State releases $83 million in public funds for education

The coffers of the Columbia Public Schools and the University of Missouri system received a surprise boost Tuesday.

Citing an unexpected influx of federal money, Gov. Bob Holden released more than $80 million to Missouri’s public schools and colleges — a little more than one-third of the roughly $220 million he withheld in July because of budget concerns.

Harrowing crash

The last thing Jerad Miller remembers about his drive home from Columbia Mall on Friday night is turning south from Broadway onto U.S. 63 about 8 p.m.

The next morning, Miller regained consciousness wedged between the broken windshield of his blue Chevrolet Corsica and the freezing water of Hominy Branch Creek. His friend and passenger, 23-year-old Joseph Stenger, lay dead by his side.

Bills filed for next legislative session

JEFFERSON CITY — Monday marked the beginning of Missouri’s House and Senate prefiling bills for the January legislative session.

Issues lawmakers filed on the opening day ranged from taxes to gay marriages, from cloning to face veils and from repealing tax limits to freezing college tuition.

Withholdings case headed to high court

JEFFERSON CITY — A legal battle over withholdings to K-12 education that began in July makes its way to the highest court in the state Wednesday.

Fourteen Missouri school districts are asking the Missouri Supreme Court to reject Gov. Bob Holden’s $192 million in withholdings to public schools.

Council toughens panhandling law

Panhandlers might find their work a little harder this winter.

Amendments to the city code on panhandling, approved Monday night by the City Council, are placing greater restrictions on the ways people can solicit.

MU-Husker poster selling in Boonville

A poster that was torn from the shelves of MU-owned stores is selling wildly in Boonville. The poster commemorates the first Missouri Tigers football victory over Nebraska since 1978.

The Friends of Historic Boonville initially ordered 150 of the posters and sold them in three days for $10 each. The group then ordered a shipment of 100 more, which was received Monday, said Maryellen McVicker, executive director for Friends of Historic Boonville. The Friends sold 82 more posters in about six hours Monday, she said.

Missourian administrator ’good at life’

Stephanie Collins met her future husband in the Backdoor Lounge at Midway when the two competed in a karaoke competition. Bob Collins sang a George Jones song that begins “I’ll love you till I die.” She beat him with Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.”

Mr. Collins also sang to her on their wedding day seven years ago, she said.

Risky Road

Lawrence Hintz remembers nothing from the spring evening in May 1998 when his Chevrolet Cavalier collided with a Mercury Cougar on rain-slickened Route WW, leaving him on life support for several days and with a permanent five-day memory gap.

Now fully recovered, Hintz says he knows at least one thing for sure: Route WW is dangerous.

Warmer winter temperatures predicted

A forecast released last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for warmer-than-normal temperatures for the Central United States through February.

In October, the NOAA predicted that this part of the country had an equal chance of having above-normal or below-normal winter temperatures.

Revitalizing the Loop

Thirty years ago, in the era of sock hops and burly Cadillacs, Business Loop 70 was a high-schooler’s slice of heaven: a 4-mile stretch with empty parking lots and few stoplights just perfect for an idyllic Friday night cruise.

“It was just the place kids went back then,” said Dave Griggs, who grew up in Columbia and owns a flooring company on the business loop.

Poet finds inspiration in job, free time

Chris Spivey is still unsure about what he wants to do with his life, but that indecision is not for lack of trying. Spivey, 28, can speak five languages, is a published poet, knows how to fence and has spent the last couple of months working as a site manager for the Columbia Housing Authority.

“I liked what they had to say,” he said of the people at CHA. “I like that they’re more interested in helping people than the almighty dollar.”

Overwhelmed by holiday shopping

Although I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that the Little Drummer Boy take the season off for some R&R, I’m sure that by December 24 I will have wished I had. It’s just something about that constant drumming…. Oh well, I suppose it could be worse, like the sound of Rush Limbaugh’s voice droning on and on…. The problem is that one of my best friends can’t get enough of that song. She’s the kind who carols from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day.

This annoying situation reminds me of how often opposites attract each other. How often do night people marry morning people? Why is that so many teetotalers wind up with drunks? Is it that some of us just like to make each other miserable?

Governor focuses on education funding

JEFFERSON CITY — With selected education and business leaders gathered around him, Gov. Bob Holden has been campaigning across the state to raise money for education.

The governor has been holding discussions on education and the economy, inviting certain officials to share their views about the link between the classroom and corporate boardroom.

Hallsville man killed in weekend car accident

Hallsville resident Bob J. Collins was killed in a single-car accident on Gans Road south of Columbia early Sunday morning. The accident was called in at 2:40 a.m. by an individual living in the area. The Boone County Sheriff's Department and the Columbia Fire Department responded at 2:50 and Collins was pronounced dead at the scene.

Collins worked as a systems administrator and information systems manager for the Columbia Missourian and owned Carpenter's Computers in Hallsville.

Mid-Missouri looks to lure new job base

Faced with the loss of hundreds of manufacturing jobs, state and local economic development experts want to take mid-Missouri’s economy in a new direction.

The plan is to replace traditional industries that manufacture products such as bricks and electronic circuitry with firms that specialize in biological research and computer components. Officials say that a shift toward biotechnology and high-tech manufacturing would better serve the area because they create higher-paying jobs and attract better-educated workers.

City looks at adding 3-1-1 line

A new three-digit telephone number could help prevent Columbia’s emergency dispatchers from having to field unnecessary calls and give residents an easier way to report everyday problems or get information about city services.

On Monday, the Columbia City Council will hear a preliminary report from Assistant City Manager Paula Hertwig Hopkins on a potential 3-1-1 nonemergency calling system. The number, already used by 15 cities around the country, would provide 24-hour access to information and, it is hoped, reduce unnecessary 9-1-1 emergency calls.

Music is his life

Nestled in the middle of a 60-piece orchestra sits a burly, white-haired man with a clarinet. His unassuming face is hidden under a thick white beard and heavy glasses that seem to bury his rugged features. Nothing about him seems to command attention — until he picks up his horn. Jim Adair’s interpretation of the first clarinet solo from the Unfinished Symphony flows with such seamless expertise that it could make Franz Schubert cry. The solo sounds more like a lyrical underwater dance than air forced through heavy wood and metal. When he finishes, he quietly lowers his instrument as if nothing spectacular happened.

“Ooh, I seemed to be rushing that,” Adair later said of his performance.

Malpractice in crisis

Last summer, Curt Vogel wasn’t quite ready to retire as a physician, but he wanted to reduce his practice to three days a week.

But whether he saw patients five days a week or three, Vogel’s malpractice insurance premiums would have increased from $19,000 a year to about $58,000. After 28 years as a vascular surgeon, he decided that it made more financial sense to retire.

Examining an extreme

Tragic events such as the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, the standoff at Ruby Ridge and the Olympic Park bombing evoke horror and sadness, but the people responsible for these events saw themselves as heroes and are linked to a complex group, the Christian Identity Movement.

This movement views the white race as superior, stemming from the belief that Adam was the first white man. They take the Bible literally and believe the United States is the New Israel. And they justify violent or hateful acts committed against other races as punishment for the world’s “race mixing.”

Tips for fire-free holiday

The Columbia Fire Department on Monday will begin its annual Operation Red Wreath campaign in an effort to keep Columbia residents aware of the danger of fires caused by holiday lights and decorations.

A wreath with red holiday lights will be displayed in front of the downtown fire station on Tenth Street. Each time a fire involving holiday lights occurs, the department will change one of the wreath’s bulbs from red to white.