Journalism school receives $31 million gift

The Missouri School of Journalism has been awarded $31 million by the Reynolds Foundation to build a state-of-the-art journalism institute. The gift is the largest private donation ever given to MU.

The money will create the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, a center dedicated to the advancement of journalism and its role in democratic societies.

Institute overview

The Mission:

Legality of privatized streets debated

When the Columbia Housing Authority discussed privatizing several public streets to fight crime, local officials were confident about the legality of such an approach because of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court involving a similar policy in Richmond, Va.

But an attorney involved in the Virginia case, as well as other experts, are cautioning communities such as Columbia because legal questions remain about privatizing streets in public housing areas.

A big, fat, Greek festival

John Pardalos wears blue scrubs — and a huge smile. Always up for a chat, he juggles a busy family life with two children and his job as neonatologist and medical director of Columbia’s Children’s Hospital Transport Service.

But caring for newborns and their mothers hasn’t been the only thing on Pardalos’ agenda lately. Pardalos is highly involved in Columbia’s St. Luke the Evangelist Greek Orthodox Church, and after three months of labor, he will help deliver My Big Fat Greek Dinner & Dance, a fund-raiser for the church where he serves as council president. Pardalos has delegated the community effort that went into organizing, among other things, location, live music and food.

Group wants river as clean as Lewis & Clark saw it

Two centuries after Lewis and Clark traveled along the Missouri River, a local group hopes to make the river as garbage-free today as it was during The Corps of Discovery’s voyage.

Missouri River Relief will be cleaning up the Missouri River from St. Louis to Kansas City this spring to prepare for the Corps of Discovery II. The seven-week mission has been dubbed, “The Voyage of Recovery.”

Fund-raisers expecting baby bottles

Open Arms Crisis Pregnancy Center in Columbia has partnered with 30 mid-Missouri churches for the third consecutive year to raise money for new ultrasound machines.

Nile Abele, executive director of Open Arms, said more than $40,000 has been raised over the past two years. It has gone toward the purchase of two ultrasound machines, supplies needed to maintain the machine and insurance.

Fire division chief retires after 24 years

"I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me; To guard my every neighbor and protect his property.” This excerpt from the Fireman’s Prayer is posted on the wall of the Fire Administration building where Dan Hemmelgarn’s retirement reception was held.

With more than 24 years of service at the Columbia Fire Department under his belt, the former division chief said what he will miss most about his job is the people.

Building on strengths

A burly man slowly crept up on a sleeping woman. He warned her not to move as he grabbed her around the neck.

The man released the terrified woman’s neck and used his hands to pin her down. When the man started moving down toward her feet, the woman suddenly raised her right leg and delivered a full-force kick into his face. Surprised by the swift kick, the man let out a painful cry, but the woman did not relent. She kicked the attacker in the face again and again until he collapsed in defeat.

Little geniuses

When Fletcher Orr was 6 weeks old, his mom, Jill Orr, set him in his little bouncy chair a few feet away from the TV screen and initiated him into an activity popular from coast to coast.

She played a Baby Einstein video, one in a series meant to spur the development of infants 2 and younger.

Religious Matters

The Democratic Party has recognized that religion will play an important role in the 2004 presidential election and is attempting to rally support from the “religious left.”

John Petrocik, MU professor of political science, said “there has always been a religious left,” but it is often overlooked because “the right is currently more energetic and influential” in demonstrating faith.

I’ll sort it all out — next year

This is the time of year when the weather is lousy, and I’m pretty much a prisoner in my own house. This is the perfect time, I think, to tackle those projects I haven’t had time to start.

I have several to choose from. I could organize all of the photos that have been pitched into a cardboard box up in the attic. Several years ago, I bought photo albums for each of my children, wanting to fill them with pictures of them growing up and their families. The albums are somewhere around the house. But I don’t know where. And to get to the photos would require climbing two flights of stairs.

Puppet masters

Four 10- and 11-year-olds sit in a circle, so close their knees practically touch. Giggling and wiggling, they raise their arms high over their heads, reaching and stretching their knobby arms, making faces to accompany what they call a “Frankenstein stretch.”

After counting to 20, they lower their arms, gratefully. Next, they make a steeple with their hands, bending back their fingers and making sure each joint feels the burn.

Planners narrow options for I-70

The Improve I-70 Advisory Group on Thursday narrowed down the number of plans it is considering using to overhaul the state’s busiest interstate.

When the committee met in November, three different types of road proposals were on the table. Since that meeting, the proposal has been consolidated into one road plan with different options at seven intersections.

State Farm to close 14 offices

State Farm Insurance may be staying in Columbia, but the company is closing it doors in other areas of Missouri.

As part of the company’s consolidation plan announced Wednesday, Missouri will lose 14 of its 17 claims offices, including one in Columbia. The three remaining offices will become larger field operation centers located in St. Louis, Springfield and Independence.

Seven layers, and still cold

Three pairs of socks, long underwear, sweatshirts, flannel, coveralls, boots, knit hats and multiple pairs of gloves: Those guys who work construction sure know how to dress.

As this week’s temperatures remain below February’s mean — 33.7 degrees, according to the National Weather Service — those who work outdoors have to pile it on to stay warm.

MU Registration revisions revealed

MU students who want to register to learn next semester will have to learn to register.

MU sent a campuswide e-mail Thursday saying that a longer registration period, new course numbers and an online course catalog will affect registration beginning Feb. 26 — the start of early registration for this year’s summer and fall semesters.

Stephens looking for local art talent

A Missouri artist likely will be chosen to create artwork for Stephens Lake Park, the city’s Standing Committee on Public Art has decided.

The committee chose to restrict the search to Missouri artists because of funding for the project, which is financed by the city’s Percent for Art program.

Dreams of space

Paul Mahoney never had elaborate childhood fantasies about being an astronaut. He never made space costumes out of tin foil or brought supposed moon rocks to show and tell.

Nevertheless, today Mahoney is one of 35 people, culled from a pool of 16,000, in line to become an astronaut.

Bill aims at law on open records

JEFFERSON CITY — A Senate committee backed a bill Thursday that could make it more affordable for people to access public records but more costly for government employees who violate the state’s Sunshine Law.

Sen. Sarah Steelman, R-Rolla, said her legislation will “stiffen” the law on open records and meetings, although the committee’s version does not go as far as she initially proposed.

On a slippery slope

Although Thursday’s mix of wintry weather created hassles for some Columbia residents, Art Gerhard saw the day as an opportunity to take a day off of work to spend time with his children.

Gerhard’s two children, Jake, 6, and Bretta, 10, woke up this morning, like many other Columbia students, to the news that snowy weather had canceled classes at Ridgeway Elementary and other Columbia Public Schools.