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Mischief and politics

John Ballard likes to stir up trouble.

If you can’t tell that by the mischievous glint in his eye, he’ll tell you so.

Seductive destruction

The meth capital of the United States. That’s the reputation rural

Missouri has earned. Statewide, 2,743 meth labs were busted in 2002. The drug lures users in. Leslie Roettgen knows all about it. Meth makes her feel brilliant and powerful.

All safe in emergency jet landing

Forty-two passengers and two crew-members are safe after their plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Columbia Regional Airport around 10:45 a.m. Sunday, according to airline officials.

United Express flight 5452, operated by the Appleton, Wisc.-based company Air Wisconsin, was en route to Washington-Dulles International Airport from Kansas City International Airport. While airport officials originally cited a failure in the plane's left engine, Air Wisconsin spokes-woman Kelly Lanpheer said the problem was actually in the warning light for the engine.

Challenge to school funds awaits filing

JEFFERSON CITY — On Tuesday, an attorney representing 229 Missouri school districts plans to file a long-expected lawsuit challenging the way the state funds public schools.

His plaintiffs include school officials, students, parents and taxpayers. And his claim is twofold — that Missouri fails to provide enough money to schools, and that the money it does provide is handed out unfairly.

Time to stock up for another year

Well, it’s a brand-new year and time to get on the good foot, as the old folks used to say. Most of my friends who traveled by air during the holidays seem to have accepted that extensive security checks and long waiting periods are rapidly becoming a way of life. They consider a few inconveniences a small price to pay for the peace of mind of safe air travel. Some have expressed their belief that high levels of security alerts will be with us for years.

Many of us have adjusted to the reality that we have entered a new phase of global existence. People of different economic, political and social levels have divergent views as to what our future role will be in the new world order. For some, it is a time of great confidence and self-assurance; for others, discomfort and uncertainty weigh heavily on the mind.

UM board president asked for challenge

KANSAS CITY— Mary James secured her seat on the University of Missouri’s Board of Curators in the simplest way possible: She asked to serve, and her wish was granted.

“I had always done public service work in my community — park board and athletic booster club. I’d always raised money here in town,” James said. “This is sort of an extension of all of that,” but it’s “the big time.”

After a year, 700 people use ARC daily

Columbia’s Activity & Recreation Center has been open for a year now, and those running it couldn’t be happier.

“I think the ARC has lived up to — if not exceeded — most of the expectations the community had for it,” said Gary Ristow, recreation services manager for Columbia Parks and Recreation.

A change in the city’s Paratransit system makes Wanda Avery feel she has been left out in the cold

Wanda Avery turns over her hand — a hand with long, graceful fingers and trim, rounded nails — to show the tight puckered skin of her palm.

Rheumatoid arthritis forces her fingertips toward her wrists. She can hardly use her hands, even to hold a cup of coffee.

Cattle producers ride out scare

Gary Hudson has raised cattle in Columbia for about 40 years. Even in retirement, Hudson keeps about 35 cows and also raises heifers to sell every year.

Hudson believes consumers still have a hunger for beef, despite concerns raised by the recent case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy — also known as mad cow disease — reported in Washington. Hudson was among a standing-room only crowd of local farmers and cattle producers at Thursday’s auction at Callaway Livestock Center, east of Kingdom City.

Where’s the beef — Missouri or Kansas?

No one disputes that Texas raises more cattle and produces more beef than any other state.

But who is No. 2?

Some choose chicken, but steak remains a staple

A single case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy — or mad cow disease — has raised concerns about the safety of the country’s beef supply here and abroad.

In the wake of the BSE report, involving a dairy cow in Washington, the largest foreign buyers of American beef — Mexico, Japan and South Korea — have banned imports.

Tim and Terry replace Jill and Shirley as MU’s mules

COLUMBIA— Two rawboned 10-year-olds from outside Springfield have been chosen to represent the University of Missouri-Columbia at events ranging from the governor’s inauguration to the State Fair.

Tim and Terry are replacing Jill and Shirley as the university’s mule team.

Shreveport trip turns into flood

I haven’t written about any of our RV excursions lately because the last few trips while fun were uneventful. Translation: too boring to talk about. However, as I write this column I am on the trip from hell.

My husband and I decided that we would go to MU’s Independence Bowl game. (Because we haven’t had a bowl game in years and we are getting older, we seized the opportunity, not knowing when the next post-season foray would occur.)

A passion for pulling

Exhaust hangs thick below the lights in the arena at the Boone County Fairgrounds as two John Deere tractors groom the arena’s dirt track.

Roger McKinney, Jr., 33, paces the sidelines of the 200-foot track, weaving between the hundreds of people that are waiting for the next competitor. Some wear earplugs, but most don’t.

Holden, GOP diverge on life sciences plans

Though often at odds, Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat, and Republican legislative leaders agree on the need to boost the University of Missouri system’s life sciences. But the governor and the lawmakers have offered up two different plans for spending millions of dollars to meet the goal and have yet to coordinate their efforts.

Holden’s Jobs Now program and a bond proposal promoted by Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder and House Speaker Catherine Hanaway both target expansion of life sciences to create new jobs in the state. Kinder and Hanaway back a UM proposal to issue $190.4 million in bonds to build and renovate life sciences facilities. The plan would cost the state’s revenue fund $11.6 million a year for debt service beginning in 2008.

Hazardous waste funds to take a hit

JEFFERSON CITY — Dotting the Missouri landscape are the ingredients for human suffering: lead, arsenic and dioxin.

Just ask the residents of North Kansas City.

A New Stage of Work

After nearly 30 years of dancing and teaching in New York and around the world, Columbia native Alan Lynes is back, ready to tackle his newest assignment: renovating the Missouri Theatre.

With work scheduled to begin in 2005, Lynes’ main focus for the next year is raising the $8 million to $10 million needed to remodel the 1920s-era theater.

Couple to face felony abuse charge

The Hallsville couple arrested nearly two weeks ago after a horse died on their farm will be charged today with felony animal abuse, said Boone County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Connie Sullivan

Brandi and Thomas Phillips were arrested Dec. 22 after the Central Missouri Humane Society received an anonymous tip that two horses owned by the couple were severely malnourished. One of the horses died shortly after the arrival of humane society workers and deputies from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

WHO M I?

A driver’s attention is often grabbed by a personalized license plate.

Whether laugh-out-loud funny, mind-numbingly dumb, or bewildering and baffling, each personalized plate is unique. But having one sure isn’t.

Nurturing nature

Scott Schulte deftly weaves through the rocky terrain, sweeping past leafless branches and pausing occasionally to observe the nature that surrounds him.

He halts, listening carefully. Birds call in the cold morning air. Two deer scamper in the distance. “They must be over there,” Schulte says, pointing in the direction the deer came from.

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