Environmental stances challenged

A nationally recognized scientist and author challenged conventional wisdom about the environment and its relationship to the U.S. economy in a speech at MU’s Life Sciences Center on Monday.

Jay Lehr began his presentation by warning, “What I’m going to tell you is not what you’re used to hearing.”

Substance-abuse agency would lose half of funds

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Department of Mental Health opened its books to a Senate committee Monday amid protests against Gov. Matt Blunt’s proposed cuts.

Department director Dorn Schuffman told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the division of alcohol and drug abuse would lose nearly half its funding to Blunt’s proposed Medicaid cuts, which total about $12 million.

Legislators left waiting to hear from students

The scene Monday in Brady Commons was in ways reminiscent of a junior high school dance — only this time the wallflowers were state legislators waiting to talk with MU students.

Sitting at their own tables in Brady, lawmakers who represent areas of Columbia were there by invitation to meet students and to find out what issues concern them.

Blunt taps Rolla native as director of services

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s new director of social services says improving child safety is his top priority.

Gary Sherman, who was named to head the Department of Social Services by Gov. Matt Blunt on Monday, has experience working in Missouri government stretching back to 1974, including two stints as a division director in the 1980s.

17 brush fires fought in northern Boone


Development is in works east of Columbia

A trio of property owners are planning to develop their land to create Richland Crossings, a 250-acre development on both sides of Richland Road east of Columbia.

Developers Garry and Drake Lewis and David Atkins began discussing plans in November to create a commercial and residential development at the intersection of Richland Road and a proposed extension of Stadium Boulevard to be called Highway 740.

Living in denial can hinder change

It’s hard to function around people in denial. You have to be so careful not to jar them out of their state of bliss.

  It’s not so bad when their condition is based only on personal relationship issues. For example, if they are in denial that their mate is unfaithful or that their children are deadbeats. People caught up in that kind of denial are usually harmful only to themselves.

Anti-porn bill gets first-round Senate OK

JEFFERSON CITY — With little debate, the Senate gave first-round approval Monday to legislation aiming to make it tough for the adult entertainment industry to operate in Missouri.

The bill, SB 32, would impose a charge of $5 per customer for sexually oriented businesses, from strip clubs to adult bookstores, and a 20 percent tax on their revenues. The provisions are similar to what casinos in the state already must pay.

600 more workers at UM shift to hourly

Last month, an additional 600 employees in the University of Missouri System became eligible for overtime pay, a result of new Fair Labor Standards Act regulations imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2004.

That brings the number of new nonexempt employees to 1,200 since August.

MU instructor mulls home guru’s image

Well before domestic guru Martha Stewart left a federal prison in West Virginia on Friday morning, a team of public relations experts was working to reshape Stewart’s public persona.

They might want to give MU’s Melissa Click a call.

County would lose 178 jobs under Medicaid proposal

Boone County workers and businesses could lose 178 jobs and $12.6 million under Gov. Matt Blunt’s proposed Medicaid overhaul, a statewide study by Saint Louis University economists shows.

In a county-by-county assessment, two SLU economics professors examined the fiscal impact of reduced Medicaid spending by the state, which would trigger losses of federal matching funds. Boone County ranks seventh among the state’s 67 counties in terms of projected job losses and lost revenue in the community.

County growth causes concern

At the center of Harrisburg, Palmer’s Market is not only a gas station, convenience store and restaurant, but also a town square. This is where many people in the town of 184 gather to exchange news and gossip over a cup of coffee and a bite to eat.

“When they walk in the door, we can say, ‘Hey, Bill!’ ‘How you doing, Dale?’ ‘Hello, Toby,’ ” market owner Dana Palmer said. “That’s what I like about living here. Everybody knows everybody.”

White-collar ex-cons say time in prison transformed them

NEW YORK — Martha Stewart took up the cause of prisoners’ rights during her five months in prison and calls her time behind bars “life altering and life affirming.” Other white-collar criminals have proclaimed themselves equally transformed after emerging from prison. But are they?

“If you’re changed, then let’s see the action,” said Fred Shapiro, a lawyer who served time for bank fraud in Philadelphia in the 1990s and went back to prison for a white-collar crime episode 10 years later. Stewart, released Friday after five months in prison for lying about a stock sale, is the latest in a long line of high-profile white-collar convicts who have returned to freedom saying they have been renewed.

Prosthetics among benefits threatened by Blunt proposal

At first glance, Bob Kilgore would seem to have little stake in the heated debate over a proposal to drastically reduce Medicaid cuts in Missouri.

For the pharmacist-turned-business owner, the medical-supplies industry is a good one.

SMSU name change reality sets in

ST. LOUIS — The ink has barely dried on a bill changing the name of Southwest Missouri State University, but that didn’t stop fans at the Missouri Valley Conference basketball tournament from chanting “MSU! MSU!” as their team beat the University of Northern Iowa 70-62 on Saturday.

The House voted 120-35 last week to drop “Southwest” from the school’s name, allowing it to become Missouri State University. The change will take effect Aug. 28.

Mental health agency faces more cuts

Providers of mental health services face a loss of state funding under Gov. Matt Blunt’s budget plan that would cut about $50 million in state funds from the Department of Mental Health.

Roland Meinert, chairman of the Boone County Mental Health Board of Trustees, said state mental health funding has decreased from 10 percent of the total state budget to 5 percent of the total state budget during the past 10 years, creating waiting lists for services and overextending the staffs of providers.

Eyes on the Prize

At the Stuart House retirement home in Centralia, the question keeps popping up this time of year.

“Isn’t it about time for the babies?”

Paying for Columbia's growth

The crowds are creeping in. They stack up in longer lines at Schnuck’s and every other supermarket in town. They pack the trailers that orbit the city’s public schools. They jam Stadium Boulevard near Interstate 70 late on weekday evenings, adding five or 10 minutes to Columbians’ commutes from work.

Their presence transforms the landscape, fueling demand for the hundreds of condominiums and single-family homes that have cropped up east and west of Range Line Street and on both sides of Scott Boulevard over the past five years, erasing pastures and woodlands at a near-record pace.

About faces

“What an artist the world loses in me!” Emperor Nero pronounced before stabbing himself in the neck in A.D. 68.

Nero ended his life in the same dramatic fashion in which he ruled. The man who is said to have “fiddled” while Rome burned had ambitions to be a poet and artist although his fate, it seemed, was to be a despot. Nero’s identity took another turn, albeit in a much less dramatic fashion, 200 years after his death, when a sculpture of him was recovered from storage and reworked to celebrate a new Roman emperor. At the time, neither artists nor the public were overly concerned with accurate representations of prominent citizens. So, it was perfectly acceptable to simply add a stubbly beard to the cast of Nero’s fleshy face to capture a serviceable likeness of Emperor Gallienus.

French immersion preschool aims to give educational edge

Parents and young children in Columbia will soon have the opportunity to expose themselves to a foreign language by means of a French immersion preschool scheduled to start in August.

The private preschool, called La Petite Ecole, is Columbia’s first foreign language preschool and is offered to 3- to 5-year-old children.