Nixon files for delay in lawsuit

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s Democratic attorney general wants to delay a lawsuit challenging the state’s formula for funding public schools so the Republican legislature and governor-elect can have time to fix the problems.

The motion filed by Jay Nixon asks the Cole County Circuit Court to postpone action on the lawsuit, which says the foundation formula is unconstitutional because it distributes money to school districts inequitably.

Revamped Fulton library opens

FULTON — Light is perhaps the most striking change at the renovated Callaway County Public Library.

Before the renovation, dark blinds and blackened windows blocked any attempt by natural light to enter the building. Now, however, larger windows, lighter blinds and ceilings two feet higher have illuminated the building.

Provisional votes won’t switch state elections

JEFFERSON CITY — Based on estimates from the Secretary of State’s Office, provisional ballots in Missouri will have no impact on the outcome of the Nov. 2 elections for statewide offices. Verified ballots will, however, be counted.

“It’s important that every qualified voter has their vote counted,” said Gayla Vandelicht, co-director of elections for the secretary of state.

Talent talks to students about issues

It’s not every day high school students get to speak candidly with a U.S. senator. But some Rock Bridge students got that chance Tuesday.

Students in Matt Cone’s contemporary issues class hosted Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., for a discussion about some of the topics they have covered in class. The discussion focused primarily on the war on Iraq and the AIDS epidemic.

Students honor veterans

West Junior High School students honored past and present military members Tuesday night in a presentation titled “Freedom Isn’t Free: A Tribute to Veterans.” Twenty-three students of Kim Bard’s acting class presented their work to an audience of about 65 that included friends and relatives as well as faculty and staff.

Two days before Veterans Day, students recited literature, poems, stories and song lyrics to honor the five branches of the armed forces.

Head Start, HDC on solid ground after changes in management

Head Start and Central Missouri Counties’ Human Development Corporation. have new directors after almost a year of uncertainty and worry about the agencies’ funding.

Mernell King will begin her position as director of Head Start on Monday. Florence Tandy moved into the director’s office at HDC last week.

MU doctors urge sickle cell funding

With a prominent Missouri politician by their side, MU doctors and researchers gathered Tuesday to press for more federal dollars for treatment of sickle cell disease.

Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., visited the MU School of Medicine to tout a bill he sponsored, the Sickle Cell Treatment Act, which was recently passed into law.

Confident of America’s safety, Ashcroft resigns

On Election Day, Attorney General John Ashcroft delivered a five-page handwritten letter to President Bush, stating his resignation. A week after Bush’s re-election, the White House released word of Ashcroft’s resignation amid speculation about who would succeed him and other Cabinet changes.

Populist commentator lambastes Bush, Kerry

Self-styled populist author and political commentator Jim Hightower called for progressives to continue “the fight to take our country back from the thieves in high places” Tuesday night as he spoke about the 2004 presidential election and its aftermath at Conservation Auditorium at MU.

“I come out of last Tuesday’s election with mixed emotions,” Hightower said. “On the one hand, we did not win. There is King George the W., now with a Viagra-sized smirk saying ‘bring it on.’ ”

Awareness increases reports of same-sex domestic abuse

It begins with verbal threats and intimidation. It can move to stalking and physical violence. In rare cases, it ends in murder.

Domestic violence plays itself out every day in well-to-do neighborhoods and East Campus apartments alike. And, according to some domestic violence counselors, the number of cases reported by gay and lesbian couples is growing.

Islamic agency tries to free up funds for bills

The Islamic American Relief Agency is undergoing another government review, but this time it is at the request of the charity itself.

The agency, whose assets were frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department in October, has petitioned for access to funds to pay off creditors. Shareef Akeel, a Michigan-based lawyer representing the agency, submitted the request to the Office of Foreign Assets Control last week.

County reviews gravel road conditions

Two vehicles carrying Boone County government officials wound through hilly gravel roads Tuesday afternoon, kicking up dust and identifying priorities for next year’s road and bridge budget.

“The roads we are looking at today are ones we’d consider for major improvements, not minor maintenance issues,” Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin said.

Chief says pot law tough to interpret

When Proposition 2 passed overwhelmingly on Election Day, marijuana possession became Columbia law enforcement’s lowest priority.

But it’s not clear to police exactly how they are supposed to adjust to the change in the law.

Students assemble to discuss draft

Under the flags of many nations, 140 high school students and a professional panel gathered in Hickman High School’s Commons Tuesday night to discuss national service and the possibility of another U.S. draft and national service in general.

The discussion was part of Hickman’s Speak Your Mind Forum, which gives the student body a chance to address national and local issues that have an impact on the students’ lives. Hickman English teacher George Frissell said the focus of Tuesday’s forum was shaped by the events in Iraq and by the statements of the presidential candidates.

Farmers brace for first hard frost

With below-freezing temperatures forecast for Thursday and Friday nights, growers are preparing for the winter or calling it quits.

“I’m done,” said Phil Stewart of Fulton, who sells his produce at the Columbia Farmers’ Market. “Last Saturday was my last day.”

Aurora borealis coming into view

A misty light arching up to form a green rainbow with a streak of pink on the end might be visible in the northern horizon later this week.

Thanks to a large geomagnetic storm on the sun that began around 5 p.m. on Sunday, the northern sky will dance with shades of orange, pink and green for the next few nights. The phenomenon is known as the aurora borealis, or northern lights.

A Tiger in the city

ST. LOUIS — When Alpachino Hogue, an MU admissions representative, spoke to 30 juniors and seniors at Soldan High School in the Union-Delmar neighborhood of St. Louis, he got their attention by telling them he graduated from Soldan only five years earlier.

The students knew they were going to meet with a recruiter from MU, but they didn’t know he would be from the world they know.

Summer school focus of discussion

Although it’s nearly the beginning of winter, summer school was the main topic of discussion at the Columbia Board of Education meeting Monday night.

The board voted to give Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Phyllis Chase authority to negotiate a contract with Newton Learning Systems, a private educational company responsible for more than 70 Missouri summer school programs.

GOP tightens grip on Mo.

JEFFERSON CITY — Election Day 2004 was a dream come true for Peter Kinder.

Not only did the Republican state senator from Cape Girardeau narrowly win the race for lieutenant governor, he also saw his party gain control of the governor’s office for the first time in more than a decade, win the state treasurer’s race and increase its majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Whistle-blowing remains a concern

There is a way of knowing when something of value goes out of one’s life. I knew. The moment I realized that 30 years ago, I would never have debated with myself over the issue of whistle-blowing. In those good/bad days, if a person had evidence that people were skirting the law or committing a crime or endangering lives, he/she reported them to the proper authorities.

But when I picked up the newspaper the other day and read the story about Bunnatine Greenhouse, a contracting officer for the Army Corps of Engineers who is attempting to advise her bosses about concerns she had over an extended troop support contract with Halliburton, I felt a griping sensation in the muscles in my stomach. She has publicly alleged that favoritism had been shown toward Halliburton, which was formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. This was an action which I once would have applauded but now only fills me with a sense of dread. Situations like this always take me back to the Karen Silkwood case in 1974.