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Stream issues before state commission

Heavy rains may be appropriate weather for today’s Missouri Clean Water Commission meeting.

Storm-water runoff is one of many factors that continue to challenge the health of Missouri’s waterways, especially in communities such as Columbia, where many stores, industries and new developments are located along its creeks and streams. The commission will discuss drinking and recreational water issues, including the recent lawsuit settled between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, which calls for the state to develop water quality standards consistent with the Clean Water Act by April 2006.

Sapp annexation earns first approval

With public hearings subject to delays and a community petition to prevent annexation in the works, few things are certain about Billy Sapp’s proposed developments.

Two things are certain, though; a public hearing on the developments’ zoning will be held Thursday at the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, and the Columbia City Council will hold a Jan. 18 public hearing on the proposed annexation and zoning of the land, which if approved would mark the largest voluntary annexation in Columbia’s history.

Wal-Mart zoning approved

The Wal-Mart way presided Monday night when the Columbia City Council voted 5-2 to approve rezoning that will allow construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter and accompanying retail development at Broadway and Fairview Road.

Youth program to expand

For the past 15 years, Missouri Boys and Girls Town has operated a group therapy program for children, known as Healthy Alternatives, at its St. James campus. Thanks to a grant of $472,695 from the Missouri Foundation for Health, the program will be available this year to residents of the organization’s Columbia, St. Louis and Springfield campuses.

“We are really excited about this,” said Stacey Koeller, the agency’s assistant director of development. Koeller wrote the grants and received news of their approval in late November.

Teen drivers will be facing police checks

With the help of new grant money, the Columbia Police Department will soon be making an extra effort to ensure that teen drivers are buckled up.

“Fifteen- to 20-year-olds are the ones dying the most on the highway,” said Sgt. Timothy Moriarty, supervisor of the Columbia Police Department Traffic Unit. “This is an example of an effort to target young drivers to make sure they are obeying all the rules.”

Signers lend a hand at church

Scott Courtney sits on a chair in the front of the sanctuary at Grace Bible Church dressed in a gray shirt with the embroidery of Ephesians 3:20. Over his left shoulder, in the background, hangs a sign that reads, “Holding forth the Word of Life.”

At Grace Bible Church, holding forth the Word may mean not even uttering a single word.

‘Big Bird’ finds a friendly roost

Of all the fields, in all the towns, in all the world, the emu now going by the name of Big Bird walked into theirs.

A wandering emu couldn’t have asked for a better temporary home when it picked its way into the Selbys’ field on Sunday. The animal-loving Selbys – Pat, Terry and their twin teenage daughters — already have three dogs and four cats at their home near Deer Park off U.S. 63 between Columbia and Ashland.

A city’s expansion

As the city of Ashland anticipates another year of unprecedented growth, City Administrator Ken Eftink knows this can be a blessing and a curse.

“The challenge is to make sure we are growing the way we have envisioned,” Eftink said. “We don’t want things to get out of control and go unchecked.”

Wal-Mart decision expected tonight

After nearly a year of fiery debate, the Columbia City Council will likely decide tonight whether Wal-Mart can build the city’s second Supercenter on 23 acres of zoned residential property.

Two council members — Second Ward Councilman Chris Janku and Third Ward Councilman Bob Hutton — said they probably would vote in favor of rezoning those 23 acres, which would also entail acquiring and then demolishing five homes. Three other council members said they were undecided.

Home sales climbing

As executive officer for the Columbia Board of Realtors, Carol Van Gorp eyes a lot of real estate statistics about buyers and sellers. In October, she became one of those statistics when she joined the thousands of new homeowners in Columbia.

“Everybody kind of wants to get into homeownership right now,” she said. “We felt like we could get a lot of house for our dollar.”

Blunt’s majority doesn’t guarantee easy ride

JEFFERSON CITY — For a freshman governor, Matt Blunt already has plenty of friends. With 120 fellow Republicans in the Legislature, Blunt theoretically could enact any proposal he likes, or stop anything he doesn’t. His own expectations are high.

Irresponsible parents hurt core of society

It happens at least once a month.

  I find myself feeling sad when I have to tell young parents that I can’t help them solve the problems they are having with their children. I have to tell them truthfully that I have no experience with children who have no respect for their parents. In the days of my childhood, the single, most powerfully motivating factor for doing good among my friends and me was the hope that our parents would be proud of our behavior.

Suspected meth lab discovered by deputies

A suspected methamphetamine lab was discovered at 12:53 p.m. Saturday at a residence at 10300 Route N in rural Boone County by deputies from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

The residents, Louis Henry, 34, and Octavia Price, 20, were arrested and charged with one count each of manufacturing a controlled substance.

Groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon

Although the second-floor balcony overlooking the entrance to the Columbia Public Library was quiet and nearly empty, Tom Verdot sat down, unpacked his instruments, closed his eyes and started fiddling anyway.

“If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said.

Army of support

On a hot summer afternoon in July, Samantha and Jacob Guilford watched an airplane touch down at Columbia Regional Airport then rushed to greet their father, Sgt. Stacy Guilford, with a “Welcome Home Daddy” banner and many long-awaited embraces.

It was a joyful reunion, but it didn’t last long. A 38-year-old Army reservist, Guilford was deployed to Iraq to fly Black Hawk helicopters. But two weeks after he came home in July, he had to say goodbye again to return to Iraq to finish his deployment.

Many resolve, again, to lose weight

A new year. A clean slate. Millions of resolutions.

Each New Year’s Eve, millions of people make promises to themselves that they’ll be better this year. They decide to quit smoking, lose weight or stop procrastinating. The tradition dates back 4,000 years to the early Babylonians who celebrated their New Year for 11 days at the beginning of spring. It was the time of rebirth, renewal and resolutions.

Baby makes a birthday gift

Jody Lewis received a special birthday gift early Saturday morning: the birth of her first child.

Devon Keith Lewis was born at 1:29 a.m. at Columbia Regional Hospital, making him Columbia’s first baby of 2005, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Establishing resolutions is the easy part

I have a 10-year journal that I use to record my daily thoughts. This is the beginning of the fourth year. After reviewing what I wrote on Jan. 1 of each and EVERY New Year’s Day, I decided to change my tune.

EVERY Jan. 1, I wrote that I would lose weight that year. Then, at the end of each first day’s missive, I wrote my current weight in teeny numbers.

Ringing in the new year

Unusually warm weather helped draw a record crowd to Columbia’s First Night celebration on New Year’s Eve.

Karen Ramey, First Night director, had predicted 8,000 people would attend, but on Friday night, she said, the crowd was even larger. Some venues were so full they had to turn people away.

Boehm’s legacy

So few people had heard of Ted Boehm when he first ran for Boone County sheriff that his campaign came up with a phonetic clue to pronouncing his name: “Check the name — Boehm.”

Boehm trounced his opponent with 72 percent of the vote. That was 20 years ago. Today, Boehm leaves office having served as sheriff of Boone County longer than anyone else.

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