A heritage of dance

Twice a month, Rijutha Garimella, 9, and Sumidha Katti, 10, take part in a 2,000-year-old Indian tradition. They’re learning the art of Bharatanatyam, an ancient style of dance deeply rooted in Hindu spirituality.

The most orthodox definitions of Bharatanatyam say it’s a means of achieving spiritual catharsis. But the students come for a variety of reasons: to learn about Indian heritage, to make friends and, of course, to dance.

Left-handers have tough life

Editor’s note: This is one of Sharon’s favorite columns from the archives.

When my parents discovered that I — their first-born daughter — was left-handed, they were aghast. (I’ve always wanted to use that word.) There had never been a left-hander on either side of the family for as far back as anyone could remember.

Red alert for Red Bull

Drinking Red Bull and vodka may have its perks, but drinkers could be headed for a fall — and not just off a barstool.

Wings are not the only thing Red Bull promises its drinkers. Intense energy boosts and increased alertness are among the other promised effects that entice many to this pick-me-up king. Just add a large dose of caffeine, a dash of vitamins and a ton of sugar, and you have the recipe for vitality packed neatly in an 8-ounce can.

Thieves pillage service company

Four handguns and four vehicles were among the property reported stolen in a burglary Monday night at the American Lenders Service Company.

The guns were not locked in a weapons safe, said Detective Sgt. Mike Stubbs of the Boone County Sheriff’s Depart-ment. All were registered with the National Crime Information Center. The registration numbers are helpful in the recovery of stolen guns if they are recovered in another crime or sold to a licensed dealer, Stubbs said.

Columbia residents voice concerns over cable

More than 200 Columbia residents attended five workshops held earlier this week to provide input on the city’s ca-ble franchise renewal process.

Many voiced concerns about rate increases, the availability of high-definition service and support for local public access channels.

City’s growth is inevitable and beneficial, Nauser says

As the city encroaches more and more on county land through annexations, Laura Nauser said it is important to strike a balance between the desires of those who want to live in the country and the needs of an expanding city.

It is this belief that inspired her campaign slogan: “Balanced growth for Columbia.”

Blunt ends SMSU name game

SPRINGFIELD — Former Southwest Missouri State University professor Pat Pierce received an unusual present for her birthday, a copy of Senate Bill 98 signed by Gov. Matt Blunt.

The university’s president, John Keiser, surprised Pierce with the honor at the bill-signing ceremony that will change the school’s name to Missouri State University. The retired music professor celebrated her 80th birthday with Southwest Missouri State University’s centennial celebration.

Divided Senate backs changes in Medicaid law

JEFFERSON CITY — Senators on Thursday invoked Christian values and compared welfare programs to putting American Indians on reservations in a final debate before passing a bill to reduce the Medicaid program.

The legislation, which legislative staffers estimate would remove about 50,000 people from the program’s rolls, was approved 20-11. Two Republicans — Kevin Engler of Farmington and Robert Mayer of Dexter — voted against the bill. No Democrats supported the proposal; one Democratic senator was not present for the vote.

MU climate study reaches last stage

The last piece in an analysis of MU’s diversity climate includes recommendations for increasing nonminority involvement in steps toward diversity and improving diversity training at the university.

In the fifth phase of MU’s Campus Climate Study for Underrepresented Groups, 60 participants of various races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions and genders gathered in focus groups and offered recommendations for improvement, based on the information gathered in the previous four stages of the study.

Columbians meet candidates for City Council

Holding up yellow and red signs and sporting a green sweatshirt for the holiday, Liz Schmidt acted as a stoplight for a Columbia-Boone County candidates forum Thursday night.

Columbia voters met and questioned Columbia City Council candidates for the First and Fifth wards at the forum. The Columbia-Boone County League of Women Voters sponsored the event, which also featured a session with Columbia School Board candidates. The Columbia Public Library co-sponsored the forum.

County panel rejects plan for factory

With a packed audience watching, the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-3 Thursday night to reject a proposal by APAC to build a temporary, portable asphalt plant in Hartsburg along U.S. 63.

The asphalt plant would have been built on 100 acres in Hartsburg, which is 20 miles south of Columbia, and was designed to meet the construction needs on U.S. 63 between Columbia and Jefferson City.

High fuel costs felt at Columbia gasoline stations

As the price of gasoline reaches a record high, Columbia resident Amy McBroom says she can notice a difference at the Petro Mart on College Avenue, where she works as an assistant manager.

“Businesswise, it’s a lot slower,” she said.

School issues focus of forum

School board candidates for the April 5 elections met on Thursday night at a public forum to express their greatest concerns with education and answer questions from the community regarding staff diversity and preparing children for the workforce.

The Columbia League of Women Voters and the Columbia Public Library sponsored the forum, which was held at the library. There are six candidates this year and three will be elected.

Area officials kick around mutual issues

Boone County public officials met on a first-name basis Wednesday night.

The Boone County Commission held a municipal government meeting to discuss countywide issues, including voluntary annexations and transportation options. More important than the agenda items, however, was the interaction between the officials, said County Commissioner Karen Miller.

MU students negotiate animal abuse hearing

A plea agreement is being negotiated between the district attorney’s office and defense lawyers for two MU students charged with animal abuse, prosecuting attorney Connie Sullivan said.

“We’re negotiating whether or not we’re going to trial,” Sullivan said.

Foster parents brace for cuts

Karen Anderson loves children, even those from other parents.

For the past 25 years, the Anderson family has given birth to three children, adopted a son and cared for more than 160 foster children who spent days or years with them.

Senator urges eliminating Medicaid

JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri state Senator pushing a bill that would eliminate the Medicaid program by 2008 described the health care system Wednesday as spiraling out of control.

Sen. Michael Gibbons, R-Kirkwood, promised to “move boldly forward” with a plan to re-envision the state’s Medicaid program and begin again with a “clean slate.”

Peace rally draws students

Imagine you are an Iraqi citizen.”

This was an invitation to passers-by during a busy noon-hour at MU’s Speakers Circle on Wednesday where the United Activists’ Network protested continuing military operations in Iraq.

Protesters decry Medicaid cuts after bill passes Senate

JEFFERSON CITY — Dozens of protesters gathered on the south side of the Capitol on Wednesday to decry Medicaid cuts that cleared the Missouri Senate on Tuesday night.

The Senate bill, which is backed by Gov. Matt Blunt, would reduce Medicaid benefits for thousands of Missourians and permanently end the Medicaid program in 2008. Medicaid is a federal- and state-funded program for the poor that helps with medical costs.

Tougher seat belt law passes Senate

JEFFERSON CITY — Legislation that would toughen Missouri’s seat belt law easily passed the Senate on Wednesday.

The legislation would let law enforcement officers stop motorists solely for not wearing seat belts. Currently, people traveling in Missouri can be cited for not wearing a seat belt only if they are first stopped for another reason.