Politics make trust a thing of the past

The latest scandals concerning radio commentator Armstrong Williams and other journalists accepting money from government agencies and administration officials to promote their issues, I’m sure, comes as no surprise to anyone. In recent years, journalists have become so buddy-buddy with politicians that much of the public is so jaded that they no longer expect fair and objective reporting at the national level. It only takes one read or one listening session to determine with which party the writer or speaker is affiliated. After the what, when and where of a news story, a lot of us are ready to fold the paper or tune the set out because we are unwilling to stick around for the spin. This is one more way our world has changed. Consequently, we are becoming less trusting every day. I agree with a man I spoke to last week who is a former elected official. He said he didn’t like the person he saw himself becoming. He said that in the past, there had always been politicians he liked better than others, but he admitted he had never experienced such active dislike toward certain political viewpoints as he did these days.

Political tolerance does not seem to me to be as easy as it once was. Personally, I have become proficient at changing the subject whenever certain topics of conversation arise. I’ve always been a person who would rather save the friendship than win the argument. And I have been criticized a great deal on that score. Unfortunately, I have found that certain political opinions reflect other character traits that make maintaining some friendships these days undesirable. I have to accept that sharing the same planet will be the full extent of my relationship with some individuals, many of whom consider themselves Christians. Heretofore, we may have been able to discuss our differences with mutual respect. I find that is no longer possible.

Concerns raised on MU proposal

With MU’s development of guidelines for incentive compensation, some faculty fear individuals will be enticed to increase their pay by fee-for-service activities — resulting in less emphasis on their educational mission.

“This is changing the way we do business here,” said Faculty Council member Eddie Adelstein, associate professor of pathology.

Budget scrutiny to begin

JEFFERSON CITY — The General Assembly is in the early innings of this year’s budget season, and politicians are swinging away.

While Gov. Matt Blunt is batting a thousand for his young career — the Springfield Republican has never lost an election — the 34-year-old rookie governor faces a new test in his first budget.

Aiming to make a thin mint

More than 100 vehicles were loaded with highly addictive sweets and sent into the community this weekend. Eight thousand cases, with 12 boxes of goodies per case, left the Fry Wagner warehouse headed for Columbia’s neighborhoods. The operation has been almost a year in the making and could stop at your door soon.

Columbians, your cookies are coming.

Events converge to push SMSU bill

If you’ve watched the World Series or Super Bowl, you might have noticed athletes donning T-shirts and hats proclaiming their teams world champs — often just moments after the game ends.

To look good in victory requires some advance work by an entrepreneur.

State Farm has plans to pay for improper car titles

Columbians who have bought used cars from State Farm Insurance Co. since 1997 might receive compensation later this year. Their eligibility for compensation could be a surprise because many owners unknowingly bought cars that had been stolen or salvaged after being totaled.

State Farm, the country’s largest home and car insurer, will pay $40 million nationwide for totaled cars it sold without proper titles. It signed an agreement with attorneys general in 49 states and the District of Columbia to acknowledge the title errors. Indiana made a separate deal. The company is working with motor vehicle departments to locate an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 cars.

Pictures of the Year

For the next three weeks, Columbia and MU resume their tradition of hosting judging of the previous year’s best photographs.

For the 62nd year, the Pictures of the Year International competition will once again challenge visual media figures to honor colleagues within the industry.

Spaniel honored at Westminster

Debi Bell and her prized show dog, Willie, share a peanut butter parfait at Dairy Queen each time he wins a Best in Show ribbon. Willie, an 8-year-old English toy spaniel, has eaten plenty of ice cream during his career because he’s been in the top five of his breed for five years running.

Willie recently added his second Best of Breed award at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Seat belt law would get tougher under bill

Missouri drivers who are fined for not wearing their seat belts must first be caught in another traffic violation.

But if legislators pass a new bill, police will be able to stop motorists solely for not wearing a seat belt, which national studies have shown could save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in medical costs.

Parents, experts push ban on mercury in some vaccines

Staunch isn’t a strong enough word to describe Lujene and Alan Clark’s support for a proposed new law that would prohibit mercury-based preservatives from being included in childhood vaccines.

The Southwest Missouri couple’s 9-year-old son, Devon, has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Some scientists and parents of autistic children have suggested that excessive exposure to thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury, could contribute to the disease.

Forum to focus on giving pupils extra help

Parents of students in the Columbia Public Schools are invited to meet with members of the special education department to discuss the Individual Education Plan process.

The process is aimed at assisting children who need extra attention in the classroom.

Rural church revival

Lucille Street delicately moves her aged hands across a large black and white picture in the homemade photo album displaying her church’s history. About 30 men and women, fully dressed, stand shoulder to shoulder in a small lake in northern Boone County ready to submerge themselves in the sacrament of spiritual regeneration. As they emerge from the water, they believe they are passing through doors to a more religious, meaningful life. Around the lake stand nearly 100 townspeople, doing what people did in 1931 at Dripping Spring: watch the revival. Model T Fords line up behind the crowd.

During that era, rural churches were the focus of small towns, with services such as the summer revivals attracting major crowds. But they were also largely the only gig in town.

Hundreds show support for police at barbecue

The smell of smoked pork and hot kettle corn wafted in from the cold. Long tables covered with white plastic table clothes awaited crowds. A chorus echoed through the arena.

“I have a daughter with the police.”

Judge denies request to unfreeze assets

WASHINGTON — A federal judge tried to balance the right of association with national security Friday when he heard arguments concerning the Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency.

After much back-and-forth questioning, Justice Reggie Walton denied the charity’s motion to unfreeze its assets.

Church honors woman’s decades of work with refugees

Alice Wolters has helped more than 1,000 refugees from almost 15 countries resettle in mid-Missouri during the past three decades.

But the speech she gave at a dinner held in her honor Friday evening at First Christian Church made it clear she refuses to take too much credit despite her years of service.

Joyous return for three soldiers

It had been almost a year since Sgt. John Kloeckner, 1st Sgt. Kevin Findley and Staff Sgt. Chuck Call last set foot on Missouri soil.

When they arrived at the Columbia Regional Airport on Friday, more than 100 friends and family members packed the baggage claim room to greet them. The three men, all wearing civilian clothes, were returning from Iraq.

Teenagers arrested for posting hit list on Web

Two former Gentry Middle School students were arrested Thursday on charges of posting a list on the Internet containing names of students and faculty members to kill, according to Columbia police.

The two teens were charged with making a terrorist threat after police received a tip from a Gentry Middle School faculty member about the Web site, Columbia police Captain Brad Nelson said Friday.

Talent promotes bill limiting meth ingredients

A federal bill aims to take all over-the-counter cold and sinus medicines containing pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient for methamphetamines, off the shelves. This bill would broaden the scope of a state bill prohibiting sales of cold and sinus tablets containing the drug.

Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., sponsor of the bill, discussed the federal Combat Meth Act at a press conference Saturday at D&H Drugstore. If passed, the bill would require drugs containing pseudoephedrine to be kept behind the counter and require identification to purchase. Sales of the drug would be limited to nine grams per person every 30 days, about three or four packages. The similar state bill is now back on the Senate floor after clearing both chambers.

Deer control ordinance up for vote

The Columbia City Council drafted an ordinance that would allow firearms hunting on all 20-acre or larger tracts of land, subject to certain safety restrictions. The council will also hear public comment before taking a vote on Monday night.

The proposed ordinance could have two major benefits: curbing the urban deer population and providing an incentive for large tracts of land to be annexed into the city.

Doughnut company considers Columbia

Columbia residents may soon see the signature green tile roof and flashing red “hot” light of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in town.

About a month ago, architects met with city staff to discuss the possibility of building a Krispy Kreme in the new Broadway Shoppes development, said senior planner Chuck Bondra.