Columbia arts win big

Concerts, festivals and other arts programming in Columbia received a boost from a Missouri Arts Council program that awarded $240,849 in grants to 15 non-profit organizations. The money given to Columbia represents almost one-eighth of the more than $2 million awarded statewide.

MAC gave 248 awards across the state in the first phase of grants for the 2005 fiscal year, which began July 1.

Downtown businesses go wireless

Downtown Columbia is getting up to speed with new wireless Internet access offered by Ilero, Inc.

Ilero began offering its iZone network services about a month ago, and already several businesses have signed up to make the service available to customers. With a network interface card, wireless computer owners can use the WiFi technology without a telephone or cable hookup.

School board will discuss healthy food options

A change for good food hasn’t been good for the bottom line at Columbia middle schools.

The Columbia School Board will hear a report on vending machines in schools at its retreat Friday. The meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. in the administration building, 1818 W. Worley St., and is open to the public but not for public comment.

Marchers honor victims of Middle East conflicts

Slowly and in single-file they walked together as in a funeral march. They proceeded behind a black coffin covered by a U.S. flag. They wore black and carried flowers, barely glancing up while honking cars blared in approval as they walked down the sidewalk.

Mid-Missouri Peaceworks held a memorial Wednesday to mark the loss of 1,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thirty marchers gathered outside the Military Recruiting Station at Broadway and Second Street and marched toward the Boone County Courthouse, carrying a makeshift coffin symbolizing the troops’ deaths and signs sporting slogans such as “Let’s work for peace.”

Clarification and correction

A Tuesday story about homeless teens said students must show proof of residence and custody before they can attend school. Missouri law, however, says homeless minors who are 16 or 17 are qualified for admission to high school or post-secondary school. Lynn Barnett, assistant superintendent for Columbia Public Schools, said local high schools accept homeless students but investigate their backgrounds for documentation of past schools and to try to find their guardians.

Safe Haven

The Galgalos are among the 30,740 refugees who arrived in the U.S. in the past six months. They are political refugees from one of Africa’s poorest countries.

After Sept. 11, 2001, the number of refugees allowed into the United States decreased by more than half. However, during the past six months, the number of refugees being allowed to enter this country have already surpassed that of 2003.

Council vetoes parking plan

The Columbia City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night against a proposed ordinance to revise the Columbia City Code’s criteria for ground-level, uncovered off-street commercial parking lots, or “surface” parking lots.

The proposed ordinance said private or commercial surface parking areas for automobiles and light trucks must be located on the back of the property and no closer than 25 feet to a street.

Kerry will run with Edwards

When Sen. John Kerry announced on Tuesday that Sen. John Edwards would be his running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket, many people claimed they saw it coming. But few could claim they made the same prediction on Jan. 27.

However, Rick Hardy can.

Hardy, a former candidate for U.S. Congress who teaches political science at MU, accurately forecast Edward’s selection before Channel 17’s cameras.

‘Destination-level’ attraction considered

Picture Columbia as a vacation spot for families. Imagine visiting attractions on the same scale as Six Flags, Silver Dollar City or the Arch.

Sound far-fetched? Folks at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau don’t think so, and they’re planning a July 19 public hearing to hear what the public thinks.

Hearing set today in climbing wall case

Boone County prosecutors today will ask for another chance to try Marcus Floyd for second-degree involuntary manslaughter in the climbing-wall death of a Jefferson City woman.

Meanwhile, at the 9 a.m. hearing, defense attorneys are expected to again ask Boone County Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton to acquit Floyd of the charges.

Ferguson’s attorney asks for new venue

In a change of venue hearing Tuesday for murder defendant Ryan Ferguson, attorneys brought up the possibility of bringing in a jury from another judicial circuit to hear the case.

Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane and defense attorney Scott McBride said they would discuss the issue before the next hearing, set for July 19.

Harvey responds to NCAA

Former MU associate basketball coach Tony Harvey said NCAA investigators did not fully develop evidence to prove he violated several bylaws, according to a document made public today.

Young and homeless

He sits on downtown benches, smiling and greeting people who walk past him. He’ll nod in acknowledgement or say, “Hey.” It’s obvious that he’s there.

But most of the time, no one seems to notice Anthony Wilson.

Diversity office cut in budget for schools

Public schools in Columbia will have fewer resources to address issues involving diversity and race in the coming school year.

The 2004-05 budget for Columbia Public Schools, passed by the school board on June 14, eliminates the district’s Office of Multicultural Programs. Superintendent Phyllis Chase said, “It’s not the job of one office to address multicultural education.

Superintendent reflects on first year

Seated with elegant, perfect posture, with her coffee cup resting in arm’s reach, Superintendent Phyllis Chase talks about her future goals for the Columbia Public School District.

After finishing her first year with the district, Chase has set new goals for the coming school year. This fall, Chase said she hopes to focus more on using district and community resources for early childhood education. “As we focus on increasing student achievement and eliminating achievement gaps, the need for early childhood education will increase,” Chase said.

Storms cause damage, power outages

When Estella Ball said she wanted a covered patio, she envisioned something slightly nicer than a huge, fallen tree covering her back porch.

Monday’s severe thunderstorms downed a large ash tree outside her mobile home in Sturgeon — ruining, among other things, a shed and the new lawn mower inside. Ball said the tree completely blocks her back door.

Frozen treat frenzy

On a stifling hot Sunday afternoon Robert Fulton, 13, scrabbles in his pocket for some money. The currency in his pocket is his ticket to sanctuary from the oppressive hot weather. His rescue presents itself in the form of a frosty vanilla Blizzard from Dairy Queen. With one taste, the glacial delight provides a short but sweet respite from the sweltering summer heat while entertaining his taste buds.

Fulton is not alone in his regard for ice cream. According to the International Dairy Farmers Association, ice cream is consumed in more than 90 percent of American households. And, the IDFA reports, in 2002 Americans spent $12.5 billion on “away from home” frozen dessert purchases at places like scoop shops or other ice cream retail stores.

West on its way to being a model

As students enjoy their summer vacation, Vickie Robb, the new West Boulevard Elementary School principal, and members of her recently selected staff are working through their break to put plans into effect for the “model school” project.

The school at 319 West Blvd. serves students in first through fifth grades who are living in the school’s attendance area. Several construction projects are currently under way at the 54-year-old building.

Mastodon bones found by excavator

GRAIN VALLEY — It was probably just a youngster when it died, standing perhaps 5 feet tall. But the mastodon whose remains lay for thousands of years under what is now private property in eastern Jackson County was large enough to attract paleontologists.

A construction worker came across some of the prehistoric mammal’s bones last week while excavating land owned by Debbie and Steve Gildehaus. The bones were in clay, about 30 feet below ground level.

Senator dismisses draft need

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is forcing thousands of discharged soldiers back into the military, but that does not mean the United States needs to reinstate the draft, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Sunday.

“I can tell you the all-volunteer forces worked” when former President Nixon ended conscription during the Vietnam War, said Sen. John Warner, who was Nixon’s secretary of the Navy in 1973.