Residents find plenty to like

Sonny Ignacio, a Columbia resident fishing for bluegills Wednesday morning at Stephens Lake Park, said he was generally pleased with the city’s growth.

“Columbia is basically doing a good job trying to satisfy a very diverse community,” he said.

Hospital delays opening of playground

Although a grand opening was held last week, officials have yet to allow public access to the new playground at the Children’s Hospital because of concerns that the park’s rubber matting might contain lead.

“We are just being extra, extra safe and cautious,” said Mary Jenkins, spokeswoman for University Hospitals.

City Council discusses tax agenda

In an evening work session Wednesday, the Columbia City Council discussed tax proposals that will largely decide who will pay for growth for the next decade. Among the funding options the council considered introducing to voters in coming weeks was a five-fold increase in the fees developers pay on new construction.

The council considered several ways to pay for more than $140 million in estimated roads, public safety and parks projects over the next 10 years. There will be several meetings this summer to solicit public comments and finalize plans for a November ballot issue.

Running on sunshine

As president of MU’s SunTiger VI solar car team, senior Justin Wilson’s life for the past two years has been dedication and sacrifice. Since the last race ended in 2003, he and his fellow team members have been preparing for the North American Solar Challenge, the longest solar race to date.

During 11 days, 32 teams will travel 2,500 miles from Austin, Texas, to Calgary, Alberta, in Canada. As Wilson worked on his computer, he said time was running out. The race begins July 17.

Suspects identified in shooting

Columbia police have identified two suspects in a shooting in a central Columbia neighborhood Tuesday night, but no arrests have been made.

Police said two men began shooting at each other at 11:40 p.m. Tuesday night at the corner of Trinity Place and Park Avenue, near Douglass Park. Witnesses said one of the shooters was in a car and the other was on foot, Sgt. Don Hawkins said in a news release.

Finding inspiration from disaster

Near Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka, a dilapidated train lay at its final depot stop. Chandra Weerasinghe, 56, could see that the windows had been broken from the interior, and the dirt surrounding the tracks seemed eerily flat and smooth.

As passengers began to exit the train and go about their days on Dec. 26, they saw a tidal wave in the distance and instinctively ran back into the train for protection.

New tax credit to benefit seniors

The Homestead Preservation Act has been in the works since Sen. Chuck Gross, R-St. Charles, knocked on the door of an elderly man. Gross was canvassing a neighborhood, attempting to pinpoint the concerns of his constituents.

“Yes, there is something you can do for me,” the man said.

‘Deep Throat’:Mystery Solved

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — The Washington Post said Tuesday that a former FBI official, W. Mark Felt, was the confidential source known as “Deep Throat” who provided the newspaper information that led to President Nixon’s impeachment and eventual resignation.

The paper made its announcement on its Web site after Felt, 91, talked to a lawyer who wrote a magazine article for Vanity Fair.

Columbia traffic stops rise 21 percent

The number of traffic stops made by the Columbia Police Department rose 21 percent in the last year, and blacks continued to be more than twice as likely to be searched during a traffic stop as whites.

According to Attorney General Jay Nixon’s report on Missouri traffic stops, released Tuesday, whites were searched in 9 percent of traffic stops by Columbia police, whereas blacks were searched 23 percent of the time. These numbers come from the Police Department after it reported 2003 statistics for Columbia as 8 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

Twilight Fest season about to start again

Sam and Brandi Dennis have turned their passion for classic rock music into a family affair.

The couple and their three sons, ages 11 to 22, make up The Family Jam Band, and have appeared on KOMU’s “Pepper and Friends,” at Bear’s Breath Bar and Grill and at the 2004 Boone County Fair.

Watergate gave journalism a boost

From 1972 to 1974, an anonymous informer known as “Deep Throat” — whom Vanity Fair magazine on Tuesday identified as former FBI second-in-command Mark Felt — helped Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward write a series of newspaper articles that played a large role in ending Richard Nixon’s presidency.

That reporting had a tangible effect on both journalism and the MU School of Journalism, the world’s oldest.

City makes high-tech list

Believe it or not, Columbia might become a superstar among the nation’s metro areas.

The May issue of Expansion Management magazine published a study of “America’s Super Cities of the Future,” which identified cities that are viable for high-tech companies and entrepreneurs. Columbia made the list.

Donors send texts to Asia

On Tuesday afternoon, 32 boxes of donated nursing textbooks were ready to be shipped halfway around the world, from MU’s Printing Services to the Indian Society of Health Administrators in Bangalore, India.

Collected by Marcia Flesner, a clinical instructor at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and president of District 7 of the Missouri Nurses Association, the books are intended to help restock the devastated nursing school library at Eastern University of Sri Lanka, which was washed out by the Dec. 26 tsunami.

MU student chosen for reality show

MU student Mindi Emanuel’s friends and family thought they were getting “punk’d” when she told them she had been chosen for Ashton Kutcher’s new reality show, “Beauty and the Geek.”

“I found out she was on the show when she called me over Christmas break and was like, ‘I’m in California!’ I couldn’t believe it,” said Alissa Voran, Emanuel’s roommate.

Bank of America branch off Old 63 robbed

A Bank of America branch off Old 63 South was robbed Tuesday afternoon when a man handed a bank teller a note demanding money. Police said that the suspect implied he was carrying a weapon but never showed one and that he fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

Columbia police described the robber as a 30- to 40-year-old, thin, white male, standing between 6 feet 2 and 6 feet 5 inches tall. He was last seen wearing a black windbreaker, an off-white baseball cap with a Nike logo, denim jeans and large-framed sunglasses. Police said he was last seen at a bus stop on Old 63 South.

County denies rezoning request

The developer of proposed 227-home addition outside Ashland failed to persuade the Boone County Commission to approve his plan Tuesday night.

Miller Properties LLC proposed the development, dubbed Shadowridge Estates, for a tract nearly one mile west of Ashland. It asked that the commission rezone 114 agricultural acres for residential and commercial use.

Device fills in for 21-gun salute

KIDDER — An 83-year-old Navy veteran from northwest Missouri said he expects to patent a device that would provide a 21-gun salute to deceased military members.

Bill Crabb said he got the idea for his invention last Memorial Day, when American Legion leaders in Kidder, about 60 miles north of Kansas City, couldn’t find enough volunteers to fire a salute to the veterans buried in the local cemetery.

A Day of Flags and Families

Anthony Koebel held his granddaughter, toddler Payton Mies, in his arms as she waved her American flag in one hand and waved to the people in the Memorial Day parade with the other hand.

“Even though she may be too young, we still want her to get a sense of pride,” grandma Paula Koebel said.

Joint effort sought to fix roads

The Columbia Board of Realtors and the Chamber of Commerce are urging city and Boone County officials to work together to find a way to pay to fix roads.

The two organizations last week proposed a countywide sales tax of one-half to three-quarters of a cent to fund work on city and county roads. They estimate the proposed tax would generate more than $10 million annually for road improvements.

Visiting loved ones

The engines of fighter planes rumbled as they passed through the clouds over Columbia, heading for the Memorial Day parade. Theadus Beasley and her adult son Andrew walked, carrying a small flag. “My family is very patriotic,” she said.

But the Beasleys were not going to the parade. They went to Columbia Cemetery Monday to visit Jack Beasley Sr., Theadus’ husband and Andrew’s father. They brought pots of purple, white and yellow flowers and a flag.