MU Health Care out of the red

It’s a step in the right direction, but by no means a final solution.

That was the message from University of Missouri Health Care officials Monday as they announced an $8 million profit in the fiscal year that ended June 30. The surplus is the health care system’s first in four years, and it comes after suffering more than $30 million in losses between June 1999 and June 2002.

In the wake of a win

For the MU football team, the aftermath of its first win over Nebraska in 25 years was unsurprisingly good. The Tigers moved back into the Associated Press Top 25 poll at No. 24.

Tiger fans did not fare as well.

Event to advise disabled on jobs

Part of Pam Morrison’s job at MU’s Department of Physical Therapy is running errands. But because she travels by wheelchair, things like heavy doors and stairs can stand in the way.

Morrison has been steadily employed in the Columbia area since 1980, so she has learned how to get and keep her job through trial and error.

Orientation may be part of anti-bias rule

Nondiscrimination policies at the University of Missouri could include a new classification — sexual orientation — if the Board of Curators approves the change this week.

The proposed change, subject to a vote Thursday when the governing board meets in St. Louis, was recommended most recently by UM system president Elson Floyd.

Outdoor school

By opening its new outdoor classroom Monday, Mill Creek Elementary School hopes to offer students a hands-on learning experience unlike any other Columbia Public School. The facility, behind the school, features a butterfly garden, a shelter house, and a walk path that winds through wetlands and a prairie.

Rob Myer, chairman of the outdoor classroom committee, said other schools have outdoor classrooms, but none offers as much as the new facility, located on the school’s 20-acre property.

Movie to document MU Antler antics

When R. Scott Murphy attended MU as a naive freshman, a group of clever student pranksters caught his eye. Two decades later, Murphy is a successful advertising executive in Austin, Texas, but he is still captivated by MU’s ornery Antlers.

Murphy, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MU’s journalism school in the late 1980s, wrote a screenplay after being prodded by friends and colleagues to turn his fascination with the Antlers into a movie.

School board plans more free lunches

There might be such things as free lunches for the Columbia Public School District in the coming years. The Columbia Board of Education adopted a resolution Monday that supports gradually raising federal eligibility guidelines for free and reduced lunches.

More families would be eligible for free lunches under the proposed guidelines, and families currently on the reduced lunch program would get free lunches.

Couple enjoys specialty publishing business

If you have lived in Columbia for a while, or even if you are thinking of moving here, you are likely to have seen a book with a yellow oval heading in racks around town. The publication is called The Real Estate Book of Columbia & Surrounding Communities, and it is compiled by Maximum Media Inc.

More than eight years ago, husband-and-wife team Anthony Holmes and Lesha Hageman founded Maximum Media. The Real Estate Book, which comes out every two weeks, was their first project. The book is a franchise, but Hageman and Holmes decided to purchase the rights to the local territory in 1995. Hageman, who was a real estate agent, was advertising in The Real Estate Book at that time. When the owners decided to sell, Hageman and Holmes jumped on the opportunity.

One crabby pet

A hermit crab peers out of its shell and, having decided the path is clear, scurries across the sand to a small pond of water. Using its claws, the crab begins to scoop water into its mouth. As a handful of onlookers watches in amazement, Hasan Zubair steps forward and makes his sales pitch.

“Crabs do a lot of neat things like that,” he says.

Examining the MAP

The music starts as flashlights flicker in the audience. A spotlight shines on the stage. Kids burst through a paper wall like football players on a Friday night, medals dangling from their necks.

This was the scene at Parkade Elementary School last spring as its leaders sought to encourage students to do well on the Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP.

Cyclists complain of poor conditions

There are times and places in Columbia when riding a bicycle can be like swimming with sharks. Traffic hums along a four-lane thoroughfare. You’re on two wheels. Pedals serve as your motor. There are no sidewalks, no turn lanes. The shoulder is littered with gravel, glass and chunks of broken concrete.

By the end of September, Columbia bicyclists had been involved in 17 accidents this year, compared with 10 in 2002. With an overall average of about 10 traffic accidents a day, and more bicyclists taking to the streets, the likelihood for more cycling-related mishaps is strong.

Roadblock weighed for Rollins Street

A proposal before the Missouri Students Association to close a campus section of Rollins Street might soon force student drivers to rethink their navigation strategies.

On Wednesday, MSA, led by President Brett Ordnung, will review legislation to approve blocking general vehicle traffic on Rollins from Hitt Street to Missouri Avenue between 8:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. on weekdays.

Tenants request more accessible recycling bins

Alia Moore has asked the city to place a recycling bin at her apartment complex, and she isn’t alone.

While the city has made strides in expanding recycling opportunities for apartment dwellers, Moore and others continue to haul their cans and bottles to recycling bins outside grocery stores.

A pizzeria's past painted

It might not qualify as a cultural event, but walking past Shakespeare’s Pizza certainly can be an experience.

It’s always packed with students, professors, office workers and families who appreciate not only the food but also the flying chunks of dough, the comedic staff and shouts of “Pizza time!” erupting over the loudspeaker.

County rescue dog undergoes training for Task Force One

There are dogs who look out for people, and then there’s Cal. Cal, a hard-working Belgian Malinois, is in the process of becoming certified to join Missouri’s Task Force One team in Boone County. Once part of the team, he will risk life and paw to save complete strangers.

Cal, short for Calvary, got his name from Calvary Episcopal Church, which held its 13th annual horse show this weekend at the Midway Exposition Center in Columbia. Money raised from this year’s show will help cover the purchase and training of Cal, who arrived in Columbia in late June.

Cycling for life

Accidents will happen, but Columbia’s bike community has seen more accidents in 2003 than in previous years. With more and more bikes on the road, cyclists and drivers must use more than simple caution to prevent unnecessary wrecks.

Officer Lyn Woolford and his colleagues at the Columbia Police Department aren’t sure why the number of bike accidents has nearly doubled from last year. They’ve talked about what they can do to prevent accidents, but they don’t see a pattern.

Change in season is pleasant distraction

Now that some of the bad news is in — for example, the news about higher winter-heating costs — its time for me to start getting prepared for the winter ahead. Most of my friends would say I stay ready year-round and always have a sweater or jacket handy in case of a chill wind, even in July. Preparedness for me, though, is about more than just warm clothes and heavy blankets. It requires a mental, as well as a physical, adjustment.

When the weather is warm, the sun shining and I’m surrounded by blooming flowers, I can maintain a mellow mood. I can swallow the news stories with a grain of salt, drink a cold glass of water and commune with nature. I can lay down on the bank of a bubbling brook and, with a blink of the eye, make the world go away. I can enjoy a picnic with friends, play badminton and take photographs of the birds and beasts that come to visit.

New gun law delayed by injunction

There was no line outside Hallsville’s police department Saturday morning although the building had planned to open at 9 a.m. for people seeking concealed-weapons permits.

“I’m just going to post some signs on the doors that the issuance of permit applications has been postponed until further notice,” Hallsville Police Chief Pete Herring said Friday. The signs, printed on neon-pink paper taped to the doors, were hard to miss.

Schnucks employees sent to ease strike

While Columbia’s Schnucks has not been affected directly by the

St. Louis strike, mid-Missouri Schnucks managers and supervisors have been asked to travel to St. Louis to alleviate pressure from the strike of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655.” Columbia Schnucks stores will maintain their normal operating hours,” Jeff Zimmerman, Schnucks manager, said.

MU finishes Life Science interviews

The interviews are complete. The final of four candidates for the Life Sciences director position, F. Robert Tabita, spoke at a public forum Friday. He presented his scientific seminar Thursday — a requirement of the two-day interview process.

Tabita is an Ohio Eminent Scholar of industrial and agriculture microbiology as well as a professor in the departments of natural resources and plant biology at Ohio State University. During his time there, he has also served as the director of the Plant Molecular Biology program, Plant Biotechnology Center and the Plant-Microbe Genomics Facility.