Analysts take notice of lower UM credit rating

It has become a familiar scenario: Faced with mounting budget deficits, state legislators cut funding for higher education, forcing colleges and universities to raise tuition.

While educators, parents, students and policymakers have been watching it happen for several years now, agencies that determine the credit rating of institutions like the University of Missouri system are beginning to take notice, as well.

Concealed in ‘spider hole,’ dictator didn’t put up fight

ADWAR, Iraq — When darkness fell, the Americans moved into position, 600 of them, from infantrymen to elite special forces. Their target: two houses in this rural village of orange, lemon and palm groves. Someone big was inside, they were told.

But when they struck, they found nothing.

Silent surrender

TIKRIT, Iraq — U.S. soldiers tracked a scruffy and haggard Saddam Hussein to a dirt hole at a farmhouse near his hometown, capturing the elusive dictator without firing a shot and unleashing euphoria Sunday among Iraqis and the U.S.-led forces who have hunted him for more than eight months.

The arrest of the president who bent this country to his will for three decades set off cascades of celebratory gunfire throughout Baghdad, the capital, and delivered the coalition its most significant victory at a time when the fruitless hunt for weapons of mass destruction and an evermore tenacious insurgency had eroded support in the U.S. public for the mission.

Media bias feeds two-party system

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U.S. expects insurgency to continue

BAGHDAD, Iraq — The capture of Saddam Hussein, eight months on the run and found hiding in a hole beneath a two-room mud house near his hometown, was unlikely to destroy the anti-U.S. guerrilla insurgency, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Sunday.

Saddam was captured Saturday night in Adwar, a village 10 miles from Tikrit. By early Sunday, only hours before news of his capture was announced in Baghdad, a massive blast killed at least 17 Iraqis, mostly policemen, and injured 33 at a district police office in Khaldiya, a town west of Baghdad.

U.S. still deciding Saddam’s fate; public trial a possibility

BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. officials said they still haven’t decided what to do with Saddam Hussein now that he’s been captured, but one option is putting him before a special tribunal established just days ago. Iraq’s Governing Council said Saddam would face public trial in Iraq.

Iraq’s interim government established a special tribunal Wednesday to try top members of Saddam’s government for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. At the time, they said Saddam could be tried in absentia.

Capture could silence Bush’s political rivals

WASHINGTON — When national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told President Bush before dawn Sunday that Saddam Hussein had indeed been captured, she was delivering news that was good for the U.S. leader in a multitude of ways.

It will help Bush with a U.S. public increasingly skeptical of his Iraq strategy, and it will at least temporarily silence his Democratic rivals. It might also help calm the roiled Iraqi people, many of whom have been unwilling to embrace a new government as long as Saddam was at large.

Athletic center set to open in January

“It looks amazing,” William Johnson said as he watched his two children, Matthew and Scott, run around the soccer field. “These indoor soccer fields are going to allow the kids to play even in the winter.”

On Sunday, the public got its first glimpse of the two soccer fields located inside the new Missouri Athletic Center. The center is a subsidiary of Wilson’s Total Fitness, which bought the Woodrail Tennis Center and converted it into the MAC.

Winter, a season of wet woes

‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” That has been my mantra since the last leaf fell from the tree in my front yard. I dream of sitting by a roaring fire, sipping hot cocoa and reading a novel as the snow gently, but steadily, falls outside my picture window. I love snow. I love watching it blanket the ground. I love to gaze outside after the storm has passed and see how the world has been transformed into a winter wonderland.

Reality check! I love the romantic notion of snow, but getting out in it is another matter. When my kids were younger, I had no time to sit by a fire; snow meant school was out for the day. Of course, they all wanted to go out and play in the stuff, which took nearly an hour of preparation. Once they were dressed in the usual sweater and jeans, we began the ordeal of putting on the rubber boots. Every year, at least one kid had grown two sizes and I had to wedge his chubby feet into the galoshes. One year, the only pair I could find to fit my son were pink. He fought me, but I finally convinced him that no one would notice once his feet were buried in the snow. Next came the coat, and I secured the neck with a scarf. Then the gloves, of which I never seemed to have matching pairs. And I always ended up with one odd glove that didn’t have a mate. Each child got two — even if the gloves didn’t match.

Celebrating community

Minutes before 6 p.m., Connie Barner announces to about 50 people gathered at the American Legion, Post 424, in downtown Hartsburg, “Get your coats on!”

Bells at the two churches in town ring together as people trickle out of the single-story Legion hall and congregate in the street. They slowly form a three-quarter moon around a 12-foot-high tree between the Hartsburg Cycle Depot and The Itching Post bar.

Fostering oneness

Between 52nd Street and Paseo Boulevard and 54th Street and Charlotte, Kerry Hollander grew up in a Catholic neighborhood in Kansas City — though her life and home were centered around Judaism, and the synagogue was just 20 blocks away.

Hollander’s sense of Jewish identity began in the bottom level of a two-bedroom duplex that housed six people. There, her childhood consisted of Jewish rituals, Friday night Sabbath dinners and Hebrew school — the beginnings of a life cycle permeated by Judaism.

Smile — for the cell phone

Picture this: You’re out with friends and all of a sudden, the perfect photo opportunity arises but, you don’t have a camera with film. Fortunately, you are the owner of the new model of cell phone with a digital camera. You can easily snap the photo with your phone, transfer it to your computer and print it out.

Because the cell phone is the one piece of electronic equipment many people carry now at all times, companies are advertising the new camera feature as an advantage that will prevent people from missing spontaneous photo opportunities. However, with the convenience of these phone cameras comes an increase in privacy concerns that may become pertinent as the phones become more common.

Sled run location changes

Six-year-old Alec Christie tramped down a path at Cosmopolitan Park on Thursday with his father, lifting his new flame-patterned sled behind him.

“Ice, ice, ice,” he sang, hopping on clear patches. “I love ice!”

Activities don’t stop for snow

Eight inches of snowfall caused numerous accidents Saturday, but many Columbia residents

didn’t let the winter conditions keep them indoors. Shopping, sledding and shoveling were just a few of the activities going on in a snow-blanketed Columbia.

Sensor gives up-to-date weather data

There’s a new place to turn for the latest weather data in Columbia.

A new Web site provides real-time facts about temperature, wind chill and barometric pressure from a monitoring site at Sanborn Field.

Wives spoke frequently to jailed Clemons

Ricky Clemons called them his “grandmas.”

In phone conversations taped during Clemons’ 60-day jail sentence for domestic abuse and false imprisonment charges, the former MU point guard received advice and support from Carmento Floyd, wife of UM System President Elson Floyd, and Amy Stewart, wife of Ed Stewart, an MU assistant athletic director.

Opting out of sales tax break gains more favor

Both Columbia and Boone County will soon decide whether to opt out of the state-imposed sales tax holiday, scheduled for Aug. 13 to 15.

The tax holiday temporarily lifts the state sales tax on certain items, including school supplies, clothing and computer equipment. Supporters of the tax holiday wanted to give families a financial break on back-to-school purchases. Other advocates say governments stand to gain revenue because shoppers will buy the tax-free school supplies, then buy other taxable merchandise.

Holiday bazaar celebrates gift-giving

Away from the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping and spending, students at Oakland Junior High School have a free way to get gifts.

The Holiday Bazaar, organized by Pam Didur, is an event that allows the schools and the community to pull together to create an atmosphere of giving.

Nature of the hunt

Two shots rang out just as dawn broke. In the view from his draw, Ralph Wilde saw three does run past. He fired but missed. At 7:15 a.m., four more does ran into view, two paused, and Wilde dropped them both.

“It ain’t supposed to be this easy,” Wilde said about the kills as he returned to the check-in station at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

I-70 tractor-trailer accident kills two

Two Nebraska men died as a result of a tractor-trailer accident Saturday at 10:46 a.m. on Interstate 70 East, just west of the Stadium exit, said Scott Sergent of the Columbia Police Department.

Ronald E. Burghardt, 60, was pronounced dead at the scene. An ambulance took the other driver, a 49-year-old man, to University Hospital with “class one traumas,” or serious injuries. He was later pronounced dead, Sergent said. The Columbia Police Department is withholding the man’s name until his family is notified.