Talking politics

Since January, Bill Benoit has been quoted more than 800 times in newspapers and on radio and TV broadcasts. His expertise on political communication is sought in Columbia and nationally, and most of the time, it is respected.

When it is not, it’s probably a Rush Limbaugh-like incident. The conservative radio talk-show host attacked an article in 2001 that quoted Benoit as saying some Americans might have thought the president wasn’t doing his job, given the long vacation President Bush was taking at the time.

Students often fail to ask for aid

A new study says hundreds of thousands of college students who might be eligible for federal financial aid don’t get it for a simple reason — they don’t apply.

The study released Monday by the American Council on Education, which represents colleges and universities, says that half of the 8 million undergraduates enrolled in 1999-2000 at institutions participating in federal student-aid programs did not complete the main federal-aid application form.

College dedicates student commons

Faculty, students and alumni of Columbia College gathered Saturday to dedicate the Atkins-Holman Student Commons. The dedication was a part of Family Day and Homecoming events.

College President Gerald Brouder said the new structure is a huge achievement that shows the bright future of the college.

Mel George

Mel George is heavily involved in MU life, despite his official retirement five years ago.

George arrived at MU in 1960 and has held an assortment of positions, including assistant professor of mathematics and vice president of academic affairs. He is also a two-time interim president of the university system. Although he also taught at the University of Nebraska and St. Olaf College, he always returned to Columbia.

FBI continues search for data

A day after FBI agents raided the office of the Islamic American Relief Agency, a local nonprofit organization with alleged links to terrorism, authorities searched three storage lockers in Columbia Thursday as part of what authorities described as a long-term, ongoing investigation.

Since Wednesday, two houses — one in Columbia and another in Connecticut — have been searched, along with at least one office and three storage units, in what appears to be a sweep of individuals and organizations linked to the Khartoum, Sudan-based Islamic African Relief Agency. The organization’s U.S. headquarters is the Islamic American Relief Agency in Columbia.

A.P. Green Chapel

Tucked away behind towering Memorial Union, the A.P. Green Chapel has stood on the MU campus since 1959. The chapel celebrated its 45th anniversary Oct. 11, with its original purpose and design in mind —a quiet retreat for those at MU.

The nondenominational chapel is open to anyone on campus for personal use and can be reserved for weddings, funerals, initiation ceremonies or other events. Last year, 87 events were hosted in the chapel.

Stores to display pets for adoption

ST. LOUIS — The Humane Society of Missouri hopes to increase animal adoption by 20 percent under a new arrangement that will allow it to showcase homeless pets in storefronts at two area shopping centers.

The Humane Society, the state’s largest animal shelter, said Thursday it is taking over management and financial responsibility for two pet-adoption stores known as Adopt-A-Stray, which were previously run by a group that goes by the same name.

Muslims fear raid will mean scrutiny

Thursday night would have been one of celebration for Muslims. Ramadan — the holiest month of the Islamic year — begins today, and the night before is supposed to be marked by prayer and remembrance. For members of Columbia’s Muslim community, however, a somber note has darkened the occasion.

“Tonight, we would be celebrating,” said Khenissi Ali. “Instead, we’re scared.”

Top defense seeks to halt UT running

The word the Missouri football team has been using this week is, appropriately, “challenge.”

That word is a good choice with the Tigers facing No. 9 Texas in Austin.

Kendrick big in numbers

Don’t let Brandon Kendrick’s stature fool you.

The Hickman running back’s 5-foot-8, 165-pound frame is all that’s small.

Pressure on Public Works

Two months after being reprimanded by the Boone County Commission, Public Works director David Mink is still trying to patch up his department.

Significant bumps in the road remain: Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin and county road workers question Mink’s leadership and want him fired, and Mink’s maintenance operations manager, Chip Estabrooks, is on the fence.

Bruins expand pass options

Brandon Gerau, a sophomore wide receiver for the Bruins, said his surprising performance was a result of perseverance.

After making 14 receptions for one touchdown through the first five weeks of the season, Gerau had a breakout game last week against Francis Howell Central.

Commission split on Mink's work

Boone County commissioners strongly disagree about the extent of problems at the Public Works Department under David Mink and about potential remedies.

Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin believes that Mink provides the commission with incomplete and sometimes inaccurate information on roads projects and that information given to the public is even worse.

Sapp plans to develop 965 acres

Developer Billy Sapp formally filed paperwork with the city Planning and Development Department Tuesday for the voluntary annexation and zoning of 965 acres of land east of Columbia.

Sapp wants to develop two adjacent tracts into a golf course, commercial areas and more than 1,000 units of housing. If approved by the City Council, Sapp’s plan would be the largest annexation for development purposes in Columbia’s history, said interim Planning Director Bill Watkins.

Columbia kids are giving residents an education in pollution

Swirls of bright fall leaves swept around rambunctious children dashing door-to-door on Sexton Road on Wednesday afternoon. Between bouts of cartwheels and somersaults, the little volunteers canvassed the neighborhood with door hangers. Their message: Pollutants that flow into storm drains lead directly to streams.

Under Mona Menezes’ direction, children from The Intersection — an after-school program on Sexton — have handed out about 75 informational packets during the past three weeks. Packets included literature telling residents their closest storm drain flows directly into Flat Branch Creek. Everything from cigarette butts to fertilizer eventually ends up in local streams, said Menezes, program coordinator for the Community Storm Water Project.

Bruins poised for perfection

From sideline to sideline, baseline to the net, the tennis player is alone covering the court. Professional tennis is as much of an individual sport as there is.

Not so in high school.

Missouri to be honored at cathedral

The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., is half a country away from Missouri, but on Sunday, a worship service will be conducted there to celebrate the state.

The service is a part of the Washington National Cathedral’s Major State Day celebrations, begun in 1996. On the third Sunday of each month, an 11 a.m. service is held to honor a state, according to the cathedral’s Web site. States would be honored this way once every four years.

New face heats up 25th District race

Judy Baker, the Democratic candidate in the 25th District state representative race, is a political newcomer, while Bob Northup, her Republican opponent, has been involved in Columbia’s political scene for decades.

However, the first time the two went head-to-head in the race marked the 200th day in Baker’s campaign and only the fourth in Northup's. A twist in the race came when Republican candidate Joel Jeffries dropped out just two months before the Nov. 2 election to accept a job with the state Board of Probation and Parole. Northup volunteered to take his place, diving into the contest with only a few weeks to spread his name and his message.

Salmonella infection closes Equine Clinic

After diagnosing five horses with salmonella poisoning in the past four months, veterinarians at MU closed their Equine Clinic as a precaution in order to decontaminate the facility, officials said.

In a release, the MU News Bureau said that veterinarians will disinfect the entire hospital, located in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital on East Campus Drive, and will monitor the building for salmonella before reopening.

Variety part of Cougars’ rotation

The nationally ranked Cougars have perservered despite the numerous injuries of teamates this season. Cougars coach Melinda Wrye-Washington and the team have counteracted this hardship with optimism and a readiness for whatever comes, including various lineups. The teammates are ready for today's challenge at the Houston Baptist University Invitational today.