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History drives passion

Hartsburg Mayor Nancy Grant and her husband, Mike Rodemeyer, spent three weeks retracing the route of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, but their adventure wasn’t just for pleasure.

The couple’s attention to re-enactments and historical details at interpretive centers is being put to use as they plan a festival in Hartsburg to celebrate the area’s first of a series of bicentennial celebrations to commemorate the explorers’ trip up the Missouri River.

ESPN winner back at school

Mike Hall sits on the futon in his room, munching on day-old popcorn and sipping a Dr. Pepper. Despite the whirlwind his life has become, Hall is calm and collected, but that’s no surprise. It’s Hall’s coolness under pressure that has gotten him where he is.

During his triumph on ESPN’s “Dream Job,” Hall held up when the teleprompter went out and he had to ad lib his lead-in to a Yankees-Red Sox highlight. He didn’t flinch when breaking news came in the middle of his interview with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. When viewers voted to make him the show’s first cut, he didn’t break down. He made sure he didn’t get another vote. Ever.

Columbians to help with city cleaning

For Amy Gundy, volunteerism runs in the family. And that’s part of the reason a record number of groups have signed up for Cleanup Columbia 2004.

The annual event is set for Saturday as part of a city-sponsored effort to encourage volunteerism and keep the city litter-free.

A lesson in dedication

Michele Sterrett used the words “inquisitive, passionate and vibrant” to describe herself when interviewed as a finalist for an award from the Missouri State Teachers Association

People around Sterrett, a language arts teacher at Lange Middle School in Columbia, would add “devoted” to the list. That quality is a main reason she was chosen as an Outstanding Teacher of the Year from the association’s northeast region, one of the judges said.

Senate passes malpractice reform bill

JEFFERSON CITY — After breaking a contentious, 16-hour debate Thursday, senators passed legislation that supporters say will help lower doctors’ malpractice insurance premiums.

The legislation, which passed 24-8, would create new restrictions for many types of lawsuits, including putting new caps on jury awards in medical malpractice cases. Insurance companies claim high awards are the cause of doctors’ fast-rising premiums, although opponents of caps say they have not been proven to lower insurance costs.

MU junior wins Truman Scholar service award

Dylan Sullivan, a junior at MU, received some unexpected good news after opening an e-mail from MU Chancellor Richard Wallace on March 19.

“I re-read it a few times to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me,” Sullivan said. “I was incredibly surprised to get the award.”

Living with Autism

Four-year-old Thomas Cleek has a toothy grin and bright blue eyes that peer from underneath his tousled blond bowl cut — a sunniness that wasn’t there nine months ago when Thomas was plagued by aggressive, potentially dangerous tantrums and could hardly talk.

Thomas’ outbursts led him to be diagnosed with PDD-NOS, Pervasive Developmental Disorder — Not Otherwise Specified, a mild degree of autism, in February 2002.

Panel approves center’s location

Rick Wells stood before the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday evening and spoke about his struggle to overcome alcohol abuse.

“Recovery is not an event,” he said. “It is a process which continues until we die.”

Fostering assistance for alopecia sufferers

There is a group of people that gathers in room 3003 at the University Physicians Medical Building five times a year. Sometimes they come wearing hats, other times scarves, but most of the time, they wear wigs in a bid to mask their baldness.

Together, they make up the Mid-Missouri Support Group for Alopecia Areata. Alopecia areata is a highly unpredictable autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and on the body. The group of 20 members was founded in January 2001 by Kathleen Lively. She believes there are people out there with the disease who might not know of this group.

Source this!

Namaste, readers. This week Sockdolager’s been bit by the latest craze sweeping the country: Outsourcing! Yes, we’ve been temporarily outsourced to Bangalore, India. Fear not, however, as this is not the death knell it may seem. Don’t get us wrong — losing your job is never a good thing. But as with most things, the outsourcing issue is a bit more complex than the view that a bunch of low-paid foreigners are stealing our jobs. In many ways, it is about America finally finding itself on the short end of a practice — brain drain — that this country has been perfecting for years.

The truth about churning

Fit for a president

Although she is more likely to appear in The Chronicle of Higher Education than in Vogue, Stephens College President Wendy Libby has become a model for fashion students at Stephens.

The classy designs, created by the students at Libby’s request, will be brought to life when Libby wears them during inauguration festivities April 22-24.

Movin' on up

Among the hottest items Cool Stuff owner Arnie Fagan sells are the apartments above his store.

“My apartments are on the Times Square of Columbia,” said Fagan, referring to his building’s location at Broadway and Eighth Street. “You can’t get a better location — period.”

Tip brings hope to missing veteran’s family

Drew Cason lives in Kansas City, but for the past week he’s taken up residence in Columbia while he and his sister, Phyllis Cason, search for their 84-year-old father, Earl Cason.

A call Tuesday morning from the Columbia police offered the family a ray of hope.

Former UM president visits campus

C. Peter Magrath, former president of the UM system, returned to MU on Wednesday to give a lecture entitled “How Rocky is the Road Ahead for America’s Universities?”

Magrath served as UM president from 1985 to 1991, and he made a huge impact during his tenure.

House OKs proposed budget

JEFFERSON CITY — The House passed an $18.6 billion budget Wednesday that provides a bigger increase for education than the governor recommended — without tax increases.

The budget was passed on the same day that the Revenue Department released numbers showing that state revenue collections are up significantly.

Park ends deer hunt

When a helicopter crew surveyed deer in Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in December 2001, the count was 53 deer per square mile — more than twice the target population. An overpopulation of deer in the park, which has historically been off-limits to hunting, led the state to sponsor special hunts in the park for the first time in 2001.

After three years of managed hunts in the park, an aerial survey in January 2004 put the number of deer at 16 per square mile, the lowest ever counted. The decline was enough for state officials to recently decide that another hunt won’t be needed this winter.

Ross leads MU hospitals

After sharing his office for a week, James “Jim” Ross, the new executive director of MU Health Care, will have his own workspace, beginning next week.

Ross, who began his new job April 1, is replacing David Coats, the outgoing executive director from the Hunter Group, a consulting firm hired in September 2002 to lift MU Health Care out of the red. Coats is leaving the post April 15.

MU, Columbia departments prepared for rising gas prices

Wise budgeting and buying in bulk has saved the city government, emergency services and MU from negative effects of recent increases in gasoline prices.

Local prices for regular gasoline reached as high as $1.66 per gallon in recent weeks, which was an increase of 7.1 percent in a one-month period.

Intelligent design bill debated at Hickman

The merits of a bill that would change the way Missouri schools teach science were debated at a forum held Wednesday night at Hickman High School.

Richard Blount, a retired pastor representing the First United Methodist Church; Mike Burt, a pastor at Grace Bible Church; Jan Weaver, director of Environmental Studies at MU; and Glen Freirichs, a Westminister College chemistry professor, spoke about Missouri House Bill 911, which requires public schools to teach intelligent design along with evolution. Intelligent design is the theory that the diversity of life on earth was brought about by an intelligent being or beings.

Officials criticize tax-based funding

JEFFERSON CITY — State education officials said Wednesday that increased local support through property taxes as a result of Tuesday’s statewide voting could increase funding inequities.

Of 114 school districts asking voters to go to the polls Tuesday, 54 approved tax raises and 31 approved bonds for construction. Columbia voters were asked to approve a bond issue only, which they did.

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