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Police seek leads in death

Police are looking for two sport utility vehicles seen in the Maryland Avenue parking garage around the time MU researcher Jeong Im was found stabbed to death in his burning car on Friday.

MU Police Department Capt. Brian Weimer said in a statement Sunday afternoon that the first vehicle, a blue SUV, was parked in the third-level driving lane of the garage. The second SUV, of unknown color, was parked with its back hatch open. A man and a woman were standing next to it, according to the statement.

Growing need strains Boone County WIC program

At its current rate of growth, a government program in Boone County that assists women and children with nutritional needs could be forced to turn away dozens of people in the next few months.

Carolyn Ezzell, a nutritionist and coordinator for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, estimates that as many as 100 people per month will be denied assistance if state funding is not increased. WIC will have to wait until the end of February to find out whether it will receive more funding.

Power of stun gun gets another look

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an informal investigation of the maker of stun guns, or Tasers, but that is not expected to deter the Boone County Sheriff’s Department from purchasing the product.

“Until someone can come up with documentation that they are dangerous, we’re going to be using them,” Sheriff Dwayne Carey said.

A toast to art

Three Missouri artists have bragging rights to the designs on three new Les Bourgeois wines.

The work of Dinise Mustain and Laura Pintel of Columbia and Bryan Haynes of St. Albans was chosen to grace the labels of the new wines in a competition that ended last month.

More get a shot at influenza vaccine

Missourians previously ineligible for this year’s flu vaccine may get another chance for immunization against the virus.

Gov. Bob Holden repealed an executive order that limited health-care providers to administering flu vaccines to high-risk people only. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services advised Holden to withdraw the order as a result of expanded guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

City hopes to buy land to extend road

A plan to reduce traffic congestion at Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard would require the city to pave over some privately owned land.

Bill Laurie, husband of Wal-Mart heiress Nancy Laurie, and State Farm Insurance own land the city Public Works Department wants to acquire to extend Southampton Drive by three-quarters of a mile.

Games issue challenge to curb growing waistlines

Sixty percent of Missouri adults were overweight or obese in a 2002 study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

And it’s a problem that persists.

Man sought in MU stabbing death

Police were seeking a “person of interest” Saturday in connection with the slaying of a 72-year-old researcher in MU’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Jeong Im was found Friday afternoon in the trunk of his Honda Accord in the Maryland Avenue parking garage. He had been stabbed in the chest and his car was on fire.

Grandmother of stabbing suspect dies after visit

The grandmother of the man charged with second-degree murder in connection with a stabbing that left one man dead and another critically injured Thursday died thatevening after learning police sought her grandson.

Ora Barney, 67, died after police visited her home, 1 Mohawk Drive, sometime between 6 and 7 p.m. looking for Robert J. Barney Jr., who was charged the next day in the stabbing at a Columbia convenience store.

Unexpected snow fell beneath radar

Columbia residents pinning their hopes on Friday’s forecast of zero precipitation, warming temperatures and some sunshine received a surprise when up to 2 inches of snow fell in the area Friday afternoon.

Joe Pedigo, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis, said weak weather disturbances, such as the snow Friday, can only be foreseen close to the day they occur.

Sound cause

Columbia resident BeCarr Washington is searching for musicians of all types to participate in a benefit concert in early February for the tsunami victims as well as the troops in Iraq.

After watching the death toll rise to more than 150,000 in South Asia, Washington wanted to help any way he could, and he figured his best efforts would be through a benefit concert.

Roads, water top Beck’s list

Road improvements and water facilities are among Columbia City Manager Ray Beck’s priorities this year.

He also wants to hire a director of Planning and Development and is willing to spend more than $90,000 to fill the vacant position.

Graham snags key post

Sen. Chuck Graham, who was sworn in Wednesday, will now have a say in who Gov.-elect Matt Blunt appoints to the UM System Board of Curators and other state executive positions in the coming weeks.

On Thursday, Graham, D-Columbia, was selected to be a member of the Senate Gubernatorial Appointment Committee, the committee charged with advising and giving approval to Blunt’s appointments to a variety of executive positions including the board of curators and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Columbia police open substation at grocery store

Columbia had five police substations, but not one that was easily accessible to police officers working in the northeast part of town. With Friday’s opening of the sixth substation at Gerbes on Paris Road, the police department has solved that problem.

“Gerbes came to us with the possibility because they had this room available,” Police Chief Randy Boehm said. “We took a look at it and felt like it was a great location for us.

Politics/morality

Morality. It’s a word whose definition is elusive, shifting significantly with time, place, culture and context. When 28 percent of voters in November said in a widely cited CBS exit poll that “moral values” were the dominant factor in their choice of a presidential candidate, there was little discussion of what they meant.

Despite this lack of clarity, media pundits went wild. Stories about “values voters” and the supposedly superior morals of “red state” voters saturated morning talk shows, newspaper articles and talk radio. Analysts concluded Democrats would have to earnestly address moral issues and religion if they hoped to turn their party around.

The mind in flight

“How do you control this arm?” says John Willett, a senior at Hickman High School, as he presses combinations of keys on his computer.

John Lueckenotte looks up from another computer.

Alexander, before the legend

When MU history professor Ian Worthington went to see the movie “Alexander,” he hoped director Oliver Stone would give him a glimpse of the man behind the legend. Instead, in Worthington’s view, Stone’s film puts grand ideas ahead of an in-depth character study and fails to convey the qualities that made Alexander a charismatic commander and statesman.

Although the film accurately portrays Alexander’s drinking and bisexuality, Worthington says, it doesn’t capture the forceful personality Alexander must have had to accomplish what he did.

I’m not tough to read: Give me suspense

I’ve been doing a great deal of reading lately. I’ve finished two books in the last week. No big deal to you brainiacs who can consume a 200 pager in a couple of hours, but Sister Alexandra would be proud. She was my second grade teacher who thought I’d never get through my Dick and Jane reader. Back then we were not labeled “remedial” or learning disabled.” We were just called stupid.

My love of reading came late in life — raising a brood left little time to turn pages at my leisure. It was during the turbulent teenage years when I had to stay up and wait for a child to return to the nest that I started picking up a novel to while away the hours. (This was before cable so late night TV ended with Johnny Carson.)

Evil twist

Big Brother. Darth Vader. Tommy Vercetti. These three represent tangible evil to anyone who sees or reads about their exploits. Yet people continue to empathize with Vercetti. Why?

Because in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, you are drug-dealing, cop-murdering Tommy Vercetti. The video game, which Rockstar Games released in 2002, successfully followed up Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto III, taking another step toward redefining gaming’s traditional “heroes” as protagonists.

Zoning commission OKs Sapp plan

After two hours of comments from critics, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended Thursday night that the city approve Billy Sapp’s permanent zoning requests for the nearly 1,000 acres he hopes to voluntarily annex.

Opponents, many of whom live near the proposed developments on Route WW, voiced concerns over the density of the developments, traffic, watershed and the costs the city could face.

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