Skepticism greets UM merger

JEFFERSON CITY — Leaders of Northwest Missouri State University and the University of Missouri system sought Tuesday to persuade lawmakers that a merger of their institutions would spawn academic and economic improvements.

But the first legislative hearing on the proposed merger revealed skepticism among some senators as to whether the schools had the commitment to make the marriage work, and whether the union would damage the state’s relationship with its other universities.

Forum questions science reporting

Sensational news media coverage is contributing to an unrealistic view of the power of human genetics, said Peter Conrad, a speaker at a two-day conference sponsored by the MU sociology department.

This was just one of many issues raised at the Symposium on the Social and Cultural Implications of Human Genetics, which was held Monday and Tuesday at MU’s Memorial Union.

Campaign aims for smoke-free dining

The Columbia/Boone County Board of Health plans to start an educational campaign with the Boone County Coalition for Tobacco Concerns in hopes of having more restaurants voluntarily become smoke-free.

“If you start looking into the facts of second-hand smoke, it’s hard to believe that people knowing the facts would want to continue to have secondhand smoke in their place,” said Chris Coffman, public health planner for the Columbia/Boone County Board of Health and member of the Boone County Coalition for Tobacco Concerns. “I think we have an intelligent, caring community and once education starts, I would expect results like that from Maryville.”

Man pleads guilty to July 5 murder

Gerald Alan Duncan, 43, pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree murder and armed criminal action for the shooting death of James Pruitt on July 5.

In a plea agreement, Duncan received a life sentence with parole and 10 years for armed criminal action. He is required to serve a minimum of 251/2 years to be eligible for parole, said Kevin Crane, Boone County prosecuting attorney.

Image of black Greek houses is focus of forum

Once upon a time, when hip-hop music was “old school,” rapper Ice-T rhymed ominously about the perils of gang warfare over “Colors” in South Central Los Angeles. Those streets, hopefully, would be a far cry from the atmosphere of most college campuses.

Based on this notion, MU’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., decided to enter the fray and ask, “Have Black Greeks Become Gangs?” to an audience of at least 100 students and Columbia residents Tuesday evening.

Physical therapists could help animals in proposed bill

JEFFERSON CITY — An effort to help pets brought a former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals to a committee of Missouri legislators Tuesday.

Whitey Herzog, who led the Cardinals to a World Series championship in 1982, testified in favor of a bill that would let licensed physical therapists provide rehabilitation to animals without requiring a veterinarian be present.

Legendary playwright lectures on free speech

For a man who was kicked out of all but one school he attended, playwright Edward Albee has proved his literary abilities.

Albee, winner of three Pulitzer Prizes and two Tony Awards, spoke at Jesse Hall Tuesday evening. He was invited by MU’s Center for the Literary Arts’ Master Class Series.

Board OKs permit for Western Oil

The Columbia Board of Adjustment approved a request by Western Oil Inc. for a conditional-use permit Tuesday night.

The permit is for the land on the southwest corner of Ash Street and Stadium Boulevard. It will allow Western Oil Inc. to tear down the vacant Crown Shoes building and the current Phillips 66 gas station and car wash and replace them with a new gas station and convenience store and a Lion’s Choice restaurant.

2 arrested for Heitholt murder

The Columbia Police Department has arrested two men in connection with the homicide of Kent Heitholt, a sports editor with the Columbia Daily Tribune. Heitholt was beaten and strangled to death on the morning of Nov. 1, 2001, in the Tribune parking lot, 101 N. Fourth St.

Student groups aid voters

Elephants, donkeys and porcupines, or rather, Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians, are coming out of the woodwork on the college and university campuses in Columbia.

With the primaries over, campus political groups are still determining what the next step on the campaign trail is. However, one item on the agenda that all groups, including nonpartisan ones, will focus on is registering voters.

School board acknowledges budget cuts must be made

The Columbia Public School Board realized Monday night it is going to have to make cuts to Columbia’s schools. But it doesn’t know where the cuts will be made, when they’ll be made or how much cutting will take place.

The only thing for sure is that the fate of Columbia’s teachers will come up in the April board meeting, Deputy Superintendent of Administration Jacque Cowherd said. Beyond that, the board members were reluctant to make any concrete budgeting actions, aside from adopting a philosophy on how budgeting should take place.

Missouri’s February tax revenue up 7.8 percent

JEFFERSON CITY — State revenue collections were higher than House Republican leadership expected as the Revenue Department released February numbers.

General revenue collections released Friday are up 7.8 percent over last year at this time.

New chapter in the story of Stephens

More than 30 years ago, Stephens College seemed the logical choice for a young Annie Potts.

After all, her mother and sister had gone to Stephens, one of the nation’s oldest women’s colleges and an institution known for its tradition of innovation. The school had been gaining steam since 1920, when Werret Wallace Charters was hired as director of research to build what was touted as “the strongest curriculum found in any women’s college in the world.”

Women grin and bare it for a good cause

Karen Althage wants to get out the message that there is life after cancer. With a little help from her friends, she’s raising money for cancer research at the same time.

The Bosom Buddies of Boone County, 14 women ranging in age from 27 to 65, have posed partially nude for a calendar the group is selling to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life walkathon. Three of the women featured in the calendar are cancer survivors, but all have been affected by the disease in some way, Althage said.

Airport to get second Saturday flight

American Airlines plans to announce today that it will add a second flight into Columbia to its Saturday schedule.

The new flight, which is to begin service in May, is being added because the current Saturday flight consistently runs three-quarters full or more — evidence that there is demand for a second flight, said Bill Boston, manager of Columbia Regional Airport.

Pedestrian dies after being struck by car

A pedestrian who was hit by a car Sunday night on the U.S. 63 entrance ramp at Route AC died Monday.

Carol Tyrrell, 62, of 5909 St. Charles Road, was driving the car that struck Tara Jones, 25, who was walking in the northbound lanes of the ramp.

When conflict spills over on the job

Your boss, who is the son of your company’s CEO, always insists that he is right, even though he rarely is. When you point out his mistakes, including evidence that he is wrong, he tells you that you’re the one who is wrong and never to question his intelligence again. Because of his mistakes, your company is starting to lose credibility. What do you do?

Archaeologist isn’t shy to tackle rock-solid workloads

Only two years out of graduate school, Brant Vollman achieved his ultimate goal — to work as an archaeologist for a state department.

“I got here quicker than I thought,” he said. “That’s when I realized why: The job burns you out real quick.”

Learning to lead

For nearly 20 years, business leaders in Columbia have been discovering that learning doesn’t have to end when they leave the classroom behind.

Each year, 30 members of the Columbia business community take part in Leadership Columbia, a class put on by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

Funding to improve Wabash Station

The Columbia Transit System got some good news last week. A large chunk of federal money — more than $2.3 million — has been secured to renovate and expand Wabash Station, the historic Columbia landmark that serves as the main transfer point for city bus lines.

The funding is part of $10 million earmarked for transit programs throughout the state from the 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Columbia’s share is the biggest on the list.