumes for her first client — her cat.

Seventeen years later, Harrison is starting her senior year at Stephens College as a theatrical costume design major, a new degree program the school will offer this fall. Harrison switched to the major from her previous focus on fashion design and product development.

Farmers wait for rain relief

Gary Becker, a Sydenstricker Implement salesman, makes farm visits at least twice a week. Lately, he’s been hearing the same frustrations from farmers worried about crops due to lack of rainfall during the past few weeks.

Several counties in southeast Missouri received much-needed rain Monday and Tuesday from the remains of Hurricane Dennis. But the Columbia area is still waiting for a shot of relief, and there isn’t any in sight.