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.

All fired up

When Rock Bridge homecoming planning began, Student Council President Ryan McNutt knew one thing for sure. “I just wanted homecoming to be better than last year,” said McNutt, a senior. “Everyone knows that Student Council is in charge of it, and I’m the head of Student Council, so it falls on me if it isn’t good.”

Audit: Medicaid cuts unnecessary

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill says her office has found how nearly $5 million in the administration’s cuts to the state’s Medicaid budget could have been retained to recover the cost of items such as wheelchairs, oxygen devices and prosthetics for Medicaid recipients. McCaskill said the audit conducted from Jan. 1, 2003, to March 31, 2004, found that the state could save

New water plant’s name would be tribute to employee

Joe Paul Crane could never catch his employees by surprise. “Everyone would know he was coming because they’d hear his whistle at the job site,” said Otis Shields, who moved up the ranks of the Columbia Water and Light Department under Crane.

Winter’s expenses hit poor hardest

The threat of rising heating costs and gasoline prices are causing a lot of folks to begin considering changes they can make in their lifestyle this winter to shave living expenses. According to some predictions, natural gas prices in our part of the country could take a substantial leap. Some families who have already combined households for financial reasons are facing the possibility of having to stretch space even further to accommodate more family members.

Property values up; tax rates down

It’s rollback time in Boone County. A booming real estate market and reassessed property values have caused many local taxing jurisdictions to cut their property tax levies. Boone County Assessor Tom Schauwecker said preliminary reassessments of all properties in the county showed an increase in value of about $227 million as of June 16. Reassessment of county real estate and new construction has raised values by about 19 percent to a total of more than $1.5 billion.

A festive fall

BOONVILLE — On the corner of Sixth and Spring streets, Kenny Williams helped two girls who were teetering on Rollerblades to crank his fire-engine-red antique corn sheller at the 35th Boonville Festival of Leaves. As soon as the wheel’s rotations were fast enough, Williams slid a cob through the top. The children watched as the dry, multi-colored kernels rushed out the bottom into an orange bin. He then pulled the stripped cob out of the other end and held it against the quickly rotating wheel until the friction caused it to stop. Williams’ corn machines, in and around his stand propped with cornhusk-covered poles, allow him to demonstrate the 1920s machines, which he says will one day be relegated to museums.

Katrina leaves family without home — twice

The Wallace family spent Sunday morning driving around Columbia looking for a new place to live. With the classifieds open across the front seat, Xiomara Wallace went down the list looking for a place that would let them move in that afternoon. After evacuating New Orleans almost a month ago, Wallace and her daughter, Maya, moved to Columbia to stay temporarily with Wallace’s daughter, Bea, a graduate student at MU. That plan was cut short over the weekend when Bea Wallace’s landlord wrote the family a note saying Bea Wallace’s mother and sister would have to move out Saturday.

11 make cut as National Merit Semifinalists

A banner hangs in the hallway of Rock Bridge High School congratulating nine seniors who qualified as National Merit Semifinalists after taking the PSAT standardized test last year. Two other Columbia students, seniors at Hickman High School, are also semifinalists, bringing the city’s total to 11 students. The results were released recently by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., a nonprofit organization that seeks to honor the nation’s top performing students by awarding a select few with a scholarship to be used toward a college education.

Park Avenue tour makes case against demolition

Residents of the Park Avenue area and members of Grass Roots Organizing hosted a Fall Parade of Homes on Sunday in response to plans by the Columbia Housing Authority task force to demolish and redevelop the 70 existing homes in the area. For months now, the task force has been working with two consultants hired from Kansas City to plan ways of redeveloping the neighborhood. At their last meeting, the task force agreed they wanted to demolish the 70 homes and rebuild with apartments, single-family homes and retail space. Park Avenue residents say they oppose demolition and invited Columbia residents into the neighborhood Sunday to show that their homes are perfectly livable just the way they are.

MU group responds to finance inquiry

Two days past its deadline, the Legion of Black Collegians, one of three student governments at MU, responded to a university demand for financial information. Legion vice president Travis Gregory said Sunday that the most recent records for an off-campus bank account — which violates university policy — were given late Friday afternoon to the Department of Student Life.

Group raises money to oppose road taxes

Citizens for Timely and Responsible Road Infrastructure Financing hosted a pig roast benefit Sunday to raise money for its campaign to defeat the Columbia City Council’s road tax ballot proposals. The group raised $1,000 through the event, which 40 people attended. Tickets were $25.

New traffic unit added to Sheriff’s Department

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department grew Saturday, adding a new traffic unit. “Traffic compliance complaints are one of the highest complaints this agency receives,” Maj. Tom Reddin said. “For years, we have been trying to get a traffic unit off the ground.”