Senators criticize sales tax proposal

JEFFERSON CITY — A proposal to automatically raise Missouri sales taxes when state revenue falls has been taken to task by leading Republicans.

The petition initiative, brought to Secretary of State Matt Blunt’s office this week by a team of lobbyists, ignores needed policy reforms, said Senate Majority Leader Michael Gibbons, R-Kirkwood. Changes to the taxing system need to be addressed before the state seeks new revenue sources, said Gibbons, who is chairman of the Joint Committee on Tax Policy.

Revisions to Philips plan filed

A contentious zoning proposal that would allow developers to build a mix of homes, offices and stores on the Philips farm — a 489-acre property southwest of Columbia — is back on the table after three months of behind-the-scenes analysis and planning.

Developer Elvin Sapp, who withdrew the proposal in September, resubmitted it Nov. 13 with a handful of restrictions and clarifications addressing concerns of residents and city staff. Sapp’s next step is the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission, It will hold the first formal public hearing on the proposal Dec. 18.

Al Franken was here, and that’s no lie

Al Franken — author, political humorist and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and writer — brought his humor and insight to Columbia on Wednesday night. The satirist signed copies of his books at MU’s University Bookstore before delivering a lecture at Jesse Auditorium. He was promoting his recent book “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.”

“He’s one of the most talented satirists on the left or the right. What differentiates him from others is his ability to substantiate himself with facts,” said MU student Angad Nagra.

Free versus fair

In a small maroon picture album, Ron Dunkle keeps blurry pictures of a rain soaked crowd on a dark Seattle street and lines of men in blue parkas standing determined behind a fence lined with riot police.

The images document Dunkle’s trip in November 1999 when he and Carl Roberts traveled to Seattle to represent the concerns of mid-Missouri’s United Steelworkers of America Local 790 and protest the policies of the World Trade Organization. The Perry and Mexico natives traveled more than 2,000 miles because the workers at their firebrick plants feared free trade policies would shift their jobs to cheaper labor markets.

Tuned in

The sharp tap of snare drums surrounds Tim Baker every morning while ringing bells follow him the rest of the day. As drumline instructor and math teacher in two different schools for students who he says are very similar, Baker is followed by music wherever he goes.

Every morning through marching band season, Baker can be found out on the practice field at Rock Bridge High School, teaching and restraining the friendly and boisterous drumline. The drummers call him “Tim” and regard him as a friend with the power to tell them to shut up. And every morning, Tim drives across town to Douglass High School to be Mr. Baker, the only in-residence math teacher.

Former superintendent in new role

Jim Ritter, former superintendent for the Columbia Public School District, has been elected chairman of the board of directors for Columbia’s new Health Adventure Center.

“Columbia is known for two things: health and education,” Ritter said. “We’re the health center for much of the state, and education has always had a great emphasis. This center is an excellent fit for the community.”

Mix and match

Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Derby Ridge Elementary School found themselves in new seats next to new people during lunch Wednesday.

“It was a quieter cafeteria time than usual,” said Kim Freese, an art teacher and coordinator of the change of pace.

Highway department gets support

JEFFERSON CITY — The road to gaining respect is a long one for the Missouri Highways and Transportation Department.

On Wednesday, director Henry Hungerbeeler reported the department’s situation before the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight. Several legislators on the committee said that the department is on the right track.

Tigers' success depends on health

The phrase “national championship” buzzed around the Missouri men’s basketball team locker room Tuesday night after the Tigers’ 74-60 win against the Asheville Altitude of the National Basketball Developmental League.

With their second exhibition win, the Tigers have their sights set on regular-season success. If the Tigers have any chance of making their first Final Four in 21 NCAA Tournament appearances, they must stay healthy.

Widening meeting planned

The Improve I-70 Advisory Group will meet at 4 p.m. today at the Columbia Activity and Recreation Center to continue discussion of the widening of Interstate-70 through the Columbia area.

The advisory group comprises community members and government officials who provide community input about widening a six-mile stretch of the interstate that goes through Columbia to eight lanes.

Group allots funds

The Columbia Human Rights Commission held a public hearing Tuesday night regarding funding recommendations for its human rights enhancement program.

The program grants money to organizations that promote diversity, tolerance and education. The commission finalized its decision on how to distribute the program’s $4,650.

Free-trade draft certified by delegates

MIAMI — Trade negotiators approved a draft text Wednesday outlining the world’s largest free-trade region, adopting a buffet-style version that allows countries to opt out of the more controversial clauses of the agreement.

The draft, pushed by Brazil and the United States, will be handed over to trade ministers from the 34 nations in the Americas, excluding Cuba. The ministers will start two days of meetings today to finish the text, which speaks in generalities and does not specify which parts of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement countries could opt out of.

Coaches’ revamps working

It wasn’t so long ago that Bill Snyder was in the same position as Gary Pinkel.

Both coaches started at their current jobs with designs on rebuilding programs. The coaches will be in the same position again Saturday, except this time there is no rebuilding to do, only a championship on the line.

The big 20

1 What is the key to Missouri’s season?

Getting off to a good start is vital for the Tigers. Last year, they stumbled early, going 6-5 against nonconference opponents. Despite going 9-7 in the Big 12 Conference, disappointing losses to Austin Peay, Southern Methodist and University of Louisiana-Lafayette early in the year played a big part in keeping the Tigers out of the NCAA Tournament. With the grueling Big 12 schedule looming in the second half of the season, Missouri must get off to a better start in its first 11 games.

Kewpies prepare for Dean

With a former quarterback as the coach, it’s no surprise Blue Springs has one of the top quarterbacks in the state.

Senior Stinson Dean and the Wildcats (11-0) play Hickman at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Hickman in the Class 6 semifinals. The winner advances to the final against the Lindbergh-Hazelwood Central winner Nov. 28 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Boyd bolsters Missouri’s attack

The more she plays, the more confident Lisa Boyd, a sophomore reserve for Missouri, becomes.

Boyd started Wednesday in Missouri’s 30-9, 30-19, 30-16 victory against Iowa State at Hearnes Center and gained a new career high in kills.