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Public access board still stalled on details

For much of the Thursday night meeting of the Columbia Cable Television Task Force, there seemed to be a general feeling among the members that the issue of public access programming in Columbia was near completion.

Then task force member Marty Riback spoke up.

MU group collects recyclables

Four college students sit and chat Thursday afternoon among a few pairs of old shoes at the edge of a nearly empty, white semi-truck trailer containing about 50 trash bags filled with used clothing. The girls examine a painted tarp folded in one of the two cardboard boxes next to the trailer, trying to decide if it can be recycled.

In an effort to encourage consumers to recycle old clothing and request products made from used textiles, the Association of Textile and Apparel Management, a student organization at MU, is hosting a clothing drive today through Sunday. The goal is to collect enough textiles to fill the truck to its 18,000-pound capacity.

Hunters spend hours making duck decoys

Sweat pours from the wrinkled brow of Ric Mayer. A painter’s mask covers his mouth and graying beard, but the saturated mask does little to hide his perspiration. He works hunched over the corner of a table, his left arm stabilizing a piece of cork while his right arm moves back and forth shaping his masterpiece.

Mayer isn’t sculpting a Roman god. He’s replicating a duck.

Philips decision to face new vote

The vote approving the annexation and zoning of the Philips farm will have to be redone.

Because of a faulty title, City Counselor Fred Boeckmann said Thursday, the Columbia City Council will have to vote again on an ordinance allowing Elvin Sapp to develop the 489 acres just southeast of the city limits for a mix of homes, offices and businesses. The change means there will be another public hearing on the plans as well.

UM curators vote to raise tuition in 2005

ST. LOUIS — Placing blame primarily on the shoulders of state lawmakers, the UM Board of Curators met Thursday afternoon to approve a tuition raise for 2005 that curators hope will help offset another year of decreasing state aid.

Though the curators said the move — which increases tuition costs by 7.5 percent and allows individual colleges at MU to charge more — was necessary, they also decried the lack of support from state government. The General Assembly has cut $158 million from higher education funding over the past three years.

MU hospital reports record-high profits

ST. LOUIS — In a brief bit of good news at the Thursday UM system Board of Curators meeting, MU Health Care, which oversees University Hospital, reported record revenue collection for March.

The $28 million figure, a record for any single month, represents a dramatic turnaround from just 19 months ago, when consultants from the Hunter Group were brought in to help salvage the financially troubled organization.

Honestlywood

Is there a more overused and utterly meaningless word today than “reality”? Reality used to refer to spontaneous events that were beyond the control of spinmeisters. Now reality’s become the new irony, both figuratively and literally. And reality is far from dead. In fact, it’s being used brilliantly to hawk the most staged and wholly unrealistic situations ever to be presented on the small screen.

This may all seem like harmless voyeuristic fun, but the faux reality being presented on television seems to be gradually seeping into every aspect of American society. Take the recent revelation that the Department of Health and Human Services has been distributing “news” videos anchored by fake reporters to promote the new Medicare prescription drug benefit bill. To paraphrase an idea from our good friend Bill O’Reilly, the reality television craze is helping turn the country into one giant spin zone.

Museum chief pitches Negro Leagues players

Josh Gibson was such a good baseball player, he was often called “the black Babe Ruth.” In fact, he was so good, some question whether Ruth should have been called the “white Josh Gibson.”

Thursday night Raymond Doswell, the curator and education director for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, spoke in front of about 25 people at the Columbia Public Library about Gibson and other African-American players and the contributions these players made.

Grisly violence erupts in Iraq

FALLUJAH, Iraq — In a scene reminiscent of Somalia, frenzied crowds dragged the burned, mutilated bodies of four American contractors through the streets of a town west of Baghdad on Wednesday and strung two of them up from a bridge after rebels ambushed their sport utility vehicles.

Five U.S. soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division also were killed when a bomb exploded under their M-113 armored personnel carrier north of Fallujah, making it the bloodiest day for Americans in Iraq since Jan. 8.

Baby beats

A flowing blue scarf was spread out on the floor for the children and their teacher to sit on. When a captain was chosen, they finally were ready to take a trip in their big blue boat.

While singing and moving to the rhythm, the children saw sharks and fish on their voyage.

Violence reigns in Fallujah

WASHINGTON — After a year of trying, the U.S. military can’t figure out how to quell the rage in Fallujah, perhaps the most dangerous city in Iraq’s most dangerous region.

Last spring, the Army’s 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment sent in a small, light force that got into a firefight and was forced to retreat. Next came the 3rd Infantry Division and, then, the 82nd Airborne with more iron-fisted approaches. When each left, the insurgents seemed as strong as ever.

Mayoral hopefuls discuss disability

The three mayoral candidates presented their views about several disability issues in Columbia on Wednesday at one of their last forums before the election on Tuesday.

About 30 people gathered at the Activity and Recreation Center to hear what Mayor Darwin Hindman and mayoral candidates John Clark and Arch Brooks had to say.

Iraqis protest U.S. order

BAGHDAD, Iraq — At least 10,000 supporters of a radical Shiite cleric rallied Wednesday outside the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition in a protest against the closure of their weekly newspaper, accused by the top American official in Iraq of inciting violence against coalition troops.

The chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, ordered Al-Hawza closed for two months on Sunday because its articles “form a serious threat of violence” against coalition forces and Iraqi citizens working with them. Al-Hawza’s managing editor dismissed the accusation and said political motives were behind Bremer’s decision.

Some raise issue with more land for schools

Supporters and critics of the $22.5 million Columbia School District bond issue agree that the district needs money for improving and maintaining existing facilities. They disagree, however, over using $1.2 million of it to buy land for a new high school and a new elementary school.

A super majority — 57 percent — of voters will have to approve the district’s request for $22.5 million in general obligation bonds on Tuesday. The issue would not increase property taxes and would extend debt payment for another three years.

Mo. House bills divert drive for gay rights

JEFFERSON CITY — Gay rights suffered two setbacks in the Missouri House on Wednesday.

The first loss came when a House committee approved a bill that would prohibit state-funded public institutions from using anti-discrimination policies that exceed federal standards. Federal standards do not include sexual orientation.

Park boss retires after 28 years

Scott Schulte knows a lot about how nature works. At his farewell luncheon Wednesday, he noted how well fertilized his money tree, a going-away present from friends in and out of the Missouri state park system, must have been.

After 28 years with Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, superintendent Scott Schulte has retired. More than 40 people, including park workers and friends from all over Missouri, came to say goodbye.

State Senate accepts car bill

JEFFERSON CITY — Police could stop motorists solely for not wearing seat belts, and children younger than 6 would have to ride in safety seats, under legislation given initial Senate approval Wednesday.

The bill received first-round approval on a voice vote and needs a second vote to advance to the House.

City growth lingers as mayor issue

Columbia is an expanding city, and it showed Tuesday as the three mayoral candidates fielded questions about development and expansion at the League of Women Voters candidate forum.

With exactly a week until the April 6 election, nearly 100 people attended the event at the Columbia Public Library.

Candidates focus on summer school

Candidates for the Columbia school board discussed privatization of summer school Tuesday night at a forum at the Columbia Public Library.

The five candidates — competing for two seats on April 6 — participated in two forums Tuesday, one sponsored by KFRU/ 1400 AM in the afternoon and the second at the library, sponsored by the League of Women Voters. These were the last public forums before the election.

Candidates file for House, Senate seats

In the final hours before the filing deadline, three Republican candidates filed for Columbia’s state senate district.

Michael Ditmore of Columbia, Andrew Spain of Columbia and a person from Moberly listed as “A. Sage” are the latest candidates for the 19th District seat, which will be vacated by Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, because of term limits.

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