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Solutions sought as drought continues

Joe Baumgartner looked momentarily pleased when he stood in the intermittent rain that fell Thursday morning on his south-county farm during a visit by Gov. Matt Blunt. But the 0.18 inches reported at the Columbia Regional Airport wouldn’t be enough to give him — or his crops — any meaningful relief.

Baumgartner, 66, has been farming for 45 years. He and other Boone County farmers would need at least 3 to 5 inches of rain for three consecutive days to make a difference.

City, county limit tax holiday

Missouri’s holiday from sales taxes will allow Missouri shoppers to get a break on school-related items this weekend, but bargain hunters in Columbia won’t get the full discount that some Missourians will receive.

Today through Sunday, the state won’t collect sales taxes on computers, clothing and school supplies. The holiday was enacted into law in 2003 and was officially made an annual event this year, said Jeff Craver, director of fiscal affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Police say hold-up, arrest minutes apart

A Columbia man was arrested Wednesday night less than 10 minutes after a taxi driver reported he was held up at gunpoint at the intersection of Wilkes Boulevard and College Avenue.

Jamine Leonard, 26, was arrested by Columbia Police near the intersection on suspicion of first-degree robbery, armed criminal action and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Program aims to get youths set for school

A new program in Columbia will teach children about school before they ever step foot in a kindergarten classroom.

Columbia Public Schools and Head Start held an open house Thursday to commemorate the opening of the Park Avenue Child and Family Development Center. The new center, scheduled to start classes Aug. 29, will provide full-day preschool to prepare at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds for kindergarten.

Children teaching children

Alex Majors could have spent her summer as many of her friends did: sleeping in late, swimming and lounging in front of the TV.

For the third summer in a row, this 13- year-old is learning what it’s like to be a teacher.

Floyd tours state for fixed tuition input

Elson Floyd, University of Missouri System president, said Thursday that he will tour the state for community input on a fixed tuition plan he has been considering since June.

If the UM system were to adopt fixed tuition rates, incoming freshmen would pay the same annual tuition for each year of their undergraduate programs. Non-freshman undergraduates would pay the same rate for each of the remaining years in their programs.

P&Z ignores Route E plan advice

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission defied the recommendations of city staff and the Missouri Department of Transportation by opening planning on a 62-acre plot of land without first conducting a traffic study.

The land, located on the southwest corner of Route E and Sunflower Street, is owned by Con-Agg of Mo LLC, a cement maker. The commission voted to recommend that the City Council rezone the area from agricultural to single-family residential without requiring the developer to conduct a traffic study before the initial planning stages. The developer says he wants to build about 120 single-family homes in the area.

Neighbors lodge contractor complaints

When Mariom Jackman appeared before the Boone County Commission Thursday to voice complaints about contractor Robert Berendzen, the commissioners weren’t surprised.

“Our planning and our public works have complained to us multiple times on this situation,” Keith Schnarre, presiding commissioner said.

Knights, dragons encourage children to read

“I dub thee knight of Daniel Boone Regional Library. Be brave. Be loyal. Go forth and read,” employees working the children’s desk at the Columbia Public Library said Thursday to children who finished the Summer Reading Program.

After being knighted with a giant inflatable sword, children were presented a certificate, a bag adorned with the “Dragons, Dreams & Daring Deeds” theme and a free book.

Correction

A story on page 1A Thursday about renovation of the MU Chancellor’s Residence gave the wrong name for the project architect. It is Peckham and Wright. Ted Wofford is a historical consultant on the project.

Eminent domain task force starts work

JEFFERSON CITY — A task force set up to study eminent domain laws began its work Thursday. The panel was established in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that gave local governments broader powers to seize private property for tax revenue-generating private developments such as shopping malls. Its chairman is Terry Jarrett, Gov. Matt Blunt’s general counsel. The panel hopes to have initial ideas by October.

This old house

Anne Deaton wants to learn all she can about her new home.

She and her husband, Chancellor Brady Deaton, won’t move in until March, but she’s already accumulating stories about their new digs — the Chancellor’s Residence on Francis Quadrangle at MU.

Mother wants answers in death

The mother of a Columbia teenager who drowned in a city swimming pool in June says lingering questions about her son’s death have not been answered despite autopsy findings that revealed he had no alcohol in his blood at the time of his death.

Omarr J. Burress, 18, died June 24 after scaling a 7-foot fence at the Douglass Family Aquatic Center, 400 N. Providence Road, and drowning in the center’s pool. Witnesses said they heard Burress yelling for help about 10 minutes after he climbed the fence. One of the witnesses performed CPR on Burress, police said. Burress was later taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Amendment 2 protests revived

Twenty-four protesters gathered on the Boone County Courthouse lawn and three same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses Wednesday, the first anniversary of the passing of Amendment 2.

Amendment 2 to the Missouri state Constitution defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The amendment, which essentially bans same-sex marriage in Missouri, passed with 70 percent of the vote Aug. 3, 2004. This made it clear that most Missourians don’t think marriage is intended for same-sex couples, said state Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington.

Legionnaires’ disease diagnosed

Patients at University Hospital and Clinics were being screened for Legionnaires’ disease after two patients located two floors apart tested positive for the illness, hospital officials said Wednesday.

“It is a little unusual to have two (cases) close together,” said Dr. Leslie Hall, clinical effectiveness director. But Legionnaires’ disease, characterized by pneumonia, is not rare.

NAACP, police to discuss forced entry complaint

The state president of the NAACP will meet with Columbia Police Chief Randy Boehm today to discuss a Columbia man’s allegation that police forced their way into his house July 28 and shined flashlights into his eyes, with guns drawn.

The man, Brian Wright, 31, filed a formal complaint with the police later that day about the 2:30 a.m. incident at his White Gate Drive apartment. Captain Zim Schwartze, East District commander with the Police Department, confirmed Friday that the complaint was under review.

KU student’s trial moved to December

The trial of the KU student whose altercation with the chief of MU police ended with the student’s ejection from a basketball game was postponed Wednesday because the key witness in the case, MU Police Maj. Doug Schwandt, was on vacation.

Andrew Wymore, who was arrested at the March 6 MU-KU basketball game, won’t go on trial until Dec. 21 now that City Judge Robert Auglur has granted the city’s request for a continuance.

Developers make their case for growth

In an effort to present a counterpoint to an anti-growth voice in Columbia, the Central Missouri Development Council hired a research and analysis firm to study the impact of growth and development in Columbia and Boone County over the past 10 years.

The findings, released Wednesday, state that development in the past decade has produced $5.8 billion in economic output and supported 4,924 jobs representing a combined $1.5 billion in salaries.

A class celebration

Striking — startling, even — in the cramped hallway of MU’s General Classroom Building on Wednesday was Alyssa Lapan, a 17-year-old senior at Hickman High School. Wearing a dark dress and ornately painted in black and silver, Lapan was guised as Fama, goddess of gossip and rumor.

She was not alone. There were other Famas. There were chimeras — three-headed creatures that spit fire. There were sphinxes — creatures with the body of a lion, wings of an eagle, and the head and bosom of a woman. Even Oedipus, who loved his mother a bit too much in Greek lore, was there.

Officials present wish list for Columbia airport

Plans to install a radar system, extend the main runway and build a new terminal topped a short wish list of the possible expansions to Columbia Regional Airport presented at an advisory board meeting Wednesday.

Airport Manager Bill Boston suggested cosmetic improvements beyond what is currently budgeted. Boston said he met with Columbia Public Works Director John Glascock to discuss putting together a list of desired projects.

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