Final Respects

Officer Molly Bowden’s police cruiser was draped in black as its radio

crackled in the crisp air at Memorial Park Cemetery in Columbia on Tuesday afternoon.

Housing Authority tables vote on solicitation

For the second month in a row, the Columbia Housing Authority tabled a resolution Tuesday that would restrict door-to-door solicitation in Oak and Paquin Towers.

A standing room only crowd of about 30 people filled a meeting room in the Housing Authority building. Most were present either in support of or opposition to resolution 2277, which would ban all uninvited visitors from the residential hallways of Oak and Paquin Towers. Certain groups would be allowed to set up tables in the lobbies of the two buildings with permission from the Housing Authority’s executive director.

SMSU bill unfrozen with Floyd’s OK

Although it appears the bill allowing Southwest Missouri State University to drop the “Southwest” from its name will clear the Senate today, it has a long way to go in the House of Representatives.

Members of Boone County’s delegation in the House oppose the name change and said Tuesday they were unsure how it would work its way through the lower chamber.

House bill seeks limits on punitive damages

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House debated a measure Tuesday that would limit the awards Missourians can expect in civil cases.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Richard Byrd, R-St. Louis County, would cap most punitive damages at $250,000 or three times economic damages awarded in the case, whichever is higher. It would also limit the trial venue to the location of the injury, unless the injury occurred outside the state.

New ruling backs tax rate

The Missouri Supreme Court sided against anti-tax activist Henry Lane on Tuesday and upheld the legality of the Columbia Public Schools’ method for setting its tax rate in 2001.

The seven-member court ruled unanimously in favor of the district and Boone County Collector Pat Lensmeyer.

Honoring the fallen

The notes of “Ode to Joy,” the heavy steps of friends and family, and muffled whispers and sobs were the only sounds inside Mizzou Arena on Tuesday afternoon. A gym so full of people is rarely so silent. A single-file line wound slowly down from the top of the bleachers, across the gymnasium floor and ended where Columbia police Officer Molly Bowden’s body lay in her dress uniform, adorned with a medal.

Before the service began, more than a thousand mourners had stopped to stand before the casket. Some left flowers on the floor beside it.

Family of the badge mourns

They did not even know Columbia police Officer Molly Bowden, but they still came to honor her.

Hundreds of law enforcement officials from all over the Midwest came to Columbia on Tuesday to offer their support for Bowden and her family.

In memory

Remembering a life of service

Law enforcement officers from across the Midwest came to Mizzou Arena on Tuesday to honor Officer Molly Bowden. Even with thousands of people in the arena, only quiet sobs and whispers could be heard during the funeral.

Services included a photo montage of Bowden’s life; speeches by her family, fellow police officers and Rep. Kenny Hulshof; and ended with an emotional salute to Bowden.

UM system gets slightly lower return on investment

The University of Missouri system’s endowment investment return for 2004 was below average compared to other institutions with similar total assets and was outperformed by the University of Kansas investment teams.

Filibuster stalls SMSU name change

JEFFERSON CITY — No love was lost in the Missouri Senate this Valentine’s Day.

A long-awaited debate over changing the name of Southwest Missouri State University to Missouri State University stretched late into the night Monday. Columbia Sen. Chuck Graham and other Democrats stalled a vote by holding the floor with a filibuster.

Rock Bridge student charged in Hickman vandalism

A Rock Bridge High School senior has been charged with vandalism in connection with damage done to the Hickman High School athletic field in early January.

Aaron Nichols, 17, was charged with second-degree property damage on Feb. 1.

Coping With Cuts

Each morning, Steve Mabbitt helps his longtime friend, roommate and boss, Tammy Jennings, out of bed.

He helps her to the toilet, bathes her, dresses her, feeds her and gives her the pills she needs to treat the cerebral palsy she has had since birth.

Senate committee advances measure against cloning

JEFFERSON CITY — Just before the state Senate Judiciary Committee prepared to vote on anti-cloning legislation Monday evening, Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, wiped tears from his eyes.

The bill, which passed 7-2, would halt cloning and somatic-cell nuclear-transfer research in humans, which some Missouri scientists say has the potential to cure many degenerative diseases.

Schools refuse cell-tower offer

The Columbia School Board turned down a proposed contract between Cingular Wireless and Columbia Public Schools for a cellular tower at West Boulevard Elementary School at its meeting Monday night.

Board member Elton Fay motioned to deny consideration of the contract and said he had concerns about leasing school property to private companies and the safety of cell phone towers.

Kansas City politician paid for paper’s support

KANSAS CITY — A reporter and columnist for The Call, a newspaper targeted at the city’s black community, accepted $1,500 from the congressional campaign of the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver while also reporting on the election.

Eric Wesson also wrote editorials praising Cleaver and criticizing his opponents, Democrat Jamie Metzl and Republican Jeanne Patterson. Cleaver, a former Democratic mayor, defeated both en route to replacing Democratic Rep. Karen McCarthy in Missouri’s 5th Congressional District.

Diverse beliefs, varied conclusions

I remember as a child that people in my family who raised issues simply for the purpose of causing conflict were accused of fostering “cold water arguments.” Consequently, only visitors were likely to enter a debate in which neither wins nor losses had any validity, and discussion was considered a waste of valuable time. I suppose that early memory of my family’s rules of verbal exchange account for my less than lukewarm response to the creation versus evolution controversies raging in some parts of the country.

After careful listening to all sides of the issue, I came to the conclusion that we don’t all begin our examination of the subject from the same point, and therefore, the possibility of us arriving at the same conclusion is highly unlikely. Personally, I have to begin my investigation of the matter with who I think God is. Since I believe God to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, I can accept that he created human beings and, therefore, understood their capacity for boundless curiosity and provided them with scenarios by which they could pursue various avenues leading toward a natural history. This way they could explain themselves to themselves. I can understand other people not subscribing to this theory in the same way that I can accept people who, without a qualm, board a 747 jetliner firmly believing that they will land safely but disbelieve the possibility of a virgin birth. You see, it all depends on the individual’s concept of what constitutes reasonable belief.

Memory of officers lives within community

Columbia hasn’t grieved for a local fallen law enforcement officer for more than 70 years. It has been that long since an on-duty officer was shot and killed in the line of duty on this town’s soil.

On June 14, 1933, Sheriff Roger I. Wilson, grandfather of former Gov. Roger Wilson of Columbia, and Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Ben Booth were killed on what is now Business Loop 70. The officers were shot as they approached two men who had committed a robbery in Mexico, Mo.

Bill touts younger ages in legislature

JEFFERSON CITY —Turning 21 in Missouri might soon mean more than throwing out the fake ID and having a legal beer.

The Financial, Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee heard testimony Monday concerning a bill proposed by Sen. Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis, which would change age requirements for members of the General Assembly.

MU fraternity penalized for opossum prank

MU handed down five sanctions Monday morning to a fraternity for a September stunt involving a collection of opossums. The sanctions require members of Alpha Gamma Rho to complete 640 hours of community service for the Missouri Department of Conservation, which amounts to eight hours per member. They must also develop an animal abuse and cruelty education program for the community.

The fraternity has been placed on social event probation through the fall 2005 semester and university disciplinary probation through the fall 2006 semester.

Two Columbia men are charged in robberies

Two Columbia men have been charged in connection with three robberies and an attempted robbery on Feb. 8 and another robbery on Saturday, police said Monday.

Police said the men were arrested after one of them used a stolen credit card to buy tools at a store at 1910 W. Worley St.