Merger, finances, consolidation seen as issues for UM in 2004

When MU Chancellor Richard Wallace announced his retirement last July, University of Missouri system President Elson Floyd said the university was entering a year of transition. The transition included a series of changes and decisions in both administration and academics, most of which should see a resolution in 2004.

The year ended in turmoil as the university was shaken by the Ricky Clemons scandal. On tapes released in December by the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, the former MU basketball player talks to Floyd’s wife, Carmento Floyd, and Amy Stewart, the wife of MU associate athletics director Ed Stewart. The conversations contained racial remarks that sparked controversy about the Floyds’ and Stewarts’ relationships with Clemons.

Final push for 3 Boone legislators

JEFFERSON CITY — This could be the final year in Missouri’s Capitol for three Columbia-area legislators, and their circumstances are hardly conducive for going out with a bang.

Boone County’s senator and two of its representatives, who are scheduled to be ousted by term limits, find themselves in the minority party and with limited power to push their legislation to the top of the legislative agenda.

Walnut shells used for power

After rolling out a wind-powered renewable energy option in July called Renewable Choice, Boone Electric and its parent cooperative have switched from buying wind power to burning low-sulfur coal mixed with walnut shells.

Associated Electric Cooperative, which serves Boone Electric, bought about 3,000 tons of landfill-bound walnut shells and is using them to produce about 3.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity at the Chamois power plant, along the Missouri River about 30 miles east of Jefferson City.

Treating timber

The familiar green, treated lumber that is used to build decks, fences and playground equipment will become less familiar in 2004.

In February of 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the wood treatment industry had voluntarily decided to gradually discontinue its production of chromated copper arsenate in residential products by Dec. 31, 2003.

City fire captain retires

For the first time in two decades, Columbia Fire Department Capt. Colin Tegerdine will spend most nights at home. Tegerdine, 44, completed his final 24-hour shift at the fire station at 2 this morning. No longer will he spend 56 hours per week eating, sleeping and waiting for the next fire call.

“You don’t do something for 20 years and then just walk away,” Tegerdine said at a retirement reception Friday. “It’s tough.”

Japanese look to I-70 plan for Tokyo project

Japanese officials have recognized the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Interstate 70 public involvement efforts as among the nation’s best and plan to emulate it in their future transportation projects.

Three high-ranking Japanese transportation officials visited Missouri transportation officials and members of the Improve I-70 Advisory Group on Friday at the Columbia Activity and Recreation Center to discuss future transportation projects in Japan.

Knowing the world earns spot in bee

“Urdu is an official language of a Muslim country that was once part of British India. Name this country.” The correct answer, as 13-year-old Brandon Reddick of Columbia knew, is Pakistan. The West Junior High eighth-grader credits knowing it to his friendship with Sagar Vengurleter of India, whom Brandon has known since preschool. On Friday, Brandon won at the school level of the National Geographic Bee. It was one of 16 competitions held, or to be held, at schools throughout Columbia and sponsored by the Golden K Kiwanis Club. “Being able to answer the last question was pretty cool,” he ...

Horse back on her feet after icy plunge

Wayne Westcott has no idea why or how his horse Ruby got stuck in a freezing pond on his farm north of Columbia. He says Ruby never seemed to like hanging around the pond before.

“I guess she did last night,” Jim Norden, who works for Westcott, said Friday. He found her late Thursday afternoon.

Soaking up the experience

A lack of swimsuits did not deter Seora and Pyeora Seok and Sally Cha of Columbia during the Sixth Annual Kayak Festival at Hickman Pool on Saturday — the girls jumped in with their clothes on.

They were among the more than three dozen children and adults who got a feel for kayaking and canoeing under the watchful eye of local experts.

Paradise or pit?

Mahogany doors, marble partitions and tiles, nickel plated fixtures and vaulted ceilings. The Missouri legislature approved $3 million for these renovations to the Capitol’s bathrooms.

The funds for the renovation already had been allocated before the state began to experience budget problems. In 2001, $2 million was budgeted for the bathrooms, and the other $900,000 was spent last year to complete the job. Renovation work on the bathrooms continues.

No reprieve in ‘whupping’ aftermath

The New Year has been here for two weeks, and my house is a disaster area. The decorations are still up, I haven’t had time to take the two duplicate gifts back — let alone shop the sales. And it’s all because this year we decided to leave town right after Christmas to go to the Independence Bowl.

For those of you who didn’t read last week’s column, it was a miserable trip. Not only was I feeling puny, I somehow managed to flood the entire coach (my husband has decided it’s my fault because I was the last one to use the toilet.) Then, to top it off, we lost the football game. Had we played someone with class it wouldn’t have been so bad, but we played the pigs from Arkansas. Their fans outnumbered us three to one, and I must say they were a rowdy group.

Teenage talent

A white plastic jug sits on a chair directly in front of the band Aeropostale as it plays in the corner of the Youth Center in Sturgeon. Written in black marker, the jug reads, “Donations for the Band.”

The center’s main room is nondescript with white walls, cement floors and six windows that let the fading evening light in. But the look of the room doesn’t matter so much to the group. This is a gig, and that’s all that counts.

A fish that glows

In Tyler Moore’s 20-gallon aquarium, white clouds, goldfish, swordtails and other orange and red fish swirl, making a color coordinated blur. After adding three new GloFish to his tank, Moore was satisfied with the effect.

“They school with my white clouds,” Moore said.

Hindman to seek record fourth term as mayor

The only mayor in Columbia’s history to seek a fourth term in office, Mayor Darwin Hindman, 70, announced Thursday he will seek re-election on April’s ballot.

Hindman, initially elected in 1995 after beating out five other candidates for the position, is in his third term as Columbia’s mayor. He has run unopposed for the non-paying position since 1998.

Mo. woman awarded Bronze Star

After serving four months in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Leonard returned safely home to her life in St. Louis as a systems manager for Washington University.

Although she has been home for months, she cannot forget the soldiers she served with, especially the 35 who were injured in a mortar attack that hit the Corps Support Command on Wednesday. During her time in Iraq, Leonard, along with Maj. Douglas L. Gifford and Sgt. Brett Slaughter, were in charge of tracking the movements and combat of the Third Corps Support Command.

Aiming for the last word

A silence falls over the gymnasium filled with students seated on the carpeted floor at Midway Heights Elementary School. The first contestant steps up to the microphone. The word is “bond,” and the speller slowly delivers the letters one by one.

“That is correct,” said Wende Geitz, the media specialist and spelling bee coordinator at Midway Heights.

Dentists look to spot signs of abuse

Dentists, like all health care professionals in Missouri, are required by law to report evidence of abuse or neglect of their young patients.

Now, some dentists want to strengthen a program that teaches oral-health professionals how to diagnose and report potential abuse situations. The Prevent Abuse and Neglect through Dental Awareness program was started in 1992 by Lyn Mouden, a Weston, Mo., dentist.

Heat funds run low as requests increase

More than 120,000 people in Missouri depended on heating assistance programs last winter, but Community Action Agencies and the Missouri Public Service Commission fear they will run out of money to help this year.

The nationwide Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps people living below or just above the poverty level pay their heating bills.

Green light, green thumb

Hoop houses aren’t exactly a phenomenon of modern science. They’re merely a cheap version of the conventional greenhouse and have been around for decades.

Yet these simple structures are proving an effective way of growing crops at odd times of the year in an organic environment.

Keeping the habit

Jeff Pitts can’t remember how many times he’s tried to quit smoking. At 25 years old, the Columbia native says he has been a heavy smoker for a decade.

In the past six months alone, Pitts has made “two or three” failed attempts to kick the habit.