Area just a stop for many educated singles

More young, educated single people left the Columbia area than moved in during the five-year period that ended in 2000, according to recently released U.S. Census data.

In its report, the Census Bureau suggests that people 25 to 39 years old and single who have at least one bachelor’s degree are important to an area’s economy because they’re viewed as “human capital” that can foster economic growth.

UM making another bid to lease out acreage

For the past two years, the UM system has tried to get permission from the state to lease out 25 acres at College Avenue and Stadium Boulevard for a developer to build a hotel and a convention center.

Winning that approval would be music to MU’s ears because it would use the lease money to build a performing arts center.

She got game

Picture five lines of high school girls basketball players. Each line is five players deep. Each of these players has a ball, and row by row, players sprint down the court, stop for crossovers first at the free-throw line, then at mid-court and then at the next free-throw line. Assistant coaches swipe at the players’ crossovers.

There is an air of discipline and focus in the gym. An injured player lies on her back, ice wrapped around a knee and works on her shooting form. She flicks a ball into the air repeatedly.

The equations of education=?

Otto Fajen and Brian Long, legislative assistants with the Missouri General Assembly, were faced with a tight deadline. In just a few hours, they had to compose two 140-page documents determining the financial future for 524 school districts and roughly 900,000 students.

Nothing less than the entire Missouri public school financial system was riding on their handiwork.

The equations of education=?: Part Three

While the future of the formula is not completely clear, one thing is certain: Any changes will come with a price, both political and financial.

Lack of funding weakens formula

The very first line of Missouri’s foundation formula establishes a relationship between the amount of money available and the amount of money needed. It’s called the “proration factor.”

In an ideal world, that factor should be 1. In the real world, it now sits at either .82, which is the lowest estimate, or .87, which is the highest.

Confusion delays water projects

Confusion between Boone County government and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has delayed about 20 county maintenance projects in the past year alone.

It’s a situation that has county officials frustrated and grappling for a solution.

First influenza case reported in county

The first case of influenza was recently reported by the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health, but Mary Martin, public health manager for the department, said that doesn’t mean there haven’t been more cases.

“Most people that get influenza aren’t tested,” Martin said. “If people get the flu, they usually stay home and don’t go to the doctor.”

A new spin on rugby

The name has changed throughout the years, but the rules haven’t. What began as “murderball” is now the fastest-growing wheelchair sport: wheelchair rugby.

Columbia’s first Wheelchair Rugby Hit Hunger Day was held Saturday at Wilson’s Total Fitness. Those who attended were asked to bring a nonperishable food item or cash donation. The proceeds benefited the Central Missouri Food Bank.

Lasting Vision

In quill-scratched ink, the original minutes of the First Baptist Church of Columbia declare the intention of 11 people to follow certain tenets.

No. 1: “We believe in our only true and living God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and these three are one.”

Building the ultimate mudball

Mud dots the street in front of the Rucker house in Centralia, where 9-year-old Johnny Veazey works on his messy masterpiece. He and four of his friends crowd around a patch of dirt in a grassy ditch next to the street. Some sit crossed-legged; others lie down, propped up on their elbows.

Each boy is dressed in mud. Jacob Rucker, 7, has clumps stuck to his chin. Danny Beachy, 10, has a smudge in the middle of his forehead. And Johnny’s arms look like they have been dipped up to the elbow in brownie mix. But it doesn’t matter. The boys have a job to do.

The equations of education=?: Part Two

Major issues to address include tax reassessments, a special “hold-harmless” clause and the “proration factor.”

Holiday lights

Council OKs Beck for one more year

Ray Beck will continue as Columbia’s city manager for at least another year, but members of the Columbia City Council worry whether they’re paying him enough.

After giving Beck a stellar review for his performance over the past year, the council decided Wednesday night to extend his contract another year. Beck’s new salary will be $128,911, which includes a 2 percent merit increase and a 2 percent cost-of-living increase. The council also agreed to a one-time payment of $200 to defray the higher cost of medical insurance.

Holiday mission

Since Sept. 11, 2001, Hallsville Elementary School has had a world map hanging outside the principal’s office. The map has the names and locations of 31 Hallsville residents who are in active military service around the world.

This holiday season, Hallsville is trying to make sure its more than 1,200 residents stay in touch with the city’s service members. The city is preparing care packages to send to soldiers stationed overseas, particularly in Iraq and Kosovo.

Raises, insurance boosts county costs

Boone County government might have to dip into reserves to get through 2004, according to a preliminary budget prepared by County Auditor June Pitchford.

Principals rank building needs

This holiday season children won’t be the only ones making wish lists. Principals in the Columbia Public School District are hoping their most pressing school facility needs will be covered by a proposed $22.5 million bond issue.

In January, the school board will decide whether to put the proposal before voters on the April ballot. Deputy Superintendent Jacque Cowherd said the district’s financial adviser has determined that $22.5 million is the amount of money that could be issued without a tax increase.

King Memorial gets grant

In one fell swoop, a U.S. senator has done what a committee raising money for restoration of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial worked nearly a year to achieve.

U.S. Sen. Kit Bond has landed $100,000 from the Save America’s Treasures program for the King Memorial project. The Save America’s Treasures program uses grants from the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Arts to preserve national monuments and other places of interest.

The sharing season

Although she doesn’t have much to give besides her time, 78-year-old Margaret Hicks volunteers year-round for the New Life Evangelistic Center in Columbia.

Trade deal would open up markets for Missouri farmers

Some Missouri farm and livestock groups are confident their members will profit from the Free Trade Area of the Americas trading bloc, but the cheap costs of production in Central and South America have others worried that the playing field won’t be level for Missouri farmers.

Negotiations end today in Miami, where U.S. officials and representatives from 34 countries of Central and South America have been discussing the framework of an agreement that would remove trade barriers among member countries. If an agreement is reached, the FTAA would be the largest trading bloc in the world, stretching from Alaska to Argentina.