Hallsville schools consider funding

Tom Baugh’s job as superintendent of the Hallsville R-IV school system has broader focus than his previous post as principal of Hallsville High School. Instead of focusing on one component of Hallsville’s sprawling and interconnected campus, Baugh must look beyond the small community to determine his school system’s status.

“When you take this chair, you become concerned about the district focus, the focus of K through 12,” Baugh said.

Learning to bridge the funding gap

JEFFERSON CITY — Bill Hodge read in the newspaper that some school districts in Missouri could afford to install rock-climbing walls in their schools. Those districts seem a world away from his in rural Jasper County.

“I’m not asking for a rock-climbing wall; I’m asking for a suitable place where our elementary and junior high kids can have adequate instruction,” said Hodge, principal of Jasper High School.

Man pleads guilty to racketeering

Henry Rehmert Sr. of Montgomery City pleaded guilty Monday morning to racketeering charges in federal court. He was one of four men indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2003 on charges related to the deaths of two Columbia residents.

Rehmert, his son and two other men were involved in a criminal enterprise meant to deceive and defraud individuals of money from 1989 to 2002, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Louis.

Rezoning proposal tabled

Bruce and Kathleen Maier want the Columbia City Council to rezone about 42 acres at the east end of Stadium Boulevard to allow for commercial development. They just don’t know exactly what they want to put there.

And that’s a problem, at least for some of their neighbors and members of the council.

Problem gamblers aplenty in state

It’s probably safe to say these days that most people know at least one problem gambler. Some are addicted to bingo or video poker, while others can’t stay away from lottery tickets or casinos. Like those addicted to alcohol or drugs, these people can’t resist games of chance.

Missouri gamblers were the subject of a recent study by Harvard researchers, who sought to determine the extent of problem gambling in the state. According to their report, about 39,000 Missourians had faced a serious gambling problem in the past year. The study, funded by a grant from the Port Authority of Kansas City, focused on more than 5,000 individuals who had voluntarily excluded themselves from state casinos since 1996. Under the self-exclusion program, these folks subject themselves to prosecution for trespassing if they attempt to enter casinos. These individuals are, apparently, seeking help big time. So far, it is estimated that 13 percent of Missouri’s problem gamblers are seeking that kind of assistance.

Providers collaborate to meet flu shot needs

With the loss of nearly 47 million doses of flu vaccine worldwide after a British government crackdown on a global supplier, health care providers in Boone County are scrambling to meet demand as the winter flu season approaches.

Heather Baer, a spokeswoman for the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health, said the agency ordered most of its vaccines from Chiron Corp., the British firm that had its license suspended earlier this month over a failure to comply with the United Kingdom’s manufacturing regulations.

Bow hunting takes aim at reducing deer herds

For many mid-Missouri residents, fall is the season for hunting.

Although the majority of hunters uses guns, few Columbians channel their inner Robin Hood with the unique sport of bow hunting.

Devil’s Icebox cave offers mental, physical challenge

As the cool autumn breeze begins to blow, the Devil’s Icebox cave moans and echoes to the visitors of Rock Bridge State Park.

Some visitors hear this call to walk the unbeaten path and enter another dimension of life that exists in the seven-mile Devil’s Icebox cave.

Treasurer faces challenger for first time in 12 years

For the first time since 1992, Boone County Treasurer Kay Murray has an opponent in an election. Republican Fred Evermon has stepped forward to challenge Murray, who has held the office for 28 years.

The Boone County treasurer is responsible for making investment decisions, receiving and disbursing the county’s money, balancing the county checking account with the general ledger and handling all bond issues.

Fishing heats up with cooler weather

Fishing poles are lazily dipped over the sides of boats, painting radiating rings on the surface of the sparkling water.

A gentle breeze stirs the air causing shallow waves to ripple across the still water. This is the tranquil scene found at area lakes.

Orchards provide ‘pick-your-own’ experiences

Will Waterman, 3, rolled over a pumpkin while his brother Wes, 5, pulled on another to break it from the vine.

The brothers, from Columbia, ran back and forth between their parents during a Sunday afternoon picking pumpkins and apples at Huffstutter Orchards in New Franklin.

Trails offer several paths to exercise

On any given day, casual walkers and avid runners trek a highway of dirt and gravel paths through Columbia’s wooded areas.

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department maintains 25 trails. These range from the quarter-mile trail in Westwinds Park to 4.7-mile MKT Nature and Fitness Trail.

Fall ideal time for working on garden

The air is cooling, the nights are getting colder and the plants in the garden are starting to look brown and unattractive.

In other words, it’s time to start winterizing the garden.

West side attracting business

West Columbia is growing, and local businesses want to be a part of it. Broadfield Properties made deals with three more businesses this week that will plan to open in the Broadway Broadfield Shopping Center, next to Hy-Vee, 3120 W. Broadway.

Tuesday, the developer signed leases with Chinese restaurant Mandarin House, Mexican eatery Rio Grande and a new University Hospital MRI center, said Roger Thomas, a partner in Broadfield Properties.

Therapist says trip changed her life

Elisabeth Norton, a massage therapist from Columbia, called the three weeks she spent working at the Paralympic Games “definitely mind-blowing.”

Norton was one of 60 international massage therapists who assisted the athletes during the September games in Athens. The Paralympics, like the summer and winter Olympics that precede them, occur every two years. These games, however, showcase athletes with disabilities.

Senate candidates clash on SMSU name change

Candidates for the 19th District seat in the Missouri Senate are embroiled in a debate about whether it’s a good idea to “trade” MU’s name for a bond issue that would pay for construction of a health-sciences research center and other projects.

Democrat Chuck Graham and Republican Mike Ditmore debated the issue at a forum last month at Broadway Christian Church. Moderator and former state senator Joe Moseley asked whether each would support switching the name of Springfield’s Southwest Missouri State University to Missouri State University in exchange for a life-sciences bond issue.

Spreading Tiger spirit

The spirit of MU’s Homecoming festivities spread to downtown Columbia on Sunday.

Eighteen student organizations participated in Decorate the District, a contest to decorate the storefronts of businesses near the parade route that will weave through downtown Columbia on Saturday.

War journalists criticize media, advise students

Columbians heard a first-hand perspective of the war in Iraq on Sunday from two seasoned journalists.

Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent for The New York Times, and Octavia Nasr, head of Arab affairs for CNN, spoke on campus to a group of journalism students and faculty. The pair also spoke before a showing of “Control Room,” a movie about Al-Jazeera’s war coverage, at the Missouri Theatre.

Eagles come home

ASHLAND - On Friday, the faithful, about 1,000 in all, sat on the stadium’s stainless steel bleachers, and others flowed over to the ones made of rotting wood.

Dressed in school colors for the Southern Boone Eagles’ first football homecoming, many wore black caps, red sweatshirts, black-and-red beads and face paint. A few upperclassmen known around school as “the cowboys” wore no shirts.

Ashland isn’t a town that appreciates change. People like things the way they are. Families who leave Ashland tend to return. Parents send their kids to the school where many of them also went. Some attended college and graduated; others did not; a few never went.

Brad Pitt to visit MU for Kerry film

Actor Brad Pitt will make an MU homecoming of his own this week.

Pitt will attend a showing of “Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry” Wednesday night, hosted by the MU College Democrats.