Governor’s Mansion gets panic buttons

JEFFERSON CITY — Panic buttons have been installed in the Governor’s Mansion to alleviate Gov. Matt Blunt’s concerns about the prison inmates who work in the house.

For at least 100 years, the state has used inmate labor for cleaning, cooking and maintenance at the mansion, the Department of Corrections said. Some inmates even dress in tuxedos to act as waiters and coat checkers at formal events.

Trooper killed outside his home

VAN BUREN — Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers were mourning the death of one of their own Monday and trying to find out who killed Sgt. Carl Dewayne Graham.

Graham, 37, a divorced father of a 4-year-old son, was found shot to death in front of his rural southeast Missouri home about 5:15 p.m. Sunday. A passer-by saw the body and called the patrol, said Roger Stottlemyre, superintendent of the patrol.

Growth brings space crunch for city schools

As residential developments keep popping up throughout Columbia, so do school enrollments.

Concerns are arising from the community, schools and parents because there isn’t enough room. Columbia’s population has grown by about 7,000 in the last five years.

Priorities: Wages, class size, reading skills

Strolling through the supermarket is a task some people find to be a burden, but Donald Ludwig enjoys his everyday trips to the market.

Ludwig, who is running for his second term on the school board, goes to the market each day to purchase all the ingredients to prepare dinner for his family — a chore he gladly takes on in his retirement.

A Sea of Tapes

About 100,000 blank videotapes sit stacked and untouched at Alternative Community Training. Some are marked “rejects” while others are still usable. Either way, almost no one is interested in buying them.

“We’re stuck in a sea of tapes,” said Jim Williams, director of operations and community employment at ACT.

Marching against war

More than 500 pairs of shoes lined the sidewalk in front of the Military Recruiters Office on Second and Broadway as protesters gathered Sunday to mark the second anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

“While we didn’t have 1,521 pairs of shoes (the number of U.S. soldiers who have died in the war), we had many hundreds which represented tens of thousands of lives lost,” said Mark Haim, director of Mid-Missouri Peace Works. “I felt like it was a very heartfelt display of grief for the lives lost in this war.”

Stores assess smoke damage

It may be a while before a string of businesses on North Tenth Street are open for business again, but on Sunday afternoon, the doors were thrown open to let the stench of smoke out and cool spring air in.

The street looked like a group spring cleaning for the neighboring businesses, not the scene of a two-alarm fire that poured thick gray smoke onto Tenth Street on Saturday night and caused an estimated $50,000 in damage.

A corps’ story: The art of chronicling war

When the 135th Military History Detachment returned from its mission in Iraq, it brought back more than dry accounts of who did what during the deployment and operation of the 3rd Corps Support Command.

“I had so many emotional interviews, so many sergeants fighting back tears, so many officers fighting back tears,” said Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Leonard of the 135th Detachment.

Musician, columnist Rose dies in Arizona

Forrest Rose, 48, a musician and a columnist for the Columbia Daily Tribune, died early Sunday in Arizona while on tour with the band Perfect Strangers.

Rose collapsed about 1:30 a.m. MST while attending a jam session at a friend’s house after a performance. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at a Phoenix-area hospital. The cause of death was not immediately available.

Incumbent says teacher pay, efficiency are high priorities

After serving 10 years on the Columbia School Board, the Rev. David P. Ballenger is running for re-election to “make sure we provide the best education for children by having the best facilities, technology, teachers and the best use of resources.”

During the coming term, he said he wants to manage the school budgets in a businesslike manner by efficiently and effectively using the school board’s resources while addressing the needs of all the schools. He also wants to ensure that teachers’ salaries stay competitive so the Columbia Public School District can continue “hiring the best and brightest.”

After nine years on school board, lawyer decides not to run again

School safety was an easy platform choice for Columbia School Board candidate Russ Still — nine years ago.

It was a year before Missouri passed the Safe Schools Act, and crime in schools was the issue of the day. Columbia residents elected Still to his first board term in 1996, and again in 1999 and 2002. This April, when his third term expires, he will not seek reelection.

MU dogs bought amid abuse charges

ST. LOUIS — After federal agents closed down C.C. Baird’s animal-dealing business in 2003 and filed charges accusing him and his family of abusing hundreds of animals, research laboratories and universities across the nation stopped buying dogs and cats from him.

Except for MU, which continued buying dogs from Baird’s farm in Williford, Ark., until last December, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Senators reverse course on protecting Medicaid

JEFFERSON CITY — John Griesheimer was 7 years old when his mother died, his father turned to alcohol and his grandmother took custody of him. They didn’t have much.

Olive Anderson, already in her 60s, cleaned rooms at the Skylark Motel near St. Clair, and her grandson helped make the beds so they could put food on their table.

Short-term cash, long-term issues

Deanna Eubanks had been working hard to make ends meet. She used the paychecks she earned as a patient service representative at a Columbia hospital to support her family and pay bills, but she often would find herself in need of extra money.

Four or five years ago, she saw the large signs on storefronts along some Columbia streets offering instant cash. She decided to give it a try.

How to spot predatory lending

Nine characteristics of predatory lending.

Two-minute read

Downtown fire damages stores

A fire broke out in the basement of the Best of the West store at 27 N. Tenth St. on Saturday evening. Fire officials said three other buildings sustained smoke damage.

Battalion Chief Steve Sapp of the Columbia Fire Department said the original call came from the Ragtag Cinemacafe at about 8 p.m.

Planners suggest rezoning denial

Inadequate roads are being cited by city planners as the reason to deny rezonings for a 250-acre development east of Columbia.

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission will hold separate public hearings and read staff reports Thursday on zoning requests for two properties on Richland Road owned by developers David Atkins and Garry and Drake Lewis.

Harg petitioners’ deadline looms

Opponents of Billy Sapp’s development plans east of Columbia intend to submit a petition Monday to block his latest annexation request, said Ellen Wolfe, a member of the Harg Area Residents for Responsible Growth.

The group of neighbors has not counted all of the signatures, Wolfe said on Saturday, but expects to submit more than the 1,500 required to block Sapp’s 169-acre voluntary annexation plan on the south side of Route WW. Environmental concerns about Grindstone Creek as well as traffic problems are among the neighbors’ concerns.

City Council Meeting

Here are highlights of the Columbia City Council meeting that begins 7 p.m. Monday in the council chambers at the Daniel Boone City Building, 701 E. Broadway: