MU alumna named to Mo. high court

Mary Rhodes Russell, an MU School of Law alumna, was named Monday to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Gov. Bob Holden appointed Russell, a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, to fill a vacancy on the seven-member court. Russell said she is considering joining the court in mid-October, although she has not yet made definite plans.

Growing pains

MILLERSBURG-Quint Huffman recalls a time last year when he and some friends sat outside his auto, truck and tractor repair shop counting the cars that cruised by between 5 and 6 p.m. They stopped counting at 500.

While that would have been unheard of 10 years ago, Huffman said the growth Millersburg has seen in recent years was inevitable.

Council approves rise in utility rates

Changing the temperature on your thermostat and running the water while you brush your teeth will cost a bit more next month.

The Columbia City Council on Monday unanimously approved its $277 million budget for fiscal 2005, including rate increases for electric, water and sewer service.

Left with no home

Over the past several years, the number of home foreclosures in Boone County has nearly quadrupled. In 1997, banks and other lenders foreclosed on 38 homes, according to county records. In 2003, lenders foreclosed on 151, nearly four times as many. In one year alone, from 2002 to 2003, foreclosures rose 53 percent.

A host of factors likely contribute to the rising numbers, but two reasons seem to emerge above the rest: More people are borrowing themselves into trouble, and at least in some cases banks and mortgage companies are helping them do it.

Eagles soar at home

The road to Southern Boone’s football field runs through town, past the American Legion and community swimming pool, next to the high school, then into a parking lot with enough asphalt for a few hundred cars.

On Friday night, about 1,000 spectators, nearly half of Ashland’s population, rushed to Southern Boone County High School’s first varsity home game.

Truth gets stretched in race for governor

Propose, rebut. Attack, counterattack.

In the coming weeks, voters are likely to become weary of this pattern of political campaigns. Yet many will end up basing their votes on the candidates’ proposals and criticisms.

This was quite a task in the Missouri governor’s race last week.

Supporters of Republican Matt Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill accused each other of being soft on criminals, harmful to schoolchildren and in violation of election laws.

Policing in central city could get more muscle

The Columbia Police Department plans to re-establish a central-city community policing program in January if the City Council approves an increase in manpower in the 2005 fiscal budget. The council is expected to vote on the budget today.

City looks into adopting Fulton’s trash plan

In Fulton, the need for workers to ride on the back of a trash truck is obsolete. The city of about 12,000 is one of a growing number across the country with an automated trash-collection system.

Panel dissects conservatism’s rise

In his book “What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America,” Thomas Frank addresses the shift of working-class voters to the political right using his home state as an example of the shift.

Frank discussed his book and what he calls the “great backlash” with an audience of about 300 people Saturday night at The Blue Note. The event, “Bread and Butter: The Conditions of Employment,” brought together several panelists to discuss employment. KOPN/89.5 FM and Pacifica Radio sponsored the event. Frank was joined by a panel that included Rachel Write of the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, Ronald McClanahan, an unemployed worker from Doe Run Co. in Glover, and Bruce Herman, executive director of the National Employment Law Project. Judy Ancel, director of the Institute for Labor Studies, moderated the event.

Pagan Pride

Part of Elm Street was closed most of Sunday afternoon, and Peace Park was filled with information booths, crafters and festival-goers at the third annual Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride Day Festival.

Questions of character

When Michael Cooper decided to turn his home into a business on an acre of scenic Missouri River property in 1987, he had fairly modest ambitions. He envisioned a simple place where fishermen could gather for boat club meetings and buy bait and cold beer.

Cooper didn’t stop at a clubhouse. Working closely with government agencies, he obtained grants to add gas services, build a boat dock and put in a new stairway. He opened a campground, added Thai and barbecue kitchens and provided a weekend venue where local bands could play as the sun set along the river.

More time sought to save bridge

The state attorney general’s office is trying to buy more time for a historic railroad bridge in Boonville that is slated for demolition.

Attorney General Jay Nixon sent a letter Friday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking to extend the period for public comment until Nov. 18. The period was slated to end at 5 p.m. Friday.

Council to vote on proposed utilities increase for 2005

Columbia residents will have a final chance to speak on proposed utility rate hikes when the city council meets Monday to vote on the fiscal 2005 budget.

The average residential bill for city utilities could increase by $5.90 per month due to higher rates for electric, water and sewer services, said City Manager Ray Beck at a Friday press conference.

Law: Council e-mail is a public record

An ordinance introduced to the City Council would amend the city’s open records and meetings statute, prohibiting discussion of city business through group e-mails, city attorney Fred Boeckmann said.

Boeckmann said he has recommended that city officials refrain from sending group e-mails to one another to discuss business because the city does not have the technology to allow open access to those discussions.

Skill at the flip of a switch

Indiana Jones has nothing on Chris Camp.

The whip cracker and entertainer from Springfield, Ill., has 20 years of experience and three awards under his ammunition-studded belt. At the 27th annual Heritage Festival on Saturday, Camp entertained the crowd with his speed and precision tricks while educating them in the history of whips and whip cracking.

Celebrating feminine flair

Last fall, David White began thinking about how, in today’s global political climate, women’s ideas, images, sounds and words needed to be seen and heard.

For years, White, executive director of the Missouri Symphony Society and Missouri Theatre, has been producing a summer music festival. White presented his idea of a women’s art festival to more than a half-dozen local artists, who didn’t need much persuading.

City to buy radar signs for schools

Columbia Public Works is planning to purchase and install radar signs near four city schools with the goal of lowering average speeds in school zones.

The signs, called speed display boards, are non-recording radar units. The City Council must approve the expense as part of its 2005 budget. A vote is expected this week.

Survey says more jobs are coming to midstate

The fourth quarter of 2004 could be a good time to look for a job in Central Missouri, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released last week.

The survey, conducted each quarter to predict hiring and firing throughout the country, found that 40 percent of the companies interviewed said they were planning to add workers, compared to 31 percent a year ago.

'I like to see things clean'

The hallway at Oakland Junior High School is partially lit by fluorescent bulbs that hum over stacks of chairs and tables. On this August day, the building has that chalky school smell with a whiff of generic cleaning products — taking you back to the days when you roamed halls just like these.

This is where Bill Hawthorne has worked for 10 years. As he tours Oakland, Hawthorne talks about his summer projects — waxing the linoleum floors and cleaning the carpets. The furniture must be moved out of each room so the floors can be properly cleaned.

Women artists come together to be appreciated

Sutu’s Sirens’ first practice was held in Sutu Forté’s living room, where a drum set, a stand-up bass and a couple of guitars were crammed among the furniture.

On this recent Wednesday evening, the Sirens were still unsure of how their collaboration will sound. The band — pianist Forté, bassist Linda Bott, saxophonist Nancy Dietz and drummer Aubrey Van Hoose — had never performed together.