Agency vexed with fiscal fiasco

The Columbia Housing Authority must make up $200,000 of its $9 million operating revenue this year.

Its top accounting manager resigned Wednesday due to the administration’s dissatisfaction with his work.

MU instructs teachers on science of DNA

Leigh Fleck decided to go back to college for a day to help her middle school students learn more about DNA and new research.

Fleck, a science teacher at New Franklin Middle School, was part of a group of four teachers who participated in the first of a series of six workshops organized by the MU Plant Genomics Research Experience for Teachers Program.

General: Take advantage of technology

Technology used on the battlefield in Iraq is slowly making its way into the hands of officials who oversee U.S. homeland security, an Army general said Thursday.

Maj. Gen. John Doesburg, commander of the Army’s research and development engineering command, was in Columbia to discuss how police and firefighters can take advantage of military technology.

Reading First grant considered

As some states rebel against the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the Columbia Public School District is looking to implement one of its central programs.

Today, the Columbia Board of Education will vote on whether the district should apply for a Missouri Reading First grant. Reading First gives money to schools and districts to use science-based reading research in instruction and assessment, according to the No Child Web site.

Sports, recreation centers integral to fairground plan

It might be 25 years before the Boone County Fairground is fully developed as the sports and recreation complex envisioned by city and county officials, Boone County Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin said Wednesday.

On Monday night, the Columbia City Council ended four years of deliberation on the future of the fairground by endorsing a master plan known as Option III. That $5.5-million plan calls for trails, shelters, a dog park, concession stands, parking lots and numerous athletic fields on the fairground and the adjoining 80-acre Atkins tract, which is jointly owned by the city and county.

Tenant’s junk sparks meth investigation

What police and fire investigators said might be the makings of a methamphetamine laboratory inside a Sexton Avenue house were nothing more than old welding equipment, chemistry textbooks and radioactive warning stickers, according to an MU student who rented the house last year.

Around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, police and firefighters arrived at a vacant house at 707 W. Sexton Ave. after two maintenance workers reported finding suspicious materials that could be used for radioactive explosives inside the house.

Soaring airport business good news for Boonville

Wayne and Doris Shoemaker keep a small airplane in a hangar at the Jesse Viertel Memorial Airport near Boonville. The Columbia couple can make it from their home off of Scott Boulevard to the Boonville airport in 20 minutes — considerably faster than the time it would take to drive to Columbia Regional Airport.

It’s not just convenience that attracts the Shoemakers to the Boonville airport. They know most everyone by sight and enjoy the friendly atmosphere.

Ashcroft returns to Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY — U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft returned to the state capital Wednesday for the first time since he joined the Bush administration in 2001.

Ashcroft took his staff on a surprise tour of the Missouri Capitol while he was in town to speak to the state’s business leaders.

On the coming of spring

Spring cannot be found through the wisdom of a groundhog, a creature that lives in the cold, dark, stale air of a hidden lair. To find hope of winter's passing, we must look beyond feet caked with cinder-stained slush and roadside sand. Hope is above in the sunlight, the blossoms of trees and the voices of birds. Creatures of flight bring us the renewed sounds of spring's refreshing warmth and beauty.

Gliding grace

Thirteen-year-old Ali Kitchen of Columbia huddled in the back seat of her mother’s car, wrapped in an extra blanket and hunched over to produce more body heat.

“When it’s cold here, it’s cold in the ice arena,” Ali said. Her hands pulled up under the fringes of the blanket.

Mother urges insurance coverage for hearing impaired children

JEFFERSON CITY - Jody Pacheco, mother of 7-year-old Augustine and 5-year-old Wayne, both with a hearing loss, testified Tuesday in favor of a bill aimed at providing insurance coverage for hearing aids to children up to age 19.

Read Arranging

Rachel Brekhus has made a top cut.

A reference librarian at MU’s Ellis Library, she and other reference staff have spent the past months creating a list of reference books they think should make the move into the library’s new James B. Nutter Sr. Family Information Commons, under construction now and scheduled to open in the fall. The commons will replace the library’s reference section as a space for students to gather and share information.

Bill would not decrease school aid

JEFFERSON CITY — Monday’s rally for more public school money was greeted Tuesday by a House bill that would effectively hold steady state aid distribution to public schools.

The House Committee on Education Appropriation heard a plan Tuesday that calls for funding public schools at almost exactly the same levels they received during the 2002-03 school year.

Commission, county clash over sign rules

Boone County officials have worked off and on for years to establish new sign restrictions. So when the Boone County Commission shot down a proposal from the county Planning and Zoning Commission, one can imagine the frustration that followed.

Boone County Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin cited last-minute opposition as the reason he and his fellow county commissioners declined to act on the proposed regulations late last year.

CDC director touts disease awareness in lecture at MU

When it comes to communicating about disease, there is a thin line between informing the public and creating a panic. With recent illnesses such as mad cow disease and SARS, public exposure to disease information has become critical.

It is Glen Nowak’s job to keep disease communication in perspective, and increase public awareness by helping the media stay focused.

Drug law angers groups

Members of Columbia’s Grass Roots Organizing and a group called the Concerned Citizens of Missouri voiced displeasure to a representative of Sen. Kit Bond, R-MO., on Tuesday.

The groups were upset with a new Medicare prescription drug law set to take effect next month. They presented a petition against the law to the representative at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

V-Week aims to enlighten

Organizations on the MU campus aim to educate on issues ranging from sexual-health to self-defense as part of V-Week. The V stands for vagina, victory and Valentine.

The week will culminate in two productions of “The Vagina Monologues.”

No one injured in house fire

No one was injured by a house fire at 2233 Lakeland Drive on Tuesday evening. Tim Blackford, the renter, and two of his stepdaughters, Kirstin Baker, 14, and Kasey Hull, 12, were in the home when the fire started.

Kirstin called 911 on Blackford’s cell phone, and the call was received at 5:18 p.m., Boone County Fire Protection District Chief Steve Paulsell said.

Foes upset after delay on Philips

The Columbia City Council’s agreement Monday night to table its vote on the proposed annexation and zoning of the Philips farm has opponents crying foul.

The council, which after months of discussion was scheduled to take a final vote on the proposal, tabled it instead after attorney Dan Simon presented a 10-page memorandum detailing last-minute changes in the proposal from developer Elvin Sapp. Simon also warned that Sapp would withdraw his plan if the council failed to approve it by March 15.

Robot brought in for meth bust

Suspicious materials that police and firefighters thought might be radioactive explosives inside a Columbia home were the makings of a methamphetamine laboratory, police said.

Columbia police were called to 707 W. Sexton Road about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday by construction workers who were about to begin renovations on the one-story house. The workers told police they had stumbled upon fuel canisters and labels depicting radioactive symbols inside the vacant house, said Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steven Sapp.