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City wants Wal-Mart to pay for spill

City officials expect to recover from Wal-Mart the $4,100 it cost to clean up a sewage spill into Hinkson Creek that happened when grease from the Conley Road store blocked a city sewer line in early August.

The city issued a notice of violation to Wal-Mart in late August, expressing its intent to recover the costs of the cleanup and any fines levied by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, said Dennie Pendergrass, chief of operations for the Public Works Department.

New bus routes booming

City buses are running almost 100 percent on time since Columbia Transit changed its bus routes in June, a transit official said. Also, the number of passengers riding the buses continues to surpass figures from last year.

According to transit statistics, 3,388 more riders used the fixed-route bus system through August than the 110,852 riders who rode the buses during the same three-month period last year.

Commission names space-needs group

The Boone County Commission has appointed a Space Needs Task Force to evaluate the commission's $15 million proposal to expand county offices.

The commission wants to finish the third floor of the Boone County Government Center, add two stories to the courthouse and construct a new office building to replace the Johnson Building at 601 E. Walnut St. The proposal, which commissioners hope to fund through a bond issue and property-tax increase, could appear on the April 2005 ballot.

Nobel Prize winner speaks, predicts draft’s reinstatement

Bobby Muller co-founded several internationally prominent organizations, included the Vietnam Veterans of America and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The latter won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. Thursday night he spoke to an audience of 19 at Waters Auditorium at MU under the banner of his most recent creation, the Alliance for Security.

Muller’s speech, the first in his “Tour of Duty” lecture tour of college campuses, predicted the return of the military draft to America.

Portrait of Passion

Two of Don Choate’s passions — art and activism — come together this month in his “Multimedium” exhibit at Montminy Gallery.

The exhibit, which continues through Sept. 26, features portraits of people the artist met during the 16 years he worked at Central Missouri Food Bank. It also includes sculptures and woodworks.

No time, money to keep bridge

Boonville is about 10 years too late and several million dollars short to save the Union Pacific Bridge over the Missouri River.

Around 30 people, including Boonville and Columbia city officials, the United States Coast Guard, Union Pacific Railroad and community members, gathered in historic Turner Hall on Thursday to discuss the fate of the Boonville Bridge.

Bus drivers list details of contract

Officials from Union Local 833, representing bus drivers for Columbia Public Schools, released more details Thursday about the group’s new contract with First Student Inc., which provides school bus service to the area.

Hourly pay increases for union members will be between 35 cents to $2 more per hour.

State can’t find old computers

JEFFERSON CITY — There is no way of knowing where thousands of redistributed state computers containing sensitive information have ended up, State Auditor Claire McCaskill said during a news conference Thursday in her Capitol office.

An audit conducted in May and June found that government computers set to be redistributed were not properly cleared of personal information, including Social Security numbers, bank records, computer network access information and medical data.

Weapons found in campus apartment

University police entered the campus apartment of an MU student Tuesday and confiscated a .50-caliber black powder rifle and a modified AK-47. Officers later returned and removed a Smith & Wesson revolver and several swords.

No charges have been filed against the student, Stephen Markley, 45, a junior geography major, said MU police Capt. Brian Weimer. The university’s student handbook, the M-Book, states that firearms, explosives or ammunition cannot be brought into university-supervised housing, which is open to inspection by campus officials. Students must register and store their weapons and ammunition with MU police, the policy states.

Bus drivers’ union settles contract

As the rain poured down last night, bus drivers from Union Local 833 met to vote on the latest contract proposal from First Student Inc., the area’s school bus provider. After two hours of heated debate, local 833 business agent Mark Bruemmer emerged from the closed meeting to announce the contract passed in a 92-33 vote and that bus drivers will get a raise.

“We’ve got a contract,” he said. “It’s done.”

March of Discipline

MEXICO, Mo. — Andrew Cruzen and Evan Spaulding awake each morning to the sounds of a bugle and footsteps marching in formation to the breakfast table.

Cruzen and Spaulding, both 17, are among a record 272 cadets who began classes last week at the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico. As seniors, the two say they are excited about their futures and nostalgic about the past three years at the military school. And while their paths to the 116-year-old academy were different, their reasons for staying in school there are the same.

Cher’s ‘Farewell’ tour to open MU’s new arena

Paige Sports Arena will host Cher and the Village People as the venue’s first concert, representatives from MU’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Wednesday. The show, set for Nov. 11, will kick off a series of big-name acts aimed at bringing diversity and quality entertainment to Mid-Missouri, officials said.

“This is the biggest event in this category in Columbia in a long, long time,” said Mike Alden, director of athletics. He compared the concert to the Rolling Stones’ Voodoo Lounge Tour of 1994.

Effort to save lawsuit limits blocked

JEFFERSON CITY — On a near party-line vote, the Missouri Senate sustained Gov. Bob Holden’s veto of a bill to impose restrictions on lawsuits against home builders.

The measure fell two votes short of the two-thirds majority necessary for an override: 21 senators favored the override, 11 opposed it, and two were absent.

Gubernatorial candidate talks to MU Republicans

Matt Blunt described Missouri as a state with “tremendous potential” on Wednesday night, as he addressed a full house of MU College Republicans on the MU campus.

Blunt spoke only briefly about his platform in the gubernatorial race and spent most of his time answering questions from his young supporters. His address was heavily laced with promises of delivering tangible results.

Auditor: Private files still on old computers

JEFFERSON CITY — Sensitive materials may be accessible to the public on computers donated by the state government, according to a report released Wednesday by the state auditor’s office.

According to the report, information erased from 37 of 56 computers could be accessed using software easily available. Auditors were able to retrieve sensitive data such as Social Security numbers, bank account information and medical data from 23 of the 37 computers.

Missourian captures 18 awards in state contest

The Columbia Missourian nabbed 18 awards in this year’s Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspa-per Contest.

The Missourian won first place in general excellence among newspa-pers with similar circulations. The category evaluates the newspaper’s entire package including news and sports content, advertising, photog-raphy and layout.

‘Miracle workers’ build prayer labyrinth

Volunteers from the Northeast Area of the Christian Church office, as well as from Rock Bridge Christian Church, gathered Saturday to work on repair projects at the church on Green Meadows Road.

Coordinators planned the event, called “Miracle Day,” for the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Attacks kill scores, cut electricity in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Guerrillas bombed a Baghdad shopping street full of police recruits and fired on a police van north of the capital Tuesday in attacks that killed at least 59 people and struck at the heart of the U.S. strategy for fighting Iraq’s escalating insurgency.

In Kirkuk, saboteurs wrecked a recently repaired pipeline junction Tuesday, and the fire set off a cascade of power blackouts that underlined the frustrations faced by U.S. engineers trying to upgrade northern Iraq’s creaky oil facilities in the face of relentless bombings.

City is cited for sewage overflow

State environmental regulators have slapped the city of Columbia with a clean water violation over a raw sewage spill into Hinkson Creek.

In a report issued Monday, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources found the city liable for two violations of the Missouri Clean Water Law. The violations involve a sewage overflow behind the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Conley Road.

Missourians pitch in to aid hurricane victims

It has been anything but quiet after the storms.

Within the past month, two major hurricanes have struck Florida. Hurricane Ivan, a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of up to 160 mph Tuesday night, now menaces states on the Gulf Coast. Ivan has left thousands of victims in its wake and follows hurricanes Charley and Frances, which mobilized a national response that has included donations and local volunteers.

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