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Plan would raise school funding

JEFFERSON CITY — A plan to boost annual spending on the state’s public schools by $665 million made its way to the Senate floor on Thursday.

The plan, to be phased in over five years, would eventually raise basic aid to public schools from the current $2.4 billion to a little more than $3 billion a year, not counting items paid separately, such as transportation.

State bill follows Schiavo’s death

JEFFERSON CITY — Shortly after the death of Terri Schiavo on Thursday, a state representative filed a bill that would prohibit doctors in Missouri from removing feeding tubes from patients who lack living wills directing their removal.

Columbia designs will fill the runway in charity fashion show

Ten fashion lines created by Columbia designers will be showcased at the first KCOU fashion show. Proceeds will benefit the Rainbow House of Columbia, an emergency shelter serving abused and neglected children as well as families in crisis. The show will be at 8 p.m. on Saturday at The Blue Note, 17 N. Ninth St.

“The show will be a great night of music and fashion,” said show coordinator Monica Jost.

Electric flow under new managers

If everything goes as planned, Columbians shouldn’t have noticed anything different when they woke up this morning and they turned off their alarm clocks and flipped on their coffee makers. But for everything electric, today marks a new beginning.

The Midwest Independent System Operator, a federal agency based in Indiana, was scheduled to take control at midnight of more than 97,000 miles of transmission lines and more than 100,000 megawatts of electricity generation over 1.1 million square miles from Manitoba, Canada, to Missouri, and from eastern Montana to western Pennsylvania.

Social Security panel seeks to educate, spur public action on topic

Ed Metzen did not mince words as he spoke about President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security: “This is not just a problem, it is scary as hell.”

Metzen, an MU professor emeritus of consumer and family economics, wasted no time Thursday night warning more than 60 Columbia residents and students at a forum organized by a number of local activist organizations that any attempts to privatize Social Security would “end in disaster” for future generations.

Boone County residents reflect on Terri Schiavo’s death

Pinellas Park, Fla., is about a 24-hour drive from Columbia. It’s more than 1,100 miles away. But it was home to Terri Schiavo, whose death hit close to home for some Boone County residents on Thursday, bringing both sighs of relief and feelings of sadness.

“When I went to bed (Wednesday) night, I was thinking that this would be her last day,” said Lana Jacobs, who has been closely following the Schiavo case and spent eight days protesting outside of Schiavo’s hospice in Florida last week.

Committee unveils $19 billion draft budget

JEFFERSON CITY — Holding true to promises Republicans have been making since autumn, a preliminary draft of a $19 billion Missouri budget for fiscal 2006 calls for cuts to state government and includes no additional taxes.

The bulk of the budget cuts centers on social services and the Department of Mental Health. The appropriations bills call for a $59 million increase in spending for K-12 education.

Schiavo case’s effects explored

When Zoe Smith and her husband, Conrad, created a living will in 1992, she never thought she would need to use it.

“It’s really important to have a living will. You hope you never need it, but it’s when you do need it that you thank your lucky stars that you have it,” she said.

City looks to comply with energy ordinance

The change in the way electricity flows to and from Columbia comes at a turning point for the city, which is evaluating upgrades to its own coal-fired plant and looking for long-term energy contracts. The city is also attempting to acquire electricity from renewable sources such as wind farms in Kansas and is considering using methane from Columbia’s own landfill to provide up to 1 percent of the electric supply.

Columbia, which uses an average of 110 megawatts of electricity in April, has the capability to produce up to 86 megawatts of power on its own. But the city is looking for another 75 megawatts in the short term and 120 megawatts by 2015. The city has paid Stanley Consultants $98,500 to evaluate upgrades to the Municipal Power Plant and expects the firm’s final report in April.

Speaker highlights importance of raising attention to the discrimination of women

Martha Burk is a petite, middle-aged woman with graying hair. When she speaks, people listen. On Thursday, Burk’s message was clear: Get their attention.

In an afternoon press conference at Stephens College, Burk announced that a class action lawsuit had been filed in San Francisco against Smith Barney, alleging pay and promotion discrimination against women by the Citigroup, Inc. division.

Pierpont to decide on sales tax issue Tuesday

The Pierpont Store at Highway 163 and Route N has a history much longer than the village it serves.

Almost two centuries ago, the store was part of Boone County’s first recorded distillery and grist mill in what is now Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. In 1834, John Keiser converted it into Missouri’s first paper mill, according to the Missouri State Historical Society. But the distillery proved more profitable and brewing resumed in 1841 under the name McCanathy’s Rye Distillery.

Federal grant to help fund park expansion

A $150,000 grant from the federal government will help the city further construct and expand Flat Branch Park.

Columbia’s grant will go toward the second phase of construction of the downtown park, including an expansion ofthe park into a city-owned parking lot between Locust and Elm streets.

Feminism for the masses

On Wednesday afternoon, when a group of MU students asked bell hooks how she decides what to write about, she took a dark, book-size journal out of her bag. She opened it to show pages and pages filled with writing so small that her mother claims she needs a microscope to read hooks’ letters.

In the book are hooks’ finances and her to-do lists — she writes down 10 things she wants to accomplish that day. It has observations about the world that could become books; a life map with goals for each decade of her life, currently in the 50- to 60-year-old span.

Navy aids MU police in murder legwork

Naval Criminal Investigative Service federal agents — including a renowned “cold case” forensic specialist — have been assisting the MU Police Department in its investigation into the slaying of Jeong Im since early February, Police Chief Jack Watring said Wednesday.

The body of the MU microbiology researcher was found in the trunk of his burning car on the third level of the Maryland Avenue campus parking structure on Jan. 7.

Candidate’s $21,222 tops opponents

Any Columbia resident who hadn’t seen Laura Nauser’s name before the City Council race began has probably seen it by now. According to campaign-

finance reports filed with the Boone County Clerk’s office earlier this week, Nauser — a candidate for the Fifth Ward council seat — has raised $21,222 in funds for her campaign, money that she said she is using to get her name out before the election.

Schiavo case creates interest in living wills

Wendy Lochrie has no plans to leave her death in the hands of someone else.

After working as a nurse’s aide in Illinois hospitals for more than two years and seeing the helplessness some terminally ill patients and their families feel as a result of failing to outline their life-ending decisions in living wills or health care directives, she knows better.

Workers’ comp revisions become law

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Matt Blunt signed a fundamental rewrite of the state workers’ compensation system into law Wednesday. The changes will reduce the number of injuries that qualify for benefits and increase scrutiny on the program’s judges.

Blunt praised the new law, which his Democratic opponents say will make life harder for injured workers, as a necessary reform to a program he says is costing Missouri business.

Falun Gong movement core of talk

The struggle between the Chinese government and the spiritual practice of Falun Gong highlights how weak the Chinese government really is, 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner Ian Johnson said Wednesday at Jesse Wrench Auditorium in Memorial Union.

Johnson’s lecture, which focused on his award-winning coverage of the Falun Gong movement in Beijing, was part of the Paine Lectures sponsored by the MU Department of Religious Studies, the School of Journalism, the Asian Affairs Center and the Center for Religion, the Professions and the Public. His book, “Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China,”highlights the events of the movement.

Shaping College Dreams

Je’Vonte Prayer has dreams of becoming a professional basketball player — after he goes to college, of course.

Eleven-year-old Je’Vonte is one of 50 fifth-graders from Eugene Field Elementary School who experienced college a little earlier than most at “College Day” at Columbia College on Wednesday.

Protesters dispute cuts to Medicaid

JEFFERSON CITY — One e-mail changed Barbara French’s whole day.

When French, 67, of Edgar Springs, received an alert from a liberal think tank Wednesday morning that Gov. Matt Blunt’s proposed cuts to Medicaid would come up in a House committee that night, she sprang into action.

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