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Making of stars

J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle Earth has been a frequent setting for productions since the Oscar-winning films revived the “Lord of the Rings.” This phenomenon recently hit Columbia in a live showing of “The Hobbit.”

Underneath the dwarf and hobbit costumes were children from third to seventh grade helping unveil a new youth theater company in Columbia called Performing Arts in Children’s Education, or PACE. “The Hobbit,” which was the group’s first production, debuted the weekend of May 1 at Smithton Middle School.

Wal-Mart proposal pumped up

Developers of a planned Wal-Mart at Broadway and Fairview Road have decided to seek a larger store that will require rezoning and could have a final plan ready for the city as early as the end of the month.

“The plan should be done by the end of the month,” said Craig Van Matre, attorney for the developer.

Snyder aides take a hit in inquiry

It didn’t take long for the NCAA’s findings to shake up the MU men’s basketball program.

Assistant coach Lane Odom resigned Tuesday afternoon, and associate coach Tony Harvey was suspended with pay hours after the public release of the NCAA’s official “notice of allegations” outlining the program’s possible violations from 1999 to 2003.

Summer jobs focus of 1st Ward meeting

Despite confusion and finger pointing during the second town hall meeting organized to get summer jobs for low-income First Ward youths, a job fair has been scheduled for next week as well as a meeting with Columbia business owners.

The series of meetings has been organized by First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton to get youths out of the streets this summer. She said that too often youths who don’t have anything to do during the summer break hit the streets and run into trouble with the police.

Harvey regarded as ‘chief engineer’ of MU recruiting

Two MU men’s basketball coaches will be absent from the team’s summer recruiting schedule. One might return this fall. The other has resigned.

Within hours of being implicated in suspected NCAA violations Tuesday, assistant coach Lane Odom submitted his resignation and associate coach Tony Harvey was suspended with pay at least until MU faces the NCAA infractions committee in August.

MU blacks out names of personnel in report

When MU released the NCAA’s notice of allegations Tuesday, the report lacked an important aspect.

The names of the MU personnel and players involved in the investigation are missing from the 19-page document.

Allegations

1: It is alleged that during the 1999-2000 to 2002-03 academic years, the men’s basketball program violated several provisions of NCAA recruiting legislation.

A: In a 3-year span, (redacted name) bought meals for 10 individuals while (redacted names) played for American Athletic Union teams. This occurred 31 different times.

NCAA alleges MU violations

The NCAA alleges multiple rules violations by the MU basketball program, including an assertion that an assistant coach gave an athlete $250, sources familiar with an NCAA report said Monday.

But after a months-long investigation, the NCAA has thrown out allegations that troubled former player Ricky Clemons received improper academic help to get into MU because the charge couldn’t be substantiated, said the sources, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Minority retention high at MU

Despite the negativity of last week’s report on diversity at MU, not every aspect of the university is being criticized.

The report released May 4, which chastised the university for its lack of a “comprehensive approach to diversity,” listed high retention of all underrepresented groups as one of the few things at which MU has been successful. Numbers included in the report also showed that first-time enrollment of minorities has been increasing.

Support and success

Sex can be a touchy subject, but Salama Gallimore doesn’t mind talking about it with 52 other people — that is, if they’re members of No-Limit Ladies, a support group for minority girls at Hickman High School.

“It is easier to talk to someone your own age going through the same struggles academically, with friends, and with family,” said Gallimore, a senior who is also president of Minority Achievement Scholars and a member of the National Honor Society.

You're fired

In recent months, millions of Americans have watched as promising young businessmen and women were eliminated from NBC’s “The Apprentice.” Donald Trump squinted his eyes, leaned forward, and pointed a finger at his next victim.

Then, he uttered the infamous phrase.

MU alum takes degree to California

Dave Holt and his company may be improving your life, and you don’t even know it.

Holt is the president and CEO of Lightspeed, a structured array company in Santa Clara, Calif. Structured array is a new way to build semi-conductors, which are crucial to the operation of many gadgets Americans take for granted.

‘Fix’ to gun law stalls in House

Time is running out for Missouri legislators to amend conceal-and-carry laws.

Some House representatives and senators are hoping to pass a so-called “Hancock fix” to Missouri’s conceal-and-carry laws before Friday, the end of this year’s legislative session. However, some legislators are not optimistic about the likelihood that the bill will pass before then.

Students watch their steps with Coca-Cola’s help

Lange Middle School students will turn walking into a competitive sport this week.

The school launched a Coca-Cola sponsored program called “Step with it!” at an assembly Monday morning. The program gives students and faculty “stepometers” — small pedometers that measure numbers of steps — and it gives rewards ranging from bottles of water to calculators to classes that walk the most.

Board asks to increase raises

The Columbia Board of Education didn’t vote on administrator’s recommendations regarding teacher raises Monday night because they want to see an even brighter picture painted.

The board was slated to take action on whether to raise the base pay of teachers by $1,000 to $1,200 with previously decided reductions, which included 50 staff positions eliminated. Instead, the board is ignoring that motion and asking for scenarios from administrators involving $1,200 to $1,500 raises to the base pay and restoration of some cuts. The district can do this by taking more out of reserves, but they would still be within recommended budget parameters.

MU discusses NCAA allegations

MU's men's basketball program broke numerous NCAA rules from 1999 to 2003, according to the NCAA's 19-page official notice of allegations released this morning during a news conference at MU's Reynolds Alumni Center.

No violations of academic fraud are listed in the NCAA's report. The report says that from 1999 to 2003, members of the basketball program bought meals and had impermissible contact with recruits. Other allegations include unethical conduct by an athletic department staff member and offseason league play by team members.

Missouri workers’ pay raise uneven

JEFFERSON CITY — An across-the-board pay raise generally means everyone gets the same amount of money.

But in Missouri’s budget, as recently passed by lawmakers, several thousand of Missouri’s roughly 61,000 state employees would not get the across-the-board, $1,200 annual raise set to take effect July 1.

Brew gets spiked in a healthy way

After years of growing soybeans and corn on his Cole County farm, Kelly Forck has been looking for a way to add value to the commodities he produces. He was recently able to tap into an unusual opportunity: beer made with soybeans.

In an effort to provide farmers an additional source of revenue, a group of Missouri agricultural producers purchased a brewery in Kansas City and formed TransCon AG, a 100 percent farmer-owned cooperative.

Rap and redemption

Rosetta Johnson’s door stays open to let in a little light and the sound of a neighborhood basketball game. The egg-crate foam draping the walls downstairs insulates her ears from the bass-heavy beats coming from the recording studio in her basement.

Johnson is the owner of Midwest Chocolate Entertainment, a 6-month-old Columbia business whose CEO, producer, engineer and secretary is her son, BeCarr Washington.

MU study examines portrayal of first ladies

An MU study has found that election coverage is increasingly focused on the wives of presidential and vice-presidential candidates and what they can bring to their husbands’ campaigns.

Journalism professor Betty Winfield and journalism doctoral student Barbara Friedman examined the 2000 election coverage of Laura Bush, Tipper Gore, Lynne Cheney and Hadassah Lieberman. They found that the women presented a challenge to the media because they represented backgrounds different from those of traditional presidential and vice-presidential wives.

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