Investors fear worst with fund inquiries

Lately, Dean Gentry has spent a lot of time worrying about the portion of his retirement nest egg that is invested in mutual funds. The more he thinks about it, the angrier he gets.

“I’ve got as much of a stomach as the next guy for stock market losses,” said Gentry, a 67-year-old Columbia resident and retired manufacturing executive. “But I didn’t sign up for fraud.

Lost connection to younger generations

Some friends who moved to the country about 30 years ago were complaining last week about how complex country living had become. They admitted when they first moved outside the city limits they had bought into a rather idealized version of what rural life would be like. They visualized rich wooded areas, lush with animal and plant life and broad vistas of wide-open spaces where neighbors were few and far between.

And for a long time, it was much like they had envisioned, worth the cost of digging the well and stringing the electrical and telephone wires, maintaining their own road and supporting the organization of fire and ambulance districts. But little by little, progress bore down on them and threatened to overtake their way of life as developments began to spring up all around them. Before long, it was just like they were living back in the city, without the services.

Visit to the past

Sunday might have been Pearl Harbor Day, but tour guides at the Maplewood Home were more focused on the latest news: President William McKinley had just been re-elected.

Visitors to the home were taken back to the year 1900, courtesy of the Boone County Historical Society and Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Department. The holiday tour-with-a-twist included actors in period costumes portraying real figures from the era.

Destination: Shreveport

The speculation is over, rooms are available, and tickets are on sale.

For the first time since 1998, MU football fans can make travel plans to watch the Tigers play in the postseason. Ed Stewart, MU’s associate athletic director, announced Sunday that the Tigers will play Arkansas in the Independence Bowl at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 31 in Shreveport, La. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Kids’ call for better playground answered

Last month, West Boulevard Elementary School students Quanah and Rafael Leija-Elias got a lesson in civic participation.

Quanah, a fifth-grader, and Rafael, a first-grader, raised their voices at the Oct. 13 Columbia Board of Education meeting about the poor state of their school’s playground.

Affordable holiday gifts to be found at church

Members of the community will come together Saturday as the Retired Senior Volunteer Program helps people buy gifts for the holidays.

Santa’s Gift Shop allows low-income children and families to buy Christmas gifts that cost between 5 cents and $5. Additionally, volunteers will be on hand to provide shopping assistance and free gift-wrapping.

Luck credited for lack of shootings involving police

Although the more than 10-year stretch of no officer-involved shootings in the Columbia area came to an end in late October, local law enforcement officials cite tactics, technology and lots of luck for the area’s historically low number of shootings.

Capt. Dwayne Carey of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department credits the low number of officer-involved shootings to good tactics, verbal skills and a lot of luck.

Bowl Events, Tickets and Packages

In Love and War

It’s just an old-fashioned love story. Boy meets girl. Girl likes boy. Boy challenges girl to a sword fight.

Public trust major issue for MoDOT, officials say

JEFFERSON CITY — You’ve probably known someone like this: A person who loses a lot of weight but listens to critics or stares at the mirror and still thinks he or she is fat. The person might no longer have a weight problem but a perception problem. That’s a bit what it’s like these days to be a state transportation official.

The Missouri Department of Transportation — and the six-member commission that oversees it — have suffered from a chronic management problem manifest most obviously in a 15-year road plan adopted in 1992.

Tree hunting

A narrow strip of woods opens up to reveal a log barn with a red tin roof. A patch of miniature trees sits near a homemade sign that reads: “Charlie Brown Trees, $5.” Green, bushy wreaths, each with a rosy red bow attached, hang on the porch.

The quiet setting, transformed into a flurry of activity on weekends, is Timber View Tree Farm, a 30-acre Christmas tree farm in Hartsburg owned by Daryll and Mary Lou Raitt.

Schools weigh lawsuit

The superintendent of the Columbia Public School District, Phyllis Chase, has issued a district recommendation to join a lawsuit that will attempt to change how school funding is distributed in Missouri.

The recommendation, included on the agenda for a Monday meeting of the School Board, states that the district should be “actively involved” in the efforts to “maintain district financial stability” and that the proposed lawsuit by the Committee for Educational Equality seems to be the “most effective” for the Columbia district.

Civic Orchestra concert to honor veterans

Patriotic melodies will echo through the halls of Columbia’s historic Missouri Theatre tonight to honor Pearl Harbor veterans and remember all those who have served in the U.S. armed forces.

The free concert by the Columbia Civic Orchestra starts at 7 p.m. Hugo Vianello will conduct.

An alert on health cuts given

Budget cuts are coming, possibly spelling trouble for Missourians in need of health care.

That was the message delivered by Dick Dunn, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, on Friday as he spoke to 10 nurses at MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing. Dunn’s appearance in Columbia was part of a 112-county speaking tour he’s been conducting since July to get the word out about the impending state budget crisis.

MU vies for agro-terror study site

Hoping to increase its chances of attracting millions of dollars in anti-terrorism funding to Columbia, MU played host to the Missouri Summit on Agro-terrorism on Friday.

Agro-terrorism is the deliberate importation of harmful pests or plant or animal diseases. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, this threat has become a top concern of U.S. anti-terrorism officials.

Holidays also bring hassles

It’s the little things in life that cause the most consternation. I have spent the last week putting up Christmas decorations and wrapping gifts, but I have had to overcome manufacturing obstacles.

In this day and age we can clone a pig, but no one has invented the perfect ornament hook. These malleable silver (and now gold) lengths of metal come in two sizes — long and short. The long ones are the easiest to find. As a matter of fact, I spent one whole afternoon looking for some short ones. They are an inexpensive way to attach ornaments to a tree, but first I have to deal with getting them out of the box. Some machine placed them neatly in the package, but I have to tear the cardboard away from the plastic and, once opened, the hooks don’t just spill out of the container. They become a ball of intertwined metal. I end up grabbing the pile and shaking it, which means, of course, that several hooks become dislodged and go flying across the room to become embedded into the carpet only to be found by bare feet or a vacuum cleaner. The short hooks are the best (that’s why I can’t find them in the store) and the long ones are a nuisance. Most ornaments come with a string attached, but I need a hook to place the decoration in the exact spot on the tree. Once the hook is attached, the ornament hangs 4 inches below the branch and is obscured by pine needles. I end up bending the hook around the branch to take up the slack. This method is very time-consuming and sometimes not very pretty with all that metal wrapped around the limb.

Faith in Song

Under the same roof that once sheltered a bar and a dance club, Pastor Fred Martie asks for a witness. He receives a rousing “Amen” from a congregation of about 40 people, and he tells them they have an opportunity to be blessed this night.

Then the music begins.

Taking the bait

For the past 10 years, Tony Flood has traveled to Bennett Spring State Park to fly fish for trout. Now, the Hallsville resident heads to Columbia’s Cosmo-Bethel Lake to pursue his hobby. This week he was fishing on his lunch break from a local construction site.

“They put some really nice trout in here,” Flood said. “Some weigh as much as 6 pounds, and some are 17 inches long.”

Malpractice deaths increase

Patient deaths and permanent injuries accounted for more than 66 percent of claim payments for medical malpractice in 2002, according to new data released Thursday by the Missouri Department of Insurance. Cases involving patient deaths increased 49 percent from 2001.

“This increase in deaths in one year is something we’ve never seen before,” said Randy McConnell, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Insurance.

Former college official arrested

A former Stephens College department head faces a felony charge of stealing. She is accused of using a school credit card for unauthorized charges or $25,000 or more.

Rita Worley, 43, former director of campus computing and telecommunications at Stephens, was arraigned Thursday afternoon in Boone County Associate Circuit Court and charged with a class B felony of stealing.