Tax break on cars proposed

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s automobile industry supports exempting Missouri-made vehicles from state sales tax, but it could cost the state’s roads — while saving a new-car purchaser as much as $1,000.

The measure would exempt vehicles made in Missouri from state sales tax. Individual cities could decide to exempt Missouri-made vehicles from local sales tax as well. The bill’s supporters said this would likely increase sales of Missouri-made vehicles and encourage other manufacturers to open plants in the state.

Bass Pro’s plans aim to protect watershed

Bass Pro Shops wants to use its Columbia store to teach people more than just how to fish — it wants to teach them about water quality.

In the midst of controversy over land-disturbance permits in the polluted Hinkson Creek watershed, Bass Pro Shops is promising that its Vandiver Drive store will protect the creek and be a model for other developments in the watershed. And it’s backing up those claims by planning to use several storm-water management techniques in construction and to put an interactive water-quality education center at the store.

Inmate overflow

In the late 1990s, Boone County law enforcement officials, faced with the rising cost of housing inmates at out-of-county facilities, discussed building a new jail. The problem became acute in 1998, when the county spent more than $650,000 to incarcerate inmates in other jails.

By the end of the decade, the average daily population at the Boone County Jail had stabilized at about 200 inmates. Talk of building a new jail waned, and instead the work-release section of the jail was renovated to accommodate more inmates.

Council to vote on fairground use

After more than four years of deliberation over the future of the Boone County Fairground, the Columbia City Council tonight is poised to put its stamp of approval on a master plan for how the county should proceed with developing the property as a park and recreational complex.

A resolution on tonight’s agenda calls for the council to endorse Option III, which includes three ponds, a lake, several athletic fields, trails, shelters and an ice hockey and roller rink.

Sociology building has rich history

MU’s red brick Sociology Building stands empty. A sign on each door tells passers-by to “Stop” in large red letters. Most of the windows are covered. Inside, there are a few abandoned chairs, desks, file cabinets and sheets of paper strewn across the floor.

Hardly anyone has been inside the 111-year-old building — once the home of the law school, then the business school and, finally, the sociology and rural sociology departments — since it closed a year and a half ago.

NPR reporter to speak at MU

Linda Wertheimer gets recognized by strangers all the time. But it’s not her face that’s familiar; it’s her voice.

“I was standing in line at the airport one time and saw a blond woman across the room,” Wertheimer said. “I asked the woman in front of me whether she thought it was Sissy Spacek. The woman said, ‘I don’t know if that’s Sissy Spacek, but are you Linda Wertheimer?’ She recognized my voice.”

True or False?

The inaugural True/False Film Festival wrapped up its three-day run Sunday in Columbia, receiving rave reviews from moviegoers and filmmakers who seemed optimistic that the festival could become an annual city event.

At the 2:30 p.m. Sunday showing of “CSA: Confederate States of America,” people lined up in the cold outside the Blue Note to purchase tickets. The film is a mock documentary about what the world would be like if the South had won the Civil War.

Composer and cellist to lead Columbia Civic Orchestra

Columbia’s only orchestra designed for nonprofessional musicians of all ages has a new leader. Stefan Freund was named music director and conductor of the Columbia Civic Orchestra on Sunday. He has been rehearsing with the chamber orchestra’s 58 active members since January.

Freund, 29, a composer and cellist, fulfills the board of directors’ main requirements, said orchestra manager Bruce Gordon.

Transitioning transit

Columbia Transit is hoping that changes to the city’s bus routes will improve on-time performance and attract more riders.

The city agency has proposed a number of changes to the current bus routes. The changes announced in December could take effect as soon as June if approved by the City Council.

Tigers go on offensive

Missouri coach Quin Snyder has waited for the game, in which several of his scorers had hot hands.

It finally happened when the Tigers made quick work of UNLV 94-60 on Sunday at Hearnes Center.

Bill would ban traffic light devices

JEFFERSON CITY — Imagine a device that would let you change a traffic light from green to red without even stopping. Traffic preemption emitter devices shoot infrared beams at traffic signals, causing the lights to cycle from green to red early. The devices are only intended for police and emergency personnel, but some Missouri lawmakers warn the devices can be purchased by anyone willing to shell out $300.

Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, is one of four state lawmakers working to ban the general public from using the device.

Conley’s skill shows in win

Missouri junior Jason Conley, the first freshman to lead the nation in scoring, showed his all-around game Saturday.

He didn’t even start.

Gardner’s play sparks MU

All Thomas Gardner needed was a little confidence.

He found it when he made the first start of his collegiate career against Iowa on Jan. 3. It carried to the next game, when he scored what was a season-high 17 points at Iowa State four days later.

Free speech isn’t just about talking

I seriously doubt that the framers of the Constitution could have envisioned the many and varied ways in which freedom of expression would manifest itself in the years that have followed its ratification. Hmm, let’s see, there’s rap music shattering the night as it erupts from car stereos, there are pornographic images readily available to be pasted on the screens of home computers and vulgar and offensive language pouring out across the airwaves day and night, just to name a few examples.

Janet Jackson’s episode of wardrobe malfunction during halftime activities at the Super Bowl was all the incentive needed to trigger dialogues about the decline of the country’s moral standards all across America. Within the first 24 hours following the incident, probably everybody who had an opinion on the subject had taken an opportunity to express it. Frankly, I see this as just another occasion for daily life to duplicate television by enabling everyday people to audition for spots on the world’s largest and most spectacular open-air talk show. Except for a few cosmetic changes, it’s doubtful that anything concrete will come out of all this discussion. If things proceed in their usual fashion, the people that think something’s broken will lack the power to fix it, and those that think everything is fine will continue to advance and test the limits.