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Survey: Some groups more accepted

The first thing Khandicia Randolph does on the first day of class at MU each semester is look around to see how many black people are in the room. She’s usually the only one.

“To have to be that one voice against the rest of the class gets annoying, but you get used to it,” said Randolph, president of the MU chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, who intends to get her master’s degree at MU. “I sometimes feel marginalized. It hasn’t been a negative experience per se, but a lot more positives could have taken place.”

Voter-registration drive focuses on bus riders

Volunteers are taking to the streets in an attempt to get Columbia Transit riders registered to vote.

Grass Roots Organizing, with the city of Columbia’s support, will have volunteers with voter registration forms ride city buses today and Wednesday.

Frazzled

Customer satisfaction in the retail industry is the highest it’s been in a decade.

The most recent results of the American Customer Satisfaction Index indicate that customers are more satisfied now than they have been at any time since the survey began in 1994.

Don’t be afraid to make changes

Well, we’re off and running again. Off to face another season with gas prices at the pump accelerating and gaggles of motorists screaming in rage. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been through this in my lifetime. The thing I do know for sure is that between these seasons nothing significant ever happens to eliminate the necessity of going through another one. There’s never a big push for developing alternative fuel, automobiles get bigger instead of smaller and conversations about the need for mass transit become virtually nonexistent. My conclusion is that we Americans are not really concerned about having an inexpensive, sustainable source of fuel to keep our automobiles running. I suppose we are hoping someone will invent a car that doesn’t need gasoline and our problems will be over.

We’re like that about a lot of things. The way we elect our leaders, for example. We know that presidential elections are out of hand. We know that it shouldn’t require millions of dollars for an individual to run for the presidency. But it does, and we accept that, even though we can put a stop to it any time we choose. Money has corrupted our entire political system. Ask any person on the street, and she will tell you so.

Study: Pupils eating poorly

When Stephanie Jackson’s three children put up a fight about the food she serves, she repeats what has become a family mantra: “Eat what you don’t like, and enjoy what you do like.”

Jackson, of Columbia, tries to ensure that her kids eat enough fruit and vegetables by offering carrots as a snack and salad with dinner. She tries to limit the amount of junk food they consume, but it’s not always easy.

Board to vote on teacher contracts

New money and favorable state budget discussions could complicate the Columbia Board of Education’s vote tonight on whether to issue teacher contracts that would offer no base pay raise and cut 50 staff positions from the district.

Board policy and state statues require the district to notify teachers who will not be rehired for the next year by April 15. The district issues all contracts at that time.

A new pot of gold

Sharon Tepper spends much of her time caring for underprivileged children. As Tepper walks through the halls of the Rainbow House, a Columbia children’s shelter where she serves as executive director, one of the children looks up to her and says with a pouty face, “There’s too many beds in my room.” Tepper, with a half smile, acknowledges the child as though she’s heard such complaints before.

Soon, Tepper and her staff of 23 employees and nearly 40 volunteers will have that problem solved.

Philips tract’s lazy days

It’s become a symbol for urban sprawl and a hot-button topic for Columbia’s environmentalists. It’s inspired one of the city’s most emotionally charged public debates in recent memory.

But the highly publicized Philips farm remains a remarkably private place.

Council to revisit guns in city parks

Hidden handguns might soon be banned in city-owned buildings, but Columbia and other cities can do nothing to prohibit them in city parks.

An ordinance originally discussed and tabled by the Columbia City Council in October has been reintroduced and will be up for final approval at the council’s April 19 meeting. It would change city law to match Missouri’s new law regarding concealed guns.

Cost of MU basketball inquiry mounts

MU’s investigation into the Missouri men’s basketball program has cost Missouri’s athletic department more than $31,000.

MU’s six-member investigation team, led by MU engineering professor Michael Devaney, spent about $21,000 on a transcriptionist and a court reporter for several confidential interviews with National Collegiate Athletic Association officials between October 2003 and the end of March this year, according to expense records acquired by the Columbia Missourian.

Images of Christ

Jesus Christ has captured the minds and hearts of believers since he walked amongst them on the dusty streets of Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago. To Christians, this divine man is simultaneously the conqueror of death, the harbinger of everlasting life and an intimate and enduring friend.

As stories about this acclaimed savior and confidante were read by parents over the dinner table or by Sunday-school teachers at church, young Christians unleashed their imaginations on what Jesus might have looked like. Their minds sought to create a realistic image of Christ that could be reconciled with their personal beliefs about Christianity, according to art historian David Morgan in his book, “Visual Piety: A History and Theory of Popular Religious Images.”

E-mail calls for lying at blood drive

It’s supposed to be about saving lives, but MU’s Greek Week blood drive has become so competitive that one sorority member encouraged comrades to lie about potential health risks on pre-donation paperwork — just to bag some extra blood.

“I don’t care if you got a tattoo last week — LIE,” Gamma Phi Beta blood donation coordinator Christie Key said in a Tuesday

Feeling the beat

John Markovitz sits on the edge of his seat with a large African drum balanced between his legs. As the rest of the class filters through the door and begins to take their places in a circle, Markovitz pulls out a spool of medical tape and carefully begins to wrap his fingers. He knows they’ll be sore by the end of the day.

Markovitz and four other students are at the end of a two-day drumming workshop held last month at the Black Culture Center in Columbia. Sunday is devoted to advanced drummers.

Easter joy no longer on hiatus

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. After five weeks without cookies, cake or candy, I’m ready to celebrate. I want to eat my weight in chocolate. I want gooey butter cake, stale Girl Scout cookies, Kentucky High Day pie and a GREAT BIG chocolate Easter bunny (solid, not hollow).

Easter has always been a wonderful celebration in the Harl household. After Mass, I prepare a brunch for 28 (that’s the whole clan sans one daughter who lives too far away to come home). I serve Mimosas and coffee, orange juice for the kids, eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, French toast, little ham sandwiches, a fruit medley and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Egging them on

When the Columbia Health Department sent Mike Knoll a letter saying he had to start paying $150 for city business license and health inspection fees to sell his eggs at the Columbia Farmers Market, he stopped selling his eggs there.

“I wasn’t going to pay that fee, and I don’t think anybody really did,” said Knoll, who runs Bonne Femme Farm LLC.

Meet the sheriff candidates

As the election year continues, Boone County is gearing up for 2004’s primary. The election, in which voters from each party will select nominees for federal, state and county offices, will be held on Aug. 3. The general election, in which voters will make final selections for those offices, is Nov. 2.

The August primary will feature intraparty elections for a host of offices. On a state level, voters will choose nominees for governor, secretary of state, state treasure, attorney general, state senator and state representative. In Boone County, races include the 19th District senate seat and state representative in the 21st, 23rd, 24th and 25th districts. Voters will also choose county nominees for the positions of county commissioner for the Southern and Northern districts, sheriff, county treasurer, county assessor and public administrator.

Governor releases education funds

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Bob Holden said Friday he was releasing $127 million for school districts and higher education, money he had earlier withheld citing an unbalanced state budget.

The Columbia Public School District will receive $2.87 million of the funds, according to projections from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Columbia school district representatives have previously said they would use any released funds to replenish their monetary reserve, which they dipped into earlier to pay for the $735,000 in withheld funds from the 2003-2004 budget.

Police continue hunt for lost man

Earl Cason, 84, has still not been found 10 days after he went missing following a routine weekly visit to the Truman Veterans Hospital.

Cason, a veteran of World War II, suffers from Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease . He had visited the hospital once a week to have his nine daily medications sorted into a pill container.

Changing a neighborhood

A van transporting three women could be seen cruising the streets of the Douglass Park area on Saturday’s cold, wet morning. The reason for the trip – to judge a yard contest held as part of the area’s spring cleanup.

These three women have lived most of their lives in the neighborhoods near Douglass Park, and after 15 years of judging the best yards, they know almost every homeowner by name, as well as all the neighborhood gossip. But most importantly, they know their neighborhood has changed.

Volunteers decorate hill with native plants

Eleven-year-old Liam Hancock didn’t need the rain on Saturday — he was busy making a rainbow without it. He planted the yellow section, while others contributed purple and green.

The rainbow isn’t visible yet, but by June, Liam’s yellow coreopsis will bloom, along with the green, purple, and orange flowers others planted. When that happens, Liam’s rainbow will finally be complete.

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