Democrats join race for 24th District, treasurer

Travis Ballenger, a fourth-generation Boone County native, is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for the 24th District seat in the Missouri House. It would be his first legislative position.

Ballenger, along with Mark Powell, a candidate for state treasurer, asked for support from local Democrats on Friday after the Boone County Muleskinners luncheon at Stephens College.

Senate panel to scrutinize Muslim funds

WASHINGTON — The Senate Finance committee has asked the Internal Revenue Service to turn over confidential tax and financial records, including donor lists, for dozens of Muslim charities and foundations as part of a widening congressional investigation into alleged ties between tax-exempt organizations and terrorist groups, according to documents and officials.

The request marks a rare and unusually broad use of the Finance Committee’s power to obtain private financial records held by the government, and raises the possibility that individual contributors to the Holy Land Foundation or the activities of the Muslim Student Association could be subjected to Senate scrutiny.

Agency has denied ties to terrorists

The Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency has faced government scrutiny in the past.

In 1999, the U.S. Agency for International Development revoked most of a $4.2 million grant to the agency after the State Department asserted that the group had ties to Sudan’s government — which had been identified by the U.S. government as friendly to terrorist organizations.

Fostering the future

Jasmine Coleman is a popular honors student in her sophomore year at Hickman High School. She has a boyfriend and a part-time job that funds outings to the mall with her friends. She’s active in student government and well-liked by her teachers. She sees college in her future, followed by a career in medicine. No one close to her doubts that she will achieve whatever she sets out to do.

What you might not guess about Jasmine is that she is one of 4,769 teens in Missouri who are in foster care.

Not exactly free rent

Andrew Cobb and Carl Giacchi watch TV as they wait for emergency calls at Station 14 of the Boone County Fire Protection District.

Cobb, an MU political science major, has been living at the station free for a year and a half. Although Giacchi no longer lives at a station, he’s lived at stations for a total of five years. He is now the lieutenant of Station 14.

Jeep fire no accident

The Columbia woman who was badly burned Monday in a vehicle fire survived her second round of surgeries Thursday. Meanwhile, investigators have ruled that the fire was intentionally set using an accelerant.

“We eliminated unintentional causes such as mechanical failure,” said Steven Sapp, battalion chief with the Columbia Fire Department. “So we drew the conclusion that it was an intentionally set fire.”

Missouri MAP test standards reviewed

JEFFERSON CITY — Some Missouri legislators proposed a plan Thursday to stop penalizing Missouri schools for being too tough in testing students.

A House and Senate bill to rework various components of Missouri’s MAP testing regimen will help allow schools to meet a federal standard that is actually lower than the goal than Missouri educators set for themselves.

Democrats from Missouri going to Iowa

Stacy Silverman has never worked in politics before. But in the past five months, Silverman has made two trips to Iowa and one to New Hampshire, and she will make another trip to Iowa this weekend.

An assistant professor with the communications science and disorders program at MU, Silverman will travel to Iowa, just in time for Monday’s caucuses, to canvass for the Democrat who she favors in the presidential race: Missouri native Dick Gephardt.

Bush has little-known challengers

Blake Ashby and Bill Wyatt know they are political lightweights, challenging a reigning champion who has the approval of about 65 percent of the nation.

Although Republican leaders say most Missourians support President Bush, Ashby and Wyatt will run against the incumbent in the Missouri Republican presidential primary on Feb. 3.

National Guard to deploy soldiers

Three young men sat in black plastic chairs around a table at Mojo’s on Wednesday night. The table closest to the stage is cluttered with their musical instruments.

A sense of excitement surrounds the members of Mile 48, a Columbia band, and tonight is their farewell show. Twenty-one-year-old bassist Roby Hopkins is being deployed.

Diversity and community

George Frissell, a teacher of classical ideas and world religions at Hickman High School, had an “excused absence” from proctoring the beginning his own exam. His excuse: He was one of several people nominated for the Columbia Values Diversity Award.

At Thursday’s breakfast, Frissell and Clyde Ruffin, a professor at MU’s Department of Theatre and pastor at Second Baptist Church, were presented the 2004 Columbia Values Diversity Award for individuals.

Forum to discuss medical school rumors

JEFFERSON CITY — A forum to address rumors about MU’s medical school making a move to Kansas City has been scheduled for next week in Columbia.

The forum, which was requested by Rep. Chuck Graham last October, is scheduled for

Whose land?

Since arriving on the market in 1970, the popularity of all-terrain vehicles soared. Originally designed as recreation vehicles for outdoor enthusiasts, ATVs later became the vehicle of choice for many farmers.

These days, ATVs are once again attracting thrill-seekers looking for an adventurous way to experience the outdoors.

Deer management forum draws about 170 people

Fewer does and more big bucks were the clear desires of hunters during Thursday night’s public discussion on deer management at MU.

Beyond that, people in the audience expressed different views on how best to manage Missouri’s deer population. Unlike at the other two forums held in the state, no consensus of how to accomplish that goal was apparent. About 170 people turned out at Thursday’s forum.

Suspect arrested in knife robbery

Columbia Police arrested a man Thursday on suspicion of a Jan. 4 robbery.

A 60-year-old man was robbed at knifepoint in the area of Melbourne Street and Richardson Street after he believed the man was going to help him carry some groceries, according to Sgt. Stephen Monticelli.

Stubborn sidekicks

Tim and Terry are ready for their official MU photo shoot. They stand proud and look straight ahead, ignoring a biting breeze during the cold snap last week. The flash goes off and Terry, caught off guard, is burying his head behind Tim’s. The two 10-year-olds are MU’s star pair of mules.

“Come on, mules!” shouts Sarah Hesse, vice president of MU’s Mule Club, trying to get the mules to look at the camera. “Tim, Terry, come on!”

Identity theft bill in the works

JEFFERSON CITY — Identity theft penalties would be increased from six months in jail to a life sentence under a bill initially approved by the House on Wednesday.

The bill also imposes the penalty of a Class B felony for trafficking in stolen identities.

Natural gas bills about to increase

Elizabeth Simons, a Moberly resident, already has difficulty paying her gas bill.

“I just can’t afford it,” she said. “I don’t think they’re (AmerenUE) talking those who are low-income into consideration.”

Five cars pile up at Nifong intersection

Columbia resident Lisa Noll was driving home for lunch Wednesday morning when her trip took an unexpected detour.

“I don’t remember anything — just spinning,” she said. “It’s probably the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Flu cases tapering off in Missouri

State health officials are cautiously optimistic that the worst of the flu season might be over.

The number of reported cases of the flu has begun to decline, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.