Residents push taxes to pay for city’s future

Residents asked the Columbia City Council to think more aggressively about funding future transportation needs during a public hearing at the council meeting Monday. The council held the hearing after formally introducing its tax proposal.

“There is a very large gap between our needs and the proposed funding,” said Ben Londeree, a member of Timely and Responsible Road Infrastructure Financing. The group calls the transportation portion of the council’s tax proposal insufficient to meet the needs of the city and intends to campaign against the taxes if they are included on the November ballot.

Faith & Reason

The Rev. John Yonker takes the pulpit before his congregation at First Christian Church in Columbia and begins in the beginning: Genesis, Chapter 1, Creation.

It’s July 21, 1996, the year Pope John Paul II said evolution was “more than just a hypothesis,” three years before religious conservatives on the Kansas Board of Education struck evolutionary theory from its standards, nine years before Missouri legislators were warned that evolution rules out God.

Astronauts will spacewalk to fix Discovery

SPACE CENTER, Houston — NASA announced Monday that it will conduct a spacewalk to fix two worrisome pieces of filler material protruding from Discovery’s belly, a high-stakes operation to deal with a problem that could threaten the shuttle during re-entry.

Wayne Hale, the deputy shuttle program manager, told a news conference that engineers simply did not know enough about the problem under the shuttle to leave it unattended.

Council picks firm for city manager hunt

At a meeting Monday night, the Columbia City Council:

Hired the PAR Group to be the consulting firm to help the council hire a new city manager. The council received proposals from eight firms, interviewed three and voted Monday between the Mercer Group and the PAR Group.

Poppy gallery ready to bloom

Any attempt to catch an early glimpse of the new business on the south side of Broadway, near Tenth Street, is frustrated by butcher paper painted with brightly colored flowers covering the windows.

The only clue to passers-by of what’s to come are small white block letters announcing Poppy Fine Art, the first new art gallery to open in Columbia in several years. It is set to open Sept. 22.

New law raises sign language’s status

When Stephanie Logan received a call from a spokeswoman for Gov. Matt Blunt recently, she thought it was another practical joke. The previous day, her office had received a call from “John, from Blunt’s office.”

That call didn’t surprise Logan; she previously served on the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, a group often in contact with state government, before becoming MU’s only American Sign Language instructor. But her co-worker, interpreting for Logan, noticed “John” sounded a lot like Logan’s husband, a man fond of practical jokes.

Hurled object causes car crash

A 31-year-old Columbia man was arrested Sunday in connection with an incident in which a blunt object was thrown through a car window, striking a man in the face and knocking him unconscious, Boone County Sheriff’s detectives said.

George B. James of 5301 St. Charles Road was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault, armed criminal action and tampering with physical evidence. He was being held Monday afternoon on $104,500 bond. A first-degree assault charge is a Class A felony and carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

Neighborhood associations give residents a voice

A mile east of Columbia, at the end of what was once a winding gravel road, lies a quiet, country neighborhood filled with history.

Since 1955, Shepherd Hills neighborhood, a 40-acre area that includes a 10-acre park, is a place where 14 families have lived and enjoyed a rural lifestyle. Despite rampant development and the construction of U.S. 63, residents say the only thing that has really changed is the traffic, which can be burdensome during the peak hours of the day.

Church and books must go together

Even though I enjoy historical fiction, I wasn’t particularly anxious to read Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” and would probably never have rushed out and bought a copy. I had heard the book discussed several times by Christians and non-Christians and had, quite frankly, gotten a little bored with the comments. I do not like listening to people speak who feel that they are privy to the mind of God. However, a friend shared her copy with me and I took the plunge. The book was clearly advertised as a “novel” and as such, I found it to be entertaining and a real page-turner. I found it to be cleverly written and the subject matter to be fascinating.

When I mentioned a few days later that I had completed the book, another friend provided me with a copy of “Breaking the Da Vinci Code” by Darrell L. Bock. Bock, a professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, undertook the work of separating the facts from the fiction contained within the novel. Bock’s book addressed the historical errors one by one and provided a credible source for accurate information for readers interested in pursuing the subject.

Charitable advice

Professional golfers from across the country gathered Monday at the Country Club of Missouri to play golf to benefit a local organization.

The Rainbow House Golf Classic, in its 15th year, has been the undertaking of PGA instructor and former MU golfer Stan Utley.

Finally, some rest for weary Mavs

The Mavericks have gone 19 days without a day off, not counting that rainout in Rockford last week.

They wouldn’t have complained if it came even a day sooner.

Palmeiro violates steroid policy

NEW YORK — Rafael Palmeiro poked his finger in the air for emphasis and raised his voice with all the indignation of a man falsely accused.

“I have never used steroids. Period,” he told a congressional panel in March.

Harris boosts Florida

ST. LOUIS — Career pinch-hit leader Lenny Harris had a three-run go-ahead double in the sixth inning, helping the Florida Marlins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 on Monday night.

Mike Lowell hit his second road home run of the season and had three RBIs for the Marlins, who have won five of six. Juan Encarnacion had three hits and scored twice.

St. Louis’ defensive line ready to shine

ST. LOUIS — In recent years the St. Louis Rams have placed an emphasis in the draft on building a strong interior defense, taking Damione Lewis and Ryan Pickett in 2001 and then choosing Jimmy Kennedy in 2003.

Now, the team hopes, it’s time for an overdue payoff.

Crop losses mounting

Last Tuesday’s rainfall of less than half an inch in most of Boone County briefly interrupted a 43-day dry spell. But with no significant rainfall predicted in the foreseeable future and temperatures in the 90s expected all week, Boone County farmers’ crop yield losses are mounting.

Efforts to assess the potential economic fallout are in early stages. It is too soon to say what type of assistance farmers might get or whether consumers will feel the effects of the drought in their pocketbooks.

Abortion foes want political car plate

JEFFERSON CITY — Denied in the Capitol, some abortion foes are taking advantage of a relatively new state law to try to create a “Choose Life” license plate without needing approval of the full legislature or the governor.

The slogan is one of several proposed specialty plates submitted to the Department of Revenue by nonprofit groups willing to fork over $5,000 and line up the first 200 purchasers of the plates.

Science teachers use care when teaching ‘e-word’

The evolution unit at Rock Bridge High School will take two weeks. The controversy discussion will wrap up in 20 minutes. The impact will be confounded by other, arguably more influential factors: It’s 7:50 in the morning, the homework is due, mechanical pencils are scratching in symphony, and it’s time to pass papers to the front.

The students in Kerri Graham’s sophomore biology class habitually slump into their seats, apparently unfazed that they are at the bull’s-eye of the intelligent design movement, whose “teach the controversy” slogan intends to rile up high school classrooms just like this one. Intelligent design theorists contend that a purposeful creator is responsible for the beginning and diversification of life on the planet. But these sleepy teenagers care more about reaching driving age than the age of the Earth.

Reserves lend relief to paid officers

“Some belong to the Rotary Club, some to Kiwanis, but my idea of community service is law enforcement,” said Chuck Wilson, a reserve sergeant for the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

Wilson, 60, has worked as a reserve officer ever since former Sheriff Ted Boehm started the program about 20 years ago.

Equine exercise: Good for body and soul

Nellie Owen arrives 45 minutes before her Friday afternoon riding class begins. She likes coming early, she says. It’s her time to smell the horses.

She sits by the fence to watch an earlier class that’s still in session. Each horse that passes in front of her she greets like an old friend.

MU history professor’s book shows Henry Ford’s influence

Although most people associate Henry Ford with the assembly line and the Model T, MU history professor Steven Watts wanted his book to be about more than that. He wanted to convey that Ford’s mass production techniques encouraged the idea of consumer societies and the perception of America as the land of opportunity.

“The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and The American Century,” published by Knopf, is due to come out Aug. 9.