Bond makes stop to talk to students

Sen. Kit Bond made an interestingcampaign stop Friday afternoon — speaking to a classroom of about 50 ninth-grade honors students at Oakland Junior High School.

Two students, Cameron Doolady and Ian Arnold, asked the senator to speak to their class as part of a project to acquaint themselves with politi-cal candidates.

Director of Islamic agency also employee of state government

A top economist at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is also the executive director of an Islamic charity in Columbia that the U.S. Treasury Department alleges is part of an international network providing funds to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

The DNR hired Mubarak Hamed in June 2002 — more than two years after the U.S. State Department withheld government funds from the charity, citing national security issues.

THE CLASS OF 2004: The Campaign Managers

There’s a young Republican and an aging Democrat.

There’s a fresh-faced college graduate and a seasoned political operative.

There’s a kid brother and a political mercenary.

There’s a life-long friend and a doting cat owner.

Plight of the Young Navigators

Get lost. Those were the test instructions science teachers at Oakland Junior High School gave eighth-grade students on a sunny Friday morning. More than 120 Oakland eighth-graders took their final exam on orienteering — a form of land navigation — at Rock Bridge State Park.

Renewable energy plan looks at buying power

The city could purchase nearly twice the power required in the proposed renewable energy ordinance by 2008 while still remaining below the cap on related rate increases.

Columbia’s Water and Light Department has negotiated potential deals to purchase wind power from Kansas and methane from an Illinois landfill.

Losing their hair

In the midst of the energy and spirit of Rock Bridge High School’s homecoming assembly, Principal Bruce Brotzman and 16 teachers and students lost their hair.

The volunteers had pledged to shave or dye their hair based on how much money the Global Issues Club raised for AIDS relief and research. Kept backstage, those who volunteered for new dos were revealed at the end of the assembly.

Proposal tags $20 for cross-state toll

A new proposal to install toll booths on Interstate 70 would charge Missourians $20 for a round-trip from Kansas City to St. Louis, a transportation department official said Friday.

“The concept that we have right now is an open tolls system,” said Kevin Keith, the department’s chief engineer. “Across I-70 there would be five toll plazas. Any time you pass through one of those plazas it would cost you two or three dollars.”

From trash to energy

It stinks.

It’s usually kept out of sight. And most Columbia residents routinely get rid of it each week, happy to discard the stuff by their curbs without much thought.

Call it garbage, waste, refuse or trash. But soon, today’s trash could be generating the electricity that lights your living room or powers your coffee maker. When garbage decomposes, methane gas, which can be harnessed and used for energy, is emitted. Columbia’s landfill currently has enough buried waste — more than 2 million tons — to pursue a landfill gas-to-energy project.

Overseas votes could tip elections

Gregg Louis cast his vote for the November elections on Thursday.

Because he’s 4,000 miles away from his Springfield, Mo., voting precinct, studying abroad here for a semester, he had to jump through some extra hoops to make it happen.

FBI continues search for data

A day after FBI agents raided the office of the Islamic American Relief Agency, a local nonprofit organization with alleged links to terrorism, authorities searched three storage lockers in Columbia Thursday as part of what authorities described as a long-term, ongoing investigation.

Since Wednesday, two houses — one in Columbia and another in Connecticut — have been searched, along with at least one office and three storage units, in what appears to be a sweep of individuals and organizations linked to the Khartoum, Sudan-based Islamic African Relief Agency. The organization’s U.S. headquarters is the Islamic American Relief Agency in Columbia.

Stores to display pets for adoption

ST. LOUIS — The Humane Society of Missouri hopes to increase animal adoption by 20 percent under a new arrangement that will allow it to showcase homeless pets in storefronts at two area shopping centers.

The Humane Society, the state’s largest animal shelter, said Thursday it is taking over management and financial responsibility for two pet-adoption stores known as Adopt-A-Stray, which were previously run by a group that goes by the same name.

Muslims fear raid will mean scrutiny

Thursday night would have been one of celebration for Muslims. Ramadan — the holiest month of the Islamic year — begins today, and the night before is supposed to be marked by prayer and remembrance. For members of Columbia’s Muslim community, however, a somber note has darkened the occasion.

“Tonight, we would be celebrating,” said Khenissi Ali. “Instead, we’re scared.”

Pressure on Public Works

Two months after being reprimanded by the Boone County Commission, Public Works director David Mink is still trying to patch up his department.

Significant bumps in the road remain: Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin and county road workers question Mink’s leadership and want him fired, and Mink’s maintenance operations manager, Chip Estabrooks, is on the fence.

Commission split on Mink's work

Boone County commissioners strongly disagree about the extent of problems at the Public Works Department under David Mink and about potential remedies.

Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin believes that Mink provides the commission with incomplete and sometimes inaccurate information on roads projects and that information given to the public is even worse.

Sapp plans to develop 965 acres

Developer Billy Sapp formally filed paperwork with the city Planning and Development Department Tuesday for the voluntary annexation and zoning of 965 acres of land east of Columbia.

Sapp wants to develop two adjacent tracts into a golf course, commercial areas and more than 1,000 units of housing. If approved by the City Council, Sapp’s plan would be the largest annexation for development purposes in Columbia’s history, said interim Planning Director Bill Watkins.

Columbia kids are giving residents an education in pollution

Swirls of bright fall leaves swept around rambunctious children dashing door-to-door on Sexton Road on Wednesday afternoon. Between bouts of cartwheels and somersaults, the little volunteers canvassed the neighborhood with door hangers. Their message: Pollutants that flow into storm drains lead directly to streams.

Under Mona Menezes’ direction, children from The Intersection — an after-school program on Sexton — have handed out about 75 informational packets during the past three weeks. Packets included literature telling residents their closest storm drain flows directly into Flat Branch Creek. Everything from cigarette butts to fertilizer eventually ends up in local streams, said Menezes, program coordinator for the Community Storm Water Project.

Missouri to be honored at cathedral

The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., is half a country away from Missouri, but on Sunday, a worship service will be conducted there to celebrate the state.

The service is a part of the Washington National Cathedral’s Major State Day celebrations, begun in 1996. On the third Sunday of each month, an 11 a.m. service is held to honor a state, according to the cathedral’s Web site. States would be honored this way once every four years.

New face heats up 25th District race

Judy Baker, the Democratic candidate in the 25th District state representative race, is a political newcomer, while Bob Northup, her Republican opponent, has been involved in Columbia’s political scene for decades.

However, the first time the two went head-to-head in the race marked the 200th day in Baker’s campaign and only the fourth in Northup's. A twist in the race came when Republican candidate Joel Jeffries dropped out just two months before the Nov. 2 election to accept a job with the state Board of Probation and Parole. Northup volunteered to take his place, diving into the contest with only a few weeks to spread his name and his message.

Salmonella infection closes Equine Clinic

After diagnosing five horses with salmonella poisoning in the past four months, veterinarians at MU closed their Equine Clinic as a precaution in order to decontaminate the facility, officials said.

In a release, the MU News Bureau said that veterinarians will disinfect the entire hospital, located in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital on East Campus Drive, and will monitor the building for salmonella before reopening.

Education-minded candidates get nod

Political spin can make sorting out the issues difficult for voters — especially in this election, where the spin is acknowledged as much as the rhetoric. But five associations have tried to make it easier for constituents to decide on Nov. 2 by endorsing the candidates each deems best when it comes to education.

“You hear candidates talk all the time about ‘I’m for education’ and ‘I’m for education,’ and what we are designed to do is sift through all that information and help people find out who the best education candidates are,” said Gail Willis McCray, political action coordinator for the Missouri State Teachers Association.