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Preferred plan for I-70 unveiled

The plan to improve 18 miles of Interstate 70 was unveiled by the I-70 advisory group Thursday night.

The plan contains one alternative for each intersection along I-70, from Route J/O to Route Z,and is called the “preferred alternative.”

Another Carnahan joins the political arena

Former Columbia mayor Bob Smith welcomed a campaigning Carnahan to his home for the third time Thursday night. After hosting Mel and Jean during their political campaigns, Smith welcomed their daughter, Robin, to his home as she campaigns for secretary of state.

Almost 60 supporters gathered around Smith’s hunter-green and floral sofas to listen to Democratic candidate, Robin Carnahan, speak about her campaign.

Toll roads not in near future

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri voters shouldn’t count on seeing toll roads on the ballot in November, according to top House and Senate transportation officials.

“I think it’s commonly known there isn’t enough support for putting toll roads on the ballot,” said House Transportation Committee Chairman Larry Crawford, R-Centertown.

A broader Broadway

Early morning and evening are the worst times for getting in and out of Broadway Village apartments alongside East Broadway, MU doctoral student Tim Wilson said. The wait can be up to 10 minutes.

“If you have got to be at work at 8 o’clock and you’re not out there by 7:30 or 7:45, forget it,” Wilson said.

Rights group objects to Patriot Act

A movement to have Columbia officially denounce parts of the USA-Patriot Act took a step forward at Wednesday’s Human Rights Commission meeting, but that doesn’t mean the City Council will follow through with it.

Phil Steinhouse, the HRC’s city worker, will pass on a letter this week to the council written by David Finke, the subcommittee chairman for the Patriot Act, that addresses why the council should be concerned.

Bill would limit outsourcing

JEFFERSON CITY — If a Missourian from one of the state’s nearly 245,000 households in the state’s Food Stamp Program calls a toll-free number with questions, the call is answered by a call center employee 8,000 miles away in Mumbai, India — formerly known as Bombay.

Two years ago, eFunds, the company contracted for five years to manage Missouri Social Service’s Food Stamp Electronic Benefits Program, closed its call center in Wisconsin and moved it to India.

Iraq debaters square off in Circle

With a cardboard cutout of President George W. Bush sheltered under an umbrella, students and local activists trickled into Speaker’s Circle on Wednesday afternoon despite the rain to protest the president’s foreign policies and the war in Iraq. Counterprotesters showed their support for Bush and the war, and the two sides engaged in an open debate.

“March 20 is the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq,” said Silas Allard, a student who spoke at the rally. “People thought there should be some sort of demonstration marking the anniversary to show there is continued opposition to the war and the other policies of the Bush administration. However, because March 20 falls on the Saturday of spring break, we thought it would be more effective to hold it a couple of days early.”

Report: Cut in funding hinders test success

School boards across the nation are faced with closing gaps — mostly in their budgets and in their achievement. The question has evolved into how to fix both when they are so closely related.

This is the bigger picture for members of the Columbia Board of Education as they try to figure out which gap to fill first and by how much.

Interchanges in plans for I-70

Columbia’s Interstate 70 interchanges will change dramatically if and when the highway is widened to eight lanes through the city, but exactly how remains to be seen.

That’s why the Improve I-70 Advisory Group will meet at 4 p.m. today to review alternatives for reworking each interchange, both to accommodate the widening and to improve future traffic flow.

Excise excess staying with businesses

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Bob Holden’s plan to send excess sales tax to the state instead of businesses is dying in a committee — and leaving Missouri businesses with millions of dollars in extra taxes paid by consumers.

Currently, although consumers pay sales taxes, businesses get to keep any refunds they can get from the state for overpayment.

3-D creations

Room 140 of the Engineering Building West may not seem like the foundation for a motion picture company, but one of the students may be the face behind Disney’s next big animation hit.

The collection of students working for and learning from MU research professor Ali Hussam are reaching beyond the typical bounds of computer science majors at MU. They are working to master the intricacies of “entertainment engineering,” which incorporates 3-D animation, video game creation and other skills.

Forget St. Patrick’s Day, it’s Liberalia at Rock Bridge

St. Patrick’s Day came in second Wednesday as Rock Bridge High School’s Junior Classical League resurrected Liberalia, a holiday that was held every March 17 in ancient Rome.

“As far as I know, we’re the first school to do it,” said club sponsor Julia Goodell, who also teaches Latin and mythology at the school.

Democrats feel new energy

“Energy” was the buzzword of choice for Missouri Democrats celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Columbia.

That energy, however, didn’t come from the spirits that usually accompany the holiday.

Sapp plan for Philips approved by council

Don’t expect to be browsing at a store on a developed Philips farm any time soon.

The Columbia City Council voted 5-1 early Tuesday morning to approve developer Elvin Sapp’s annexation and zoning requests for the land. Sixth Ward Councilman Brian Ash cast the dissenting vote, and Fifth Ward Councilman John John, the real estate agent for the property, abstained.

Group protests proposed cuts to health care

A statewide coalition of health care providers warned that proposed cuts in Missouri’s mental health and social service budgets would endanger children, senior citizens and the state’s economy.

Missouri HealthVoice said Tuesday that proposals being considered by state lawmakers would remove 68,000 Missourians from Medicaid eligibility. The group also released the results of a statewide poll of residents that found strong opposition to cuts in government health programs for low-income children and the elderly.

Queer Empowerment

With anger and annoyance in his voice, Dustin Hampton, 19, read a monologue from the perspective of a gay man wishing to marry his boyfriend.

“I don’t want to be united with my boyfriend,” Hampton read from his audition sheet. “I want to be married to him. ... If this is war over a word, then just give me the word. Do you want a war over a word?”

Mid-Mo. officials discuss safety

Representatives from around mid-Missouri found that they all had things to work on when they met Tuesday to discuss security issues affecting their communities.

Boone County officials sponsored the meeting to discuss community readiness in mid-Missouri in the event of a disaster. Most agreed that not every county or city has the resources needed to respond.

Time for T-I-M-B-E-R

It’s that time of year when scores of Columbia homeowners will gaze into their yards to find large orange trucks and tree-cutting crews clearing the right of way beneath power lines.

The city each spring contracts with Asplundh Tree Expert Co. in an effort to keep trees from growing out of control and into electrical lines. City Water and Light Department officials are becoming even more diligent about tree trimming because of a recent report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that said trees growing along power lines contributed significantly to the power outage on the East Coast last August.

Column prompts rally for diversity

Over and over, MU students protesting a lack of racial and ethnic diversity on campus quoted the same old proverb: “This is the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

The protest, which followed a racially charged column last week in MU Student News, drew more than 150 people Monday morning to the south steps of Jesse Hall.

Council stays up late over Philips

The Sierra Club knows how to rally supporters, but developer Elvin Sapp proved Monday he might be better at it.

About 150 Sapp supporters gathered Monday night as the City Council was set to vote on Sapp’s proposal to annex and zone the Philips farm, 489 acres just southeast of the city limits. Sapp wants to put a mix of homes, businesses and office buildings on the land, which if approved would be home to one of the largest developments in Boone County history.

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