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Aboard the trolley

Move over city buses. Downtown may get a blast from the past.

The possibility of starting a downtown trolley service has Mayor Darwin Hindman excited. Hindman said he would like to see the issue before the City Council “as soon as possible.”

College leader bars same-sex benefits

Columbia College President Gerald Brouder said Wednesday he opposes a faculty proposal to provide benefits to same-sex partners of college employees.

“The college is not at a point in its history, certainly not with me as president, to entertain further the notion that we might one day offer such benefits,” Brouder said.

UMR head to retire after school year

Gary Thomas, chancellor of the University of Missouri-Rolla, announced Wednesday he will retire after this school year. Thomas’ announcement follows MU chancellor Richard Wallace’s retirement two days ago.

“I thought it would take me about five years to make an impact, and I’m now in my fifth year,” Thomas said.

Gartner evaluates year in The District

It’s been one year since the marketing campaign was launched that turned downtown Columbia into “The District.” While Carrie Gartner, director of the Columbia Special Business District and the Central Columbia Association, has some qualitative impressions of how downtown is doing, it’s today’s Twilight Festival that provides downtown merchants and her office with the only hard numbers by which they can measure progress.

Gartner talked to The Missourian earlier this week about the next steps in The District’s marketing, what businesses themselves are doing and the importance of the festival to The District.

Delegating GOP authority

As the Republican National Convention nears its final measure tonight, three Boone County delegates are hoping President George W. Bush will strike a particular chord in his speech accepting the party’s nomination.

The local delegates say the president must convince voters that the United States is more secure and prosperous under his leadership.

Deaton moves minority affairs

On his first day as interim chancellor, Brady Deaton is reorganizing some of MU’s most controversial departments.

“The area of minority affairs will report to Mike Middleton, deputy chancellor” effective today, said MU spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken. Minority affairs, which includes black studies, women’s studies and programs to recruit and retain minority students, previously reported to Vice Provost Handy Williamson.

Generating buzz for MU

Partnership in a more than $400 million contract to operate a nuclear laboratory would further boost MU’s nationally recognized nuclear science program, campus leaders say.

The Columbia and Rolla campuses of the UM system, along with the Shaw Group, a Louisiana-based management company, have formed Shaw Missouri Idaho LLC with the intent of managine and operating a federally owned nuclear laboratory in Idaho for 10 years.

Bankruptcy filings on the rise in Missouri

“Financial stress,” breathes a female voice in the radio ad. “It starts out as an irritation, and over time it grows larger, scarier and uglier.”

“You’re paralyzed because it’s sitting on your chest, its weight pressing down,” the voice continues, building to a nervous, high-pitched climax.

Twilight Festival to debut DNA kits

It became a household term during the O.J. Simpson trial, and it’s a constant theme in popular forensics dramas like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

Now, DNA sampling will be a feature at Columbia’s Twilight Festival. A new program, sponsored by the Columbia Police Department and U.S. Cellular, will allow parents attending the festival to obtain samples of their children’s DNA.

County Commission allows new stables

Columbia horse enthusiasts should prepare for a little equine diversity in the area.

Tuesday night, the Boone County Commission granted permission to Knipp Farms LLC to open a 305-acre equine boarding facility at 10600 Hardwick Lane.

Reactor big asset for research at MU

The 10-megawatt MU Research Reactor off south Providence Road, which began operations in 1966, is the largest university-operated research reactor in the United States.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology comes in second with a reactor half the size of MU’s. Rolla’s reactor is 0.2 megawatts.

Popularity of online classes grows

This semester, Columbia College junior Amanda Burfield is taking all of her classes online.

“I used to take evening classes, but it got to be too much,” said Burfield, who works full time at a bank. “Sometimes I would not get out of class until 10 p.m. and then I would have homework. I just got tired.”

Deaton in chancellor job today

Brady Deaton has spent 15 years teaching and leading at MU. Today, he’ll start learning something new — how to be chancellor.

Deaton will assume the job of MU chancellor following the official retirement of Richard Wallace on Tuesday. Deaton, the former provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, will serve as interim chancellor of the university during MU’s search for a new chancellor.

Downtown streets to lighten up

The sun is setting earlier every day in Columbia, but downtown, things are just getting brighter. The Columbia Special Business District, along with the city of Columbia, is putting the finishing touches on the lighting plans outlined in its downtown beautification project.

On Ninth Street, new streetlights are being installed this week as part of a district-wide change out. Additional streetlights are being installed to increase lighting in the area, and existing lamps are undergoing a transformation to create a new, more unified look. All the streetlight poles will be black, and about half of them will have a decorative light fixture attached. The streetlight project is part of phases one and two of the Special Business District plan.

Missouri RAIN chapter wins federal grant

The Regional AIDS Interfaith Network of Central Missouri, known as RAIN, was awarded a federal grant of nearly $85,000 to expand primary-care services for people living with or at risk for HIV.

The money was granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Title III of the Ryan White CARE Act.

Mid-Mo. delegates find NYC safe, fun

Stephanie Huett said her first impression of New York is that it’s like Fort Knox.

The 14-year-old is in the Big Apple this week to attend the Republican National Convention with her mother, Denna, a Columbia resident and Missouri delegate to the convention.

Tax increase would pay for county construction

Boone County property owners’ tax bills will rise next year if voters approve a $15 million bond issue. The bond would pay for the addition of two floors to the county courthouse, construction of a new two-story office building and extensive work at the county government center.

The proposed expansion plan, which was discussed Friday at a meeting of elected county officials and department heads, would add office space for circuit court and county government offices. Renovating the first two floors of the county government center to expand existing office space would cost about $800,000, while finishing the third floor would cost an additional $1.3 million.

Maxwell seeks longer life for Senior Rx

JEFFERSON CITY — Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell on Monday called for a coalition of legislators and advocacy groups to help extend funding for the Senior Rx program. Without more money, tens of thousands of seniors would be left without prescription drug coverage effective Dec. 13, 2005.

Maxwell was speaking at a meeting of the Senior Rx Commission.

Trustees discuss hospital expansion, to be completed by November 2005

The expansion of Boone Hospital Center remains on target, even as hospital officials plan the addition of a fourth medical office building.

The Boone Hospital Center Board of Trustees discussed those construction projects at its monthly board meeting Monday.

Va. governor speaks in Rocheport

ROCHEPORT — About 30 local residents joined Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia for a roundtable discussion Monday at Laborers Local Post 955 organized in support of the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and voiced strong concerns on rising health-care premiums and what they see as an increasingly-bleak economic outlook.

Almeta Crayton, First Ward representative to the Columbia City Council and a participant in the roundtable discussion, highlighted strains on the middle class that she said are the result of a drab economy, and the perceived “lack of conversation about double-digit unemployment” in some parts of Missouri.

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