Debate at Hickman considers energy crisis

Hickman High School students expressed concern about the future of energy and the environment at a forum at Hickman Commons Wednesday night. The forum’s title was “Energy Crisis - Problems and Possibilities,” and the debate was largely focused on how the current energy use is unsustainable. Panel members also discussed alternatives to gasoline.

Pining for pumpkins

Despite the shortage that has affected pumpkin growers, visitors to the annual Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival this weekend don’t have to worry. There will be enough pumpkins for the festival. The lack of rain plus the heat have meant hardships for pumpkin harvesters this growing season. Normally, Jo and Norlan Hackman would be able to grow 60,000 pounds of pumpkin. This year, however, they were only able to grow half that.

Police share more details about killing

MU police released a photograph Tuesday of the weapon they say was used in the 9-month-old unsolved homicide of an MU researcher, along with more details about a man and vehicle seen close to the scene of the researcher’s death. Jeong H. Im, a retired MU research professor, was found dead of multiple stab wounds at 12:24 p.m. Jan. 7 in the trunk of his Honda in the Maryland Avenue parking garage.

Incentives could spur life-science industry growth

The Boone County Commission is expected to give final approval on Thursday to an economic-incentive plan that could encourage growth in the life-sciences industry. The plan, under Chapter 100 of the Missouri Statutes, offers property-tax incentives to businesses looking to expand and has been brought before the commission in the past. New motivation to approve the incentive was driven by a presentation made by Columbia-based Analytical Bio-Chemistry Laboratories in early September.

Agreement keeps Fairfield Inn off auction block

A business owner will keep his hotel after authorities planned to sell it in order to pay for legal damages stemming from a sexual harassment lawsuit. The auction on the steps of the Boone County Courthouse that would have sold the Fairfield Inn to the highest bidder at 1:30 p.m. today was canceled.

Sapp tees up course development

Just a few miles east of U.S. 63, Route WW climbs a gradual hill. To the left, an unwelcoming bank of loose sediment is littered with patches of dormant Johnson grass, the kind you used to chew on as a kid. As the highway tops the hill, the bank drops to road level, revealing an expanse of perfectly cut bright green grass, striped dark and light by the alternating paths of a mower. In the middle of the property, just before the hills start to dip and roll likes waves rushing from the sea, a beautiful and commanding manor rises above the surrounding pasture, behind a white wooden fence that suggests rural tranquility but demands respect. Now home to developer Billy Sapp and his wife, Glenda, it soon will serve as the clubhouse for what they hope will become the premier golf club in the area.

Student sues after being hit on bike

An MU journalism student who was seriously injured after being struck by a car and dragged under a Columbia utility truck has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city of Columbia, a state agency and both the driver of the car and the truck. Krysten Chambrot, from Miramar, Fla., was riding her bicycle through the intersection of College and Rollins avenues on Aug. 18 when she was struck by a Mazda Miata driven by Judy Pope, 55, of Columbia. Chambrot was then was struck and dragged several feet by a Columbia Water and Light truck driven by Michael Arens.

Blue Ridge sends aid to Miss. school

All day Friday, someone was dancing at Blue Ridge Elementary School. Students paid a dollar to dance. They danced to appropriate music, said fifth-grader Dakotah Meierotto, making the quotation marks with her fingers.

Program mentors youths with imprisoned parents

If it were not for the help of her mentor, a 15-year-old Columbia girl could be following in her incarcerated mother’s footsteps. The girl had already been in juvenile detention, and she wasn’t doing well in school. But when she met Carrie Brown, she aspired to do better.

Columbia buildings honored

Columbia College, Bear Creek Prairie and YouZeum, which opens in 2006, are the recipients of Smart Growth 2005 awards, which honor efforts to revitalize urban communities. Smart Growth awards are given to buildings in their planning stages. Boone County’s Smart Growth Coalition rewards buildings that it sees as helping to maintain a strong, vibrant central community, to reduce public spending by building upon existing infrastructure and to help prevent blight in urban neighborhoods, said Barbara Hoppe, co-chairwoman of the coalition.

Technology park ideas to go before curators

An “intent to plan” a technology park at MU will go before the UM System Board of Curators for approval when it meets in St. Louis this week, spokesman Joe Moore said. A technology, or research, park is a cluster of high-tech companies fusing university research and ideas with community entrepreneurs and businesses to stimulate economic development.

Hospital association backs tobacco tax

The Missouri Hospital Association on Tuesday came out in support of a proposed 80-cent-per-pack increase in the state tobacco tax. Mary Becker, spokeswoman for the association, said Missouri has the second lowest tax on tobacco at 17 cents and ranks last in public funding for tobacco use prevention education.

Road committee has new treasurer

Members of Timely and Responsible Roads and Infrastructure Financing have named R. Venette Hamilton as the committee’s new treasurer after her predecessor, John Clark, resigned unexpectedly last Wednesday. Clark declined to comment on his reasons for leaving the committee, which is lobbying for rejection of Columbia’s propositions 4 and 5 on the Nov. 8 ballot. The propositions call for sales taxes that would help pay for street improvements.

Second suspect pleads guilty in Olivares case

The second of four people accused in the January death of Fernando Olivares has pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary charges in exchange for her testimony at her co-defendants’ trials. Amy Garrison, 32, of Columbia accepted a plea bargain Tuesday in which the prosecution agreed to drop a charge of second-degree murder. Garrison pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and first-degree burglary.

How Chapter 100 bonds function

Chapter 100 of the Missouri Statutes is a tax-incentive plan that allows counties and cities to issue revenue bonds to finance the projects of companies that intend to build or expand facilities. The companies then purchase the bonds, and the city or county repays the bonds, which in turn, makes the projects public and exempt from property tax. Regional Economic Development Inc. has recommended that companies that benefit from the bonds offer a payment in lieu of tax, of no less than 50 percent of the property tax they would normally pay.

Honoring the holy days

"Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein.” Quran, Chapter 2, verse 185

Forgiveness, festivity amid Rosh Hashana

“In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns, a holy convocation.” Leviticus 23:24

Technology park to feed innovation

One day in the foreseeable future, people will be able to stop at businesses south of Columbia to buy soybeans genetically altered to help prevent cancer and ice that can freeze at 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Maybe there will also be artificial or cultured limbs and skin. Maybe there will be non-toxic anti-freeze.

Trail Ridge work gets go-ahead from City Council

The final phase of the Trail Ridge subdivision in south Columbia will go ahead as planned despite concerns from neighbors who say the development is ruining their property. Construction can also begin on the sprawling Old Hawthorne subdivision east of town after a unanimous vote by the City Council late Monday night.

Citizens will help pick city manager

As Ray Beck’s tenure comes to a close, the Columbia City Council is dusting off long-forgotten procedures for hiring the next city manager. Karl Nollenberger, a consultant with Illinois-based recruitment firm The PAR Group, is charged with narrowing the pool of applicants and aiding in the hiring process. Since he was hired in August, Nollenberger has received nearly 200 inquiries about the city manager position.