State News Briefs

Bright Flight scholarships may soon fly out of state

Legislation presented at the House Higher Education Committee on April 5, 2005, would permit Bright Flight scholarships to follow Missouri residents to neighboring states if Missouri does not offer the academic program the resident desires.

Bright Flight scholarships are a merit-based program intended to keep top-ranked high school students in state and administered by the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

Students eligible for the scholarship must score in the top 3 percent of all Missouri students taking the ACT or SAT, a first-time full time student, a resident of Missouri and must not be pursuing a degree or certificate in theology or divinity.

Representative Jim Avery (R-Crestwood) is sponsor of House Bill 753, an act to allow Bright Flight scholarships to follow students out of state. Jim Bender testified in support of the bill and on behalf of his son, a freshman architecture student at Kansas University.

There are no public postsecondary schools of architecture in Missouri, so Missouri has a reciprocity agreement with Kansas to educate Missouri residents in architecture at Kansas in-state tuition rates.

Avery’s bill would allow Missouri high schools students like Bender’s son, who qualified for the Bright Flight Scholarship, to use the scholarship at out-of-state schools with reciprocity agreements with Missouri.

State Supreme Court sets execution date

The Missouri Supreme Court has set an April 27 execution date for Donald Jones, 38, convicted of the March 1993 stabbing death of his grandmother in St. Louis after she refused to give him money to buy drugs.

The office of Attorney General Jay Nixon represented the state against Jones’ appeals.

Around midnight on March 6, 1993, Jones went to the home of his grandmother, Dorothy Knuckles, to get money to buy crack cocaine. When she refused and began lecturing Jones on his use of drugs and alcohol, he went downstairs to the kitchen and picked up a butcher block and knives.

When Knuckles resumed her lecturing, Jones struck her several times with the block. When Knuckles began to scream, Jones stabbed her repeatedly to silence her.

Jones then stole his grandmother’s VCR, what money he could find, and her car keys. He later sold the VCR and rented out the car to get money to buy drugs. Knuckles’ body was discovered the next morning by her son.

Upon questioning by St. Louis homicide detectives, Jones gave an audiotape statement of the details of the murder.

A St. Louis City Circuit Court jury found Jones guilty of first-degree murder on June 16, 1994, and recommended that he be sentenced to death two days later.

This would be the second execution in the state since Gov. Matt Blunt took office. The first execution took place on March 16.

DNR and MFAP announce “Tuesdays at the Capitol”

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is partnering with the Missouri Folk Arts Program (MFAP) to sponsor “Tuesdays at the Capitol.” This annual event brings traditional artists to perform their crafts for visitors at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

On Tuesday, Missouri craftsman will perform in both galleries of the Missouri State Museum, located on the first floor of the Capitol.

Diane Phillips will demonstrate basket weaving, Linda Hickman will demonstrate making German bobbin lace, Martin Begin will demonstrate saddle making and leather braiding, and Janet and Alan McMichael will demonstrate Native American loom beadwork and regalia. The demonstrations will take place from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“Tuesdays at the Capitol” is a collaborative program of MFAP and the Department of Natural Resources. The artists who perform during these programs are past or present participants in the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP), which pairs master folk artists with apprentices to pass traditions on to the next generation.

The Missouri Folk Arts Program and TAAP are funded by the Missouri Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.