Group opposes city tax plans

A group of Columbia residents is fighting to block approval of a set of city tax and fee proposals slated to appear on the November ballot and intended to pay for transportation projects.

Members of Timely and Responsible Road Infrastructure Financing, or TARRIF, said they think the city’s plan is grossly inadequate.

Water alert lifted for Columbia after rain

The Columbia Water and Light Department lifted its water-use alert after Tuesday’s long-awaited rain and cooler temperatures.

Tuesday’s rain eased concerns about drought. While no restrictions are in place, Water and Light is urging Columbians to continue conserving.

They've got spirit

Kids from grades 2 through 7 spend a week in camps for cheerleading, soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball.

Sports Crusaders organized the program held at the Memorial Baptist Church with support from the Missouri Baptist Foundation.

Education hub’s plan advances to funding

The hustle and bustle of children hiking through the forest at Rock Bridge Memorial Park echoes in a shady clearing where a memorial stone rests. The plaque on the stone bears the name of a former governor and the park’s directors, but the largest name belongs to 9-year-old Carol Stoerker.

In 1961, Carol was hit and killed in a car accident. Her father, Lew Stoerker, established a park in her name as a place for children to run, play and explore nature in safety.

Reports shed little more light on O’Neal’s death

A report from the MU Police Department shed some light on the events of MU football player Aaron O’Neal’s death after a voluntary workout on July 12.

Combining the events of the police report with the timeline shown in photographs by Columbia Tribune photographer Jenna Isaacson and an Associated Press story Tuesday created a clearer image of the day O’Neal died. Yet, some questions remain.

Grease fire causes $35,000 in damages

A kitchen grease fire caused about $35,000 in damage to a house at 1802 Southeast Trails Drive at around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, a county fire official said.

The building’s renter, Agedria Carter, escaped uninjured. She was cooking when the fire started.

Columbia police captain to take position in Iowa City

Columbia police Capt. Sam Hargadine will take over as chief of the Iowa City Police Department, most likely by the end of August, the Columbia Police Department announced Wednesday.

Hargadine joined the Columbia police force in February 1985 and served as an officer until he was promoted to sergeant in July 1993. He became a captain, serving as executive assistant to the chief, in May 2000.

Voters might face 5 ballot measures regarding sales tax

Columbia voters in November could face five ballot measures to extend and increase the city’s sales tax for up to 10 years and another calling for an increase in the fee it charges for new developments.

The sales tax options proposed for the Nov. 8 ballot include two extensions of a sales tax for parks projects, one extension and one increase in the sales tax for roads projects and an extension of a sales tax for public safety projects.

Mother, abducted girl reunite after three years

HOUSE SPRINGS — Three years after a father allegedly abducted his young daughter from Missouri and took her outside the U.S. to avoid detection, the mother and child are reunited and rebuilding their relationship.

Authorities say that Arlen Dean Hill II, who was separated from his wife and had visitation rights, took their 17-month-old child for a two-week visit on June 8, 2002, and never returned.

Drought dampened, not quenched

Even with cooler temperatures and Tuesday’s rain, Missouri farmers are facing the loss of millions of dollars worth of crops destroyed by drought.

“It could be even much higher than that,” said Tim Kelley, executive director of the Missouri Farm Service Agency. “Nationwide, the 1980 drought cost the nation more than $35 billion dollars.”

Organic growth

Local growers at the Columbia Farmers’ Market know there is an increasing demand for all-natural products and try to meet the needs of consumers by selling “organic” foods. But farmers like Dan Kuebler know the rigorous process involved in becoming a certified organic grower.

“When I decided to seek certification from the state department, I didn’t realize all of the paperwork it entailed,” said Kuebler, owner of The Salad Garden, three miles east of Ashland. “I spent nearly 80 hours compiling a farm history, business plan and outlining specific planting methods used to grow my produce. It was a very long process.”

Lights, Camera, 'ELECTION'

With just a few pieces of video equipment and a budget of less than $500, the mission seemed overwhelming: Document the political strife and polarization of the 2004 presidential election.

Nonetheless, with borrowed cameras and their own money, local filmmakers Seth Ashley, 26, and Christy LeMaster, 28, hit the streets of Columbia, where a distinctive blend of college-town liberals, Midwest conservatives and everyone in between were preparing for a day that would capture the attention of the entire world.

Fire board considers hiring a consultant

An external consultant might be able to help the Boone County Fire Protection District resolve problems surrounding allegations of unethical and unprofessional behavior on the part of Fire Chief Steve Paulsell and Assistant Chief Sharon Curry, district board members agreed in a closed meeting Monday.

Meanwhile, board member Myrtle Rapp acknowledged Tuesday that the meeting might have violated Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

Money for higher ed addressed at forum

While several speakers painted a dire picture for the future of higher education funding, the majority of Missouri’s education leaders, gathered for a symposium Tuesday at the Reynolds Alumni Center, agreed that better dialogue could lead to real improvements.

Education consultant Dennis Jones said that because the state, higher education institutions and students all have their own agendas, the only way funding will improve is by finding a way to align everyone’s priorities.

Blunt low in governor poll

A nationwide poll shows that Gov. Matt Blunt has the third-lowest approval rating among the nation’s 50 governors.

Blunt tied with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for 47th place in the July poll, conducted by Survey USA in New York City. The survey shows that Blunt has an approval rating of 35 percent and a disapproval rating of 60 percent.

NBC news to feature Columbia mother

Columbia resident Tracy Della Vecchia has sent more than just her son, Cpl. Derrick Jensen, to Iraq. Every six weeks she sends 835 care packages to combat-deployed Marines overseas.

NBC Nightly News will feature Della Vecchia tonight in a story intended to show what it’s like to have a child deployed and what people are doing from home to help. Camera crews came to Columbia twice to film Della Vecchia and volunteers assembling care packages and participating in a roundtable discussion.


The University of Missouri-Kansas City has been in the UM System for 42 years, since 1963. A story online Tuesday, about the appointment of a new chancellor to UMKC, stated the wrong number of years.

City, county to opt out of sales tax holiday

The city of Columbia and Boone County will both sit out this year’s statewide sales tax holiday Aug 5-6.

This marks the second year the city and the county have abstained from the tax holiday, which offers consumers a break from sales taxes on back-to-school items such as school supplies, clothing and shoes and up to $3,850 worth of computer equipment and software.

Blunt appoints UMSL English major to UM Board of Curators

Maria Curtis of Grandview will be the new student curator on the University of Missouri Board of Curators, a position appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt.

Curtis, 23, is an English major at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and will succeed Shawn Gebhardt on the board.

Survey: 32 percent of Missouri adults gambled

JEFFERSON CITY — Nearly one out of every three Missourians gambled in the past year, according to new survey results released Tuesday by the state Department of Health and Senior Services. But state gambling officials bet the actual figure is much higher. After weighting the results to correspond with the demographics of Missouri’s adult population, the health department concluded that 32 percent of the state’s adults gambled.