Monday, December 22, 1997

Salvation Army taking caution with kettles after recent thefts

Published in the Columbia Missourian

The Salvation Army has already lost two kettles in Columbia this year. The organization is hoping not to lose any more.

"We're trying to make sure that our bell ringers are safe," Salvation Army Maj. Max Grindle said Sunday. "We want them to know that their lives are more important than the money."

He is relieved that both thefts took place when the bell ringers were not around the kettles. The first theft was just of the kettle itself. The second, which took place Saturday outside the Schnucks grocery store on Forum Boulevard, was more involved.

"The person or persons who did it just picked the whole stand up, put it in a vehicle and drove away," Grindle said.

The Salvation Army is taking precautions to prevent kettle theft. The group will start chaining down the kettle stands wherever possible and emptying the kettles periodically.

"We're exchanging kettles every three or four hours so if it does get stolen, they won't get much," Grindle said.

Safety a concern for the holidays

Published in the Columbia Missourian

As travelers hit the highways, rails, and air routes nationwide, area authorities are holding their collective breath, worried for the public safety.

The Columbia Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol want to help you and your loved ones stay safe this holiday season.

One problem travelers face is that road rage is on the rise, said Sgt. Chris Harris of the patrol.

"People are tense and trying to get where they're going," Harris said.

Watch for other unsafe drivers and stay calm.

In addition to avoiding theft and accidents while traveling, you should be aware of your home's safety.

Every year some people return home from the holidays to find their homes have been broken into. This can be prevented with simple precautions.

Prepare your home for safety before you leave:
Stop mail and newspaper delivery.
Leave shades and blinds in normal position.
Put lights and/or radio on automatic timers.
Ask a neighbor to keep your residence maintained if need be (decorative lights, snow removal, etc.)
Leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbor in case of an emergency or to check on the residence.
Call the Columbia Police Department's non-emergency number, 442-6131, and ask for a patrol to drive by your home. They will ask you for the dates you will be gone and for the names of anyone who has a key to your home.
Double-check to make sure all windows and doors are locked.
Make a record of your passport, credit cards, and traveler's check numbers, as well as plane, train or bus ticket numbers. Give a copy of the list to a family member or friend for safekeeping. Keep a copy in a safe place among your traveling possessions in case the items are lost or stolen.

On the road:
Carry little cash. Use travelers' checks or credit cards whenever possible.
If you are driving, plan your route carefully. Travel on main roads and use maps. Have your car serviced before you leave.
If you are stopping overnight, remove luggage and other valuables from your car.
When stopping en route, conceal obvious valuables from sight, preferably in the trunk.
If your car breaks down, turn on the flashers and open the hood or tie a white cloth to the antenna. If anyone stops to offer help, ask them to call the police.
When traveling to visit friends or relatives, always phone before departure to give an approximate arrival time at your destination.

Phone numbers for road conditions in Missouri and neighboring states
Missouri: 1-800-222-6400
Illinois: 1-800-452-4368
Kentucky: 1-800-459-7623
Tennessee: 1-800-342-3258
Arkansas: 1-501-569-2374
Oklahoma: 1-405-425-2385
Kansas: Highways: 1-800-585-7623; Turnpike Authority 1-913-266-4135
Nebraska: 1-402-471-4533
Iowa: 1-800-288-1047

Sources: Columbia Police Department Crime Prevention Unit, Missouri State Highway Patrol and others

Wednesday, December 17, 1997

Kewpie performers on move: The choir is planning a trip abroad but is performing at home tonight

Published in the Columbia Missourian

Director Martin Hook gathers the Hickman High School choir on the stage, alive with music and musicians. Ready for rehearsal, clutching purple folders, the Kewpie choir arranges itself four lines deep.

The singing group is on the move again. About every five years the group travels abroad to sing and explore new places.

First, though, the members will raise their voices in concert with the Hickman orchestra and band for a free holiday performance at 8 p.m. tonight in the Hickman auditorium.

The 45 singers more than fill the space they have to stand in. Their voices more than fill the auditorium. The musicians practice the entire concert once, and then again. They are ready for the show.

They almost are ready for the trip.

The last two weeks of June 1998 will see the Hickman choir tour in Britain and Ireland. They will sing concerts about every other day, Hook said. The group will spend about three days in Ireland, before moving on to Wales, Scotland and then England.

But before it can go overseas, it needs to raise funds to pay for the trip. The total cost for 45 students and eight adults will be almost $100,000.

"The students and their families are paying half of the cost," Hook said. The rest is being funded by special events the choir will host throughout the school year.

In addition to singing in local churches on Sundays, the choir will hold a car wash and give away door prizes at concerts, said choir members Megan Bennett and Brandon Belvin.

Several businesses have donated the prizes. One of the choir members is the sister of MU quarterback Corby Jones. The entire football team has signed two footballs, which will also help the choir raise money for the trip.

Despite all the effort and planning, not all choir members will go.

"I don't have the time, I don't have the money," said 11th-grader Lonnie Nichols. He will, however, still sing this summer: A good friend is getting married and Lonnie has been asked to sing.

Right now, Hook said, the group has around $12,000 - about one-fourth what it needs.

"We have about enough to get to Pittsburgh," Hook said.

Hook is not yet sure where the choir will sing on its travels. He still is working on specifics but hopes it will sing at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, among other locations.

He is using local contacts, such as the choir director at the John Burroughs School in St. Louis, as well as a professional tour company, to locate and book venues for concerts.

Previous Hickman choir trips have been to Austria in 1987 and to Spain in 1992.

This week's concert will be at 8 p.m. today in the Hickman auditorium. Admission is free, and the public is welcome.

Wednesday, December 3, 1997

School district seeks public opinions: Two public meetings will be held to discuss elementary school enrollment

Published in the Columbia Missourian

The Columbia School District is still talking about redistricting, and you're invited. The redistricting commission wants community perspectives on its proposals for reorganizing elementary school enrollments.

The district's Enrollment Planning Commission will hold two public meetings this week on plans to reconfigure elementary school enrollments in the northern section of town.

"We don't have a corner on all the good ideas," said Donald Ludwig, chair of the commission.

The current proposed plan would move 57 students from Derby Ridge to Blue Ridge; 20 students from Blue Ridge to Two Mile Prairie; 66 students from Benton to Shepard Boulevard; and 26 students from Shepard Boulevard to Cedar Ridge.

Students from these elementary schools all feed into Lange Middle School, the commission's first target for redistricting. In the spring, the commission will look at the schools serving Smithton and Gentry middle schools.

Although commission members have a general idea of how they hope redistricting will flow, they stress that no plans are finalized and their minds remain open. They want to hear opinions.

"None of us have made a decision on anything yet," Ludwig said.

The principals of the schools hosting this week's meetings are not concerned about redistricting's impact on their facilities.

"We're willing and pleased to work with anybody who walks in our doors," said Teresa VanDover, principal at Shepard Boulevard.

Both David Brunda, Blue Ridge's principal, and VanDover are waiting to see what concerns surface at the meetings.

Tonight, Ludwig expects to hear from parents of children possibly slated to move from Derby Ridge to Blue Ridge or from Blue Ridge to Two Mile Prairie. Thursday, he expects to hear from parents of Shepard Boulevard and Benton schools.

"We'll allow any family who wants to speak, and we'll take notes and listen," Ludwig said.

Next week, the commission will meet to decide what it will recommend to the school board in January. The date for next week's meeting has not yet been set. The school board will meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at the District Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley.