Suicide attempt at jailhouse

Officials at the Boone County Jail are investigating how an inmate managed to take a large amount of prescribed medication in an apparent suicide attempt early Thursday morning.

Officers conducting floor checks found Lucille Duncan slumped over in her cell at about 4:15 a.m.

Couple grants easement on Huntsdale acreage

The Mid-Missouri Greenbelt Coalition announced this week that it acquired 18 acres of land near Huntsdale last month. The land was donated by a Columbia couple who wanted to limit development on their property.

The donation is a conservation easement between the Greenbelt Coalition and Tom and Marilyn Vernon. The agreement relinquishes development rights of the grassy hills and gullies off of Nebo Cemetery Road in Huntsdale to the coalition. The land includes a one-acre vineyard of Norton grapes.

Acting to avoid Alzheimer’s

Penny Braun lost her mother to Alzheimer’s in 1995, and the experience acted as a catalyst for Braun’s decision to help others who have to deal with the disease.

As executive director of the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Braun several years ago heard about taking vitamins C and E as a hedge against the disease and decided to begin the regimen herself. At 62, she’s closing in on the age at which the disease often begins showing up.

More than a resource

One month after her diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, Christine Cook turned to the Central Missouri Branch of the Arthritis Foundation for help.

Crystal Brady was on the other end of the line, and the two talked for more than a hour.

Consultant sees ways to better school funding

JEFFERSON CITY — A legislative consultant said Thursday that Missouri’s method of school funding can be made more equitable without raising any new money.

Craig Wood, a University of Florida professor hired to help legislators improve the state’s school funding formula, gave a preliminary report to the Interim Committee on Education.

MU’s hotel plan gains support

A Columbia organization of business and community leaders will announce this morning that it supports MU’s plan to lease property for construction of a hotel and convention center at College Avenue and Stadium Boulevard, says one of the organization’s leaders.

Supporting the lease is a new group called Community Leaders Supporting Economic and Cultural Growth, which will meet at 10 a.m. in the backstage area of MU’s Jesse Auditorium. Legislators, university officials and community leaders are expected to attend.

Ashland woman seeks seat in House

Republican Carole Iles of Ashland officially announced her candidacy for the 24th District House seat Thursday night to a room packed with her supporters at the Southern Boone County Senior Center in Ashland.

After a meal of chili and hot dogs, Iles outlined the reasons for her candidacy and the goals she hoped to accomplish if elected.

Holden seeks state vote on taxes

JEFFERSON CITY — Tax increases the General Assembly rejected last year were proposed again by Gov. Bob Holden in his State of the State address Wednesday.

The governor’s proposed revenue increases, totaling $689 million per year, are similar to his package of last year that failed in the assembly, including increases in taxes on corporations, gambling and tobacco.

Holden prioritizes education funding

JEFFERSON CITY — Two issues deemed integral to the Columbia area by local legislators — restoring education funding and promoting life sciences — topped the list of priorities in Gov. Bob Holden’s State of the State address Wednesday.

But amidst an atmosphere of partisan accusations and attacks, neither goal looks promising, local legislators said.

Wal-Mart settles on Fairview site

Like it or not, it looks like Park De Ville residents are just going to have to live with a Wal-Mart Supercenter in their neighborhood.

Columbia’s third proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter, originally planned to be west of Columbia Mall, will now be built along West Broadway across from HyVee. Just how big it will be remains a question, but a Wednesday meeting between area residents and the developer, The Kroenke Group, brought the issue into focus.

Proposal would link GPA to MAP

JEFFERSON CITY — MAP test scores and grade-point average could be adjusted under a measure reviewed by the state House Education Committee on Wednesday.

The proposal would include a student’s MAP test score in the formula for figuring grade-point average.

Free school lunch in higher demand

More Boone County children are receiving free and reduced-priced lunches.

It is one of the trends reported in the Kids Count report card released Wednesday by Citizens for Missouri’s Children.

Strangers in the homeland

On Sunday, 1st Lt. Frank Lopez of the Missouri National Guard said goodbye to his wife in St. Louis and headed to Columbia after being ordered to report for active duty. At a deployment ceremony on Wednesday, the soldier in the 128th Field Artillery Battalion said he had mixed emotions.

“I feel proud and sad,” he said. “Proud to be fulfilling the duty I signed up to do, and sad to be leaving my wife.”

City’s utilities get new director

Dan Dasho will be able to hit the ground running when he takes over as director of the city Water and Light Department next month.

Dasho, whose appointment was announced Wednesday by City Manager Ray Beck, said he’s excited about his new job in Columbia, in part because voters just last November approved a $28.3 million bond issue that will expand and upgrade the city’s water system.

Work begins on library coffee kiosk

The location of the sink and other parts of the new Lakota Coffee Co. kiosk were outlined in tape at the Columbia Public Library on Wednesday. After a two-month delay, plumbing and wiring were scheduled to go in today, and by Sunday or Monday, the coffee kiosk should be open for business.

Lakota Coffee Co. owner Skip DuCharme said it’s taken longer than expected to get the service up and running because the materials for the kiosk countertop were customized to match the interior of the new library. The curved terra cotta countertop is a special composite material, durable and resistant to stains, that DuCharme said is the first of its kind in the Midwest.

Moving beyond grief

It’s something that happens every day, but you rarely think about it until it happens to you. It’s the grief you experience from the loss of a loved one, and there are a number of misconceptions about it.

Ken Livingston, a social worker with Boone Hospital Home Care Hospice, said one of the main things people misunderstand about the grieving process is they think they are going crazy.

Education funds still divisive

JEFFERSON CITY — Partisan rancor marked Gov. Bob Holden’s State of the State Address on Wednesday, as his education, job and revenue plans all fell under heavy assault from Republican leadership.

The program he announced was essentially the same as the one he put forth last year, with a continued emphasis on a tax increase to help fund Missouri’s public schools.

State agency makes concessions on land-farm debate

JEFFERSON CITY - When the state Department of Natural Resources issued a permit in 2002 for a company to treat contaminated soil at a site near Millersburg in Callaway County, residents complained about a lack of public notice. In a hearing on Wednesday in the Capitol, an official with the state Department of Natural Resources acknowledged that public notification procedures need to be improved.

Philips plan draws further public comment

Plans to develop the controversial Philips tract continued to move through city bureaucracy, as the Columbia City Council heard public comment Tuesday night on a request to add the 489 acres to the city.

Developer Elvin Sapp wants to annex the property southeast of the city and rezone it for a mix of homes, businesses and office buildings. Annexation would allow the buildings on the property to use city sewers, water, police protection and other services. Taxes generated by development would also go to the city. If approved in its current form, the development would be the largest in Boone County history.

Gephardt’s departure doesn’t faze Boone County

A day after a poor showing in the Iowa primaries, Dick Gephardt withdrew his bid for the Democratic nomination Tuesday, freezing his Missouri supporters less than three weeks before the state’s primary election.

But in Boone County, where Gephardt led in fund-raising through 2003, some Democrats said they hardly batted an eye. They