Mo. tax loophole under fire

JEFFERSON CITY — Its namesake may be cute and lovable, but the “Geoffrey Loophole” has elicited sharp opinions.

The non-Missouri source income and intangibles tax, better known for the nickname derived from the Toys“R”Us giraffe mascot, exempts some large Missouri corporations from paying state income taxes.

The hard road to safety

Thomas Hutchinson has been on a mission since his grandson Tommy Hutchinson and friend Brandon Wright-Hyler were killed June 11 when they pulled into the path of a tractor-trailer on U.S. Highway 63 at Ponderosa Street. The quest: pushing for ways to make the intersection safer.

“How many kids have to die there before they change it?” Hutchinson asked.

Study shows schools’ strengths

When Phyllis Chase arrived in July to lead the Columbia Public School District as superintendent, she turned to citizens to find out how public education plays out in Columbia.

On Monday night, Chase told the Columbia Board of Education what she learned through a survey of about 80 people, including parents, staff, community and business members.

Public channel moves closer to reality

Mediacom, Columbia’s largest cable television provider, will send a proposal to the Columbia City Council this week that would establish studio access and equipment for a new public-access channel.

If the city approvesthe proposal, the studio could be set up pretty quickly, said Gary Baugh, director of operations for Mediacom.

DNR fund aids town, creates class project

Columbia Street in Rocheport is slowly caving in and breaking apart, but a stormwater grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources should soon change that.

Rocheport is one of 74 communities to benefit from $10 million in grants awarded last week by the DNR.

MU’s Blaster worm worries waning

James Mahood did not battle the recent Blaster computer worm. He settled in at Baker residence hall equipped with the necessary anti-virus software and stayed clear of trouble.

Other students are following in his steps as the worm — which crippled network services at MU and worldwide last month — is slowly becoming computer history.

Holden requests data about cuts in schools

JEFFERSON CITY — On the same day Missouri lawmakers returned for a special session to raise taxes for education, the state Education Department sent a memo to school districts across the state asking for information to support the governor’s claims about cuts in public schools.

In his special session call last week, Democratic Gov. Bob Holden said that schools throughout Missouri have had to layoff teachers and raise taxes as a result of what he called “the legislature’s failure to fulfill its constitutional duty to provide adequate funding.”

Grindstone Plaza hearing on hold

Conversations between the developer and neighbors of the 53-acre Grindstone Plaza project proposed for south Columbia are moving at a snail’s pace, although neighbors have discussed requesting money from the developer to protect the area.

Members of the Grindstone/ Rock Quarry Road Neighborhood Association and representatives of Aspen Acquisitions, Inc., asked the Columbia City Council last week to table a public hearing and vote on the project so the developer could have more time to discuss neighbors’ problems with the plan. The neighborhood association initially supported the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter and accompanying development along Grindstone Parkway but had second thoughts after plans were presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission in early August.

An artistic change

At the end of each season, the Columbia Art League changes the works in its Ninth Street gallery. This fall, there’s a new executive director as well.

Jill Stedem, 37, started her new job Aug. 25 and says she’s trying to get to know the groups and artists she works with. She said she has already noticed enthusiasm and support from the art community in Columbia.

Study: Prior exercise cuts recovery time

Moderate exercise before long periods of bed rest could boost chances of a speedy recovery, especially for the elderly, according to new research by an MU professor.

Marybeth Brown, associate professor of physical therapy, found that rats put through an exercise program before simulated bed rest were the first to get back on their feet when released.

Short day opens up special session

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri legislature’s special session had a short beginning on its opening day, Monday. Gov. Bob Holden called the special session to close four relatively small tax exemptions.

The governor’s plan was introduced by Democrats in both the House and Senate. But neither chamber did much else.

Discretion over valor

Sophomore quarterback Brad Smith doesn’t remember what happened in the first half of Missouri’s win against Ball State, but he might have learned an important lesson from it.

MU coach Gary Pinkel will not comment on injuries, but Smith is expected to play Saturday against Eastern Illinois in the Tigers’ home opener.

Tarpoff given probation

Nick Tarpoff, a former Missouri defensive lineman, will serve no jail time for his felony conviction and is continuing his football career this season at a Division II school in Texas.

Judge Gene Hamilton suspended the imposition of Tarpoff’s sentence in Boone County Circuit Court on Monday, and Tarpoff received five years of supervised probation for possession of an illegal weapon.

Stoops works another fake

Nobody will call Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops’ a conservative coach any time soon.

Stoops made sure of that Saturday when he called for a fake punt on fourth-and-10 from the Sooners’ 31 against Alabama. The Sooners, leading 13-10, converted when punter Blake Ferguson hit Michael Thompson on a 22-yard pass play. On the next play, quarterback Jason White threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Jones, and Oklahoma went on to win 20-13.