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.

Debate on ordination of gays heated but respectful

As the 2004 United Methodist General Conference enters its final week, it has become almost clear that the controversial church law that prohibits the ordination of practicing gays will be intact for at least four more years.

This legislative assembly — embroiled in controversy since it began on April 27 — has drawn the Rev. Jim Bryan of Missouri United Methodist Church, lay member Carol Smith of Fairview United Methodist Church and about 1,000 other delegates from around the world to Pittsburgh for impassioned discussion about a law that some consider to be cruel and prejudicial and that others believe upholds biblical principals.

City Council tables street standards

The Columbia City Council put proposed street design standards on hold yet again Monday night.

After a two-hour-long public hearing, the council decided it had too many unanswered questions to move forward. The council tabled the issue for further discussion at its June 7 meeting.

Aging, not ranging

By some estimates, the population of people over the age of 65 will more than double, to 77 million, by 2030, increasing the need for long-term care for seniors. But the typical nursing home isn’t where the next generation of seniors want to find themselves.

TigerPlace, scheduled to open in June, is an alternative living place for the elderly population. MU and Americare Systems Inc., a Sikeston company, that specializes in senior residential care, have created the project based on the concept of “aging in place.” The approach allows residents to stay in their apartments and, as their needs increase, have services brought to them.

A flair for the dramatic

Giggling high-schoolers snap to attention at rehearsal as a hearty man at the piano growls, “Please don’t talk when I’m talking.” All eyes are on him — this is the time when Bob Bohon starts pulling together this year’s spring musical, “Anything Goes.”

And it’s the beginning of the end of an era. After 27 years with Rock Bridge High School, Bohon is directing his last show at the school.

Suspects plead not guilty to murder

The two suspects charged with the murder of former Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt pleaded not guilty in court on Monday. Both suspects declined formal arraignment where bond may have been reviewed.

Ryan Ferguson, 19, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery Friday. He was originally scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing, but Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane chose to present the case to a grand jury instead.

Alumnus gives $5 million to MU College of Agriculture

When MU graduate Al McQuinn and his wife, May Agnes McQuinn, gave $5 million to the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resouces on Friday, it was the largest unrestricted gift ever given to MU by a living donor, said MU spokesman Jeremy Dierner.

McQuinn said that through the couple’s gift, which Diener said may be the largest such gift ever given by a living donor to a public university, he is hoping to give back to MU for an education that he says has given him a tremendous advantage in his lifetime work.

No astronaut gig for local educator

Paul Mahoney had to tell his students Monday morning that he will not have the chance to ride in a space shuttle after all.

In an e-mail sent Monday, Mahoney announced that he was not chosen to be a part of NASA’s Educator Astronaut program.

Power Seller lights up eBay

EBay has taken the world by storm, and Mary Ruppert is going along for the ride.

She and her husband, Bogdan Stroescu, have started an innovative business that makes it easier for the public to experience eBay.

Motor Family

There are many businesses in Columbia run by women, but there’s only one used-car dealership that was started and is owned by a woman. Ariel Beltey opened BeLiva Motor Group, 600 Vandiver Drive, in September of 2001. The business is small, locally owned and family-oriented — so family-oriented, in fact, that the company’s name came from Beltey’s 4-year-old daughter Olivia.

The family nicknamed her “Liva,” and Olivia would say “abi” when she wanted to be picked up. The phrase soon merged with her name to become “Abi-Liva.”

Living a dream

Ever since MU senior Mike Hall won his a contract with Sportscenter on ESPN’s reality TV series “Dream Job,” people all over Columbia have been talking about it. But you don’t have to go all the way to New York City to find a great job. We have found five dream jobs right here in Columbia. Dream on.

Learning the language sign by sign

Your right hand starts touching your chin, then moves down, palm up, to rest on the other palm. You’ve just said “thank you” in American Sign Language, a form of communication for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Such hand expressions have become more frequent in recent months at MU — and not just among the students who rely on them.

Driven by personal and professional fulfillment, the demand for MU’s introductory-level ASL class has become so intense that the university plans to discuss expanding it.

Few drug cases made by search warrants

The search warrant is a frequently deployed weapon in the Columbia Police Department’s war on drugs. Since January 2003, officers have searched 120 residences using a tool that, according to one police commander, is designed to target people who sell narcotics.

Yet police rarely find enough evidence during those searches to make the case for drug dealing. Court records say that in 2003, police searched 84 residences and found evidence of drug distribution in 12 of them; six of those cases were eventually reduced to possession charges. Through this April, police have exercised 36 search warrants and have netted seven distribution charges.

Sales tax boosts state revenue

JEFFERSON CITY — The money is flowing freely again from the Missouri Capitol.

The legislature’s proposed budget for next year will include big spending increases for education, pay raises for state employees and hundreds of millions of dollars for growth in the Medicaid program for the poor, elderly and disabled. All without a tax increase.

Beefing up Columbia

Roast beef could be what’s for dinner this summer, at least for those who live near the MU campus. A new restaurant famous for the meat plans to open in downtown Columbia later this month.

Lion’s Choice, 406 Ninth St., will specialize in roast beef sandwiches freshly made in the store. It is replacing Osama’s Coffee Zone, which closed after a fire last August destroyed the neighboring Heidelberg restaurant.

O negative blood supply is low

The universal donor blood type O negative is in short supply in mid-Missouri.

O negative blood is given to all accident victims in need of blood until they arrive at a hospital and their blood type can be determined. But the O negative supply can be depleted quickly if a hospital receives several accident victims with the relatively rare blood type.

Back to drawing board for logo

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Bentonville High School has changed its tiger logo after a licensing company told the school that it was too similar to the tiger that MU uses.

Collegiate Licensing Co. asked for the change to protect MU’s copyright. Bentonville athletics director Lauren West said the school received a letter two months ago requesting the change.

Many women key in helping growth

A woman who was a mentor to me, my son and scores of others passed away last week at the age of 105. Every child growing up, I think, should have a person like this in his or her life. For many years, she was our church pianist and director of the youth choir. She strove always for excellence, and she demanded that the rest of us do everything “by the book.” As children, most of us looked upon her as a Holy Terror. As adults, we look upon her as a shining example of a superior human being that made the world a better place just by her presence in it.

My friend’s passing reminded me of all the women who played a role in helping me to make it into adulthood. Growing up female was always a special experience for me. I never remember being envious of boys. Certainly, I suppose, my oldest brother enjoyed certain privileges, such as accompanying my grandfather on his carpentry jobs, which we girls did not share. Even as a little boy, he had his own wheelbarrow and his own special tools. But none of us was interested in carpentry. My oldest sister enjoyed cooking, and she spent time with a next-door neighbor learning to improve her skills. Another sister was a budding artist who spent much of her leisure with her sketchbook. As a future writer, I had my own little space in the attic where I kept my tools and worked on my stories.

Spreading their wings

They are young and restless, with dreams that have grown too big for this town. After growing up in Columbia, many young adults want to leave their roots behind.

MU sophomore Brett Wessler, who has lived here for 15 years, sums it up: “I want to go out and see what’s out there.”

Instrument of healing

In a small Columbia College conference room, they came inside, expectant and hopeful. Some sat on folding chairs, and others took the floor. These 15 women were seeking healing, therapy, answers. They weren’t expecting to receive medicine or any traditional treatments for their ailments. Instead, they were looking to Margaret Waddell to use sound for healing.

Waddell is a woman of all trades. In addition to her work with sound healing, she’s also an early-childhood music educator at Children’s House Montessori and offers classes at the Whole Health Wellness Center in Columbia. She coaches parents of infants as young as 4 weeks old in the value of singing to children. As a performer, Waddell sings sacred chants of Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century abbess and mystic. Waddell tries to educate people on how to tap into the power to heal themselves.