Curators approve changes to faculty complaint system

A pilot grievance plan approved by the University of Missouri System Board of Curators at its Friday meeting in Rolla could clear the desk of UM system President Elson Floyd by redirecting complaints to an investigating officer. The plan will expedite the way the system hears faculty complaints and be implemented at MU for a three-year trial basis before it can be adopted at other UM schools.

MU’s Faculty Council had discussed the grievance policy for at least five years before the curators’ approval, council chair Gordon Christensen said. The revised plan would create a standing committee to hear grievances and create the position of a part-time investigating officer.

Two Columbia men charged in 2 of 3 shooting incidents

One Columbia man was arrested late Thursday and another early Friday in connection with two shooting incidents Wednesday near two day-care centers and an elementary school.

In a third incident Thursday night on North Garth Avenue, a car that police suspect was used in one of the Wednesday shootings was sprayed with bullets. Police said the three shootings are related.

Understanding Tragedy

After the flood waters recede and the coffin has been sealed, the eternal question remains: What kind of God permits tragedy, suffering and grief?

The answer is as varied as religious belief itself. But whether you view life as endless suffering, see God as infinitely unfathomable or hold that tragedy as a reflection of an immoral culture, the key to understanding is your faith.

Five years later, there are still lessons to learn

This year is filled with notable anniversaries, but there is one I only discovered recently. I have been writing this column for five years this month. So I thought a trip down memory lane was in order.

I remember being approached by a newsroom editor who asked if I wanted to write a column for the “new” Taste section. I was told I could write about anything my heart desired — with a few rules. I wasn’t allowed to write hard-hitting editorials about local or national issues. Being the token conservative in the newsroom, I knew that rule was a given. And the column wasn’t to be a preachy epistle about how “together” we can change the world. My mission was to write a light-weight missive about life — and, oh yeah, could I make it humorous?

Creative Coping

Kim Webb is helping to fight child abuse. Not with legislation or as a lobbyist, but with pens and notebooks.

As coordinator of the Adolescent Mother Journaling Program and a mother of four children, Webb travels the state teaching strategies that help teen mothers cope with the stress of parenting without turning to child abuse.

House cuts Medicaid

JEFFERSON CITY — A key plank in the governor’s plan to increase education spending without tax increases by substantially cutting the state’s welfare system, particularly Medicaid, cleared its final hurdle Thursday when it passed the state House of Representatives.

The bill — one of the most hotly contested items in a legislative agenda that pushed for changes in the civil liability system, the Southwest Missouri State University name-change and wholesale changes to the worker’s compensation system — would tighten eligibility requirements to remove 89,000 from the Medicaid rolls.

Catholics consider next pope’s mission

As they await the election of a new pope, Columbia Catholics are sifting through their memories of John Paul II while contemplating the future of the church.

A host of issues will face the next pope — the celibacy of priests, women in the clergy, birth control, stem-cell research and others. Such potentially divisive issues have dominated the media coverage since John Paul’s death April 2.

Andy Kohl picked for Rock Bridge principal job

Sports, cars, hunting, construction and giving detentions — those are the hobbies Andy Kohl lists on his biography on the Truman High School Web site.

Rock Bridge High School students should hope that another of Kohl’s hobbies is to joke around, because he will soon have control over their detentions.

Doughnut shop zoning on hold

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission voted on Thursday night to table a request that land near Stephens Lake Park be rezoned to accommodate plans for a restaurant development so that it will have more time to consider the traffic implications of the request.

Developer Jay Lindner has asked the city to rezone the 8-acre tract at the northwest corner of Broadway and Trimble Road from 0-1, office, to C-P, planned commercial. A site plan on file with the city shows a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop being built on the land, which is part of the Broadway Shops development.

Suspects wanted in two shootings

A passenger in a white Cadillac fired several shots near Fourth and Grand avenues on Wednesday night as children played nearby.

Police believe the incident is connected to a similar shooting that occurred two and a half hours earlier at Allen Street and LaSalle Place. Although children were in the area of both incidents, police said the children were not the targets in either case.

Disturbance leads to meth arrests

Police arrested two Columbia residents on drug charges on Thursday after an earlier domestic violence call revealed signs of a methamphetamine lab at a residence.

“While we were inside the house, we saw what appears to be meth, meth precursors and drug paraphernalia,” Columbia police Capt. Brad Nelson said.

Newspaper seeks to break conventions

Jason Bailey decided when he turned 30 that he had to do more than slam poetry to voice his feelings about Columbia. So he launched a newspaper called CoMo to provide what he said other local papers lack: community-based writers, diverse voices and sources, minorities and news beyond the strip between MU and Broadway.

CoMo’s mission is to “push the envelope” on issues such as education, politics, racism, ethnicity, culture, business, ageism and religion, he said.

Robbery attempted at Subway

A man attempted to rob a Subway restaurant at gunpoint Wednesday night, and Columbia police are looking for the suspect. No injuries were reported.

Police said an employee was exiting the restaurant, at 607 Business Loop 70 E., through the back door at about 11:19 p.m. when he was confronted by the suspect, who displayed a handgun. The suspect walked the employee to the cash register, but the employee was able to set off the in-store alarm. The suspect fled the business through the back door without obtaining any money, police said.

Blunt outlines school budget

JEFFERSON CITY — A crowd of administrators, teachers, principals and students gathered in the rotunda of the Capitol on Wednesday to hear Gov. Matt Blunt outline a budget that would increase funding for public elementary and secondary education by $170.6 million in fiscal 2006.

Gunshots wreak havoc on day care center

Shots fired at a moving vehicle on Allen Street hit a residential day care several times Wednesday afternoon, Columbia police Sgt. Ken Hammond said in a news release.

Police said there were children in the backyard of the day care at the time of the shooting. Officers responding to the incident at 4:25 p.m. located numerous shell casings and discovered that the day care on the corner of Allen Street and Lasalle Place had been hit.

Faculty head calls for diversity group

As a way to attract and keep more minority students and faculty, a standing committee on diversity should be created as part of the Faculty Council, the group’s chairman said Wednesday.

Four arrested after federal meth investigation

Four Columbia residents were arrested Wednesday on felony narcotics charges, including one man who was the target of an 18-month federal methamphetamine investigation.

Blake Edward Idel, 20, was arrested on a federal warrant for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, Columbia police Sgt. Will Green said in a release. Idel’s arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation conducted by Columbia police and the Mid-Missouri Unified Strike Team and Narcotics Group Drug Task Force that targeted the manufacture and production of meth in mid-Missouri., police said.

Bill would evaluate higher ed

JEFFERSON CITY — Citing a growing national trend away from direct appropriations for higher education, the second-ranking Republican in the Missouri House said he wants to change the state’s method for funding public colleges and universities.

House Speaker Pro Tem Carl Bearden, R-St. Charles, said his goal is to force schools to become more receptive to student needs while increasing efficiency.

House poised for major Medicaid cut

JEFFERSON CITY — House lawmakers are poised to send Gov. Matt Blunt’s proposed Medicaid cuts to his desk. A vote could come as early as today, which is when the time for debate is set to expire.

Discussion opened Wednesday on the governor’s cuts, which would remove tens of thousands of Missourians from the Medicaid rolls. Democrats rallied to amend the bill, but their efforts were rebuffed repeatedly by a united Republican majority. Any changes in the legislation would require it to be sent back to the Senate, where it was ensnared in a 17-hour filibuster last month.

City forging ahead for trail grant

Residents in northwest Columbia want to see an overgrown field converted to parkland, tall grass give way to 5,000 feet of scenic trail and marsh-like terrain become six scenic ponds.