MU instructor mulls home guru’s image

Well before domestic guru Martha Stewart left a federal prison in West Virginia on Friday morning, a team of public relations experts was working to reshape Stewart’s public persona.

They might want to give MU’s Melissa Click a call.

County would lose 178 jobs under Medicaid proposal

Boone County workers and businesses could lose 178 jobs and $12.6 million under Gov. Matt Blunt’s proposed Medicaid overhaul, a statewide study by Saint Louis University economists shows.

In a county-by-county assessment, two SLU economics professors examined the fiscal impact of reduced Medicaid spending by the state, which would trigger losses of federal matching funds. Boone County ranks seventh among the state’s 67 counties in terms of projected job losses and lost revenue in the community.

County growth causes concern

At the center of Harrisburg, Palmer’s Market is not only a gas station, convenience store and restaurant, but also a town square. This is where many people in the town of 184 gather to exchange news and gossip over a cup of coffee and a bite to eat.

“When they walk in the door, we can say, ‘Hey, Bill!’ ‘How you doing, Dale?’ ‘Hello, Toby,’ ” market owner Dana Palmer said. “That’s what I like about living here. Everybody knows everybody.”

White-collar ex-cons say time in prison transformed them

NEW YORK — Martha Stewart took up the cause of prisoners’ rights during her five months in prison and calls her time behind bars “life altering and life affirming.” Other white-collar criminals have proclaimed themselves equally transformed after emerging from prison. But are they?

“If you’re changed, then let’s see the action,” said Fred Shapiro, a lawyer who served time for bank fraud in Philadelphia in the 1990s and went back to prison for a white-collar crime episode 10 years later. Stewart, released Friday after five months in prison for lying about a stock sale, is the latest in a long line of high-profile white-collar convicts who have returned to freedom saying they have been renewed.

Prosthetics among benefits threatened by Blunt proposal

At first glance, Bob Kilgore would seem to have little stake in the heated debate over a proposal to drastically reduce Medicaid cuts in Missouri.

For the pharmacist-turned-business owner, the medical-supplies industry is a good one.

SMSU name change reality sets in

ST. LOUIS — The ink has barely dried on a bill changing the name of Southwest Missouri State University, but that didn’t stop fans at the Missouri Valley Conference basketball tournament from chanting “MSU! MSU!” as their team beat the University of Northern Iowa 70-62 on Saturday.

The House voted 120-35 last week to drop “Southwest” from the school’s name, allowing it to become Missouri State University. The change will take effect Aug. 28.

Mental health agency faces more cuts

Providers of mental health services face a loss of state funding under Gov. Matt Blunt’s budget plan that would cut about $50 million in state funds from the Department of Mental Health.

Roland Meinert, chairman of the Boone County Mental Health Board of Trustees, said state mental health funding has decreased from 10 percent of the total state budget to 5 percent of the total state budget during the past 10 years, creating waiting lists for services and overextending the staffs of providers.

Eyes on the Prize

At the Stuart House retirement home in Centralia, the question keeps popping up this time of year.

“Isn’t it about time for the babies?”

Paying for Columbia's growth

The crowds are creeping in. They stack up in longer lines at Schnuck’s and every other supermarket in town. They pack the trailers that orbit the city’s public schools. They jam Stadium Boulevard near Interstate 70 late on weekday evenings, adding five or 10 minutes to Columbians’ commutes from work.

Their presence transforms the landscape, fueling demand for the hundreds of condominiums and single-family homes that have cropped up east and west of Range Line Street and on both sides of Scott Boulevard over the past five years, erasing pastures and woodlands at a near-record pace.

About faces

“What an artist the world loses in me!” Emperor Nero pronounced before stabbing himself in the neck in A.D. 68.

Nero ended his life in the same dramatic fashion in which he ruled. The man who is said to have “fiddled” while Rome burned had ambitions to be a poet and artist although his fate, it seemed, was to be a despot. Nero’s identity took another turn, albeit in a much less dramatic fashion, 200 years after his death, when a sculpture of him was recovered from storage and reworked to celebrate a new Roman emperor. At the time, neither artists nor the public were overly concerned with accurate representations of prominent citizens. So, it was perfectly acceptable to simply add a stubbly beard to the cast of Nero’s fleshy face to capture a serviceable likeness of Emperor Gallienus.

French immersion preschool aims to give educational edge

Parents and young children in Columbia will soon have the opportunity to expose themselves to a foreign language by means of a French immersion preschool scheduled to start in August.

The private preschool, called La Petite Ecole, is Columbia’s first foreign language preschool and is offered to 3- to 5-year-old children.

Inter-faith panel discusses sexuality

The Faith-Based Outreach Committee, a branch of the Mid-Missouri Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Coalition, wants to dispel many of the myths and misunderstandings about homosexuals being circulated in local churches and promote positive discussion on the issue of homosexuality in the religious community.

The committee held its first meeting Saturday afternoon at the Columbia Public Library in an attempt to bring together people of all faiths. Members of several community organizations and churches attended.

Raffle rakes in more than $40,000 for officer fund

More than 200 people gathered in the bike-packed parking lot of Mid-America Harley-Davidson on Saturday afternoon to feast on hot dogs, attend a raffle and support the Officer Down Fund.

The company sold 560 raffle tickets for $100 each. Steve Tuchschmidt, co-owner of Mid-America Harley-Davidson, was overwhelmed by how many tickets were distributed and said the event raised more than $40,000 for the fund. The bike up for grabs was a 2005 Harley-Davidson Road King.

Annexation request faces opposition from residents

Some Boone County residents are upset over another possible annexation.

On Monday night, the City Council will consider a petition for voluntary annexation of a property on the southeast corner of State Route KK and River Hills Road.

Medicaid recipients protest cut proposal

JEFFERSON CITY — On Monday, Senate leaders will get their first look at a proposal to drastically cut Medicaid, the federally backed health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

On Friday, though, it was the people’s turn.

Passion for Piano

Tom Hutchinson is a zoologist, anthropologist, business man, carpenter and mechanic. His real passion, however, is in the music produced by his seven player pianos.

The 69-year-old Columbia resident started his unusual collection decades ago. Of the pianos he owns, three are in his workshop, one is in Mexico for refurbishment, and the rest — including a Nickelodeon made in 1913 and a combined player piano and player organ made in 1925 — occupy a 200-square-foot room in his house.

Finding a home through God

The chapel at The Bluffs, a Columbia skilled nursing facility, feels more like a living room than a church. The chairs are in a circle; a podium is pushed back against the wall, seemingly forgotten. Some residents come and go by wheelchair, others with the help of a walker.

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, 10 women came to the chapel for a Bible study. A few dozed in their wheelchairs, while others chatted before class began.

ABOVE Columbia

Columbia’s unique and recognizable landscapes can be seen in books and on walls and postcards across Missouri. What isn’t seen, though, are photographs from the point of view of these well-known landmarks.

This is a different look at Columbia, from the places that have been admired, walked by and gazed upon.

Leading the way on lead removal

Thirty years ago, public health officials across the country sought to ban lead-based paints, a major cause of lead poisoning in children.

Today, the children who were once at risk for this hazard have become parents. But despite widespread public attention and millions of dollars in prevention efforts, lead poisoning remains a problem in houses that predate the 1978 ban on lead paint.

Married for 30 years, the best is yet to come

Monday is my 30th wedding anniversary. I’ve been leafing through several photo albums, reminiscing about my life as Mrs. Harl. The wedding, which took place on a Friday evening, was the second for both of us. We had a private ceremony at the church. I wore hunter green. The gal who stood up with me wore white (go figure!). I had my hair cut the day before at the barbershop downtown. It wasn’t more than a half-inch long anywhere on my head. My groom had beautiful blond, shoulder-length hair coiffed into a pageboy.

The reception was at a local hotel. About 50 guests were invited. Looking at the pictures, you might think we had a costume theme. My older brother, who was a security guard at the time, came during his dinner break and was in uniform. Another guest wore a scarf around her hair — kind of a peasant look. There was one gentleman who wore the loudest plaid sports jacket I’ve ever seen. It gave him the air of a used-car salesman (although he was a police officer by day).