Finding a blessing

Seventy-five-year-old Janet Barnes accomplishes more in a day than some people half her age. That’s pretty good for someone who was not expected to live past her 14th birthday.

Barnes was informally diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 11, and for most of her life she has been dependent on crutches or her wheelchair for mobility. Yet she sees her circumstance as a blessing rather than a hindrance.

Eastward expansion

As the past several years brought an explosion of growth to north, south and west Columbia, the urban fringe east of the city quietly awaited its turn.

That wait is coming to an end. Government officials, landowners, developers and residents say the east side is bound to boom next, given its proximity to central Columbia, the extension of city sewer lines and transportation planners’ renewed push for an extension of Stadium Boulevard. Other features of the area — namely the access provided by Route WW and the existence of large tracts of land that are easier than small lots to buy, plan and develop — also make it appealing.

Floyd: ‘Oh yes, I’ve learned’

Last week, Elson Floyd said that he had no contact with Ricky Clemons after the former MU basketball player was hospitalized for injuries suffered during an accident July 4 at the UM system president’s house.

Floyd also said in a statement issued after recorded telephone conversations between his wife, Carmento, and Clemons became public that he did not encourage his wife’s relationship with Clemons and had advised her against it.

Columbia school officials seek outside help for summer classes

When the Independence School District turned to a private company to operate its summer school, enrollment in summer classes for elementary and middle school students doubled in the first year.

The Raytown School District near Kansas City saw summer school enrollments go up for three consecutive years under the management of the same firm, Newton Learning.

A centering influence

Once the bell rings on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at Blue Ridge Elementary School, the Ocampo brothers race outside and climb into a gray 15-passenger van.

The brothers, 10-year-old Freddy, 9-year-old Cristian and 5-year-old Ivan, are among 40 Latino children who participate in the after-school program at Centro Latino. The resource center has served the Columbia Latino community for three years. Children are picked up from school and receive help on homework from bilingual volunteers.

The custodian of Texas Avenue

Clutching a white plastic grocery bag in one hand, Betty Rose Northup bends down gingerly to scoop up a soggy newspaper with the other. Droplets from the steady November drizzle meander down the wisps of matted golden hair poking out from under her white hat.

“It’s a throw-away society,” Northup says as she fills the bag, her dog, Shadow, in tow. “People throw away dogs; they throw away babies.”

Support among loved ones

Clad in a dark green flight suit just like his dad’s, 4-year-old Jarod Farnham waved a miniature American flag and sang “I’m Proud to Be an American.”

According to his mother, Jarod wants to be a pilot when he grows up. But right now, he just wants to be near his father, Bruce Farnham, a pilot with the National Guard’s recently deployed C Company 1-106th Aviation Battalion.

MU fans finding no room at inns

Even with 3,600 tickets to the game still to be sold, Shreveport, La., has run out of room — literally.

Although Shreveport, a town of more than 200,000, has designated only 26 hotels for fans hoping to attend the Independence Bowl, all of the city’s 68 hotels are booked for the New Year’s Eve game.

Wounded wildlife

If it has fur or feathers, Dale and Deb Tolentino have probably cared for it.

The owners of D-D Farm Animal Sanctuary and Rescue make their livelihood by rescuing and rehabilitating animals.

Roberts to lead Life Sciences Center

More than two months after interviewing its final four candidates, MU’s Life Sciences Center has chosen its director.

MU Provost Brady Deaton announced Tuesday that R. Michael Roberts, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has been appointed director of the $60 million center. His appointment will be effective Jan. 1.

Philips farm plans take step forward

As long as the developer is able to address concerns about traffic and storm water runoff, Columbia’s planning department has recommended approving nearly all the plans for the 489-acre Philips farm in southeast Columbia.

Developer Elvin Sapp wants to put a mix of commercial, office and residential development on the land inside the environmentally sensitive Gans and Clear Creek and Little Bonne Femme watersheds. If approved in its current form, the development would be the largest in Boone County history.

Hanaway announces 2004 candidacy

JEFFERSON CITY — Speaker of the House Catherine Hanaway, R-St. Louis County, announced her candidacy Tuesday in the 2004 race for secretary of state elections.

Citing her experience as a securities lawyer in St. Louis and her time in the state legislature, Hanaway pledged that as secretary of state, she would create jobs for all Missourians who want them and restore the integrity of the election process.

Jefferson City tightens rules on smoking

JEFFERSON CITY — Another Missouri city has added its name to the growing list of places that ban smoking in restaurants.

Despite a loud outcry from restaurant owners, the City Council of Jefferson City voted 6-4 on Monday for a clean-air ordinance.

Senator proposes taxing illegal drugs

JEFFERSON CITY — Sen. Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, has pre-filed a bill targeting the bank accounts of drug dealers in Missouri.

The act requires drug dealers to pay a stamp tax on each gram of illegal drugs in their possession. The stamps would be purchased anonymously and be valid for three months.

Dealing with discrimination

One man claimed that a Wal-Mart supercenter failed to accommodate his disability and that a manager cussed him out when he complained.

Another complained that Gerbes employees accused him of shoplifting because he’s black and walks with a cane.

Russell Park road issue still unsolved

City planners are still looking for a way to move traffic in and around the Russell property.

Planning Director Roy Dudark presented four options to the City Council on Monday to extend roads from Cunningham Road through the park. Dudark said an extension of Cunningham, which is included in the city’s Major Roadway Plan, would greatly benefit traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods and parks, but also included three options that extend roads further west.

Westlake Ace considering another store

Westlake Ace Hardware is hoping to open a third store in Columbia.

Harold Elsberry, Westlake Ace Hardware’s president and CEO, said Friday the company wants to expand in Columbia and is looking into potential locations in the Nifong-Providence area.

Mizzou grad wins ‘King of the Jungle’

The 6-foot blood python lunged at Kelly Diedring’s legs, attempting to strike the animal care specialist. Diedring hopped back while still grasping the aggressive snake and successfully avoided the jaws of the python — all the while explaining its features and behaviors on camera.

This scene from the Dec. 1 episode of Animal Planet’s first reality show, “King of the Jungle,” was one of many that impressed the judges so much that “Queen of the Jungle” might have been a more fitting title for the show.

Lane to seek seat on school board

Henry Lane will once again run for a seat on the Columbia Board of Education and plans to file the paperwork this morning to make his sixth candidacy official.

Lane said in a news release that his primary concerns are quality of education, financial management of the district, school property taxes and the $22.5 million bond issue that district officials are preparing to place on the April ballot.

Searching for home

John Hauck Von Braun shares a room with 10 other men. He sleeps in a bed that is a foot shorter than his 6-foot-7-inch frame. He has a curfew at night, and his phone calls are limited.

But the 55-year-old could not be more thankful for his place of residency, New Life Evangelical Center. “My life would probably be over if it wasn’t for this shelter,” he said.