MU alum takes degree to California

Dave Holt and his company may be improving your life, and you don’t even know it.

Holt is the president and CEO of Lightspeed, a structured array company in Santa Clara, Calif. Structured array is a new way to build semi-conductors, which are crucial to the operation of many gadgets Americans take for granted.

‘Fix’ to gun law stalls in House

Time is running out for Missouri legislators to amend conceal-and-carry laws.

Some House representatives and senators are hoping to pass a so-called “Hancock fix” to Missouri’s conceal-and-carry laws before Friday, the end of this year’s legislative session. However, some legislators are not optimistic about the likelihood that the bill will pass before then.

Students watch their steps with Coca-Cola’s help

Lange Middle School students will turn walking into a competitive sport this week.

The school launched a Coca-Cola sponsored program called “Step with it!” at an assembly Monday morning. The program gives students and faculty “stepometers” — small pedometers that measure numbers of steps — and it gives rewards ranging from bottles of water to calculators to classes that walk the most.

Board asks to increase raises

The Columbia Board of Education didn’t vote on administrator’s recommendations regarding teacher raises Monday night because they want to see an even brighter picture painted.

The board was slated to take action on whether to raise the base pay of teachers by $1,000 to $1,200 with previously decided reductions, which included 50 staff positions eliminated. Instead, the board is ignoring that motion and asking for scenarios from administrators involving $1,200 to $1,500 raises to the base pay and restoration of some cuts. The district can do this by taking more out of reserves, but they would still be within recommended budget parameters.

MU discusses NCAA allegations

MU's men's basketball program broke numerous NCAA rules from 1999 to 2003, according to the NCAA's 19-page official notice of allegations released this morning during a news conference at MU's Reynolds Alumni Center.

No violations of academic fraud are listed in the NCAA's report. The report says that from 1999 to 2003, members of the basketball program bought meals and had impermissible contact with recruits. Other allegations include unethical conduct by an athletic department staff member and offseason league play by team members.

Missouri workers’ pay raise uneven

JEFFERSON CITY — An across-the-board pay raise generally means everyone gets the same amount of money.

But in Missouri’s budget, as recently passed by lawmakers, several thousand of Missouri’s roughly 61,000 state employees would not get the across-the-board, $1,200 annual raise set to take effect July 1.

Brew gets spiked in a healthy way

After years of growing soybeans and corn on his Cole County farm, Kelly Forck has been looking for a way to add value to the commodities he produces. He was recently able to tap into an unusual opportunity: beer made with soybeans.

In an effort to provide farmers an additional source of revenue, a group of Missouri agricultural producers purchased a brewery in Kansas City and formed TransCon AG, a 100 percent farmer-owned cooperative.

Rap and redemption

Rosetta Johnson’s door stays open to let in a little light and the sound of a neighborhood basketball game. The egg-crate foam draping the walls downstairs insulates her ears from the bass-heavy beats coming from the recording studio in her basement.

Johnson is the owner of Midwest Chocolate Entertainment, a 6-month-old Columbia business whose CEO, producer, engineer and secretary is her son, BeCarr Washington.

MU study examines portrayal of first ladies

An MU study has found that election coverage is increasingly focused on the wives of presidential and vice-presidential candidates and what they can bring to their husbands’ campaigns.

Journalism professor Betty Winfield and journalism doctoral student Barbara Friedman examined the 2000 election coverage of Laura Bush, Tipper Gore, Lynne Cheney and Hadassah Lieberman. They found that the women presented a challenge to the media because they represented backgrounds different from those of traditional presidential and vice-presidential wives.

Rotary roundup

A group of five business professionals from India recently visited Columbia to explore the differences a hemisphere makes in their fields.

The Rotary International Group Study Exchange connects business and professional leaders through humanitarian efforts to promote international cooperation. In February, four local business persons and one Rotarian went to India. In April, a group from Pune, India, came to visit practitioners in dermatology, business analysis, dentistry and education in mid-Missouri.

Holden’s office stays aloof

JEFFERSON CITY — With less than a week left in the session, a majority of Gov. Bob Holden’s legislative agenda has been left on the sideline.

Only a fraction of the measures Holden proposed in January made it past their initial reading — even fewer are still being discussed.

Fire degrees now offered in mid-Missouri

Completing an associate’s degree in fire service administration is now a possibility for mid-Missouri firefighters through a partnership between Columbia College and MU.

The two-year degree is made up of general education courses and business administration courses at Columbia College, and fire service courses taken through the MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute, Columbia College has announced.

Duty comes with U.S. democracy

Not many people in my circle are optimistic about what the next few years will be like in this country. The constant threat of terrorism is not the only consideration weighing heavily on their minds. There is also the economy. Questions like, “Where will the jobs come from?” are worrisome. While politicians are talking about job training, no one seems to have a clue about the kinds of jobs people would be training for. Many jobs have gone overseas while others have been replaced by technology. As far as the public is concerned, there is no news as to what the workplaces of the future will look like. The service sector can only provide so many jobs.

And then, those who have children or grandchildren can’t help but be dismayed by the federal deficit and the trade deficit they will be passing on to the next generation. Those who have to build their futures starting from behind will have their arms full trying to make a living and support families.

Providing better care

A ride in an ambulance wasn’t always loud with sirens, stocked with all kinds of medical equipment, and big enough to seat more than two people. One of the first ambulances known in Missouri was a Volkswagen van. Its primitive technology included an incubator that received power from the cigarette lighter. But ambulances have grown bigger and safer since then, and University Hospital has two new ones that show exactly how far they have come.

The new ambulances were designed by a committee of paramedics and emergency medical technicians to be more functional and spacious for both the medical crew and the patients.

Changing lives, one day at a time

The first time McKenzie Boyd volunteered, she played bingo and ate cookies with the residents of a senior center in Texas.

It was in high school and Boyd was involved with the student government.

Boys night out

ST. ROBERT -- Aerosmith blares on the sound system. Glowing neon miniskirts dot the room. A few guys hang out at the pool tables; others watch basketball on muted TVs. It’s Friday night, “drink and drown” time. All the beer you can drink for $10 or all the liquor for $15. It’s still early, and the girls are segregated at their own tables. No one seems to have heard of the idea that smoking might be hazardous to the health.

Seems like any club scene, any small town, anyplace. But the Rockin’ R is about a mile from Ft. Leonard Wood, where about 7,000 young military men and women train for the combat they may soon see in Iraq. Sometimes, they end up here or at one of the many nearby nightspots – and the stress they come to relieve has built up from the business of war. Clubs so near a military base seem to attract significantly more men. That’s why ladies’ nights – where the women don’t pay a cover charge and their drinks come half price – are frequent. Even the local strip club has a ladies night.

Growth in an orderly fashion

Ready or not, the eastward expansion of Columbia is beginning.

The process will begin with small steps, the first of which will probably be the annexation of 96.6 acres owned by Roger and Mary Bumgarner. The Bumgarners in late April filed for voluntary annexation of their farm and are seeking agricultural zoning.

Diversity leaders urge new strategy

The recent report on MU’s diversity programs and services, or lack thereof, may provide the motivation for MU to launch its long-in-the-works “diversity strategic plan.”

Without one, MU is behind many other institutions in addressing diversity, said Robert Weems, interim vice chancellor for equity.

Most Republican goals remain unfulfilled

JEFFERSON CITY — As the legislative session enters its final week, the priorities presented by the Republican leadership in January remain mostly unachieved.

The governor vetoed the legislature’s liability lawsuit bill, and the Senate abandoned the House’s bill to cut Medicaid enrollments and reduce fraud.

Patriots in the Heartland

The mayor of Waynesville conducts his duties via e-mails from Iraq. Veterans vow that this time around, the troops will be welcomed home with parades, not protests. Letters abroad fly back and forth from the post office.

For those who live in a military town, patriotism is a passion and military life a reality.