Holden still wants to see tax increase

JEFFERSON CITY — The state economy is improving and legislators have passed an increased education budget, but Gov. Bob Holden’s spokeswoman said he still backs his plan for a half billion dollar tax increase.

The governor’s office voiced his firm stance on taxes the same day the Department of Economic Development reported that state economic trends have been positive since July 2003. State revenue growth began in September and continued into the first months of 2004.

Little bookworms

A common reading teaching technique that is fun, and funny, is to give young children a book and ask them to read it.

They usually jump right in and start “reading” the story, even if they have no idea what words are written on the page.

Campus officials endorse review

While university officials said in a statement released on Tuesday that they feel a campus diversity report captured the climate of diversity at MU, the report, itself, acknowledges there are shortcomings in its findings.

Conducted by three administrators from other institutions, the report addressed “the recruitment and retention of black faculty and staff and an assessment of MU’s organization structure for diversity issues,” according to a letter sent to the reviewers by Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton, but it also conceded that the information-gathering tactics used by reviewers fell short.

Planning director resigns

Roy Dudark resigned as city planning director Tuesday with as much dignity as he displayed during his tenure at the department.

“I just need a change,” said Dudark, 57. “It’s gotten to the point where I just kind of feel like I need to relax a little.”

Conference to focus on pediatrics

The annual Common Childhood Problems Conference will come to Columbia this month. Led by keynote speaker, T. Berry Brazelton, pediatricians from across the state will discuss recent developments in infant pediatrics.

The conference, which will run May 21 to 22 at the Reynolds Alumni Center, is for practicing medical professionals who care for children to discuss development in the field of pediatrics. In addition to the annual professional conference, Brazelton will host a parents’ forum on May 20 at the Holiday Inn Expo Center.

Bond unlikely to pass

JEFFERSON CITY — Key supporters of a higher education bond said Wednesday that the legislation appears to be headed for legislative death.

The University of Missouri system would receive roughly $195 million from the bond; MU would get about $90 million of that for construction of a life-science center on campus.

Preservation group names 10 notable properties

Chances are, everyone in Columbia would recognize the little cottage on West Boulevard as something special. The Columbia Historic Preservation Commission did this year, along with another nine properties in the city.

Each year since its inception in 1998, the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission has recognized 10 local properties that serve as models of historic preservation. The commission on Tuesday night honored the owners and celebrated the pasts of their historic properties, which include everything from homes to schools to hospitals.

Hickman teacher dies in his home; inquiry ongoing

A Hickman High School math teacher’s death is under investigation, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release. Dennis Dallman, 56, was found lying on the floor of his living room at 9:55 a.m. Wednesday in his home on Ridgewood Road. Dallman’s car had been left running in the attached garage and there were high levels of carbon monoxide in his house, the sheriff’s department release said. When Dallman didn’t show up for class or call in to the school, Cathy Dodd, the school resource officer, and security director Preston Bass, were sent to check on his home. ...

DNA is powerful tool in court

Advanced testing techniques, combined with a more sophisticated judicial system, have led to more frequent use of DNA evidence in crime cases. At the same time, courtroom challenges by defense attorneys are moving away from the validity of DNA toward handling, testing and lab work.

Scott McBride, a Columbia attorney who has handled six capital murder cases involving DNA evidence, said between being “tagged, bagged and stored” by police to crime lab testing, DNA samples often pass through many hands, leaving room for contamination or mishandling.

Diversity report faults MU leaders

Among The review’s findings:

Management: MU does not have a comprehensive approach to diversity management. African American faculty and staff think that some administrators are indifferent and sometimes hostile to their concerns. Women interviewed believe there are barriers to faculty retention and promotion.

Organizational: Two diversity leaders “do not have a collaborative relationship, and this friction impedes progress in enhancing diversity.” There is significant lack of representation of racial/ethnic minority groups in key positions.

Academics: Black faculty perceive that the administration devalues the academic specialties of black faculty who teach black studies courses. Faculty in the Women’s Studies Program do not believe the administration values their academic activities.

New cafe to open at city airport

It won’t be long before the smell of cinnamon rolls and pot roast will waft through the terminal at Columbia Regional Airport.

Anita Griggs plans to open a restaurant at the airport terminal and bring her catering business along. It will be the first restaurant to operate at the airport in about two years.

City critique of Patriot Act unlikely

The USA Patriot Act, which President Bush signed in the aftermath of Sept. 11 to combat terrorism, passed through Congress in just a few short weeks.

Don’t expect a resolution criticizing the act to move so fast through the Columbia City Council.

Public seeks jobs for youths

Columbia residents, city representatives and employment program sponsors discussed how to create more jobs for First Ward youths during a town hall meeting organized by First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton on Tuesday night.

“We want to find something for our kids to do this summer,” Crayton said. “The violence picks up when you do not have something for them to do.”

Tour tests campus accessibility

It was an uphill battle behind Pickard Hall on Tuesday afternoon for University of Missouri system President Elson Floyd. Challenged by rainy pavement and a steep incline, Floyd struggled to pull himself up toward the street — in a wheelchair.

His experience on wheels was part of the Accessibility Tour, an event designed to increase awareness about disabilities at MU. As part of the tour, Floyd talked with faculty, staff and students about the status of disability services on campus.

Lapse seen in gun permit law

KANSAS CITY — The police chief of Hallsville issued concealed weapons permits to people who had not yet cleared fingerprint-based background checks, as state law requires him to do if the checks are not done within 45 days.

Legislature OKs education funds

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s House and Senate sent Gov. Bob Holden an education budget Tuesday that was higher than he had requested — and without the tax increases Holden said were necessary to fund his recommendations.

The budget increase is more than what Holden requested but is structured differently. The budget gives $55 million more than requested to elementary and secondary education while giving $18 million less than requested to high education.

UM to get about $10 million more

The University of Missouri system will pick up about half the extra $20 million appropriated Tuesday for higher education.

Nikki Krawitz, UM system vice president for finance and administration, said the university is glad the state recognized the need to increase higher education funding.

Plenty are ignorant in U.S. about Cinco de Mayo

Tonight, MU senior Brett Settle plans to head down to a Mexican restaurant for the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration.

“It’s fun and everybody just has a good time with it,” said Settle, who plans to go to Chevy’s Fresh Mex or La Tolteca.

Boone house tuneup

On a recent visit to the downtown office of her friend Clyde Ruffin, Lucille Salerno gazed out the door toward the home of ragtime musician John William “Blind” Boone and admired the restoration in progress at the national historic landmark.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” she asked.

Missouri’s job outlook improving

Missouri gained more than 7,000 jobs in the first quarter of the year, partially because of growth in its manufacturing sector, according to a survey conducted at Creighton University in Nebraska.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Survey found that Midwestern manufacturers are receiving more orders for their products. Missouri’s overall economic index was the highest since 1994, and most factors in the survey showed economic strength.