Legislature OKs education funds

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s House and Senate sent Gov. Bob Holden an education budget Tuesday that was higher than he had requested — and without the tax increases Holden said were necessary to fund his recommendations.

The budget increase is more than what Holden requested but is structured differently. The budget gives $55 million more than requested to elementary and secondary education while giving $18 million less than requested to high education.

UM to get about $10 million more

The University of Missouri system will pick up about half the extra $20 million appropriated Tuesday for higher education.

Nikki Krawitz, UM system vice president for finance and administration, said the university is glad the state recognized the need to increase higher education funding.

Plenty are ignorant in U.S. about Cinco de Mayo

Tonight, MU senior Brett Settle plans to head down to a Mexican restaurant for the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration.

“It’s fun and everybody just has a good time with it,” said Settle, who plans to go to Chevy’s Fresh Mex or La Tolteca.

Boone house tuneup

On a recent visit to the downtown office of her friend Clyde Ruffin, Lucille Salerno gazed out the door toward the home of ragtime musician John William “Blind” Boone and admired the restoration in progress at the national historic landmark.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” she asked.

Missouri’s job outlook improving

Missouri gained more than 7,000 jobs in the first quarter of the year, partially because of growth in its manufacturing sector, according to a survey conducted at Creighton University in Nebraska.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Survey found that Midwestern manufacturers are receiving more orders for their products. Missouri’s overall economic index was the highest since 1994, and most factors in the survey showed economic strength.

Debate on ordination of gays heated but respectful

As the 2004 United Methodist General Conference enters its final week, it has become almost clear that the controversial church law that prohibits the ordination of practicing gays will be intact for at least four more years.

This legislative assembly — embroiled in controversy since it began on April 27 — has drawn the Rev. Jim Bryan of Missouri United Methodist Church, lay member Carol Smith of Fairview United Methodist Church and about 1,000 other delegates from around the world to Pittsburgh for impassioned discussion about a law that some consider to be cruel and prejudicial and that others believe upholds biblical principals.

City Council tables street standards

The Columbia City Council put proposed street design standards on hold yet again Monday night.

After a two-hour-long public hearing, the council decided it had too many unanswered questions to move forward. The council tabled the issue for further discussion at its June 7 meeting.

Aging, not ranging

By some estimates, the population of people over the age of 65 will more than double, to 77 million, by 2030, increasing the need for long-term care for seniors. But the typical nursing home isn’t where the next generation of seniors want to find themselves.

TigerPlace, scheduled to open in June, is an alternative living place for the elderly population. MU and Americare Systems Inc., a Sikeston company, that specializes in senior residential care, have created the project based on the concept of “aging in place.” The approach allows residents to stay in their apartments and, as their needs increase, have services brought to them.

A flair for the dramatic

Giggling high-schoolers snap to attention at rehearsal as a hearty man at the piano growls, “Please don’t talk when I’m talking.” All eyes are on him — this is the time when Bob Bohon starts pulling together this year’s spring musical, “Anything Goes.”

And it’s the beginning of the end of an era. After 27 years with Rock Bridge High School, Bohon is directing his last show at the school.

Suspects plead not guilty to murder

The two suspects charged with the murder of former Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt pleaded not guilty in court on Monday. Both suspects declined formal arraignment where bond may have been reviewed.

Ryan Ferguson, 19, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery Friday. He was originally scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing, but Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane chose to present the case to a grand jury instead.

Alumnus gives $5 million to MU College of Agriculture

When MU graduate Al McQuinn and his wife, May Agnes McQuinn, gave $5 million to the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resouces on Friday, it was the largest unrestricted gift ever given to MU by a living donor, said MU spokesman Jeremy Dierner.

McQuinn said that through the couple’s gift, which Diener said may be the largest such gift ever given by a living donor to a public university, he is hoping to give back to MU for an education that he says has given him a tremendous advantage in his lifetime work.

No astronaut gig for local educator

Paul Mahoney had to tell his students Monday morning that he will not have the chance to ride in a space shuttle after all.

In an e-mail sent Monday, Mahoney announced that he was not chosen to be a part of NASA’s Educator Astronaut program.

Power Seller lights up eBay

EBay has taken the world by storm, and Mary Ruppert is going along for the ride.

She and her husband, Bogdan Stroescu, have started an innovative business that makes it easier for the public to experience eBay.

Motor Family

There are many businesses in Columbia run by women, but there’s only one used-car dealership that was started and is owned by a woman. Ariel Beltey opened BeLiva Motor Group, 600 Vandiver Drive, in September of 2001. The business is small, locally owned and family-oriented — so family-oriented, in fact, that the company’s name came from Beltey’s 4-year-old daughter Olivia.

The family nicknamed her “Liva,” and Olivia would say “abi” when she wanted to be picked up. The phrase soon merged with her name to become “Abi-Liva.”

Living a dream

Ever since MU senior Mike Hall won his a contract with Sportscenter on ESPN’s reality TV series “Dream Job,” people all over Columbia have been talking about it. But you don’t have to go all the way to New York City to find a great job. We have found five dream jobs right here in Columbia. Dream on.

Learning the language sign by sign

Your right hand starts touching your chin, then moves down, palm up, to rest on the other palm. You’ve just said “thank you” in American Sign Language, a form of communication for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Such hand expressions have become more frequent in recent months at MU — and not just among the students who rely on them.

Driven by personal and professional fulfillment, the demand for MU’s introductory-level ASL class has become so intense that the university plans to discuss expanding it.

Few drug cases made by search warrants

The search warrant is a frequently deployed weapon in the Columbia Police Department’s war on drugs. Since January 2003, officers have searched 120 residences using a tool that, according to one police commander, is designed to target people who sell narcotics.

Yet police rarely find enough evidence during those searches to make the case for drug dealing. Court records say that in 2003, police searched 84 residences and found evidence of drug distribution in 12 of them; six of those cases were eventually reduced to possession charges. Through this April, police have exercised 36 search warrants and have netted seven distribution charges.

Sales tax boosts state revenue

JEFFERSON CITY — The money is flowing freely again from the Missouri Capitol.

The legislature’s proposed budget for next year will include big spending increases for education, pay raises for state employees and hundreds of millions of dollars for growth in the Medicaid program for the poor, elderly and disabled. All without a tax increase.

Beefing up Columbia

Roast beef could be what’s for dinner this summer, at least for those who live near the MU campus. A new restaurant famous for the meat plans to open in downtown Columbia later this month.

Lion’s Choice, 406 Ninth St., will specialize in roast beef sandwiches freshly made in the store. It is replacing Osama’s Coffee Zone, which closed after a fire last August destroyed the neighboring Heidelberg restaurant.

O negative blood supply is low

The universal donor blood type O negative is in short supply in mid-Missouri.

O negative blood is given to all accident victims in need of blood until they arrive at a hospital and their blood type can be determined. But the O negative supply can be depleted quickly if a hospital receives several accident victims with the relatively rare blood type.