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STAFF PICKS: Chasing storms, a Holocaust survivor's story

Friday, April 20, 2012 | 6:18 p.m. CDT

There's a lot of content on ColumbiaMissourian.com, and we can't expect the average reader to consume every last morsel of it. Still, we think some of the stories from this week you need to know about might have been overlooked. So we've compiled a list of recent stories we think you could benefit from reading, including recent developments in the City Council, a Missouri Tiger's WNBA draft and a Holocaust survivor's story.

City Council

The council approved the residential rezoning of a lot at Locust and Hitt streets for new student apartments. The council approved the rezoning with the amendment that the developer, Regina Properties LLC of St. Louis, provide 50 new parking spaces. The property, which used to house various nightclubs and Salty's Bar and Grill, has another lot that the council voted to rezone as commercial.

Residents of the Old Southwest neighborhood contacted council members to protest the planned removal of sweet gum trees along Westwood Ave. The trees have created maintenance problems in the sidewalk and pavement there, said Jill Stedem, a spokeswoman for the Public Works Department, and were slated for removal Monday morning. In light of residents' protests, the council is exploring other options.

On Monday, the council approved a motion to draft a resolution to rescind the map which designated more than half the city as "blighted" in order to develop Enhanced Enterprise Zones. Columbia residents are still concerned about the Enhanced Enterprise Zone Advisory Board required by state law, which they feel is not fairly representative.

Education

The Missouri State High School Activities Association prohibits public schools from buying personal gear or practice equipment for student athletes. The regulation was designed to keep amateur athletes from benefitting financially by playing, but acts as a double-edged sword. Athletic gear is expensive and an impracticality for many families, so Columbia athletes have to find alternative ways to fund their passions.

The University of Missouri System Board of Curators voted in February to increase tuition: out-of-state tuition by 7.5 percent and in-state by 3 percent. For many out-of-state students, reducing their tuition rate by gaining Missouri residency has become a priority. There are a series of steps students must complete to become residents, including registering to vote in Missouri, becoming an emancipated minor and staying in town for the summer.

On Tuesday, Columbia Public School students took part in the annual Missouri Assessment Program. These grade-level tests are used for a variety of purposes, including measuring No Child Left Behind benchmarks. Some parents, however, are worried about the cost of standardized testing to the district and about the shifting focus of public education.

MU Law School Dean Larry Dessem announced he will step down at the end of the semester to return to full-time teaching. Dessem, who has been with the university for a decade, is well-known for the personal attention he gives students and his concerted efforts to improve the law school.

Sports

Missouri women's basketball forward, Christine Flores, led the Tigers in scoring this season with a 16.9 average. Flores was selected in the third round of the WNBA Draft to the Phoenix Mercury. Forward BreAnna Brock was also a draft prospect, but was not selected.

From Reader

MU student Dustin Mazzio caught the storm chasing bug from his freshman roommate. Since then, Mazzio has been part of the Mizzou Storm Chase Team and participated in several chases. Saturday Mazzio, his former roommate, Ben, and Mazzio's girlfriend, Christina, tracked a storm through Kansas, capturing funnel clouds and vortexes on camera. Mazzio sent his story, a video and photos of a tornado formation, to the Missourian's From Readers section.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Guenther Goldsmith, an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, shared his story at MU's Ellis Library as part of a series of Holocaust remembrance events on campus. Goldsmith said he remembers the slow transformation of morning religion lessons in school to lectures about anti-Semitism and German supremacy. Goldsmith said he believes he escaped from Germany on one of the last Kindertransport trains bound for England.


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