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Popularity of online classes grows

This semester, Columbia College junior Amanda Burfield is taking all of her classes online.

“I used to take evening classes, but it got to be too much,” said Burfield, who works full time at a bank. “Sometimes I would not get out of class until 10 p.m. and then I would have homework. I just got tired.”

Deaton in chancellor job today

Brady Deaton has spent 15 years teaching and leading at MU. Today, he’ll start learning something new — how to be chancellor.

Deaton will assume the job of MU chancellor following the official retirement of Richard Wallace on Tuesday. Deaton, the former provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, will serve as interim chancellor of the university during MU’s search for a new chancellor.

Downtown streets to lighten up

The sun is setting earlier every day in Columbia, but downtown, things are just getting brighter. The Columbia Special Business District, along with the city of Columbia, is putting the finishing touches on the lighting plans outlined in its downtown beautification project.

On Ninth Street, new streetlights are being installed this week as part of a district-wide change out. Additional streetlights are being installed to increase lighting in the area, and existing lamps are undergoing a transformation to create a new, more unified look. All the streetlight poles will be black, and about half of them will have a decorative light fixture attached. The streetlight project is part of phases one and two of the Special Business District plan.

Missouri RAIN chapter wins federal grant

The Regional AIDS Interfaith Network of Central Missouri, known as RAIN, was awarded a federal grant of nearly $85,000 to expand primary-care services for people living with or at risk for HIV.

The money was granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Title III of the Ryan White CARE Act.

Mid-Mo. delegates find NYC safe, fun

Stephanie Huett said her first impression of New York is that it’s like Fort Knox.

The 14-year-old is in the Big Apple this week to attend the Republican National Convention with her mother, Denna, a Columbia resident and Missouri delegate to the convention.

Tax increase would pay for county construction

Boone County property owners’ tax bills will rise next year if voters approve a $15 million bond issue. The bond would pay for the addition of two floors to the county courthouse, construction of a new two-story office building and extensive work at the county government center.

The proposed expansion plan, which was discussed Friday at a meeting of elected county officials and department heads, would add office space for circuit court and county government offices. Renovating the first two floors of the county government center to expand existing office space would cost about $800,000, while finishing the third floor would cost an additional $1.3 million.

Maxwell seeks longer life for Senior Rx

JEFFERSON CITY — Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell on Monday called for a coalition of legislators and advocacy groups to help extend funding for the Senior Rx program. Without more money, tens of thousands of seniors would be left without prescription drug coverage effective Dec. 13, 2005.

Maxwell was speaking at a meeting of the Senior Rx Commission.

Trustees discuss hospital expansion, to be completed by November 2005

The expansion of Boone Hospital Center remains on target, even as hospital officials plan the addition of a fourth medical office building.

The Boone Hospital Center Board of Trustees discussed those construction projects at its monthly board meeting Monday.

Va. governor speaks in Rocheport

ROCHEPORT — About 30 local residents joined Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia for a roundtable discussion Monday at Laborers Local Post 955 organized in support of the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and voiced strong concerns on rising health-care premiums and what they see as an increasingly-bleak economic outlook.

Almeta Crayton, First Ward representative to the Columbia City Council and a participant in the roundtable discussion, highlighted strains on the middle class that she said are the result of a drab economy, and the perceived “lack of conversation about double-digit unemployment” in some parts of Missouri.

Kneading people at home and in Greece

A Columbia massage therapist is on her way to Athens, Greece, to work with athletes at the 2004 Summer Paralympics.

Elisabeth Norton has been selected to be one of 60 international massage therapists who will travel to Greece next week. The Paralympics are similar to the Olympics, except that athletes have a physical disability.

Chancellor’s last days

MU Chancellor Richard Wallace spent his penultimate day in office in a few meetings and attending to last-minute details.

Although Wallace will stay with MU for at least two more years as a fund-raiser for the $600 million “For All We Call Mizzou” campaign, he said Monday he’s sad to leave his job as chancellor.

One Read author’s visit will cap month full of discussions

Though Barbara Ehrenreich won’t appear in Columbia for another month, her words have already been making an impact in the community. Her book, “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,” was the selection for this year’s One Read program, as well as reading programs at MU and Stephens College.

The events scheduled for the One Read program in Columbia begin with a celebrity book talk with Associate Circuit Judge Chris Kelly on Sept. 7 and culminate with the author’s visit Sept. 30.

Schools address racial gap between students

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that school segregation was unconstitutional.

Black students were free to attend the same schools as white students and learn the same lessons. But something unexpected has happened during these past 50 years. The lessons being taught to black and white students are the same, but an achievement gap between the two races remains.

Temps lack knowledge of benefits

Like most of us, Daryl McKenzie gets a lot of mail.

So when the Express Personnel Services temporary worker received a notice from his employment agency offering affordable health insurance, he didn’t realize it could reduce the cost of his premium by more than 40 percent.

Private schools set own teacher standards

Private schools abound in Columbia — each providing something a little different to its students.

One thing different from their public school counterparts is that each private school decides what qualifies its teachers.

War in Iraq takes toll on approval ratings

NEW YORK — War is hell on a presidency. And it plays havoc with presidential campaigns.

President Bush led the nation through the Sept. 11 attacks, against the Taliban and into Iraq — three defining moments that have brought his political fortunes full circle to the same middling job approval rating he had Sept. 10, 2001. At the opening of his nominating convention, supporters can’t help but wonder how much stronger Bush would be politically had he kept the war on terrorism out of Iraq.

Inside the shrine

The Imam Ali shrine contains the tomb of the father of Shiite Islam. It is also the physical center, where religious authority is interpreted and filtered out to Shiite mosques and madrassas all over the world. The shrine and the old city of Najaf are to Shiites what the Vatican is to Catholics.

My first night in the shrine, I moved through the courtyard fielding invitations to eat from the men circled in groups around large plates of rice with a bit of lentils. We talked, ate, slept and bathed with them. We were also under siege with them.

Fighting abuse with song

The sunshine was a welcome sign for the organizers of the Celebration of Women’s Song. The fund-raising event for The Shelter, a Columbia organization that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, was washed out by the rain Saturday. But Sunday’s sunshine brought out a big crowd and more than 100 performers for the cause.

“It is something that involved community people do for us,” said Leigh Voltmer, the executive director of The Shelter.

Political bashing hurts human spirit

There doesn’t seem to be much difference these days between a job as a political reporter or a job cleaning out horse stalls. If anything, muckraking the stalls would be more productive.

Somehow, a political candidate’s position on the issues is far less important than any dirty secrets that can be discovered. Of course, the news organizations insist they are only telling the public what it wants to hear, and it is true that most of the time the candidate who slings the most dirt wins.

Swift boat vet speaks on Kerry’s behalf

Gene Thorson, a swift boat crewmate of Senator John Kerry’s during the Vietnam War, delivered a deeply personal account of what he called John Kerry’s “outstanding instincts and leadership skills under fire” at a press conference Sunday sponsored by the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Other local military veterans joined him in front of a crowd of approximately 50 people to deliver a scathing indictment of the Bush administra-tion for its handling of veterans’ affairs and for the recent attack ads by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

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