Rock Bridge principal takes leave of absence

A day after resigning a new position in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Rock Bridge High School Principal Bruce Brotzman took a leave of absence Friday until the end of the school year. His actions come less than a week after sexual misconduct allegations stemming from a July incident at MU’s Ellis Library were made public earlier this month.

Rock Bridge Assistant Principal Kathy Ritter, who will take over Brotzman’s administrative duties, discussed with school faculty and staff Friday how they would deal with Brotzman’s departure.

Rising fuel costs seen as culprit for increase in Mo. food prices

Higher fuel prices might soon lead to higher grocery bills, according to agricultural experts and nationwide statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“It’s a ripple effect,” said Fred Ferrell, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. “Probably not today, but very shortly we could see a jump in food prices just in transportation cost alone.”

Limits, taxes reviewed for sexually oriented Missouri businesses

JEFFERSON CITY — Last year it was billboards; this year, lap dances are the target.

Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, is pushing a measure that would levy a $5 entry fee and a tax on earnings for sexually-oriented businesses. The bill would also ban total nudity, tipping, physical contact and the sale of alcohol while raising the age of admittance and employment to 21 and requiring the businesses to close by midnight.

Retiring reporter criticizes sensationalism in media

In a stunning turn of events, KCTV-5 reporter Dave Helling announced his retirement from the station Friday morning during the E.W. Tucker lecture at the 36th Annual Scholastic Journalism Day held at MU’s Jesse Hall.

Helling, 50, spoke mainly about sensationalism and the effect that it has had — not only on Americans, but himself, as well.

Journalism assumes mistrust, too

Dear Reader,

On Thursday, I joined Amy Miller on her afternoon show on KSSZ/93.9 FM. My topic was to update her listeners on our field test of EmPrint, a new and very cool digital edition of NewSunday. Amy’s listeners had a different agenda.

Gift giving goes global with aid of Marine’s mom

Columbians wanting to lend a hand to Marines serving in Iraq had a chance to do so Saturday when a group of family members of servicemen held a care-package drive in the Boone County Government Center.

Volunteers collected non-perishable food items, toiletries and other gifts while encouraging donors to leave their mark by writing a card or stamping their handprint on a thank-you banner.

Columbia officers compete in SWAT contest

Drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, 72 members of SWAT teams from throughout the Midwest gathered Saturday at the Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club in Hallsville. They were up early in the cold morning air to compete in the seventh annual Midwest SWAT Rifle/SMG Championships.

The highest scoring individual took home a handgun as a prize, but most of those present agreed that it was the bragging rights that would fit best in their hip pockets.

Regulators say nuclear site safe

Callaway Nuclear Power Plant got its annual report card from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The verdict: It’s doing well.

Officials from the plant and commission held a public meeting Thursday to discuss the findings for 2004’s inspections. A summary of the full assessment said the plant “operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety.”

Candidates for provost to be on MU campus

The three finalists for the provost’s job at MU will visit campus during the next two weeks to speak with faculty and students. Open forums will allow the campus community to meet each candidate, listen to their presentations and ask them questions.

The first candidate, Brian Foster, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of New Mexico, will visit Monday through Wednesday, with a forum on Monday.

Science students go for state Olympic gold at MU

Students, coaches and parents filled the Hickman High School gymnasium Saturday for the State Science Olympiad Tournament awards ceremony.

The ceremony ended the daylong tournament held on the MU campus and various locations around Columbia that drew an estimated 1,000 middle and high school students. They converged on Columbia from eight regions to compete in 43 science-related events.

Studio style

When artist Don Asbee works in his studio, he is surrounded by metal and steel. Rods and hammers hang from hooks on almost every inch of the steel walls. Large milling machines, welding equipment and lathes lie on the floor.

Asbee built his studio, in Hartsburg, in 1988 in a building that once housed a half-dozen air compressors for a nuclear power plant.

Prepare for the Worst

POTOSI — Courtney O’Connell is tense as her teammate prepares to inject her for what could be a life-threatening allergic reaction.

After 10 seconds and the click of an empty needle, O’Connell sighs. Her shoulders unclench. After saying she feels relieved, the YMCA camp counselor and her wilderness rescuer move on to the next task, confident their skills, if needed, could be used in a real-life emergency.

Go-betweens hinder move, furniture sale

We are in the process of moving out of our lake house — our second home for the past dozen years. And although we are building a new one, we won’t be able to move in until mid-summer. I think everyone should be forced to move every decade, if not to another house that at least take everything outside. It’s a real eye-opener sifting through all the useless junk we have accumulated, and it’s the ultimate way to purge.

Although we sold the house with a three-month closing date, my husband and I hadn’t made the time to go from room to room and decide what will go into the new home and what we will sell. Then we were told that the new owners were interested in purchasing some of the furniture and accessories. In the world of real estate, buyers and sellers are not allowed to communicate directly — so we had to make a list and give it to our real estate agent. The buyers returned the list marked with the items they wanted. Instead of putting a price on each item, I had the brilliant idea of asking for one lump sum. Most of the things on the list I had purchased just for the lake house, and I was willing to part with them for next to nothing. Although there is no place for a couple of items in our new home, they had some sentimental value. Apparently I put too much sentiment in the amount I wanted. I was told that the buyers decided they didn’t want any of our stuff. They figured they could buy it all new for the price I was asking. They didn’t even come back with a lower counter offer.

The art of Kung Fu

When we think of martial arts, we often imagine combat or the fighting aspects. But there is another side to it — the artistic side. In Kung Fu, students are encouraged to follow their own paths in life. Each person seeks meaning based on wisdom and teachings of the founding Shaolin monks.

Handbags for high bids

Inside the closed doors of Dotty’s Café in Hartsburg, 45 purses and handbags sit at the counter waiting to be sold.

The bags are filled with items donated by area businesses, friends and members of Epsilon Sigma Alpha service sorority, which sponsored the event. The donations include gift certificates, beauty products, household decorations and family gifts.

The significance of Seder

Last year, Bruno found the afikomen first.

The Kaplan family could not continue its Passover Seder without the afikomen, a ceremonial piece of matzo bread that is tucked in cloth to symbolize the Passover lamb. According to tradition, the first member of the family to find it receives a small reward before the family finishes its supper.

Man arrested in connection with hit-and-run

A Columbia man was arrested Friday in connection with a hit-and-run incident that occurred early that morning in the parking lot of an apartment building at Fifth and Cherry streets.

Columbia police arrested James W. Rapier on charges of second degree assault and operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license.

Brotzman resigns new job in Iowa

Rock Bridge High School Principal Bruce Brotzman resigned from his new administrative job in Iowa on Thursday, the same day Columbia School Board members met behind closed doors to discuss sexual misconduct allegations stemming from an incident at MU’s Ellis Library.

Brotzman, 46, submitted a resignation letter to the Cedar Rapids Community Schools on Thursday afternoon, said Cedar Rapids Superintendent Dave Markward.

Deliberating expansion

The look of downtown is going to change significantly with the expansion of the Boone County Courthouse, but what those changes will be and when they will happen remains uncertain.

County officials have said for years the courthouse must be expanded to accommodate the demands of a growing community. The Boone County Commission appointed a Space Needs Committee last fall to determine the best way to achieve that goal. The committee has been meeting since October and offered this past week a set of options and recommendations the county commission can consider.

Committee cuts college funding by 5 percent

JEFFERSON CITY — Although shielded from cuts in the House, higher education has received some trimming in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The committee’s budget proposal, approved Thursday, would make a 5 percent cut to public universities and colleges. This would mean a $17.5 million cut to the University of Missouri System.