Rezoning of Range Line gets go-ahead

A request for rezoning of three tracts totaling 45 acres at Range Line Street and Blue Ridge Road won the approval of the Columbia City Council on Monday night.

With the council’s approval, Rampart, a development group, agreed to conduct a traffic study before submitting its plan for the development to the council. Many of the council members’ concerns regarded traffic safety and growth, but they said the need for commercial services on the north side of town was also important.

Kemper proposal rejected

The Boonville City Council voted seven to zero on Monday to reject a controversial offer to buy Kemper Military School.

After rejecting a proposal to go into closed session to discuss the proposal, the council, minus one member, voted unanimously to reject the offer without discussing the issue.

High gas prices strain state agencies

JEFFERSON CITY — In addition to aggravating Missouri drivers, the price of gasoline is costing Missouri state government a lot of extra money.

According to the energy center at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, drivers are paying an average of 25 cents more per gallon this month than last. The energy center placed the current average price at $2.17 per gallon, an increase of 54 cents from this time last year. Diesel gas costs are rising even higher, with an average of $2.23 per gallon, a 43 percent increase from 2004.

Wrestling with Monsters

Tina Holliday and her 9-year-old son Cole burst into applause,

excited that their favorite wrestler, Mil Máscaras, was

Police pot petition challenged

An MU student expressed his disapproval of Columbia police officers’ efforts to try to repeal the city’s recently changed marijuana laws at the Columbia City Council meeting Monday evening.

Bailey Hirschburg, 21, said it is inappropriate for the Columbia Police Officers Association to petition to change the 6-month-old law that passed with more than 60 percent of the votes .

Schools say little about principal

Rock Bridge High School officials don’t have plans to speak to students and parents about sexual misconduct allegations made by an MU student against Principal Bruce Brotzman. Board of Education members have been virtually quiet on the issue as well.

“As far as what happens next, that’s up to the central office,” said Rock Bridge Assistant Principal Kathy Ritter. “We’re just going to continue on having school at Rock Bridge.”

Accidental gunshot victim recovering at hospital

A Columbia man who was accidentally shot in the leg over the weekend is expected to be released in a few days. Police learned of the shooting when University Hospital alerted them that Brandon Robbins, 19, was being admitted for gunshot wounds.

Robbins told police that he was visiting an apartment in the 1400 block of Greensboro Drive and was examining a firearm owned by one of the apartment residents. He was shot in the right leg as he handed the gun back to the resident, police said in a news release.

Volunteering lifts weight off world

People who consider themselves realists keep telling me that the times we live in are no different than other times past. But I simply can’t remember another time when I have hesitated saying such things as crime doesn’t pay or assuring youth that they will not be molested by a church leader, without providing them proof to convince them. I understand that folks feel it’s important to paint a positive face on our national image.

The preponderance of criminal acts and evil deeds that fill the news is sometimes so overwhelming I’m afraid to trust many of the old truths I once took for granted.

Beating the Battle of the Bulge

Grant Elementary students gathered at the intersection of Bingham and Wayne roads with their parents on Monday morning, waiting to take their new bus to school. They looked over their shoulders as a big, yellow bus groaned down the street.

“I don’t guess he’ll be stopping,” said mom Debbie Hamilton.

CHA to pick Park Avenue consultant

The Columbia Housing Authority is close to hiring a consultant for its planned redevelopment along Park Avenue. Information about the two firms vying for the job will be made public after the deal is finalized.

Tonight, the housing authority is scheduled to hear from Richard Mendenhall, chairman of the authority’s housing task force. A subcommittee of the task force, composed of housing agency’s commissioners, representatives from the city and local professionals, has been evaluating the proposals since March, and Mendenhall is scheduled to share its recommendation tonight. The cutoff for proposals was February 25.

Ready, set, write

It’s no wonder to K-5 Director Barbara Savage that Columbia Independent School kindergarteners swept the top three spots in the annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest for the second time in three years.

“If you’ve ever been in a kindergarten room for more than 25 minutes, you know they have a lot of stories to tell,” she said.

Open house educates about Islam

Jan DeLasara and her sister, Joy Rushing, came to the Islamic Center of Central Missouri’s open house Sunday with different religious perspectives. DeLasara considers herself a spiritual person but is not a member of any organized religion. Rushing is a devout Presbyterian. But both were interested in learning more about Islam.

“It’s an opportunity to get a very close look at a tradition that is pretty alien to me,” DeLasara said.

Rocheport mayor retires after two decades

The mayor of Rocheport is calling it quits after 20 years.

Frances Turner, the second female mayor of Rocheport, was elected in 1985. She will preside over her last city council meeting tonight. On Sunday, the Friends of Rocheport held a reception to honor Turner’s two decades of service.

Helping troops take the heat

In about a month, average daily temperatures in Iraq will top 95 degrees. Blazing heat and almost non-existent precipitation already mean a miserable existence for U.S. and coalition forces on the ground.

The U.S. Air Force has elicited help from a team of MU doctoral candidates. Led by Satish Nair, the team recently completed research that predicts the risk of heat stress for pilots, soldiers, firefighters and others who wear protective gear in extreme weather.

Partners in preservation

It might be easy to miss Abiel Leonard Guitar’s old house while driving down Range Line Street at 45 mph. Shade trees darken the front yard and weeds poke through the rocks on the worn gravel driveway.

The shades are pulled down over the two-story home’s nine windows, and its white paint looks as if it has been flaking off for years. There is a particularly large patch of exposed wood on the right side of the triple archway, a feature it shares with Confederate Hill, the other Guitar home. The house has remained empty since Guitar died there last year.

MU libraries bar head of high school

Four months before stepping down from his position with little explanation, Rock Bridge High School Principal Bruce Brotzman was barred by campus police from all MU libraries after an employee complained of inappropriate sexual conduct, according to an MU police report.

Michael Hopkins, 22, an MU junior and library employee, said Brotzman repeatedly squeezed his own crotch before attempting to do the same to Hopkins in an encounter on the third floor of Ellis Library in July 2004.

Canopy removal up to business owners

From the second floor of his office at Ninth Street and Broadway, lawyer Greg Copeland has a bird’s eye view of Broadway — including the concrete canopy that lines the storefronts.

“Birds nest in the corner between the canopy and the side of the building,” Copeland said, pointing out at the canopy.

Canceling cancer

People who have had the misfortune of spending days in bed after eating undercooked chicken know that salmonella can be one nasty form of bacteria.

It can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Although nearly all patients recover without receiving treatment, in severe cases, salmonella poisoning requires antibiotics or hospitalization.

Smart body art

His arms covered in colorful tattoos clear down to the knuckles, Jason Fancher looks the part of a professional body artist. He wears black boots, denim jeans and a backward baseball hat, also in black. He even has black latex gloves, a mixture of safety and style.

Fancher, owner of Hollywood Rebel Tattoo in downtown Columbia, pays close attention to his work. Tracing an ink outline of a family seal tattoo on the bicep of a MU undergrad, the image starts out as a single, thick dark line. From that single line, Fancher wipes away the excess ink, revealing a detailed sketch.

Spring brings cheery smiles to winter-weary

Every year I seem to forget about the wonders of spring until I go through winter, and this past season was one of the longest and darkest in memory. Although we didn’t have heavy snowfalls or much ice, the weeks of sunless dreariness seemed to seep beneath my skin and there were days I could barely function. I awoke in the dark and muddled about the day in the dull, dismal and depressing atmosphere, sometimes losing track of time without sunlight as my gauge.

It didn’t help that Lent began about a week after I’d boxed the last of the Christmas ornaments. We celebrated Easter one week into spring, but no one believed it. I remember seeing one Easter bonnet at Mass, and it looked out of place with most parishioners wearing heavy, dark clothing. And it was odd watching my grandchildren hunt for eggs while being impeded by winter coats and gloves.