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Breezes may carry more ducks to Missouri’s fall hunting season

Missouri duck hunters may be pleasantly surprised this fall hunting season.

Biologists report an overall 16 percent increase in the number of ducks this season, which opens Oct. 25 in the northern zone that includes Boone County.

Columbia schools record uneven MAP test scores

Missouri Assessment Program scores released Friday show mixed results for Columbia’s public schools.

Phyllis Chase, superintendent of the Columbia Public School District, said she was pleased with the progress students made on the assessment — known as MAP — but was also aware of the categories where improvements were not made. MAP measures a variety of subjects — math, communication arts, social studies and science.

Summit addresses education

JEFFERSON CITY — Elson Floyd, president of the UM System, said Friday that the rising cost of college, fueled in part by declining state revenue and manifested in sharp tuition increases, is placing college beyond the reach of some families.

“Many students who manage to go to college are forced to take out student loans that will leave them in large debt upon graduation,” he said.

Against the odds

When Kelly Moffatt was born 10 weeks prematurely, she had only a 10 percent chance of survival. On Saturday, Moffatt, a 23-year-old MU student with cerebral palsy, was one of the nearly 2,400 cyclists to bike through Columbia streets to raise money for multiple sclerosis.

Pipe prompts police probe

An abandoned piece of PVC pipe across the street from a construction site got the attention of the Columbia Police Department mid-day Saturday.

The object in question brought members of the Columbia Police Department, including an explosives expert, and the Columbia Fire Department to the back parking lot of the Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. Ninth St., to investigate.

MVC grades lawmakers on conservation

Missouri legislators earned grades ranging from A to F in an assessment released Saturday by Missouri Votes Conservation based on votes they cast on environmental issues.

Among area legislators, 25th District Rep. Vicky Riback Wilson, D-Columbia, received an A, the best possible grade, while 21st District Rep. Steve Hobbs, R-Mexico, got an F. Meanwhile, 19th District State Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, got a B and was designated the 2003 Senate Conservation Champion.

Centers offer more than religion

Many places of worship in Columbia dedicate time and effort to welcoming back students. From social activities to everyday worship, students can participate in various welcome-back events and continuing events throughout the year.

Enduring power

On sunny days, its rusty beige stack, topped by a black rain shield, stands silhouetted against the sky. An asymmetrical, disproportionate manmade beast fenced with barbed wire, the Columbia Municipal Power Plant towers above Business Loop 70.

Inside, in its greenish off-white belly, amidst metal and steam, the miracle of energy is born in coal heat. The energy sparks through the boilers’ steam, runs into the turbines and becomes a stream of electrons. Those who make it happen are surprisingly sun-baked and wear uniforms of blue T-shirts and jeans.

Local MAP scores

Below are the scores for each school in Columbia on the Missouri Assessment Program tests. MAP index scores are calculated by the state for comparing entire schools. Other figures show percentages of students who scored in the top two of the five grading levels. The last column shows the percentage change in those levels from last year.

A lifetime of curly hair woes

Have you ever heard a man compliment another man on his hair?

“Hey, Ralph. Love the new do.”

Prayers from the hills

Baptist ministers John and Deloris Hill visited their first prison together in 1984. “As we were leaving the first time, I felt like I was floating. I knew I wasn’t actually in the air, but it was a supernatural experience,” the Rev. John Hill said.

Since then, the Columbia couple has ministered to thousands of inmates at prisons and jails across Missouri.

‘Be who you are’

Joe Hoover grew up in Climax Springs, where gay people were not discussed. He says by age 14 he was the “big man on campus” musically. He sang frequently and won the state music contest. The pastor of Lazy Acres Baptist Church asked him to help with the church music. Often he was the only person younger than 50 at the church. Joe became song leader, and soon the pastor asked him to give a sermon.

  “The pastor was leaving for a week. He said, ‘I want you to preach next week.’ So I did and people loved it,” Joe says.

Bush pushes permanent tax cuts

In a 45-minute speech Thursday, President George W. Bush said the lagging economy is beginning to turn around thanks in part to his tax cuts, which he wants to make permanent.

“America’s economy today is showing signs of promise,” said Bush as he addressed a packed Kansas City Convention Center. “Our economy is starting to grow again. Americans are feeling more confident.”

Saving a Friend

Losing his eye to cancer surgery four years ago never stopped Rusty from charming his disabled riders. Now that the cancer is back, his caretakers refuse to let this horse call it quits.

With abundant support from his hometown of Oregon, Ohio, the prized therapeutic horse is coming to MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine on Monday for cancer treatment that will take at least five weeks.

City uses grant money to replace, maintain sirens

Nine warning sirens that serve Columbia’s less-affluent neighborhoods are at risk of remaining silent in an emergency, and city officials are working to remedy the problem.

James McNabb, director of the Office of Emergency Management, said some of the city’s sirens are more than 30 years old. Although none of them is malfunctioning, they have been in place long beyond the manufacturer’s recommended life span of 20 years.

Percentage of minority teachers decreasing

The percentage of public school teachers who are male or black is decreasing across America, according to a survey from the National Education Association. The same is true in the Show-Me State, according to fresh figures from the Missouri Department of Education.

New benches first step in $2 million project

Those looking to take a seat on a downtown public bench can now do so without worrying about splinters.

Six new black metal benches were put in on Ninth Street this week in anticipation of the Twilight Festival. The festival, which happens every Thursday night in September, annually draws hundreds of people to downtown Columbia.

High court to decide tax protest

Although arguing for different outcomes, lawyers for taxpayers and schools each urged the Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday to decide whether school districts can constitutionally raise property tax levies to certain amounts without voter approval.

A decision by the state’s highest court could potentially affect at least one out of every five school districts in Missouri. As much as $30 million annually in local school revenues could be at stake. At issue are two constitutional provisions governing elections for school tax levies.

Soldiers as scholars

MEXICO, Mo.-- Sixteen-year-old Keith Hammond of Lubbock, Texas, sat nervously in a barber’s chair as inches of his red hair fell to the floor. It was one of many introductions for the new cadet Tuesday at the Missouri Military Academy.

“Keith’s really a good kid,” Alicia Wills, his mother, whispered as she watched her son. “I just want him to be in a good learning environment around other good kids.”

City sues Kroenkes for drainage area

The city of Columbia has sued local developer Stan Kroenke over a 16-foot strip of land it says it needs for public improvements in southwest Columbia.

The city has sought to acquire the land, which is owned by Kroenke and his wife, Ann, since December 2002 to improve drainage along Sinclair Street, across from Woodcrest Chapel. The Kroenkes and the city failed to agree on “proper compensation,” according to court documents, and the city filed a petition for condemnation Aug. 1.

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