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New annexation bid surprises Harg group

Harg-area residents learned of a new annexation request in their neighborhood at a meeting Thursday night with Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, and Boone County Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin.

Richland Road LLC has filed a request for Columbia to annex 147 acres, located east of the city on the south side of Richland Road, near the intersection of St. Charles Road.

Economic group taps MU member as VP

Frank Seibert, a director for an extension program with the MU College of Business, has been elected vice president for the University Economic Development Association. This national, nonprofit organization serves institutions of higher education and their U.S. and international economic affiliates.

“I consider it a great honor to be elected to serve as the vice president of such a prestigious organization,” Seibert said in a news release.

Reward system faces scrutiny

JEFFERSON CITY — Several days after the Missouri Democratic Party requested a federal inquiry into fee office contracts awarded to two relatives of U.S. Attorney Todd Graves and two staffers for U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., House Democrats pushed to eliminate the patronage system used to award the contracts.

The state’s 171 fee offices collect money for driver’s license renewal, process motor vehicle titles and registrations and receive tax payments. The contracts are generally viewed as a tool governors use to reward friends.

Former Subway employee charged in burglaries

A former Subway employee remained in Boone County jail Thursday, arrested in connection with seven different burglaries, including five that took place at restaurants where he was employed.

William Shellie Franko, 21, was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with four counts of second-degree burglary. His bond is set at $20,000.

Sports complex project set to start in summer

Amber Swinehart and Laura Buehrig visit the Tom Taylor Building daily to work out, eat and do homework. These members of the soccer team, along with all MU athletes, are encouraged to go to the sports complex regularly, but Swinehart and Buehrig say the complex doesn’t always comfortably fit the more than 500 athletes who come and go.

“Once the football team gets in the dining hall, they tend to overtake everything,” Buehrig said. “It gets cramped.”

Small farm owners: Bills favor companies

JEFFERSON CITY — Displaying “Farm and Rural Values” badges, dozens of small farm owners, county commissioners and other rural residents visited the Capitol on Wednesday to lobby against two proposed bills.

Their beef was with Senate Bill 187 and House Bill 376. The bills would exclude large corporate farms from state regulation and leave them only under federal regulations. The bills would also limit local authority in health and zoning ordinances. The protesters say that although deregulation might be a boon for big business, it could hurt small family farms.

Warm smiles and iron horses

While the artificial fireplace at the Kirkwood train station doesn’t keep the place cozy on snowy Wednesday nights, Marge Nardie’s genuine smile provides a warm welcome.

“I like working at night because people that come in are grumpy and —well — I’m not,” Nardie said.

Workers’comp bill voted out of House

JEFFERSON CITY — A reduction in the number of injuries covered under Missouri’s workers’ compensation law won approval from the House on Wednesday.

The measure passed 90-66 in the Republican-controlled chamber in a vote that broke mostly down party lines.

House panel votes to cut regional Amtrak funding

JEFFERSON CITY — A House panel looking for budget savings has voted to eliminate state funding for the twice-daily Amtrak passenger train service between St. Louis and Kansas City.

The House Transportation Appropriations Committee voted Tuesday night to cut the $6.4 million that Gov. Matt Blunt had recommended to subsidize the train service. Earlier this week, several mayors and officials from cities along the train route pleaded with the committee to maintain Amtrak’s funding.

Federal law grants free credit reports

A federal law has armed Midwesterners against one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation.

Supporters of the law say people will be better suited to defend themselves against identity theft when equipped with a report of their credit history.

Gathering defends stem-cell research

JEFFERSON CITY — More than 100 women from the Hadassah organization filled the Capitol on Wednesday to lobby against legislation that could outlaw stem-cell research in what they called the “State of Stem Cells Event.”

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, could outlaw human cloning and stem-cell research, which some scientists say could lead to cures for degenerative diseases.

House OKs MSU

JEFFERSON CITY — The signature of an eager governor is all that remains before Southwest Missouri State University realizes its goal of becoming Missouri State University.

Over the objections of an impassioned, bipartisan group of lawmakers, the House voted 120-35 to pass the Senate bill that bestows the name on the Springfield school. The House sponsor, Rep. B. J. Marsh, R-Springfield, was surprised at the overwhelming victory, saying he expected only about 90 votes in favor.

MU veterinary lab bonuses down slightly

Bonuses for eight faculty members with MU’s entrepreneurial veterinary laboratory slid slightly from last year; however, all but one amounted to more than $100,000.

MU announced Tuesday that the researchers involved with the Research Animal Diagnostic Laboratory, known as RADIL, received bonuses totaling $1.088 million as incentives. That is about $9,500 less than was paid in fiscal year 2003, about $1.09 million, to the six researchers then with the laboratory.

Funding plan misses deadline

JEFFERSON CITY — The effort to fix the formula used to distribute state funding for local schools has missed its first deadline.

Sen. Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, had set a controversial four-week deadline for the joint Senate-House committee assigned to the task, but a vote is not expected until the formula can be compiled into bill form, which will not happen until next week.

Senate to hear new privacy bills

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri lawmakers are reacting to what they see as a lack of protection for Missourians in the wake of the ChoicePoint Inc. scandal, which affected more than 1,500 people in Missouri and 500,000 across the country.

“The environment for consumers in Missouri has moved from ‘buyer beware’ to ‘buyer be scared,’ ” said Sen. Pat Dougherty, D-St. Louis.

Setting the scene

Three months of hard work are coming to an end for Smithton Drama Players. “Miss Nelson is Missing,” the spring musical, premieres Thursday and continues on Friday, and Saturday at Smithton Middle School.

Pressure has mounted a little higher than normal for this year’s musical, though, as Joan Cushing, who adapted the script, lyrics and music, will make a special appearance at the performance.

Monsanto to buy seed company

ST. LOUIS — Monsanto Co. said Tuesday its fledgling holding company will buy seed-marketer NC+ Hybrids Inc. for $40 million in cash, continuing the agribusiness’ shopping spree for regional seed companies as its dominance in herbicides erodes.

St. Louis-based Monsanto said NC+ Hybrids, based in Lincoln, Neb., is the latest acquisition by its American Seeds Inc. unit, formed last year to support regional seed businesses with capital, genetics and technology investments.

Co-defendant in Heitholt killing won’t hear sentence until June

The sentencing of a 20-year-old man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in connection with the 2001 killing of Kent Heitholt was pushed back Monday to June 13.

Dressed in a black-and-white jumpsuit from the Boone County Jail, Charles Timothy Erickson sighed heavily as he waited for a brief hearing with Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton.

Boone Hospital Center makes list of nation’s top 100 hospitals

For the first time, Boone Hospital Center has been named as one of the nation’s top 100 hospitals by Modern Healthcare magazine.

Mike Shirk, president of Boone Hospital Center, shared the news Monday night at the hospital’s Board of Trustees meeting.

Missouri killer’s case goes to high court

WASHINGTON — Shackled with leg irons and a belly chain, Carman L. Deck was sentenced to death by a Hillsboro jury in 2003. Two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether Deck’s shackling violated his right to a fair trial.

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