Four more given Kemper awards

Bryan Garton gave Chancellor Wallace a simple “thank you” when Wallace interrupted Garton’s agricultural education class Tuesday afternoon. The professor remained calm when more than a dozen members of the media, friends and colleagues crammed into his classroom to hear the reason for Wallace’s intrusion — to announce Garton as a Kemper Fellowship recipient.

The award, a $10,000 gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation honoring outstanding educators, is the eighth in a series of 10 annual awards.

Monks to visit Columbia, raise awareness

Ten Tibetan monks will soon be in Columbia for the third time to share their art, life and faith and to gain support in their quest for freedom from what they call Chinese occupation.

Starting Saturday, the monks from Karnataka, India, will hold events and informational talks that convey their Buddhist faith and culture. Included are lectures at Hickman High School and MU, a cultural pageant and creation of an intricate sand mandala, a symbolic Buddhist artwork made with colored sand that symbolizes the universe.

Miss Missouri is Miss USA

LOS ANGELES — A fast-food- loving beauty queen from Missouri who has two master’s degrees and once wrestled a greased pig in a mud pit was crowned Miss USA 2004.

Shandi Finnessey, 25, of Florissant won the title Monday night over 50 other contestants and will represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant in Quito, Ecuador, on June 1.

One injured in Audrain County fire

Seventy firefighters from eight stations and five fire departments in Audrain County responded to a grass and structure fire Tuesday afternoon. Officials are unsure of the cause of the fire at McGee Packing Co., two miles north of Mexico, Mo., on Route J, said Kenneth Hoover, Little Dixie Fire Protection District chief.

Blunt lays out health platform

Secretary of state and Republican candidate for governor Matt Blunt visited the Family Health Center in Columbia on Tuesday to push his health care platform.

Robert Pund, an occasional patient at the center, was in the building to get his taxes done but took interest in Blunt’s visit.

Enamored with Armor

Brian Romine was born in Kirksville in 1978, but his second identity — Aylwin Ruthwell — hails from 11th-century Northumbria, England.

Surrounded by men and women preparing for fighting practice, Romine unpacked a blue wooden box full of armor, looking over his wares with a perspective colored by modern America and the Middle Ages.

West Elementary to be model

West Boulevard Elementary School will be restructured into a model school for next fall, Superintendent Phyllis Chase announced Monday at the Columbia Board of Education meeting.

Chase also further outlined the goals and ideas of the school, but said the staff and parents of the school would be the ones who ultimately decide West Boulevard’s top priorities.

MU confronts blood drive controversy

In order to discuss changes to the Greek Week blood drive, MU administrators and Greek Week directors began meetings Monday that will continue throughout the week.

The meetings are in response to concerns brought to light by an April 6 e-mail sent by Gamma Phi Beta member Christie Key that encouraged sorority members to lie to Red Cross volunteers about their health history before donating blood during the Greek Week blood drive. The Red Cross does not allow people who have gotten tattoos or piercings in the past year to donate blood because there is a risk of spreading hepatitis B.

Survey: Some groups more accepted

The first thing Khandicia Randolph does on the first day of class at MU each semester is look around to see how many black people are in the room. She’s usually the only one.

“To have to be that one voice against the rest of the class gets annoying, but you get used to it,” said Randolph, president of the MU chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, who intends to get her master’s degree at MU. “I sometimes feel marginalized. It hasn’t been a negative experience per se, but a lot more positives could have taken place.”

Voter-registration drive focuses on bus riders

Volunteers are taking to the streets in an attempt to get Columbia Transit riders registered to vote.

Grass Roots Organizing, with the city of Columbia’s support, will have volunteers with voter registration forms ride city buses today and Wednesday.


Customer satisfaction in the retail industry is the highest it’s been in a decade.

The most recent results of the American Customer Satisfaction Index indicate that customers are more satisfied now than they have been at any time since the survey began in 1994.

Don’t be afraid to make changes

Well, we’re off and running again. Off to face another season with gas prices at the pump accelerating and gaggles of motorists screaming in rage. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been through this in my lifetime. The thing I do know for sure is that between these seasons nothing significant ever happens to eliminate the necessity of going through another one. There’s never a big push for developing alternative fuel, automobiles get bigger instead of smaller and conversations about the need for mass transit become virtually nonexistent. My conclusion is that we Americans are not really concerned about having an inexpensive, sustainable source of fuel to keep our automobiles running. I suppose we are hoping someone will invent a car that doesn’t need gasoline and our problems will be over.

We’re like that about a lot of things. The way we elect our leaders, for example. We know that presidential elections are out of hand. We know that it shouldn’t require millions of dollars for an individual to run for the presidency. But it does, and we accept that, even though we can put a stop to it any time we choose. Money has corrupted our entire political system. Ask any person on the street, and she will tell you so.

Study: Pupils eating poorly

When Stephanie Jackson’s three children put up a fight about the food she serves, she repeats what has become a family mantra: “Eat what you don’t like, and enjoy what you do like.”

Jackson, of Columbia, tries to ensure that her kids eat enough fruit and vegetables by offering carrots as a snack and salad with dinner. She tries to limit the amount of junk food they consume, but it’s not always easy.

Board to vote on teacher contracts

New money and favorable state budget discussions could complicate the Columbia Board of Education’s vote tonight on whether to issue teacher contracts that would offer no base pay raise and cut 50 staff positions from the district.

Board policy and state statues require the district to notify teachers who will not be rehired for the next year by April 15. The district issues all contracts at that time.

A new pot of gold

Sharon Tepper spends much of her time caring for underprivileged children. As Tepper walks through the halls of the Rainbow House, a Columbia children’s shelter where she serves as executive director, one of the children looks up to her and says with a pouty face, “There’s too many beds in my room.” Tepper, with a half smile, acknowledges the child as though she’s heard such complaints before.

Soon, Tepper and her staff of 23 employees and nearly 40 volunteers will have that problem solved.

Philips tract’s lazy days

It’s become a symbol for urban sprawl and a hot-button topic for Columbia’s environmentalists. It’s inspired one of the city’s most emotionally charged public debates in recent memory.

But the highly publicized Philips farm remains a remarkably private place.

Council to revisit guns in city parks

Hidden handguns might soon be banned in city-owned buildings, but Columbia and other cities can do nothing to prohibit them in city parks.

An ordinance originally discussed and tabled by the Columbia City Council in October has been reintroduced and will be up for final approval at the council’s April 19 meeting. It would change city law to match Missouri’s new law regarding concealed guns.

Cost of MU basketball inquiry mounts

MU’s investigation into the Missouri men’s basketball program has cost Missouri’s athletic department more than $31,000.

MU’s six-member investigation team, led by MU engineering professor Michael Devaney, spent about $21,000 on a transcriptionist and a court reporter for several confidential interviews with National Collegiate Athletic Association officials between October 2003 and the end of March this year, according to expense records acquired by the Columbia Missourian.

Images of Christ

Jesus Christ has captured the minds and hearts of believers since he walked amongst them on the dusty streets of Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago. To Christians, this divine man is simultaneously the conqueror of death, the harbinger of everlasting life and an intimate and enduring friend.

As stories about this acclaimed savior and confidante were read by parents over the dinner table or by Sunday-school teachers at church, young Christians unleashed their imaginations on what Jesus might have looked like. Their minds sought to create a realistic image of Christ that could be reconciled with their personal beliefs about Christianity, according to art historian David Morgan in his book, “Visual Piety: A History and Theory of Popular Religious Images.”

E-mail calls for lying at blood drive

It’s supposed to be about saving lives, but MU’s Greek Week blood drive has become so competitive that one sorority member encouraged comrades to lie about potential health risks on pre-donation paperwork — just to bag some extra blood.

“I don’t care if you got a tattoo last week — LIE,” Gamma Phi Beta blood donation coordinator Christie Key said in a Tuesday