State debates budget limit

JEFFERSON CITY — Another limit on Missouri state government spending would be put in place by a measure under consideration in the House.

The measure is expected to be debated today.

Tradition of talent

Five minutes. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Megan Larsen regrets wearing a black shirt today as she sweats because of the studio lights. She and her Stephens College classmates are taping a three-minute video called “Meet Your College Neighbor.”

This is the first time the Introduction to Broadcast Production class has worked together on the ungraded project. Larsen is waiting for her classmates to get it together.

Bill would penalize people for being high

Missourians under the influence of drugs could be arrested for being high if a proposed House bill is passed.

Reps. Brian Baker, R-Belton, and Therese Sander, R-Moberly, proposed House Bill No. 983, which would make it a Class A misdemeanor to be under the influence of a controlled substance. Current law prohibits only the possession, purchase, distribution or manufacturing of a controlled substance.

911 service enhanced by digital mapping

The office that handles emergency dispatching for Columbia and Boone County has added real-time digital mapping to its arsenal of blinking and beeping gadgetry, integrating yet another expensive piece of equipment into a system that relies more on high technology than some might think.

The mapping program is the latest in a quickly evolving line of emergency tracking gizmos that help dispatchers pinpoint and display the origins of 911 calls, even if they come in on cellular phones. The whole package cost $197,000, about $161,000 of which came from the county’s phone bill surcharge for 911 service. The rest was covered by a grant from the Public Safety Foundation of America.

New technology can pinpoint calls

The new mapping system employed by Columbia/Boone County dispatchers could not have authenticated an infamous autumn call reporting that a helicopter had gone down in a rural area, said Jim McNabb, director of the dispatch agency, but it would have helped them quickly pinpoint the origin of the call.

In early October, dispatchers received a cell-phone call from an area west of Columbia claiming a helicopter had crashed. Rescuers combed the area for more than two days before calling off their search.

Identifying Cedar Ridge

Sarah Darr loves cartoon monkeys and has been saving her money to decorate her room with “monkey stuff.” Instead of spending the money she received on her ninth birthday to buy wallpaper and pillows, however, she bought the letter “C.”

Cedar Ridge Elementary School’s student council of fifth- and sixth-graders has decided to get the school’s name on the front of the their building, which is now bare.

Skepticism greets UM merger

JEFFERSON CITY — Leaders of Northwest Missouri State University and the University of Missouri system sought Tuesday to persuade lawmakers that a merger of their institutions would spawn academic and economic improvements.

But the first legislative hearing on the proposed merger revealed skepticism among some senators as to whether the schools had the commitment to make the marriage work, and whether the union would damage the state’s relationship with its other universities.

Forum questions science reporting

Sensational news media coverage is contributing to an unrealistic view of the power of human genetics, said Peter Conrad, a speaker at a two-day conference sponsored by the MU sociology department.

This was just one of many issues raised at the Symposium on the Social and Cultural Implications of Human Genetics, which was held Monday and Tuesday at MU’s Memorial Union.

Campaign aims for smoke-free dining

The Columbia/Boone County Board of Health plans to start an educational campaign with the Boone County Coalition for Tobacco Concerns in hopes of having more restaurants voluntarily become smoke-free.

“If you start looking into the facts of second-hand smoke, it’s hard to believe that people knowing the facts would want to continue to have secondhand smoke in their place,” said Chris Coffman, public health planner for the Columbia/Boone County Board of Health and member of the Boone County Coalition for Tobacco Concerns. “I think we have an intelligent, caring community and once education starts, I would expect results like that from Maryville.”

Man pleads guilty to July 5 murder

Gerald Alan Duncan, 43, pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree murder and armed criminal action for the shooting death of James Pruitt on July 5.

In a plea agreement, Duncan received a life sentence with parole and 10 years for armed criminal action. He is required to serve a minimum of 251/2 years to be eligible for parole, said Kevin Crane, Boone County prosecuting attorney.

Image of black Greek houses is focus of forum

Once upon a time, when hip-hop music was “old school,” rapper Ice-T rhymed ominously about the perils of gang warfare over “Colors” in South Central Los Angeles. Those streets, hopefully, would be a far cry from the atmosphere of most college campuses.

Based on this notion, MU’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., decided to enter the fray and ask, “Have Black Greeks Become Gangs?” to an audience of at least 100 students and Columbia residents Tuesday evening.

Physical therapists could help animals in proposed bill

JEFFERSON CITY — An effort to help pets brought a former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals to a committee of Missouri legislators Tuesday.

Whitey Herzog, who led the Cardinals to a World Series championship in 1982, testified in favor of a bill that would let licensed physical therapists provide rehabilitation to animals without requiring a veterinarian be present.

Legendary playwright lectures on free speech

For a man who was kicked out of all but one school he attended, playwright Edward Albee has proved his literary abilities.

Albee, winner of three Pulitzer Prizes and two Tony Awards, spoke at Jesse Hall Tuesday evening. He was invited by MU’s Center for the Literary Arts’ Master Class Series.

Board OKs permit for Western Oil

The Columbia Board of Adjustment approved a request by Western Oil Inc. for a conditional-use permit Tuesday night.

The permit is for the land on the southwest corner of Ash Street and Stadium Boulevard. It will allow Western Oil Inc. to tear down the vacant Crown Shoes building and the current Phillips 66 gas station and car wash and replace them with a new gas station and convenience store and a Lion’s Choice restaurant.

2 arrested for Heitholt murder

The Columbia Police Department has arrested two men in connection with the homicide of Kent Heitholt, a sports editor with the Columbia Daily Tribune. Heitholt was beaten and strangled to death on the morning of Nov. 1, 2001, in the Tribune parking lot, 101 N. Fourth St.

Student groups aid voters

Elephants, donkeys and porcupines, or rather, Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians, are coming out of the woodwork on the college and university campuses in Columbia.

With the primaries over, campus political groups are still determining what the next step on the campaign trail is. However, one item on the agenda that all groups, including nonpartisan ones, will focus on is registering voters.

School board acknowledges budget cuts must be made

The Columbia Public School Board realized Monday night it is going to have to make cuts to Columbia’s schools. But it doesn’t know where the cuts will be made, when they’ll be made or how much cutting will take place.

The only thing for sure is that the fate of Columbia’s teachers will come up in the April board meeting, Deputy Superintendent of Administration Jacque Cowherd said. Beyond that, the board members were reluctant to make any concrete budgeting actions, aside from adopting a philosophy on how budgeting should take place.

Missouri’s February tax revenue up 7.8 percent

JEFFERSON CITY — State revenue collections were higher than House Republican leadership expected as the Revenue Department released February numbers.

General revenue collections released Friday are up 7.8 percent over last year at this time.

New chapter in the story of Stephens

More than 30 years ago, Stephens College seemed the logical choice for a young Annie Potts.

After all, her mother and sister had gone to Stephens, one of the nation’s oldest women’s colleges and an institution known for its tradition of innovation. The school had been gaining steam since 1920, when Werret Wallace Charters was hired as director of research to build what was touted as “the strongest curriculum found in any women’s college in the world.”

Women grin and bare it for a good cause

Karen Althage wants to get out the message that there is life after cancer. With a little help from her friends, she’s raising money for cancer research at the same time.

The Bosom Buddies of Boone County, 14 women ranging in age from 27 to 65, have posed partially nude for a calendar the group is selling to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life walkathon. Three of the women featured in the calendar are cancer survivors, but all have been affected by the disease in some way, Althage said.