Senate OKs bill to ban inmate spit

JEFFERSON CITY — The Senate gave final approval on Thursday to legislation that makes it a felony for inmates to throw spit, urine or other bodily fluids on prison guards.

Another provision of the bill allows the state to collect up to $60 a month from those on parole or probation. The state parole board could consider an inmate’s ability to pay and allow for lower or no payments.

MOBIUS plans move to save money

Two state information technology providers will combine locations to save money after receiving cuts in the state budget.

Employees of the Missouri Bibliographic Information User System, also known as MOBIUS, information technology providers will move across the street to join the Missouri Research and Education Network, also known as MOREnet.

Music Cafe liquor license to be revoked on May 30

Music Cafe, located at 120 S. Ninth St., has lost its liquor license, said Terri Durdaller, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety.

The bar will lose its license to serve alcohol on May 30, Durdaller said, adding that the bar can appeal the department’s decision to the Administrative Hearing Commission.

State House sends budget to governor

JEFFERSON CITY — One state prison, one inmate work camp, more than 90,000 Medicaid recipients and more than 1,000 of the state’s full-time positions will be cut in the budget passed Thursday by the Missouri General Assembly. But $113 million has been added to the school foundation formula in the state’s $19.2 billion budget.

“We are still doing many great things for this state,” said House Budget Chairman Brad Lager, R-Maryville. “Many want to do more. We all recognize and acknowledge this, but at the end of the day, we can only help those with the greatest need.”

Two Wal-Mart fires cause damage, but no injuries

Arson is suspected in fires started at two Columbia Wal-Marts on Thursday night. The first blaze started at 9:24 p.m. in the women’s clothing department of the Wal-Mart Supercenter, 415 Conley Road. The second fire, also in the women’s clothing department, was called in 20 minutes later from the Wal-Mart at 405 E. Nifong Blvd.

The fires are presumed to have been intentionally set, Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Sapp said at a news conference held at 10:20 p.m. outside the Conley Road store. Sapp said that after the second fire, all the other Wal-Mart store locations in Columbia were alerted, as were the stores in Boonville, Fulton and Mexico, Mo.

Floyd mentioned as candidate for UNC presidency

A North Carolina newspaper has mentioned Elson Floyd, president of the University of Missouri System, as a possible candidate to lead the University of North Carolina System.

The Herald-Sun in Durham said in its April 23 edition that Floyd had “been mentioned privately among university faculty and administrators.”

Planning and Zoning reviews corridor plan

Columbia might soon have a plan to ensure consistent development along North Providence Road.

At Thursday night’s work session, the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed a plan for the commercial development on the North Providence Road corridor between Business Loop 70 and East Broadway. The plan, after revision, could be adopted by the City Council as not only a guideline for the Providence Road corridor development, but also as a model for similar plans in other areas of Columbia.

Funds to propel diversity plans

MU academic divisions might receive more money for having an improved diversity plan, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said Thursday.

At MU’s Faculty Council meeting, Deaton said he would allot an estimated $1.5 million to $2 million to be divided among the university’s divisions, but he would not grant the funds until he sees an improved diversity plan.

Investigation: Officer’s shot accidental

Columbia Police have released the name of the officer whose department-issue Remington .12 gauge shotgun discharged into the floor of a north Columbia duplex on April 16.

Officer Paul E. Dickinson, who has been with the Columbia Police Department for less than a year, faces disciplinary action for improper conduct, Capt. Sam Hargadine said. Although Hargadine would not say what disciplinary measures are being taken, he said Dickinson will not be dismissed.

Smoking ban for Columbia restaurants gets airing at subcommittee meeting

Jason Ksepka said he recently spent an entire Saturday in bed with a crippling headache, the result of consecutive nights out on the town at Music Cafe and Soco Club. He attributes the pain to the smoke-filled air at both venues.

“I was immobilized with a crippling headache. I could not do anything,” he said. “I couldn’t work; I couldn’t even sit in my bed and do my homework that I need to do because it was painful to look at the paper.”

Travelers declining at airport

The declining number of passengers at Columbia Regional Airport and possible ways to reverse the trend were the subject of a presentation to the Airport Advisory Board on Wednesday afternoon.

The airport has seen passenger numbers drop from 41,000 in 1994 to 18,000 in 2004. The situation has caused some fear about potentially losing commercial air service. Airport Superintendent Bill Boston responded to those fears Wednesday.

Police seek motive in death of 77-year-old

Investigators are looking for a break in the case of a 77-year-old woman who was strangled inside her rural Boone County home earlier this week.

Boone County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Tom O’Sullivan said there is no evidence that anyone forced their way into Zelpha Turner’s home at 6060 N. Route VV or took anything from the home. The victim’s granddaughter found Turner lying in her living room shortly before noon Monday.

Funding change advances

JEFFERSON CITY — A House committee approved an overhaul of how Missouri funds public schools on Wednesday, a change that Republicans say would balance the underfunded and highly criticized system. The plan, however, wouldn’t take full effect for more than seven years.

One day after Gov. Matt Blunt demanded action, suburban Republicans, who last week blocked the bill, reversed their votes. The shift proved strong enough to muscle the plan, which Blunt says will fix the state system, onto the House floor.

Remembering Kent State

First came the tear gas. Second came the 61 bullets. Then came the loss.

Columbia Peaceworks Director Mark Haim lost a childhood friend, Jeffrey Miller, on May 4, 1970, when Miller and three other Kent State students were killed by Ohio National Guardsmen after protesting the Vietnam War and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.

Honored Heroes

Dave Thomas could not hold back his tears when he met the two MU students who were the first to help his daughter, Columbia Police Officer Molly Bowden, when she was fatally wounded in the line of duty almost four months ago.

Thomas received the Columbia Police Department’s highest commendation — the Ribbon of Valor — in Molly Bowden’s honor and then hugged the two men, Michael Thien and Kevin Johnson. After the Wednesday afternoon ceremony concluded, he wrapped his arms around them again.

Elementary school student detained

Boone County sheriff’s officials confirmed Wednesday that a Cedar Ridge Elementary School student was detained by juvenile authorities on a felony charge of knowingly burning and a misdemeanor charge of delinquent behavior.

The charges stem from an incident that is believed to have occurred between 8 and 9 p.m. on April 27.

MU breaks ground for research facility

MU broke ground Wednesday morning on a one-of-a-kind research facility that reflects the university’s interest in becoming a leader in life-science research.

The National Swine Research and Resource Center will be the only research facility of its kind.

Strangling death under investigation

The Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad is helping investigate the death of a 77-year-old woman who was found strangled to death in her home north of Columbia on Monday.

An autopsy performed Tuesday afternoon found that Zelpha Turner died from asphyxiation caused by strangulation, said Sgt. Tom O’Sullivan of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies found Turner in her home near Prathersville shortly before noon when responding to a 911 call with firefighters from the Boone County Fire Protection District.

Field seeks new learning model

Field Elementary school is dedicated to literacy, which is why it applied for a $74,955 grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in early April. Field expects to receive the grant this June, and it has big plans for the money.

School officials plan to implement an improvement program called the Professional Learning Community model — a model already in use at Oakland and Jefferson junior high schools, and Rock Bridge High School.

Oakland Junior High teacher honored

Government and social studies teacher Joshua Johnson inspires and transforms the lives of his students at Oakland Junior High School.

For that, he was awarded as the Teacher of the Year in a surprise presentation Tuesday morning.