MU representatives face NCAA

MU officials will appear in front of the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s Committee on Infractions in Seattle today to discuss the NCAA allegations levied against the men’s basketball program in May.

University of Missouri system President Elson Floyd, athletics director Mike Alden, basketball coach Quin Snyder and members of an MU investigatory team are among those who made the trip.

Council weighs plan to add 25 city employees

Three police officers and two firefighters are among the 25 new employees the Columbia City Council should authorize for fiscal year 2005, according to a budget proposed by City Manager Ray Beck.

The new positions, which run the gamut from public safety to vehicle maintenance to public works engineers, would cost the city about $1.16 million, said Robert Ross, spokesman for the city. The city council will consider Beck’s recommendations over the next several weeks as it holds work sessions and public hearings on the budget, a final version of which will take effect Oct. 1.

Park reopens after renovations

Under a hide-and-seek sky of sun and swift-moving clouds, Jennifer Sanders and her family enjoyed the cool weather Thursday as well as changes to Stephens Lake Park.

Sanders came to the lake often as a child, and now that it has reopened, she brought her children, nieces and nephews.

Convention snags trappers’ interest

As customers perused through his finished product, Kenny Cook stitched together a teddy bear made of red fox fur. By the middle of Thursday afternoon, the first day of the National Trappers Association’s 45th Annual Convention, Cook had finished five bears made from raccoon, coyote and red fox.

Cook, who lives in California, Mo., has been sewing fur accessories for more than 22 years. He was a dairy farmer who added fur sales for extra income. But he had a marketing problem.

State fair offers variety

Nicole Lawrent of Columbia leaned against the gated fence Thursday morning surrounding the practice arena for horses at the Missouri State Fair, watching intently as other riders took their steeds through their paces.

Lawrent, 16, was at the fair with her Arabian, Cozmo, to compete later in the evening for Stephens College in the Saddle Seat Arabian Country Pleasure category.

State tax holiday set for weekend

Friday through Sunday a statewide sales tax holiday for some back-to-school items will allow shoppers to take a slightly smaller hit to the pocketbook, but shoppers in Columbia and Boone County won’t save as much as those in some other Missouri cities.

Missouri will lift its 4.22 percent sales tax on clothing items, school supplies and computer software and supplies under a certain dollar amount. Each individual item of clothing cannot exceed $100 to receive the tax break, but there’s no limit on the total for clothing purchases. For computer and school supplies, the total purchased amount cannot exceed $2,000 and $50, respectively.

MU cuts athletic hostess group

Several members of MU’s outbound Tiger Hostess program say its merger this fall with the campus’ Visitor Relations Tour Team might make athletic recruitment too impersonal.

“You make friends with the recruit, you spend a lot of time with them and make them feel comfortable with Mizzou,” said sophomore Alicia Hammond, who would have been a Tiger Hostess this fall. “The change is not necessarily a bad thing, but it won’t have the same effect this year.”

Conference helps dig up the past

When Linda Fisher speaks at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia this weekend, she’ll be mentioning consumption a lot. But Fisher won’t be hocking the latest fad diet, nor will she be denouncing 21st century excess. She’ll be referring to the outmoded medical term used on late 19th century death certificates to describe cholera.

Fisher, a former chief medical officer for St. Louis County, will be teaching attendees of the 2004 Missouri State Genealogical Association Conference how to interpret death certificates from the late 19th century and early 20th century. The conference, which is held annually in a central Missouri location, is expected to draw almost 200 recreational and professional genealogists to a series of workshops and lectures.

New colors, new lighting, new carousel featured

As you walk into the Columbia Mall’s main entrance you will instantly notice the bright lights reflected off a large apparatus in the middle of the cafe court. Beyond the lights children laugh as they ride a variety of animals harnessed and saddled.

A large 38-foot custom-made carousel is now the centerpiece of the Columbia Mall’s cafe court. On Wednesday, children lined up, eagerly awaiting their turn for a ride on the vibrant fair ride. Designed like a fair carousel, it is adorned with bright lights that gleam off the golden poles from wooden floor to canopy ceiling. Its orange and red paint reflects the lighting, and the intricate craftsmanship is evident even at a glance.

Dynamic duo

Mihai Cernusca and Greg Puzniak had seven hours to reconstruct the human digestive system. The pressure was on. They stretched their fingers and snapped their heads from side to side — a quick release before setting to work.

On the operating table before them were keyboards and mice.

Police arrest suspect in kidnapping

A Columbia man accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend was arrested Monday night in Wichita, Kan., after five days on the run from authorities. The alleged victim, Sara Riebold, 25, was safe and set to return to Boone County Tuesday evening.

Wichita police arrested Andrew David Viggers, 34, at 8:50 p.m. Monday after Riebold called 911. Viggers was being held Tuesday at the Sedgwick County, Kan., Jail, awaiting extradition to Boone County, where he faces felony charges of kidnapping, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault. Bond has been set at $450,000.

Rape care becomes hospital priority

As Leigh Voltmer, executive director of The Shelter, looks at how victims of sexual assault have been treated the past four years by local agencies, she can’t help but think Columbia could do better.

The place to start, she said, is with the organizations that victims see first: the hospitals and the police.

Meteor shower forecast and it should be dandy

Pack some blankets and bug spray, and head away from the city lights. It’s time for the annual Perseid meteor shower.

Val Germann, president of the Central Missouri Astronomical Association, said this year’s shower is expected to be a good one, with the best prospects tonight and early Thursday morning.

Big Brothers Big Sisters gets grant

More children of Missouri inmates will be teamed with mentors in the coming months thanks to a federal grant announced last week.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Boone County, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson City and Kansas City, has received a $382,000 grant — part of $35 million in grants nationwide — from the U.S. Department of Health and Human services to expand a program for children of incarcerated parents. The organization will continue to receive the same amount for the next three years.

GOP moves into headquarters

Bumper stickers for Bush/Cheney 2004, Matt Blunt and Kenny Hulshof adorned a cluster of cars in the parking lot of Rock Bridge Shopping Center Tuesday afternoon as Republicans gathered inside a storefront to open the Boone County Republican Headquarters.

The Boone County Republican Central Committee organizes a central headquarters every four years for the presidential election. This year’s location at Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard was selected in late July.

MU gets $190,000 grant for incubator

The Columbia Life Sciences Incubator received a boost Tuesday as community and state leaders met to track the project’s progress and explore its potential for paving the road to further economic and entrepreneurial development in mid-Missouri.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce David Sampson was joined by Sen. Kit Bond, U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof and UM system President Elson Floyd at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. The luncheon was one of three stops in Columbia, Mexico and St. Louis, during which Sampson presented Economic Development Administration investment checks.

Missouri Democratic Party sues secretary of state

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Democratic Party has sued Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt, claiming voters who cast provisional ballots in the August primary at the wrong polling places should have had their votes counted anyway.

The party claims that state law, which Blunt enforces as the state’s chief elections official, conflicts with the federal Help America Vote Act.

Wal-Mart gives MU four minority scholarships

Four MU journalism students will receive $2,500 scholarships starting in fall of 2005, courtesy of Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart said Thursday it would award $500,000 in minority scholarships to be divided among 10 journalism schools across the country — including MU — over three years. “The scholarship program is an effort to increase the level of diversity in newsrooms around the country,” said a news release from Wal-Mart.

State Fair books various performers

The Missouri State Fair in Sedalia will be brimming with all kinds of performers, rides and attractions this year.

The fair, which last year attracted almost 350,000 fairgoers, starts Thursday and ends Aug. 22.

First suspect to be tried Nov. 2 in Kent Heitholt murder case

Trial dates have been set for the two suspects in the death of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.

Boone County Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton set a Nov. 2 trial date for Charles Erickson, 20, who is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in connection with Heitholt’s death.