Stiff new identity theft law passes

JEFFERSON CITY— Identity thieves would risk increasingly harsh penalties — up to life in prison — under legislation given final passage Thursday.

The House approved the bill on an announced vote of 126-3 and sent it to Gov. Bob Holden. The sponsor, Republican Rep. Jason Brown of Platte City, said more than 2,500 Missourians were victims of identity theft in 2002.

Parking meters take cards

Change may be good, but on the streets of Columbia, plastic is better.

Since Monday, some parking meters downtown have been accepting prepaid cards in addition to quarters, nickels and dimes.

Some businesses voluntarily stamp out smoking

Linda Cooperstock said she’s looking forward to the day when Columbia has smoke-free restaurants. Her wish may soon become reality if the early results of an ongoing survey are an indication of things to come. So far the survey shows 50 restaurants have already voluntarily banned smoking.

Cooperstock, co-director of the Boone County Coalition for Tobacco Concerns and a member of the Board of Health, is in charge of the survey that is asking the owners of about 300 local restaurants and bars whether they would consider going smoke-free.

Play takes racial stereotypes to court

On Wednesday night, the cast of “The Trial of a Short-Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae” debuted to perhaps their toughest critiques: 35 girls from the No Limit Ladies, a support group for young African-American women at Hickman High School.

“I don’t get why the girl is suing the two ladies,” said one student.

Going public

Any kind of production by anyone could be aired on Columbia’s future public-access channel.

Local music videos, cooking shows, talk shows, faith-based programming, political programming, documentaries and independent films are only some of the things that viewers might expect to see on the channel.

Gauging the truth

In the scientific community, it’s been known for sometime that the tipping-bucket rain gauge, the most popular type of automated rain gauge, was in need of a design revision.

The present design, which uses two chambers in a tipping device to catch water from a suspended funnel, has remained virtually unchanged for more than 300 years. Unchanged, and essentially inaccurate during heavy rains, that is.

Commission OKs Bass Pro Shops’ new store plan

Almost 18 months since Bass Pro Shops announced it would build a new store in Columbia, the retailer’s development plan is headed to the city council for final approval.

At Thursday night’s public hearing the city planning and zoning commission decided on a 7-1 vote to recommend the plan to the council.

Gandhi: 'Right' should win over 'might'

Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, shared his grandfather's teachings with an enthusiastic crowd Thursday night at Columbia College.

In an address titled "Lessons Learned from Grandfather: The Ethics of Nonviolence," Gandhi discussed nonviolence as an approach to all aspects of life. The conference was sponsored by the annual Althea and John Schiffman Ethics in Society Lecture Series.

Public-access factions will create a compromise plan

A compromise is to be drafted for public-access programming in Columbia.

That was the unanimous decision of the Columbia Cable Television Task Force at its meeting Thursday night.

Sowing seeds in people's hearts

"I compare myself to a sower. With my words I strive to plant seeds in hearts. I pray for the seeds to germinate and not to rot or be swept away."

UM’s leaders ask for money

JEFFERSON CITY — Leading University of Missouri system officials encouraged senators to approve a $190.4 million bond issue as they testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

The UM system leaders are angling for parts of a bond that would fund various life-science-related construction projects.

Music stores stayin’ alive

It’s a Tuesday afternoon at Streetside Records, and a half-dozen customers are pacing the aisles, browsing the racks and stacks of compact discs. As a song by singer Norah Jones comes on the store’s sound system, two middle-aged women approach Streetside manager Kevin Walsh.

“Do you know a song beginning like, ‘there she goes... there she goes again’?” one of the women asks.

Citizens express concerns at I-70 meeting

The possibility of excessive exhaust fumes and traffic noise caused by the expansion of I-70 worried residents of the Parkade neighborhood Wednesday night.

Gays lobby for right to wed

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — More than 200 gay-rights activists crowded the Capitol on Wednesday to speak out against legislation affecting the gay community.

Activists in record numbers sounded off against a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution limiting marriage to a man and a woman. The proposed amendment passed the Senate last week.

Grindstone medians becoming gardens

The city of Columbia plans this spring to start putting the finishing touches on Grindstone Parkway.

The new road already boasts a bicycle lane and a sidewalk. City crews will add flower beds and an irrigation system to the 8-foot-wide medians just east and west of the Grindstone Parkway entrance to Rock Quarry Park.

Measuring New Math

Mathematics in the nation’s public schools is changing, and students and teachers in the Columbia Public School District are adjusting as well.

In 1997, Columbia schools began implementing a new math curriculum called integrated math. Six years later, Columbia educators say they are seeing positive results.

Trans fat labels: Will they work?

Soon, Americans will have another opportunity to make informed, intelligent choices about what they eat and the effect that food has on their bodies.

And they still may not care.

Concealed gun rule unfunded

JEFFERSON CITY (AP)— Sheriffs who are baffled by how to implement Missouri’s concealed guns law following a state Supreme Court ruling may have themselves to thank for the confusion.

That’s because the language cited by the court as triggering an illegal unfunded mandate was added to last year’s concealed weapons legislation at the behest of the sheriffs’ lobbyist.

Medical marijuana issue resurfaces

JEFFERSON CITY — A bill that would legalize marijuana for medical uses has resurfaced this legislative session after being killed last year.

The House Health Care Policy Committee heard testimony Wednesday from people both in favor of and against the bill.

Honkin’ good play

In the center of the stage, large white eggs begin to hatch and Ida’s brood of baby ducks emerge all yellow and orange and quacking — just like she expected.

But there is one odd and dark egg left to hatch, and when it does, the gray bird inside quickly realizes he’s different.