Polls show cities split on curfews

Columbia is not the only Missouri city that has debated the effectiveness of curfews in recent years. Independence has a curfew ordinance and was featured in a national poll about curfews that was released last year.

The poll, by the National League of Cities, reported that Independence officials think parental ambivalence and lack of enforcement make their curfew ineffective.

Hazards of payday loans addressed

Dorothy Thomas said her sister was living paycheck-to-paycheck when rising heating bills prompted her to take out a payday loan.

The loan was attractive because it seemed “easy to borrow at the time,” Thomas said. When her sister’s financial situation worsened, it strained her ability to pay back the loan.

Marijuana operation alleged in Columbia

Columbia police discovered a marijuana-growing operation in a northeast Columbia house Sunday after being tipped off by a Columbia woman who said she’d been assaulted by a man who was growing marijuana, Columbia police Capt. Michael Martin said on Monday.

The 21-year-old woman said the man wouldn’t let her leave after she spurned his sexual advances at his home at 1901 Lovejoy Lane, Martin said. She escaped and ran to a neighbor’s house. The neighbor called police to report a trespassing after the woman refused to leave the house.

Lack of discipline way out of control

No matter how eager we all might be to firm up our summer program, we have to admire Mother Nature’s way of playing weather games to let us know who’s boss. I barely get a fistful of new flowers planted before the temperature takes a downward plunge and I have to consider whether to cover my new efforts with plastic. At this writing, I haven’t had any casualties, but this is Missouri and so there’s time for surprises.

Watching chaos unfold in Washington, D.C., during the terrorist scare a couple of weeks ago should have reminded us again about the necessity for maintaining community preparedness. The capacity of people to panic and endanger their lives others in times of crisis, I think, cannot be overstated. We witness this on television time after time during natural and manmade disasters. Still, I don’t notice any advertising campaigns or billboards on the highways stressing the importance of self-discipline in these troubled times when almost anything can happen at any time.

Gasoline pipeline spills into Mo. River

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A pipeline break near a Board of Public Utilities electric plant in Kansas City, Kan., early Monday caused a gasoline leak that spilled into the Missouri River.

Don Denney, spokesman for the joint government of Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County, estimated that about 18,750 gallons of gasoline escaped before the leak in a line belonging to Magellan Midstream Partners of Tulsa, Okla., was stopped. He said the break was a couple of thousand feet from the river and the fuel flowed down into the water.

Critic of space weapons to speak

A former leader and subsequent critic of the “Star Wars” space weapons program will be in Columbia this week to talk about patriotism.

Robert M. Bowman’s presentation Thursday is part of a 28-state tour and is sponsored by MU Friends of Peace Studies, Columbia Peace Coalition, Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, Global Action to Prevent War, and Veterans for Peace.

Man uses lamp to scare burglars

Four people — at least two of them armed with handguns — ran away with nothing to show for their efforts after a Columbia man scared them out of his house by threatening them with a lamp, Boone County Sheriff’s Capt. Gary German said Monday. Boone County sheriff’s deputies arrested one Columbia man, detained two male juveniles and were searching for a third juvenile in connection with the home invasion, which happened about 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the 200 block of West Havens Drive in north-central Boone County, German said. The four men entered the house through an unlocked door ...

Heeding the call to help

When MU senior Emily Angle started thinking about life after graduation, she saw a poster advertising Teach for America. The program recruits new college graduates to teach for two years in urban and rural schools across the nation to help make public education more equitable.

“I think I was drawn to it when I was sitting down trying to decide what to do after graduation, and I realized every activity I’ve done here involved teaching,” Angle said. “I saw a flier for Teach for America and decided I wanted to learn more about it.”

Family sport

The rink was built, the lights came on, and the players came.

Ten years ago, John Briggs dreamed of having an in-line skating league and rink in Hallsville. With the help of best friend Bruce Jones and many others, that dream became a reality.

Blunt special session to echo Holden’s

JEFFERSON CITY — On the last day of the legislative session in his first year in office, the governor proclaimed that he had achieved a nearly complete success in passing priority legislation.

When lawmakers adjourned in May, the governor immediately said he would call a September special session so that lingering priority could pass.

Crackdown on human trafficking continues

ST. LOUIS — Human trafficking doesn’t usually come to mind as a crime that might affect St. Louis or eastern Missouri. But experts say it does exist here, albeit buried very deeply.

“The minute you start talking about it, individuals in the community will say, ‘I may know somebody who may be a victim,’ ” said Suzanne LeLaurin, vice president of the International Institute, a refugee resettlement agency. “The victims are so controlled by traffickers, it’s difficult to find them until you start doing assertive outreach and investigation.

Struggle and Surrender

Maaz Maqbool, an MU student, started high school in downtown Manhattan, a few blocks away from the World Trade Center plaza. “My friends and I would frequently go there to the underground mall and to the Plaza between the towers,” says Maqbool, who has lived in Columbia since 1999. “I remember distinctly lying on a bench in the plaza and staring up at the towers, which gave me a sensation of


Ex-cop to serve life for murder

After nine hours of deliberation over two days, a jury found former Columbia police Officer Steven Rios guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action Saturday morning in the June 2004 slaying of 23-year-old Jesse Valencia.

The murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. The 12-person jury also sentenced Rios to 10 years in prison for armed criminal action. Circuit Judge Ellen Roper could add to that sentence when Rios appears at a final disposition scheduled for July 5.

Valencia’s family and friends share relief that the wait is over

Family and friends of Jesse Valencia stepped out of the Boone County Courthouse into the bright sunshine shortly before noon Saturday, smiling and celebrating with hugs the conviction of Steven Rios.

Valencia’s mother, Linda, thanked God for what she called justice for her son.

Traffic concerns top council’s list

LAKE OZARK — Proposed tax increases to pay for street projects were the focus of the Columbia City Council’s annual retreat, held Friday and Saturday in a Lodge of the Four Seasons conference room overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks.

Council members and senior city staff — some dressed in shorts and T-shirts and stocked with a supply of candy and toys — nestled into a conference room and plowed through 15 hours of scheduled discussions while boaters cruised the lake’s scenic Horseshoe Bend below.

Israeli, Palestinian bring message of peace

David Damelin was a master’s student in philosophy of education when he was called to active duty in the Israeli Army. As a member of the peace movement, he considered joining a group of officers who were refusing to serve in the occupied Palestinian territory.

But he eventually decided to go with his unit to be a good example to his men. While on patrol, he and nine other soldiers were killed by a sniper, his mother, Robi Damelin, told an audience Friday evening at MU’s Pickard Auditorium.

School Board likely to tap reserves in upcoming budget

For the second consecutive year, Columbia Public Schools will have to dip into reserves to cover its budget.

School district administrators delivered that message to members of the Columbia School Board at a Thursday morning meeting. The budget for fiscal year 2005-06 will be the last under the state’s existing foundation formula, said Lynn Barnett, assistant superintendent for student support services.

Rios jury instructions

After four days of testimony, the jury in the Steven Rios murder trial began their deliberations at 2:15 on Friday afternoon with instructions from Boone County Circuit Judge Ellen Roper. Roper’s instructions will serve as rubric for the deliberations and included these requirements.

It’s official: Health center to be YouZeum

The tangerine tubes that embrace the columns of the old Federal Building in downtown Columbia don’t remove asbestos but instead signal new life for an old landmark.

In a ceremony Saturday, former Olympian Bruce Jenner unveiled the new name — the YouZeum — and logo for the interactive health center that will occupy the building at 608 E. Cherry St. in the fall of 2006.

Sapp project wins zoning OK

The fractious relationship between community growth and natural preservation eased a bit Thursday night as the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the first development plan for a portion of the recently annexed Philips farm.

The proposed 74-acre Bristol Lake development would include 51 single-family and 44 two-family lots on property north of Gans Road and east of Bearfield Road in the southwest portion of the 489-acre property owned by Elvin Sapp.