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Five Ideas: What are your thoughts on these items in the news this week?

Saturday, January 5, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:52 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Game on

Sen. Barack Obama and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee were the victors in the Iowa caucuses Thursday night. Obama, a 47-year-old first-termer from Illinois, told supporters that in “big cities and small towns, you came together to say, ‘We are one nation, we are one people and our time for change has come,’” according to the Associated Press.

John Edwards finished second, followed by Hillary Clinton.

Huckabee celebrated his victory over Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field, saying, “A new day is needed in American politics, just like a new day is needed in American government,” the AP reported.

An estimated 220,588 Democrats showed up for the caucus, the AP reported. Turnout was high on the Republican side, as well, with about 114,000 people taking part.

Next stop is New Hampshire. Clinton and Edwards vowed to continue their bids for the Democratic nomination. In New Hampshire, polls show Huckabee tied with Republican Sen. John McCain.

How have the results in Iowa changed how you view the 2008 presidential campaign?

Job done

Less than a month after its inception, the Columbia Police Department has disbanded its Violent Crimes Task Force.

The task force, made up of officers from the Columbia Police Department, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, MU Police and the FBI, was created on Nov. 30 in response to a rise in violent crime in Columbia.

Capt. Brad Nelson, investigative commander for the major crimes and narcotics units, said the department will evaluate replacement models for the task force if violent crime continues to rise as it did in 2007. He called the task force a temporary solution.

“These officers have to get back to their original assignments,” Nelson said. “This was not intended to be a permanent task force. No one has the personnel to permanently assign these officers to a task force.”

During its month of existence, the task force made 42 arrests — primarily for felony offenses — and 107 traffic stops, according to the department. Nelson said the task force successfully deterred crime.

“They know we are watching them,” he said.

What long-term solution should police employ to deter violent crime?

P.U.

Since 2000, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has received more than 1,700 odor complaints against concentrated animal feeding operations, according to a Missourian analysis of state records.

Animal farm odors present the state with one of its most complicated environmental problems, said Leanne Tippett Mosby of the DNR’s Division of Environmental Quality.

The state must protect the interest of animal producers, who provide jobs, economic benefits and food, while also protecting the interests of their neighbors, who say farm odors cause health problems and simply make their lives miserable.

Some say the odor complaints are the work of disgruntled neighbors who simply dislike corporate agriculture.

According to the Department of Natural Resources database, two families have reported 59 percent of the complaints.

Premium Standard Farms has received about 80 percent of all complaints. Company spokesman Jason Helton said that for each complainant, Premium Standard has scores of neighbors who get along well with the company.

“A handful of folks may not be representative of the five counties we operate in,” he said.

How would you like to live next to a pig farm?

Fairness issue

The Missouri lottery ranks in the top ten for disclosure and fairness, compared to the other 43 states that offer lotteries.

In a study by San Antonio professor Gerald Busald, Missouri ranked ninth overall. California and Pennsylvania scored first and second place in the study. Tennessee ranked lowest.

Missouri scored 58.29 out of a possible 100 points. California scored 71.35 and Tennessee scored 26.95.

The study focused on states’ accuracy in what they disclose and whether they withhold actual probabilities, said Busald.

Missouri doesn’t offer subscriptions, Busald said, which adds a measure of prevention so people aren’t trapped in a financial obligation.

Missouri also provided check-a-ticket machines, an independent way to verify winnings. Without independent verification, store clerks can scam a customer out of their winnings by paying out a lower prize and turning in the ticket themselves for the higher prize.

Missouri ranked second in the nation for the low percentage it spends on advertising, Busald said. Michigan ranked first.

Will this study influence whether or not you play the Missouri lottery?

Resolved to failure

Health psychologist Lynn Rossy works year-round to help people achieve their goals through Healthy for Life, the T.E. Atkins UM Wellness Program. But, Rossy said, only 10 percent of people who set New Year’s Resolutions actually succeed.

“We set our goals too high, we make them too difficult to achieve, we want them too fast,” she said. “A big part of any kind of program of change is to accept where you are right now, and that’s really hard for people. ... That means having compassion for yourself.”

The start of a new year seems to be the ideal time for many to make lifestyle changes. It is not, however, the only time you can do so, Rossy said.

“It’s helpful for people not to get too caught up in the idea that the only time you can start making changes in your life is New Year’s,” Rossy said. “That sets you up for failure. Every day really is a new day to recommit to positive changes in your life.”

How have you resolved to better yourself in 2008?


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