Latest Philips debate focuses on park

While Columbia officials want to make an offer to buy part of the 489-acre Philips tract for a new regional park, council members still have questions about the land.

Developer Elvin Sapp, who wants to put a mix of homes, offices and shops on the Philips land, has already offered to sell park land to the city. The targeted land, which city officials have been eyeing for almost a year, consists of 153 acres of the Philips farm, including the 40-acre Bristol Lake. That land would possibly be combined with 320 acres across Gans Road owned by Sue Crane to create the park.

Skill savvy

Occupations that the U.S. Department of Labor says are coming to a halt remain in full throttle in Columbia, according to local business members.

Each year, the Department of Labor receives questionnaires from 400,000 businesses, conducts between 500 and 1,000 interviews with professional trade representatives and discusses factors that will influence employment change and availability over the next few years. Then economists use that data to project what the economy will look like in certain areas for the next 10 years, said Jon Sargent, the manager of occupational outlook studies at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Design would join evolution in curriculum

A bill introduced by a group of Republican legislators could change the way Missouri schoolchildren learn about science — in particular, the creation and development of life on Earth.

Missouri House Bill 911, dubbed the Missouri Standard Science Act, would in part require state science teachers to give as much class time to “intelligent design” as they do to evolution and natural selection.

Democrats try to sway undecided voters in primaries

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Democratic presidential rivals worked across several time zones Sunday to sway undecided voters in states with contests early this week. Howard Dean conceded making an “enormous gamble” by spending so much in Iowa and New Hampshire only to lose both states. “It didn’t work,” he said.

Sen. John Kerry pressed his front-runner’s advantage in North Dakota while Sen. John Edwards concentrated on South Carolina, a state he says he must win. Edwards trails Kerry in six of the seven states holding primaries or caucuses on Tuesday, except in his native South Carolina.

Annexation deal on city agenda

A pre-annexation agreement that would allow the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to extend sewer and sanitation services to facilities inside Rock Bridge State Park will be discussed at tonight’s City Council meeting.

The DNR’s proposal would allow an eventual annexation of about 200 acres of the park’s northwest corner to the city in exchange for sewer service. Current park borders do not touch city limits.

Carolina booted

HOUSTON — The New England Patriots have Adam Vinatieri’s foot to thank for a Super Bowl victory.

Vinatieri gave New England its second NFL championship in three seasons with a 41-yard field goal with 4 seconds left for a thrilling 32-29 victory against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night.

Assessors’ aid would mean loss for schools

Gift to help schools attain passing grade

The educational gift of $2 million given to MU last week by Harold Hook and Joanne Hunt Hook comes at a crucial time of budget crunches and new achievement standards imposed by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The donation comes at a crucial time of budget crunches and new achievement standards imposed by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Pressure mounts on Smith’s successors

It wasn’t so long ago that Brad Smith was a relative unknown. In two years, he went from an anonymous name on a recruiting list to one of the most talented dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation.

His future replacements don’t have the luxury of limited expectations. For Chase Patton and Darrell Jackson, the pressure to perform and build on Smith’s performance will be there from day one.

Risk survey aims to assess problem gambling

Three new gambling-related questions added to a survey this year could shed light on the extent of problem gambling in Missouri.

The Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling will pay $15,000 for the addition of the questions to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national survey that helps states track public health problems. The BRFSS is conducted each year by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tigers seek solace vs. Jayhawks

Anger, frustration and disappointment have plagued Missouri’s season, but much of that could be forgotten with a win tonight.

That’s when the Tigers (9-8, 4-3 Big 12 Conference) travel to Kansas for their first meeting of the season with the rival Jayhawks at 8 p.m.

Bush to order review of Iraq intelligence failure

WASHINGTON — President Bush, under mounting political pressure, will sign an executive order to establish a full-blown investigation of U.S. intelligence failures in Iraq, a senior White House official said Sunday.

Mo. voters: Main issue is economy

ST. LOUIS — The economy outpaces both the war on terrorism and the debate about health care and education as the top issue on the minds of Missourians heading into the state’s presidential primary Tuesday, a new poll shows. A majority of the 804 likely voters surveyed Wednesday through Friday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOV-TV also said they oppose marriage benefits for same-sex couples, although “moral issues” rank near the bottom of matters they said they would consider in the presidential race.

SMS name change gains momentum

JEFFERSON CITY — Efforts to rename Southwest Missouri State University as the more important-sounding Missouri State University have failed for two decades in the state legislature. But a collision of election year politics and financial shortfalls may have finally created the ideal circumstances for the Springfield school to get its new name. “I’m optimistic,” Sen. Norma Champion, R-Springfield, declared last week despite the Senate’s failure to reach a vote after nearly eight hours of debate over two days. “We think we’ve got more than the majority.” Standing in the way is Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, a master talker who claims ...

Simple pleasures, simple strengths

I truly believe that people who find joy in life’s simple pleasures are among the luckiest folks in the world. Among my friends and acquaintances, it seems the bird-watchers, quilters, gardeners, poets and others who court the gentler muses tend to roll with the punches at a less frenetic pace. While those caught up in the business of politics and economics appear to enjoy the pursuit of one rush of adrenaline after another, they seem to have a hard time dealing with life’s prickly thorns. Often, if at first things don’t succeed for them, there is no second chance.

I’ve always liked a world of second chances. Rejection, of course, is a way of life for writers. Some of the world’s most famous writers willingly admitted that they acquired enough rejection slips to paper the kitchen before they sold their first manuscript. It’s easy, in fact, to feel sorry for those who never failed at anything. Theirs tend to be the kind of tragedies from which it’s hardest to recover.

Local voters’ mood shifting right

Common knowledge says Democrats will win more often than they lose in Columbia and Boone County.

Maybe that’s true: Columbia’s government is led by an openly liberal and progressive mayor; the local delegation to the Missouri General Assembly is Democratic; the county government has been dominated by Democrats for years.

Edwards’ wife visits Columbia to rally support

In preparation for Tuesday’s Democratic primary, Elizabeth Edwards came to the Reynolds Alumni Center on behalf of her husband, presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards, to speak with Columbia residents Saturday.

State Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, both introduced Elizabeth Edwards to the crowd of more than 60 people and publicly announced his support for the senator.

Hot, hurt hand

Thomas Gardner is so confident in his shot that having 10 healthy fingers is unnecessary.

After driving to the basket and colliding with Kansas State forward Justin Williams in the first half Saturday, Gardner flipped the ball into the basket and drew the foul. He also jammed the ring finger on his left, nonshooting hand, and dislocated it.

Final days of campaigning

John Kerry was a hit in Kansas City on Saturday when the Massachusetts senator garnered support from union leaders and a crowd of about 700 at a downtown hotel.

Poll numbers look to be paving the way to victory in Missouri for Kerry, who focused his attention during the raucous campaign event on beating Bush in November. “I think they can hear you all the way in (White House adviser) Karl Rove’s office,” Kerry told the cheering crowd.

More ice, snow headed to Columbia, forecasters say

It looks like winter plans to keep its icy hold on mid-Missouri this week.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dale Bechtold said a Winter Storm Watch is in effect for Jefferson City and Columbia for Sunday night and Monday. Columbia could also get freezing rain and sleet with snow accumulation of less than two inches. The chance of precipitation is forecasted at 90 percent Sunday night.