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A wife waits and prays

Penny Smith of Hallsville got some bad news on her 27th wedding anniversary: Her husband, Stephen, had re-enlisted in the Army Reserves. She became even more upset when he got deployed to Fort Riley, Kan., two weeks before Christmas.

Then, just last month, she got the call that Stephen, 49, was going to Iraq.

Weapon permits available in Boone

Today is the first day in Boone County that applications will be taken for permits to carry a concealed weapon. The Hallsville Police Department will begin processing applications at 9 a.m.

A conceal-and-carry permit will cost $100, made in two separate checks or money orders: $38 to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and $62 to the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. No cash or credit cards will be accepted.

Calls to duty separate a local family

Roberta Howell, a member of the Missouri National Guard’s 1139th Battalion, returned home from Iraq on Jan. 16. Since then, she has been working with National Guard recruits at The Armory in Columbia and waiting to go to college in Warrensburg.

But what she really wants to do is return to Iraq.

Demonstrators to protest U.S. foreign policy, Iraq War

Placards with the name, age, rank and hometown of every American soldier who has lost his or her life in Iraq will be the most powerful symbol at a peace rally Saturday, according to rally organizers. The ID cards will represent pacifists’ desire for the troops to come home and for America’s foreign policy to be changed.

The placard is meant to be a “powerful symbol for this particular event,” said Mark Haim, Mid-Missouri Peaceworks director and one of the organizers of the event. “There have been other ventures (like this) before, representing the victims for 9/11 and the Holocaust for example, but wearing placards on this particular occasion seems to be a local idea.”

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?”

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