Columbia officers compete in SWAT contest

Drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, 72 members of SWAT teams from throughout the Midwest gathered Saturday at the Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club in Hallsville. They were up early in the cold morning air to compete in the seventh annual Midwest SWAT Rifle/SMG Championships.

The highest scoring individual took home a handgun as a prize, but most of those present agreed that it was the bragging rights that would fit best in their hip pockets.

Regulators say nuclear site safe

Callaway Nuclear Power Plant got its annual report card from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The verdict: It’s doing well.

Officials from the plant and commission held a public meeting Thursday to discuss the findings for 2004’s inspections. A summary of the full assessment said the plant “operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety.”

Candidates for provost to be on MU campus

The three finalists for the provost’s job at MU will visit campus during the next two weeks to speak with faculty and students. Open forums will allow the campus community to meet each candidate, listen to their presentations and ask them questions.

The first candidate, Brian Foster, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of New Mexico, will visit Monday through Wednesday, with a forum on Monday.

Science students go for state Olympic gold at MU

Students, coaches and parents filled the Hickman High School gymnasium Saturday for the State Science Olympiad Tournament awards ceremony.

The ceremony ended the daylong tournament held on the MU campus and various locations around Columbia that drew an estimated 1,000 middle and high school students. They converged on Columbia from eight regions to compete in 43 science-related events.

Studio style

When artist Don Asbee works in his studio, he is surrounded by metal and steel. Rods and hammers hang from hooks on almost every inch of the steel walls. Large milling machines, welding equipment and lathes lie on the floor.

Asbee built his studio, in Hartsburg, in 1988 in a building that once housed a half-dozen air compressors for a nuclear power plant.

Prepare for the Worst

POTOSI — Courtney O’Connell is tense as her teammate prepares to inject her for what could be a life-threatening allergic reaction.

After 10 seconds and the click of an empty needle, O’Connell sighs. Her shoulders unclench. After saying she feels relieved, the YMCA camp counselor and her wilderness rescuer move on to the next task, confident their skills, if needed, could be used in a real-life emergency.

Go-betweens hinder move, furniture sale

We are in the process of moving out of our lake house — our second home for the past dozen years. And although we are building a new one, we won’t be able to move in until mid-summer. I think everyone should be forced to move every decade, if not to another house that at least take everything outside. It’s a real eye-opener sifting through all the useless junk we have accumulated, and it’s the ultimate way to purge.

Although we sold the house with a three-month closing date, my husband and I hadn’t made the time to go from room to room and decide what will go into the new home and what we will sell. Then we were told that the new owners were interested in purchasing some of the furniture and accessories. In the world of real estate, buyers and sellers are not allowed to communicate directly — so we had to make a list and give it to our real estate agent. The buyers returned the list marked with the items they wanted. Instead of putting a price on each item, I had the brilliant idea of asking for one lump sum. Most of the things on the list I had purchased just for the lake house, and I was willing to part with them for next to nothing. Although there is no place for a couple of items in our new home, they had some sentimental value. Apparently I put too much sentiment in the amount I wanted. I was told that the buyers decided they didn’t want any of our stuff. They figured they could buy it all new for the price I was asking. They didn’t even come back with a lower counter offer.

The art of Kung Fu

When we think of martial arts, we often imagine combat or the fighting aspects. But there is another side to it — the artistic side. In Kung Fu, students are encouraged to follow their own paths in life. Each person seeks meaning based on wisdom and teachings of the founding Shaolin monks.

Handbags for high bids

Inside the closed doors of Dotty’s Café in Hartsburg, 45 purses and handbags sit at the counter waiting to be sold.

The bags are filled with items donated by area businesses, friends and members of Epsilon Sigma Alpha service sorority, which sponsored the event. The donations include gift certificates, beauty products, household decorations and family gifts.

The significance of Seder

Last year, Bruno found the afikomen first.

The Kaplan family could not continue its Passover Seder without the afikomen, a ceremonial piece of matzo bread that is tucked in cloth to symbolize the Passover lamb. According to tradition, the first member of the family to find it receives a small reward before the family finishes its supper.

Man arrested in connection with hit-and-run

A Columbia man was arrested Friday in connection with a hit-and-run incident that occurred early that morning in the parking lot of an apartment building at Fifth and Cherry streets.

Columbia police arrested James W. Rapier on charges of second degree assault and operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license.

Brotzman resigns new job in Iowa

Rock Bridge High School Principal Bruce Brotzman resigned from his new administrative job in Iowa on Thursday, the same day Columbia School Board members met behind closed doors to discuss sexual misconduct allegations stemming from an incident at MU’s Ellis Library.

Brotzman, 46, submitted a resignation letter to the Cedar Rapids Community Schools on Thursday afternoon, said Cedar Rapids Superintendent Dave Markward.

Deliberating expansion

The look of downtown is going to change significantly with the expansion of the Boone County Courthouse, but what those changes will be and when they will happen remains uncertain.

County officials have said for years the courthouse must be expanded to accommodate the demands of a growing community. The Boone County Commission appointed a Space Needs Committee last fall to determine the best way to achieve that goal. The committee has been meeting since October and offered this past week a set of options and recommendations the county commission can consider.

Committee cuts college funding by 5 percent

JEFFERSON CITY — Although shielded from cuts in the House, higher education has received some trimming in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The committee’s budget proposal, approved Thursday, would make a 5 percent cut to public universities and colleges. This would mean a $17.5 million cut to the University of Missouri System.

Traffic safety stats improve, experts report

WASHINGTON — The highway fatality rate last year reached its lowest point since records were first kept nearly 40 years ago, the government projected on Thursday.

The rate dropped even as the total number of traffic deaths inched up because more drivers were on the road, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

Organizers gear up for Earth Day

Thousands of potential journalists will attend Columbia’s annual Earth Day Festival scheduled for Sunday. They won’t be armed with press passes or tape recorders, just thoughts and opinions.

Editors from, an online publication written primarily by the public, will have a booth at the festival where computers will be available for people to take on the role of “citizen journalist.”

Sheriff wins approval for gun safe

Sheriff Dwayne Carey took another step this week in what he says is an effort to make the department safer.

Carey won approval Thursday afternoon from the Boone County Commission for a budget amendment to allow the purchase of a gun safe. Carey took over as sheriff on Jan. 1. While examining the department, he discovered that a member of a firearm committee was storing about 15 department-owned guns at a private residence.

Stephens Lake rezoning hits setback

A proposed zoning change to accommodate a restaurant development across Hinkson Creek from Stephens Lake Park should be rejected, the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission recommended on Thursday.

Developer Jay Lindner has asked that the city rezone 8.15 acres on the corner of Broadway and Trimble Road for planned commercial use. The only restaurant plan on file for the land is for a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop.

Missouri House passes crime legislation

JEFFERSON CITY — The House passed legislation expanding police arrest powers and criminal sentences on Thursday, despite objections from black lawmakers who feared it would encourage racial profiling by law enforcement officers.

Of particular concern to black lawmakers was a provision in the bill making it a crime not to identify oneself when asked to do so after being lawfully stopped by police.

Area Briefly

Rotating winds spark tornado alarm

Although tornado sirens blared throughout southern Boone County on Thursday afternoon, Kevin Wolfe, operator 1 at the Columbia/Boone County Joint Communication, said no tornado touched down.