Protesters fight Social Security privatization

With signs saying, “Hands off my Social Security,” members of Missourians United to Protect Social Security gathered at the Columbia Labor Temple on Wednesday to announce the coalition’s joining of the national campaign against President Bush’s plans for privatization.

The coalition is made up of several groups including the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, the National Society for the Advancement of Colored People and the United Activist Network.

Sen. Green proposes Irish history month

JEFFERSON CITY — Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, a state senator named Green is looking to honor the Irish in Missouri.

Sen. Tim Green, D-St. Louis, has proposed a resolution declaring March 2005 to be Irish-American Heritage Month.

Two face charges in raid of meth lab

An undercover narcotics investigation led to the seizure of a methamphetamine lab and the arrests of two Centralia residents Wednesday.

The Missouri Highway Patrol arrested Tracy McIntyre, 31, and Andrew Voyles, 28, both of 407 E. Simms St., on suspicion of possession of ephedrine and drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell near a school, endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree and possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana, said Sgt. Jason Clark of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Medicaid cuts move ahead

JEFFERSON CITY — Thanks to a straight party-line vote on an amendment earlier in the day, the Missouri Senate voted to end the state’s Medicaid program when it gave first-round approval to a bill aimed at reducing Medicaid eligibility Tuesday night.

Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, R-St. Louis County, proposed an amendment that would eliminate the welfare program by June 30, 2008. The amendment modified the larger Senate bill that would cut 89,000 recipients and reduce coverage for another 23,000.

Partial closing of Seventh Street debated

The Columbia Special Business District is at odds with the idea of closing Seventh Street between Ash and Walnut streets for an eventual expansion of the Boone County Courthouse.

The county’s Space Needs Committee determined at a Monday night meeting that its recommendation for courthouse expansion should include a request for evaluation of a potential closing of Seventh Street.

Bill seeks reporting of sexually active teens

JEFFERSON CITY — Teachers, doctors and other professionals who work with children would be required to report any knowledge of young teens having sex, consensual or not, to the state’s child-abuse hot line under legislation pending in the House.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Richard Byrd, R-Kirkwood, said the legislation fixes flaws recently identified when the state’s child-abuse reporting law faced a court challenge. But opponents call Byrd’s proposed changes confusing and unnecessary and worry it would prevent teachers, among others, from using sound professional judgment about what constitutes child abuse.

First Missouri execution since 2003

Seven hours before he became the first Missourian killed by the state since 2003, Stanley Hall said he

wasn’t afraid of dying.

School funding fix hits obstacles

JEFFERSON CITY — Real estate agents and rural lawmakers are opposing an effort to rewrite Missouri’s school funding method because of a provision that would make more information about home sales available to assessors.

The proposed school funding plan received its first hearing Tuesday before a Senate committee in what’s expected to be a long legislative process.

Students get close-up civics lesson

What’s the only reason a 14-year-old would want to spend seven hours talking to county government officials?

“It was a chance to get out of school for a good reason,” said Molly Musterman, a freshman at Southern Boone County High School.

Gasoline price just short of record high

ST. LOUIS — The price of gasoline at the pump is less than a penny away from the nation’s record high, a government agency and the AAA Auto Club said Tuesday.

In the St. Louis region, prices spiked 28 cents at some stations overnight, prompting consumers to shop around.

Ex-aide alleges discrimination at Bearfield School

The Columbia Public School District is facing its second lawsuit in two years in connection with allegations of racial discrimination at Bearfield School, an alternative program school.

Louis Gatewood, a former instructional aide at Bearfield, said in the lawsuit that he was denied advancement opportunities and was treated differently than his white coworkers during the 2001-2002 school year. Gatewood also said Bearfield principal Russell Hardesty and school psychologist Dale Wilkinson made offensive racial comments about black employees and students that fostered a hostile working environment.

Lawyer sees life experience as asset in City Council bid

Gayle Troutwine doesn’t have a campaign slogan, but if she did, it would probably include the words “life experience.”

Troutwine, who is running against Laura Nauser and Joseph Vradenburg for a three-year term as the Fifth Ward representative to the Columbia City Council, thinks life experience sets her apart from her competitors. Each seeks to replace John John, whose term will expire after the April 5 election.

Illegal purchase of firearm alleged

A Columbia woman was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday and arrested Tuesday by Columbia police on suspicion of illegally purchasing a firearm for her then-boyfriend, Richard T. Evans, in May 2003.

The gun in question was not the one authorities say Evans used in the fatal shooting of Columbia police Officer Molly Bowden last month, U.S. Attorney Todd Graves said at a news conference Tuesday.

Filibuster ties up medical cuts

JEFFERSON CITY — The debate over Gov. Matt Blunt’s proposed cuts to Missouri’s health care programs for the poor hit the floor of the state Senate on Monday.

The Democratic minority blocked action by staging a filibuster against a bill designed as a companion to Blunt’s proposed budget, which sought to take nearly 90,000 people off Medicaid. The stalling tactic went on into the night with no resolution reached as of press time.

Administering the Law

One look at Dwayne Carey gives away that Boone County’s rookie sheriff values hard work.

The 37-year-old still looks like a football player. He works out as conscientiously as he did in high school when he was fighting for the starting tight end position with the Hickman Kewpies.

Lawmakers refine bill on workers’ comp

JEFFERSON CITY — State House and Senate lawmakers met Monday and ironed out differences in two bills that would fundamentally rewrite Missouri’s workers’ compensation law.

The legislation would tighten the definition of who qualifies for workers’ compensation. Benefits would be awarded only when a job is deemed to be the “prevailing” cause of injury. Heart attacks at the workplace or car accidents while driving in a company car would not qualify.

Theft, fake pregnancy alleged

A local man and his family waited eight months for the stork to arrive. In the end, they lost a bundle.

Detectives from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department charged Kelsy Dawn Poore, 19, with stealing by deceit on Friday, about one month after they began an investigation into a man’s claim that Poore had deceived him into believing that she was pregnant with his child.

Parents need help with responsibility

It’s fun to navigate the highways and byways of women’s history and encounter the many whistle stops along the way. We can look back to the day when women won the right to vote and the time when it became possible for women to earn equal pay for equal work. We can certainly agree that it has been a long journey, and there are still a few miles left to go.

Although women have taken giant steps in liberation in the last five or six decades, they remain the primary caregivers of the family unit. In addition to taking care of the husband and children, they often have to take on elderly parents. There is a loud cry these days to strengthen family ties and family values, and for a lot of folks, women are the people expected to fulfill that agenda. The fact that many women work as long and hard as men will probably get little consideration, except for lip service.

Hulshof pushes funds for Stadium extension

U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof is doing what he can to make the extension of Stadium Boulevard a reality.

Hulshof, R-Columbia, secured $2.5 million to help pay for the extension as part of a package of highway projects approved by the U.S. House last week. The bill allocated a total of $4.76 billion to improve Missouri roads.

Bill would ease midwife restrictions

JEFFERSON CITY — Labor pains might no longer mean a grab for the overnight bag and a mad dash for the hospital.

A bill proposed by Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O’Fallon, would allow anyone to assist in a birth, not just doctors at a hospital or certified-nurse midwives. The bill primarily would affect lay midwives who help with home births. Existing Missouri law makes it a felony for anyone other than a medical professional to deliver a baby.