Watercooler: Rios charged with murder

The public calls on them for protection. They are the enforcers of the law. They are the police. According to the Columbia Police Department’s motto, the goal of police officers is to “demonstrate integrity in all actions because freedom and justice” depend on it.

Kenneth Lay indicted

HOUSTON — Kenneth Lay, the former Enron Corp. chief executive who insisted he knew nothing about financial fraud at the energy trading giant, has been indicted on criminal charges, sources said on Wednesday.

The action caps a three-year investigation that has already seen several other executives charged and, in some cases, already sentenced to prison for their roles in the company’s scandalous collapse.

Coach denies NCAA claims

Former MU basketball coaching staff member Tony Harvey blames poor interviewing, few reliable documents and contradictory testimony as the basis of recruiting violation allegations leveled against him by the NCAA.

MU released a 57-page formal response Wednesday by Harvey, the former associate basketball coach who is one of the key players in the NCAA investigation. MU made its response to the NCAA investigation public with a 197-page response last week.

Lawmakers say military is overworked

WASHINGTON — In a bipartisan show of concern that the military is dangerously overworked, lawmakers said Wednesday the Pentagon is stretching troops to their limit and perhaps undermining the nation’s future force.

Amid worries the high level of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan could discourage potential new service members, Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., said it was not reassuring that most reserve components were falling below their recruiting goals for the year.

Senate hopefuls endorsed

Labor and professional groups are divided in their support for the two Democrats running for the 19th District seat in the Missouri Senate.

While 24th District State Rep. Chuck Graham’s work on several issues important to labor groups has resulted in 12 endorsements, former 23rd District State Rep. Tim Harlan’s focus on health-care concerns garnered the support of four such organizations.

Liquor sales in limbo at Landing

By Mike Cooper’s “Cuss Jar” on the cooler at Cooper’s Landing there’s a sign that reads “No Beer — until we obtain a new liquor license.”

The renewal of Cooper’s liquor license is currently under investigation, said Keith Fuller, State Supervisor of Missouri Alcohol and Tobacco Control.

Columbia arts win big

Concerts, festivals and other arts programming in Columbia received a boost from a Missouri Arts Council program that awarded $240,849 in grants to 15 non-profit organizations. The money given to Columbia represents almost one-eighth of the more than $2 million awarded statewide.

MAC gave 248 awards across the state in the first phase of grants for the 2005 fiscal year, which began July 1.

Downtown businesses go wireless

Downtown Columbia is getting up to speed with new wireless Internet access offered by Ilero, Inc.

Ilero began offering its iZone network services about a month ago, and already several businesses have signed up to make the service available to customers. With a network interface card, wireless computer owners can use the WiFi technology without a telephone or cable hookup.

School board will discuss healthy food options

A change for good food hasn’t been good for the bottom line at Columbia middle schools.

The Columbia School Board will hear a report on vending machines in schools at its retreat Friday. The meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. in the administration building, 1818 W. Worley St., and is open to the public but not for public comment.

Marchers honor victims of Middle East conflicts

Slowly and in single-file they walked together as in a funeral march. They proceeded behind a black coffin covered by a U.S. flag. They wore black and carried flowers, barely glancing up while honking cars blared in approval as they walked down the sidewalk.

Mid-Missouri Peaceworks held a memorial Wednesday to mark the loss of 1,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thirty marchers gathered outside the Military Recruiting Station at Broadway and Second Street and marched toward the Boone County Courthouse, carrying a makeshift coffin symbolizing the troops’ deaths and signs sporting slogans such as “Let’s work for peace.”

Duke’s coach backs Snyder, calls him ‘family’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had nothing but good things to say Wednesday about Missouri coach Quin Snyder, a former Blue Devils player and assistant caught up in an NCAA investigation.

“Quin is like a member of my family,” Krzyzewski said. “I love Quin.”

Racing for Athens

At first glance, Derrick Peterson seems too calm and laid-back to have one of the best qualifying times in the 800-meter run for the U.S. Olympic Trails.

Peterson, a former Missouri runner who graduated in 2000, finished in 1 minute, 45.69 seconds at the Maine Distance Festival in June 2003 to earn the No. 4 seed at the trials, which start Friday and run through July 18 in Sacramento, Calf.

Mavs suffer one-hit defeat

A day after their most dominating performance of the season, the Mid-Missouri Mavericks suffered a reversal of fortune.

Gateway Grizzlies’ starter Brad Drewes shut down the Mavericks in a 10-0 victory Wednesday night at Taylor Stadium.

Clarification and correction

A Tuesday story about homeless teens said students must show proof of residence and custody before they can attend school. Missouri law, however, says homeless minors who are 16 or 17 are qualified for admission to high school or post-secondary school. Lynn Barnett, assistant superintendent for Columbia Public Schools, said local high schools accept homeless students but investigate their backgrounds for documentation of past schools and to try to find their guardians.