Accountability in tax-credit program sought

When Trent Stober started a business in Columbia two years ago, he might not have picked a small office building near Business Loop 70 to house his water-quality analysis firm, MEC Water Resources. But the state was offering a powerful incentive.

Missouri’s Rebuilding Communities tax credit program, aimed at bringing more high-tech firms to economically depressed areas, allowed him to write off 40 percent of the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of scientific equipment.

MAP tests begin amidst anxiety

On a Saturday morning in February, third-grader Caitie Howard sat outside the school library finishing a fruit smoothie. She swung her legs while chatting about theater class and how her tongue was turning red from the drink. When she started talking about school, she turned serious.

“We have a big MAP test to do in April,” Caitie said, “and I’m scared about it.”

E-fficient applications

The days of mailing a resume to a prospective employer are waning, but that doesn’t mean job seekers can forget all the resume-writing guidelines from the past. Rather, it means there is a whole new set of rules to learn.

Now, when someone sends a resume in to a company, they can expect it to be put into a computer immediately. Many employers are asking that candidates only send in materials electronically, usually via e-mail or through a Web site, and even companies that do accept printed resumes will often scan them into large databases before reading them.

Eclectic shop has wine, spirits for every taste

Joe’s Wine and Spirits, appropriately located at 2001 Corona St., offers customers more than Mexican beer. The store, which opened in March in the Village of Cherry Hill, includes an extensive selection of wine, liquor and beer.

After running the wine and spirits department at Nowell’s for 10 years, Joe Strawn decided to open his own store in the Village because of the large number of homes near the store and the rapid growth of the surrounding area.

Rezoning for Bass Pro approved by council

The Columbia City Council had several issues on the docket Monday evening, including the proposed change in bus routes. In other business at the meeting, the council:

n Approved the rezoning of 27 acres south of Vandiver Drive and west of U.S. 63 for the construction of a Bass Pro Shops retail store, a restaurant and a convenience store. The request, which is part of the larger Bass Pro in the Centerstate Crossings Development plan, was made by Centerstate Properties LLC. The land will be rezoned from O-P, planned office, and M-1, general industrial, to C-P, planned business.

Trial for wall owner pushed to mid-June

Marcus Floyd, the owner of a climbing wall from which a 22-year-old Jefferson City woman fell to her death last July, won’t stand trial until mid-June.

Citing the need to gather more information and continue interviewing witnesses — a process known as discovery — Boone County prosecuting attorney Kevin Crane and Dave Eblen, a representative of the law firm that is representing Floyd, asked Circuit Court Judge Gene Hamilton to postpone the trial date, originally scheduled for May 4. Hamilton granted the request for a continuance and set June 15 as the new date.

Whistle-blowing is sober business

I have been informed once again by several people that I am out of step with modern thinking, and I’m sure they are correct. I would not be telling the truth if I said I was sorry about that. It’s true that I find it absolutely mind-boggling the way many television reporters can talk about the findings of the Sept. 11 commission in one breath and launch into discussing the most recent episode of “The Sopranos” in the next. If I am the only person in America being driven crazy by this practice, then I think we are in really big trouble here.

OK, I don’t subscribe to HBO. I’ve never seen “The Sopranos.” So slap me with a wet noodle. Book me on the next flight to Mars. I take the Sept. 11 commission hearings seriously, and I don’t give television entertainment or sports contests that same priority. I appreciate the fact that some people do, and if the majority of Americans do, then I have no choice but to bow to the will of the people. However, I will still reserve the right to refuse to watch “The Sopranos,” and I will simply flip the switch on anyone attempting to tell me about them.

Journalists, scientists in symbiosis

What are the similarities and differences between scientists and journalists, and how can they coexist in a way that benefits both groups? Two leading figures in science journalism will explore those questions at a forum today that kicks off MU’s second annual Life Sciences Week.

“Both journalists and scientists are intelligent and creative, both have chosen careers where they have an audience ... and both are focused on explaining how the world works,” says Julie Miller, an editor of Science News magazine, a weekly science publication.

What's your IQ?

A line forms from the door as workers take names of people waiting to be seated. This isn’t the scene of a popular restaurant on a Friday night; it’s food handlers from all over the city waiting to take the health department’s course in food safety.

All food handlers in Columbia have to attend to work in a food industry. As about 70 people file into the seats after paying their $5, a petite woman walks in front of the class and introduces herself. Kala Gunier, environmental health specialist for the Columbia/Boone County Health Department, begins her lessons with hygiene.

Trying to bridge the religion gap

When Rabbi Yossi Feintuch heard about the Open Doors, Open Minds program last fall, he didn’t realize that three months later he would be responsible for an uncommon interfaith dialogue between Jews and Christians in Columbia.

The program — a series of adult education sessions aimed at increasing communication between the two religions — was introduced during the Biennial Convention of the Union for Reform Judaism held in November in Minneapolis.

Lack of support takes toll on arts council

Even Guam, the 210-square-mile U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean, was allocated more money per person for the arts than Missouri in fiscal 2004. In fact, so was every other U.S. state and territory.

“Four years ago we were 17th in the country in per-capita spending for the arts,” said Mary McElwain, the newly appointed interim executive director of the Missouri Arts Council. “In 2004 we were dead last in general revenue funds: 50th out of the 50 states and 57th out of states and territories. That is the situation that the arts council faces.”

Bill would mandate stricter seat belt law

With the Missouri Senate giving initial approval of an amendment to a seat belt bill last week, there appear to be several ways the state could enact a primary seat belt law.

Rep. Robert Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, and Sen. Jon Dolan,

Many Churches, One Procession

In the Christian tradition, Palm Sunday marks the

beginning of Holy Week, which concludes with Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Any leftover fronds from Palm Sunday processions are burned and the ashes used in the subsequent year’s Ash Wednesday services. In countries without palm trees, branches of different trees are often used.


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Your guide to today’s Missourian

Dear Reader,

Well, we’re here – the first published draft of a new Sunday Missourian. Consider the journey: dozens of letters and phone calls and e-mails from you, the readers; regular survey responses from the Missourian Readers Circle; conversations with the experts on journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism and the experts on mid-Missouri life in coffee shops and in basketball bleachers. Consider the sausage-making among Missourian editors: inspiration and creative bursts, fights and frustrations and, above all, an incredible passion to do something special for you.

Breathing life into MU sciences

Forget that academic jargon you heard about life sciences being an interdisciplinary approach to improving food, health and the environment. The dean of MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has the best definition: “It’s cool.”

Tom Payne is excited about the new inventions and discoveries life sciences research might bring — growing vaccines in plants, regenerating bones or curing cancer — that would improve the quality of life for creatures great and small.

System helps to sway Floyd’s decision

UM system President Elson Floyd said opposition from the other three campuses in the UM system tilted his decision to not also become MU chancellor.

“There is this view in St. Louis, Kansas City and Rolla that, in some ways, if the president of the university is also serving as chancellor of the Columbia campus, their involvement will be diminished somewhat,” Floyd said.

Your e-mail is not private

Kathy Love’s e-mail wasn’t a dirty joke, an ad for a new drug or a chance to win a million dollars. It was a lunch invitation for a friend and expressed her concerns about the direction of her employer, the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The content of Love’s e-mail didn’t attract any immediate attention. But the header for her message — “Happy New Year” — did, and about two weeks later, on Jan. 26, she was told it was the reason she was being fired.

Event pulls in tractor buffs

The faint haze of smoke and the rumble of chugging tractor engines filled the Boone County Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday at the National Antique Tractor Pullers Association’s championship weekend.

Friday’s competition was open to the public, provided their tractors met certain safety standards. Saturday’s grand prize championship was restricted to competitors who had done two of the 18 pulls that began with the November season opener in Columbia. Competitors from all over, but particularly the Midwest, participated in the championship.

School board hopefuls say students are main priority

Increasing achievement for the Columbia Board of Education’s main beneficiaries — the students — is a top concern for the five candidates running for two seats in Tuesday’s school board election. The question is what ideas they have for this important issue.

Martina Pounds, running for the first time, said parental involvement in the school district’s decisions could be a huge step in helping the school environment.