Organizers on soap box over delay of mid-Missouri derby

After building and practicing for months, Columbia’s racers might not be able to compete for the annual Mid-Missouri Soap Box Derby Race in downtown on Sunday.

The derby for 8 to 17 year olds was scheduled for Sunday, but was postponed. The Mid-Missouri Soap Box Derby Association had not sought or received approval from the city to close Broadway, the site of the race for the past 11 years, and had to be delayed, said Danny Lindsey, president of the Mid-Missouri Soap Box Derby Association.

Center comes to life

If there’s no place like home, then the new Life Science Center comes pretty close.

At least that’s the idea that officials with the new building kept getting across during a tour Wednesday of the center. The center is intended to bring several research disciplines under one roof to encourage collaboration in a comfortable environment.

Screening scheduled for ‘Killer Diller’ film

It will be more than just a regular movie screening when “Killer Diller” arrives in Columbia next month.

The movie, which was filmed in Fayette, will be shown at a special screening at 7 p.m. July 12 at the Missouri Theatre.

Concern over speed limits voiced

Proposed speed limit increases along three county roads northwest of Columbia have some residents upset.

The section of Roemer Road where Cheryl Rosenfeld lives will not see a speed limit change, but other areas near her, such as Obermiller Road, will. She often walks her dog or sees neighborhood kids riding their bikes along Obermiller Road, which has no sidewalk.

Incubator to grow baby bio businesses

Fund raising will begin soon for the Life Sciences Business Incubation Center, a joint effort between MU and the business community to foster biotechnology companies.

Banks, corporations and city governments will all be asked formally in the next 30 to 60 days to help fund the incubator. If a $2.5 million grant from the Economic Development Administration comes through, stakeholders in the project will have a limited amount of time to match the funds. The EDA, which is part of the federal Department of Commerce, is reviewing the project.

Shooting remains a mystery

Police are continuing to investigate the accidental shooting of a 17-year-old girl Sunday afternoon in order to determine if there was a legal violation, said Sgt. Tom Reddin of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

The girl was in fair condition at University Hospital, Reddin said Wednesday.


An article on page 8A Friday about the Boone County Commission’s consideration of approving changes to speed limits incorrectly stated the level of action.

The proposed changes were read only for first approval.

Watercooler: Disturbing death

Jesse Valencia spent the night of Friday, June 4 at SoCo, a Columbia nightclub. The next day, Valencia was in a Wilson Avenue yard, sprawled between two apartment buildings and clad only in a pair of athletic shorts — dead of a neck laceration.

Electric contract to raise city rates

For the next three months, Columbia residents will see a temporary 9.5 percent increase in their electricity bill.

The increase is the result of a new power contract with AmerenUE, rising natural gas prices and rising electricity transmission costs, said Jim Windsor, manager of rates and fiscal planning for Columbia. For an average household, which uses 1,200 kilowatt hours a month, the increase will be $7.46. The rate increase will be in effect for the months of July, August and September. In October, the City Council will be asked to raise electricity prices permanently with the passing of the city budget.

Climbing wall trial starts

A snapped cable dominated testimony Tuesday during the first day of the trial of the climbing-wall owner charged with involuntarily causing the death of a Jefferson City woman in July outside a Mid-Missouri Mavericks’ game.

Marcus Floyd is on trial for second-degree involuntary manslaughter in the death of Christine Ewing, 22, who fell more than 20 feet to her death when a cable broke on the portable climbing wall that Floyd owned. Floyd has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Second day of school smoother

On Tuesday morning, Skip Deming, assistant superintendent of instruction, said that administrators tried to identify which students were affected by the mix-up and continued to notify the parents of those children. Parents were given two options: Students could remain at the wrong school to which they were bused on the first day but find their own transportation, or be bused by the district to the correct school. Deming said most parents had the district transport their children.

Republican AG hopeful gets help from Keyes

Before a crowd of about 200 supporters, radio talk-show host and two-time presidential candidate Alan Keyes claimed that an erosion of America’s moral foundation was leading the nation toward a crisis, one that could soon determine the fate of both the U.S. Constitution and Americans’ basic freedoms. To avoid such a future, Keyes said Dewey Crepeau, a Columbia native, should be the one to replace Jay Nixon as the state’s attorney general.

Crepeau worked on Keyes’ 1996 bid for the presidency. Now Keyes is supporting Crepeau. Their similar views were one reason Crepeau gave for his choice of Keyes for his keynote speech; both referred to each other as men of honesty and integrity.

Rios inquiry under way

The Columbia Police Department has launched an internal-affairs investigation of Steven Rios, the officer who has been linked to homicide victim Jesse Valencia.

The investigation, which began Monday, is focusing on “issues related to policy and procedure violations,” Police Chief Randy Boehm said. The investigation is being led by Capt. Sam Hargadine, the department’s internal-affairs commander.

City compost piles up

Since the Solid Waste Division began selling compost to the public last fall, it has generated only $2,600 in revenue, less than expected for the nutrient-rich soil, landfill superintendent Cynthia Mitchell said.

Since 2002, the city had been selling its compost in bulk to businesses looking for landscaping material. But when the incoming yard waste and other compostable materials became overwhelming, the landfill purchased a compost screener to produce a finer, more marketable soil for homes and gardens. Mitchell said that by opening sales to individuals, the composting facility has attracted more customers.

Coffee grounds good compost for the ground, Starbucks says

“Grounds for Your Garden” invites people to pick up spent grounds from Starbucks to use as a compost ingredient.

Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen and, when added to compost, can improve soil quality. The used grounds are acidic, however, and should be no more than 25 percent of compost content, according to Starbucks representative Megan Behrbaum. The acidity can be balanced by “liming” — adding one teaspoon of lime or wood chips for every five pounds of grounds.

System aims to aid court accuracy

Judge Gary Oxenhandler and court reporter Kristal Murphy use a real-time court reporting system. The system translates the shorthand that Murphy creates from testimony into readable text that is displayed instantaneously to attorneys and Oxenhandler on court-provided laptops. The record provided from the system is unofficial, and rules prevent attorneys from taking transcripts of the testimony out of the courtroom.

Summertime blues at local venues

“Jam-packed” does not come to mind when looking at the 15-foot gap between fans and the band Elf Power at Mojo’s.

A month ago, a full house at Mojo’s would not be uncommon. But by the end of May, collegiate concertgoers leave the town’s music venues working to keep crowds.

City road work may slow traffic

The Public Works Department will be working on many roads around Columbia June 15 through June 18 between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Call 573-874-6289 with questions.

A welcome transition

Eleven thousand incoming freshmen and their parents will make their way to MU this summer to attend the whirlwind orientation and registration session called Summer Welcome, a program that stands alone because it’s almost entirely organized and led by students.

“Summer Welcome really is a year-round planning process, and for all the effort and planning and time that goes into it, the (student) leaders are the ones who make it happen, who make it such a powerful event for so many of the students and parents,” said David Rielley, MU coordinator of new student programs.

Time for play after a life full of work

Skip Deming is ready to trade in his seat behind a desk for a seat behind the wheel.

Deming, who has worked in the Columbia School District for 33 years, and his wife, Jerri, have big plans after Deming’s last day as assistant superintendent of instruction on June 25. They own a motor home in which they will travel across the continental United States.