A nuclear revival?

It seems the only time Callaway County residents have cause to think about Missouri’s only commercial nuclear power plant is during refuelings.

Every 18 months or so, the plant, which is about 14 miles south of Fulton, is shut down for six to eight weeks while workers change out about 139,000 pounds of uranium fuel. They replace steam condenser tubes — giant pipes that carry about 585,000 gallons of water per minute. They also repair the turbines that power the plant’s generators and tune up countless valves, pumps and pipes.

Tiniest travelers feel Mighty Mo.’s wrath

Sailing down the Missouri River near Brunswick, a towboat captain came across a scattered graveyard of canoes. Eleven of them hung helpless on a rock dike extending into the river.

About 30 miles south, near Glasgow, seven more canoes got trapped on a sandbar. There are still 106 missing, lost in the temperamental waters.

This is what a movement looks like

Even now, you can hear the excitement in their voices as they begin to talk about the day they joined more than 500,000 other voices to let the nation’s leaders know that women’s reproductive health is a civil liberty they won’t give up. They say it’s their turn to keep feminist values alive.

More than 120 women joined the throng Sunday at the National Mall in Washington. They sang. They shouted. They told their stories.

“There was this girl that I worked with … and she has been pregnant twice,” said Columbia resident and MU student Katie Blair. “One time she threw herself off the roof of her garage, and the other time she threw herself down the stairs to her basement. Because I was so friendly and outgoing and talked about my beliefs at work ... she felt comfortable enough to tell me about that. It’s, like, wow.”

Principal, parents, faculty talk over plans for school

The first question that Vickie Robb, West Boulevard Elementary School’s new principal, fielded Tuesday night was a simple one, but one that’s been asked plenty by parents of children in Columbia’s new “model school” plan: “Why here?”

To which she replied: “This is a big thing — and I like that.”

Residents view plan for Broadway

Columbia residents took advantage of a small but critical window of opportunity Tuesday to track the progress of and raise concerns about a group working to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety along Broadway.

The Broadway Corridor Steering Committee held an open house Tuesday night to display photos and graphics illustrating trouble spots along the roadway, along with a “conceptual plan” aimed at resolving them.

Cheney scolds and is scolded

FULTON — In a speech originally touted as a “major foreign-policy announcement,” Vice President Dick Cheney blistered Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry on Monday in the same place where Winston Churchill warned of communism’s “Iron Curtain” nearly 60 years ago.

Westminster College President Fletcher Lamkin said he enjoyed the first half of Cheney’s address, calling it an “excellent educational review of U.S. foreign policy.” But he said he was surprised and disappointed by Cheney’s decision to attack Kerry in the last 15 minutes of his speech.

First Ward residents raise police concerns

"We need to get some folks out of the police department,” yelled one person.

This was the common sentiment Monday night at a town hall meeting, where First Ward communities voiced anger with the Columbia Police Department.

25th District Democratic hopeful mistakenly disqualified

An error at the Missouri Ethics Commission caused a local candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives to be mistakenly disqualified from the Aug. 6 primary election.

Local Democrat Judy Baker, the party’s fund-raising leader in Boone County’s 25th District legislative race, learned late last week that she was disqualified along with two other area candidates for failing to file her personal finance disclosure forms before the April 20 deadline. The mistake was corrected Monday.

Activist group writes revised pot initiative

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is back at it — trying to get a new version of the previously defeated Proposition 1 on the November ballot.

Proposition 1, which was defeated last April, asked that marijuana be legalized for medical purposes, that fines be reduced to $25 for the possession of 35 grams or less and that those cases be referred to the municipal prosecuting attorney.

Deciphering at-work discrimination

It’s an easy excuse, saying an employee was late one time too many and earned a pink slip. But watchdogs say this is a common justification to cover up job discrimination.

The St. Louis and Kansas City offices of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission review discrimination cases for Missouri, Kansas and southern Illinois.

Cultural clash noted as reason for war in Iraq

An expert in international conflict resolution says the current turmoil in Iraq is the result of a clash between two entirely different cultures. On one side, there is the Iraqi population that believes strongly in preserving its cultural identity and achieving self-determination. On the other side is the American occupation force that believes in the “you broke it, you own it” concept of imperialism.

This was the overarching theme of the lecture “Prospects and Problems in International Conflict Resolution,” presented by Ted Morse on Monday in Jesse Wrench Auditorium. The event was put on by the European Union Center and Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at MU.

Temp jobs look promising for welfare recipients

New research indicates that temporary jobs may be the best way for welfare recipients to get back on their feet.

Ken Troske, an MU economics associate professor, has released a study analyzing the welfare records of Missouri and North Carolina to determine the effect of temporary jobs on welfare recipients.

Homemade approach

Many new businesses these days are part of corporate chains. Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream was born right here in Columbia. Many businessmen these days are taking their work online, steering clear of the brick and mortar district. Scott Southwick, owner of Sparky’s, has done exactly the opposite. In short, Southwick is defying modern business trends — and it’s working.

Southwick brought homemade-style ice cream to downtown about seven months ago. After working on the Internet for 11 years, Southwick decided he wanted to start something a bit more tangible. Originally, he wanted to open a high-end art gallery, but his friends discouraged him. So he found another niche to fill.

Kerry coming to Westminster at school president's invitation

FULTON, Mo. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry will speak at Westminster College on Friday, his campaign spokesman told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Kerry accepted an invitation from Westminster President Fletcher Lamkin, said Kerry spokesman Bill Burton.

Mid-Mo. protesters hit D.C.

Washington — Hundreds of thousands of people descended on the nation’s capital Sunday to protest recent U.S. policies regarding women’s reproductive health. Included in the throng of marchers were more than 100 young men and women from the Columbia area.

“I don’t think there’s usually enough men at these kind of events, so it’s really important to show up and support it,” said Scott Beauchamp, who endured a 24-hour bus ride from Columbia to attend Sunday’s march. “I think it’s really a civil rights issue.”

Annexation opens more land to the city

Columbia’s annexation of the Boone County Jail and about 150 acres of surrounding county-owned land will create a domino effect that will eventually bring even more northern property into the city, officials say.

The deal, approved by the City Council last Monday, will also bring city sewer service to Gaslight Acres, a subdivision in the county whose residents have refused voluntary annexation, and to Boone Industrial Park. County officials also hope the arrangement will prompt the city to extend bus service to the jail area.

Carving a niche

You might say Billy Bass, Daryl Maggine and Ernest Hilderbrand act just like kids sometimes, especially when they get together on Monday nights.

Their “clubhouse” is the Boone County Lumber Millwork on Vandiver Drive, where they meet every month with about 60 other men and women who call themselves the Midwest Woodworkers Association.

Political diversity would help us all

People who do not want either the Republican or Democratic nominees for president will in all likelihood get one or the other. After the upcoming presidential election, these folks will have another four years to build other political parties. If other parties are formed, the remaining question will be whether they can ever manage to raise enough money to win the office.

Frankly, I think it will be as difficult to reform our political system as it will be to rebuild Iraq. I think we have allowed our two-party system to flounder for too long to be able to perform an easy fix. The process of trying to weed out political corruption alone would seem to be overwhelming.

Scout’s honor

Chris Jenkins is one step away from joining the ranks of a president, an Olympian and an astronaut. He has spent the past three years working his way through the Boy Scouts and will soon reach the highest level — Eagle Scout.

The skills he has learned will culminate in a final project to complete his journey through the Scouts. The Boy Scouts of America says only about 4 percent of all Boy Scouts make it to Eagle.

Housing Authority to pare jobs

A significant change in leadership roles at the Columbia Housing Authority should save the agency $150,000 and ensure more efficient performance, Executive Director Doris Chiles said. The shift would eliminate nine positions, including three that would be displaced by hiring an outside company to handle agency finances.

The restructuring will also help prepare the authority for Chiles’ departure, she said, though she wouldn’t say how soon that might come.