Eminent domain task force starts work

JEFFERSON CITY — A task force set up to study eminent domain laws began its work Thursday. The panel was established in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that gave local governments broader powers to seize private property for tax revenue-generating private developments such as shopping malls. Its chairman is Terry Jarrett, Gov. Matt Blunt’s general counsel. The panel hopes to have initial ideas by October.

This old house

Anne Deaton wants to learn all she can about her new home.

She and her husband, Chancellor Brady Deaton, won’t move in until March, but she’s already accumulating stories about their new digs — the Chancellor’s Residence on Francis Quadrangle at MU.

Mother wants answers in death

The mother of a Columbia teenager who drowned in a city swimming pool in June says lingering questions about her son’s death have not been answered despite autopsy findings that revealed he had no alcohol in his blood at the time of his death.

Omarr J. Burress, 18, died June 24 after scaling a 7-foot fence at the Douglass Family Aquatic Center, 400 N. Providence Road, and drowning in the center’s pool. Witnesses said they heard Burress yelling for help about 10 minutes after he climbed the fence. One of the witnesses performed CPR on Burress, police said. Burress was later taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Amendment 2 protests revived

Twenty-four protesters gathered on the Boone County Courthouse lawn and three same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses Wednesday, the first anniversary of the passing of Amendment 2.

Amendment 2 to the Missouri state Constitution defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The amendment, which essentially bans same-sex marriage in Missouri, passed with 70 percent of the vote Aug. 3, 2004. This made it clear that most Missourians don’t think marriage is intended for same-sex couples, said state Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington.

Legionnaires’ disease diagnosed

Patients at University Hospital and Clinics were being screened for Legionnaires’ disease after two patients located two floors apart tested positive for the illness, hospital officials said Wednesday.

“It is a little unusual to have two (cases) close together,” said Dr. Leslie Hall, clinical effectiveness director. But Legionnaires’ disease, characterized by pneumonia, is not rare.

NAACP, police to discuss forced entry complaint

The state president of the NAACP will meet with Columbia Police Chief Randy Boehm today to discuss a Columbia man’s allegation that police forced their way into his house July 28 and shined flashlights into his eyes, with guns drawn.

The man, Brian Wright, 31, filed a formal complaint with the police later that day about the 2:30 a.m. incident at his White Gate Drive apartment. Captain Zim Schwartze, East District commander with the Police Department, confirmed Friday that the complaint was under review.

KU student’s trial moved to December

The trial of the KU student whose altercation with the chief of MU police ended with the student’s ejection from a basketball game was postponed Wednesday because the key witness in the case, MU Police Maj. Doug Schwandt, was on vacation.

Andrew Wymore, who was arrested at the March 6 MU-KU basketball game, won’t go on trial until Dec. 21 now that City Judge Robert Auglur has granted the city’s request for a continuance.

Developers make their case for growth

In an effort to present a counterpoint to an anti-growth voice in Columbia, the Central Missouri Development Council hired a research and analysis firm to study the impact of growth and development in Columbia and Boone County over the past 10 years.

The findings, released Wednesday, state that development in the past decade has produced $5.8 billion in economic output and supported 4,924 jobs representing a combined $1.5 billion in salaries.

A class celebration

Striking — startling, even — in the cramped hallway of MU’s General Classroom Building on Wednesday was Alyssa Lapan, a 17-year-old senior at Hickman High School. Wearing a dark dress and ornately painted in black and silver, Lapan was guised as Fama, goddess of gossip and rumor.

She was not alone. There were other Famas. There were chimeras — three-headed creatures that spit fire. There were sphinxes — creatures with the body of a lion, wings of an eagle, and the head and bosom of a woman. Even Oedipus, who loved his mother a bit too much in Greek lore, was there.

Officials present wish list for Columbia airport

Plans to install a radar system, extend the main runway and build a new terminal topped a short wish list of the possible expansions to Columbia Regional Airport presented at an advisory board meeting Wednesday.

Airport Manager Bill Boston suggested cosmetic improvements beyond what is currently budgeted. Boston said he met with Columbia Public Works Director John Glascock to discuss putting together a list of desired projects.

Man, 18, accused of sexual assault

A Columbia man was arraigned in Boone County Court on Wednesday in connection with the sexual assault of a woman in central Columbia last week.

Carlos D. Wallace, 18, was arrested by Columbia police on Tuesday on suspicion of sodomy. He remained in Boone County Jail on $50,000 bond Wednesday.

Possible Park Avenue relocation discussed at forum

The possibility of relocation from their homes in Park Avenue Apartments motivated about 25 residents and neighbors to attend a community forum held Wednesday evening. The forum was hosted by Kansas City consultants who have been working since April on a “revitalization plan” for Columbia’s public housing.

The hearing yielded few specific answers for those worried about the future of the Park Avenue housing project.

Solar lighting brightens bus shelters

Two bus shelters are a little brighter since Columbia Transit acquired an experimental newlighting system driven by solar power last week.

The solar panels sit atop bus shelters outside the Gerbes grocery on Paris Road and the Super Walmart at Broadway Marketplace — along the green and red lines, respectively. A battery inside the shelter collects the energy from the panels, and a timer turns on halogen lights inside at dusk. The lights remain on until about 11 p.m., or after the buses stop running.

Finding refuge, seeking a home

It was a perfect metaphor for post-war Bosnia; the scars lay just below the pristine surface. Veteran Columbia filmmaker Kerri Yost was picking berries and hunting mushrooms in a field in Poljak. The sun was shining for the first time in days, and it was “strangely peaceful,” she said. It would have been an idyllic summer day except for the live grenades and land mines in the grass.

“You’re not supposed to be walking around that area, but we did,” Yost said. Gathering mushrooms and berries was something Yost’s friend and film subject, Fatima Selimovic, had always done when she lived in the northwestern Bosnia village with her husband and children. It was an experience Fatima wanted her son, Adnan, 16, to have.

Plenty in road bill for Missouri

KANSAS CITY — Missouri’s two U.S. senators Tuesday heralded a new federal transportation bill that will increase the state’s share of yearly highway money by 30 percent and provide hundreds of millions of dollars for local transportation projects.

But motorists, be warned: It could be years before Missouri drivers begin seeing the benefits, as the state wrestles with an immense backlog of highway needs and the unavoidable bureaucracy required before the rubber hits the road.

MU plans to tune out illegal file sharing

MU has made a deal to offer students reduced-priced music to help curb the illegal downloading of copyrighted materials.

MU made the agreement last week with C-Digix, a college music and movie service, so students can buy songs at a “substantially reduced rate,” said Beth Chancellor, director of Mizzou Telecom, an arm of Information and Access Technology Services.

Club shooting remains under investigation

A new nightclub in northeast Columbia is beefing up security and changing its dress code after police responded to a report of shots fired in the club’s parking lot early Saturday.

A gunshot was reported about 1:30 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Silhouette Nightclub, 3405 Clark Lane. Police said the shot was fired after several partygoers got in a fight using broken beer bottles as weapons.

Social Security honored in Fayette

Fifteen minutes of tension-filled debate ended in the Fayette City Council’s unanimous approval of a resolution to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 1935 signing of the Social Security Act.

A standing-room-only crowd packed the board room of Fayette’s City Hall on Tuesday night to hear the City Council’s response to the resolution, which recognized Social Security as “essential to the prosperity and well-being of the citizens of Fayette and Howard County.”

Community marches together

Led by First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton, about 60 residents marched several blocks to Douglass Park and enjoyed a cookout afterward as part of National Night Out events.

It was the seventh year Columbia participated in the program, which is in its 22nd year nationally. With sponsors that included the Columbia Police Department, the Douglass Coalition, First Ward Ambassadors and the Columbia Housing Authority, the march was aimed at increasing safety by encouraging awareness and support for neighborhood watch programs.

Case involves college censorship

When Jenna Youngs steps into her newsroom, she feels as protected from censorship as any other newsroom in the nation.

Youngs, a 20-year-old journalism major at MU, is the editor in chief of The Maneater, the university’s student newspaper of the past 50 years.