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Consultant promotes central city face-lift

A consultant helping the Columbia Housing Authority come up with a plan for redeveloping public housing along Park Avenue told a task force Monday that such redevelopment projects can be critical to the resurrection of troubled central city areas. She also pledged to give residents of the area more input in determining the scope of the project.

Ladene Morton, a consultant and vice president of Applied Urban Research Institute, a division of Swope Community Builders of Kansas City, was hired by the housing authority and the city of Columbia to lead the redevelopment effort. One potential funding source for the project is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Hope VI program.

Heat wave puts many in peril

Scorching heat during the past week has caused some residents to receive medical assistance while others attempt to find ways to beat it.

Temperatures in Columbia have been 100 degrees or higher for the past six days, according to the National Weather Service.

Fair attendance, like the heat, is high

Attendance at the 58th annual Boone County Fair didn’t suffer from the blistering heat.

More than 80,000 people entered the fair’s gates from opening day July 18 to the closing on Sunday evening, said George Harris, manager of the Boone County Fair since 1992.

Estate tax causes controversy

Proponents call it the Paris Hilton benefit law. Opponents call it an immoral tax on death. At the center of the debate surrounding the federal estate tax is a dispute about whether the wealthiest Americans or small businesses and family farmers are bearing the brunt of its impact.

The Congressional Budget Office released a report early this month showing that the effects of the estate tax on family farmers is small.

Tax districts proliferating

Transportation development districts are popping up around the city and beginning to charge extra sales taxes.

Six existing districts will generate at least $37 million

in additional sales tax revenue over the next 10 to 30 years.

Plans for at least five more TDDs are in the works, and developers could collect tens

of millions more for road projects once they’re in place.

District sales taxes pay for road projects

Transportation development districts are sprouting up in Columbia and could collect more than $50 million in sales taxes over the next few decades.

Transportation development districts, commonly known as TDDs, are governed by state statutes and are authorized to charge sales taxes of up to 1 percent on retail sales made within their boundaries to pay for road projects in the defined areas. TDDs often issue bonds to provide up-front money for transportation projects. Then, they use the tax revenue to pay off the bonds with interest.

State wants property claimed

The Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer’s Office has 14 workers trying to find 2 million people who own unclaimed property worth a total of $300 million.

From July 2004 to June 2005, the staff handed back $20.7 million, a record high since the agency was established in 1985.

Picnic plans to feed 300

About 300 people will get free fried chicken, baked beans, salad and cookies Tuesday during the Voluntary Action Center’s Christmas in July at Missouri United Methodist Church. This is the 14th year the picnic will serve low-income families.

Restaurants and grocery stores in Columbia will donate the food. HyVee Food Stores and Gerbes Supermarket in Columbia are donating the chicken, Boone Tavern is donating baked beans, and the Bread Basket Cafe is donating cookies.

Thieves rob pizza drivers

Two pizza delivery drivers told police they were robbed at gunpoint in separate incidents in north Columbia on Friday and Saturday nights.

Four men wearing bandanas robbed a 26-year-old delivery driver at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday in the 2800 block of Mexico Gravel Road, Columbia police Sgt. Will Green wrote in a news release.

Sliding through summer

Rocheport is like a hot desert ghost town. It hits 95 degrees before noon. The playground at Welbern Park is quiet. You spend 15 minutes standing by the Katy Trail and see only one sweat-soaked biker wheeling by.

Heading north toward Third Street, you pass house after house but not a soul is in sight.

Residents urged to conserve electricity, water

Columbia Water and Light has issued a peak warning, asking customers to conserve electricity through the weekend. Because of the continuing heat, electric demand is at its peak.

To avoid purchasing additional electricity at high prices, the department suggests consumers use less electricity during afternoon hours by waiting until after 8 p.m. to do tasks such as washing clothes and running the dishwasher. Electricity can cost $150 per megawatt hour during peak hours, up from the normal $75.

State studies pension use

Some Missourians have bad memories of past attempts to use public pension funds to promote the local economy, but State Treasurer Sarah Steelman is revisiting the idea.

Steelman in mid-June formed the Task Force on Increasing Access to Capital for Missouri Business. At its first meeting this month, the committee split into two subcommittees to study the possible use of retirement and nonretirement funds to invest in Missouri businesses.

Judge rules to move Boonville bridge lawsuit

BOONVILLE — A judge has given Attorney General Jay Nixon until Wednesday to appeal a decision to move a lawsuit seeking to stop the removal of an old Missouri River bridge that preservationists hope to use for the Katy Trail State Park.

Senior Judge William Kramer, a former Jackson County Circuit Court judge, ruled Friday that the case should be moved from Cooper County, where the bridge crosses the Missouri River, at Boonville to Cole County.

Bond to hold meeting on drought Monday

Sen. Kit Bond will visit Columbia Monday to discuss the state’s drought and how to ease its effects. Representatives from the Missouri departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture, the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute and commodity groups will be present. A roundtable discussion will be held at 10 a.m. in room 171 of MU’s Life Sciences Center.

Council makes move to acquire land

The Columbia City Council has authorized the condemnation of land, if necessary, to acquire property on the downtown block that includes the Daniel Boone Building. The city wants the property to accommodate a planned expansion of city hall.

City manager Ray Beck is in charge of negotiating with property owners and said the city rarely resorts to condemning land.

Hear your books online

It’s midnight and you have a sudden urge to learn a new language. You could search the web and find a site that could teach you a few basic words, but pronunciation is hard to master without hearing someone else say it.

Soon, the Daniel Boone Regional Library will be able to help you.

Rule guides jobs for curators

If members of the University of Missouri System’s governing body want to get a job at the university after their terms end, they will have to wait.

At a meeting Friday in Portageville, the UM Board of Curators on a 5-4 vote approved a rule that prevents board members, members of the Missouri General Assembly and other elected or appointed statewide officials from being employed by the university for at least two years after they leave their government positions.

Engineering students sent to China

An engineering program at MU has been sending college students from across the country around the world to experience environmental problems. These engineering students — who traditionally do not study abroad — are also gaining international experience in an increasingly global society.

This year nine students from universities around the United States are participating in the China Environmental Program run by the MU College of Engineering.

A slice of summer

Beta Beta Que and the Barbeque Brethern sound like names from an ancient order of food aficionados. But at the Boone County Fair, members from these behemoths of beef met for the battle of the briskets. Competitors at the 14th annual Boone’s Lick Trail BBQ Contest roasted and broiled in the sun all day Friday and until noon Saturday in hopes of being the next grand champion.

The competitors were judged in four categories of meat: pork ribs, pork shoulder, chicken and beef brisket.

Baby boy contest celebrates children

Oliver “Tubby” Linsenmeyer of Columbia sucked his thumb while he peered over his mother’s shoulder at the crowd below.

His baby-soft, fluffy hair stood up like a Mohawk, thanks to two cowlicks. Tubby, 5-months-old, sporting white and blue striped overalls, had just been named the winner of the newborn to not yet 1-year-old baby boy contest at the Boone County Fair Friday night.

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