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Blunt's office tardy in reporting travels.

WASHINGTON — Scrutiny of Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s travel has led to the belated disclosure of at least 198 previously unreported special-interest trips by House members and their aides, including eight years of travel by the second-ranking Democrat, an Associated Press review has found.

At least 43 House members and dozens of aides, including one from Missouri, had failed to meet the one-month deadline in ethics rules for disclosing trips financed by organizations outside the U.S. government.

Award recognizes work on arson case

More than four years after one of the most notorious arson fires in Boone County history, the people who solved the case have been recognized.

On May 21, the International Association of Arson Investigators Missouri Chapter named Ken Hines, assistant chief of the Boone County Fire Protection District, and Connie Sullivan, Boone County assistant prosecutor, as Investigator and Prosecutor of the Year.

Illegal immigration requires attention

President Vincente Fox’s remarks about Mexicans taking jobs that “not even blacks” want in America didn’t get much of a reaction in my neighborhood. We’ve been hearing these kinds of comments all of our lives, and most of us consider that he is only repeating sentiments he has heard expressed by some Americans. Illegal immigration is the problem, and that’s the issue that needs to be addressed by political leaders.

Personally, I found the entire discussion pretty silly. Some of my ancestors migrated from Mexico during the mid-1800s and married African-Americans. So, frankly, I just think he was firing a cheap shot at those who disagree with his attitude toward the citizens of his country illegally crossing our borders.

Ethanol measure moves ahead

Missouri farmers could soon be standing in tall cotton thanks to an amendment to a federal energy bill passed last week by the Senate Energy Committee.

The amendment, co-sponsored by Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., calls for an increase in the use of corn-based ethanol in gasoline and increased use of other renewable fuels beginning next year.

Wild Blue Yonder

Sunday was an “ideal air show day,” according to Annette Saunders, spokeswoman for the 17th Salute to Veterans Airshow. The World War I planes flew for a second day, and they can only do that when it’s calm, she said.

As the air show wrapped up events at the Columbia Regional Airport, thousands turned out to look at military aircraft both on the ground and in the air.

Goodbye brings closure for family

LADDONIA — Roger Montague stood in the back of a small, red-brick church in the northeastern Missouri town of Laddonia on Sunday, wrestling with a button on his suit jacket that didn’t seem to want to fasten. He is understandably nervous; he has been waiting to say goodbye to his daughter, Sheri, for nearly six years.

“It feels right,” Montague says, his glasses quickly clouding over with tears. “It’s something we needed to do.”

School funds distribution tilts to GOP

JEFFERSON CITY — All along, the battle about how to change the way the state funds public schools was portrayed as a delicate balancing act between rural and urban interests.

In the end the votes for the new plan were largely along party lines. An analysis by The Associated Press shows that school districts with GOP representation, on the whole, fared better.

‘I’ve been gone too long’

The big, yellow sign suspended above the doors of Grant Elementary School was almost impossible to miss. “Welcome Back, Mr. Miles. U.S. Army Reserves,” it read.

Eighteen months after his deployment to Fort Polk, La., Calvin Miles has returned to his family at Grant.

Lawsuit limits to begin in August

JEFFERSON CITY — When attorneys for several residents of a rural town along the Mississippi River filed a property damage lawsuit alleging contamination from a lead smelter, they cast a wide legal net that eventually included 11 defendants from across the nation.

One man, Marvin Kaiser, the chief financial officer of the nation’s leading lead producer, Doe Run Co., lived in St. Louis. And that’s where plaintiffs’ attorneys wanted to try their case.

City groups request grants

Representatives of seven city agencies are asking for almost $1.8 million in Community Development Block Grant money for fiscal 2006, which begins Oct. 1.

Representatives presented the requests to the Community Development Commission on Wednesday. CDBG money is intended for the development and improvement of low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. Projects in large portions of central and northeast Columbia are eligible for the money.

Charges dropped in party arrests

The Columbia city prosecutor dropped charges Wednesday against five people arrested during a break-up of a house party, said George Batek, an attorney for some of the partygoers. The move came after the Columbia Police Department conceded that officers did not have a valid reason to enter the house.

Police Chief Randy Boehm said Tuesday that disciplinary action was taken against Officer Alan Mitchell after an investigation found he used “poor judgment” in breaking up a party in the 1000 block of Rogers Street on Feb. 12.

Protesters greet air show with black coffins, leaflets

Black coffins lined one entrance to the Salute to Veterans Air Show on Saturday as thousands of spectators entered the show’s tarmac at the Columbia Regional Airport.

Members from the Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation brought the caskets as a reminder of the cost of war. Keith Brekhus, public outreach coordinator for the organization, said he hopes they cause people to stop and think.

Tribute to the fallen

As Joe Mahan sits at a table in Ernie’s Cafe and Steakhouse in Columbia, he sifts through photocopied newspaper clippings about his younger brother Doug. His eyes tear a bit, and he runs his finger over the words and pictures.

A clipping from July 1961 includes a picture of Doug, 17, reaching out to accept a ribbon at the Central Missouri Pony Show. There are news items about Doug receiving the Vice Commandant’s Award at Schilling Air Force Base in Salina, Kan., and about his receiving his silver pilot’s wings in Enid, Okla.

Injured wrist won’t force me to pack it in

I was up just after dawn Friday. We were closing on our old lake house the next day, and although most of the furniture had been moved, it was up to me to pack what was left in the house.

I felt up to the task. As a matter of fact, it was one of those rare days when I had extra energy.

Fighting for fitness

Fifteen years ago, Patty Cornell’s fifth-graders could swing from the uneven bars, toe the balance beam and handle other gymnastic feats with ease.

Now, Cornell doesn’t offer that gymnastics unit; most of her students don’t have enough upper-body strength, she said.

Douglass honors graduating seniors

Standing in her blue cap and gown with a smile on her face, Marjorie Quinn told her teachers and classmates not to cry. “This is not the end,” she said.

She and other Douglass High School seniors received their diplomas Friday night, confirming that it is the end, at least, of their high school careers.

Corrections

Slight tax increases anticipated

Boone County Assessor Tom Schauwecker said 2005’s property reassessments will show signs of the burgeoning real estate market but predicts relatively conservative tax increases.

Schauwecker foresees no sweeping changes but said assessed valuations will shift the tax burden.

MU Police Chief cleared of assault charges

U Police Chief Jack Watring was cleared of any wrongdoing Friday after MU officials wrapped up a nearly three-month investigation into charges that he assaulted a University of Kansas fan at a basketball game.

High honor salute

When Russell Gray releases his parachute 3,000 feet above downtown Columbia, he can hear the roar of the crowd waiting on Broadway.

His scheduled touchdown at 9:55 Monday morning signals the beginning of the annual Salute to Veterans Parade.

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