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Downtown added to list of historic places

Columbians have long enjoyed the historic and cultural flavor of downtown. Now that the area has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the local activity hub will gain national and state recognition for its historical significance.

The Columbia Special Business District submitted a proposal to the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the State Historic Preservation Office in November. These nominations were then sent to Washington, D.C., for approval by the National Park Service.

Bill aims to aid small businesses

JEFFERSON CITY — Catfish pond owner Jim Baumgartner is being showcased by Republican lawmakers as an example of why small business owners need their own advocacy agency inside government itself.

At a House committee hearing Monday, Baumgartner testified that though the Department of Natural Resources has inspected his 35-foot-long dam in the past, he recently received notice that he would have to hire an outside consultant to comply with regulations — costing him anywhere from $500 to $1,200 for an initial examination of the site.

Latest Philips debate focuses on park

While Columbia officials want to make an offer to buy part of the 489-acre Philips tract for a new regional park, council members still have questions about the land.

Developer Elvin Sapp, who wants to put a mix of homes, offices and shops on the Philips land, has already offered to sell park land to the city. The targeted land, which city officials have been eyeing for almost a year, consists of 153 acres of the Philips farm, including the 40-acre Bristol Lake. That land would possibly be combined with 320 acres across Gans Road owned by Sue Crane to create the park.

Skill savvy

Occupations that the U.S. Department of Labor says are coming to a halt remain in full throttle in Columbia, according to local business members.

Each year, the Department of Labor receives questionnaires from 400,000 businesses, conducts between 500 and 1,000 interviews with professional trade representatives and discusses factors that will influence employment change and availability over the next few years. Then economists use that data to project what the economy will look like in certain areas for the next 10 years, said Jon Sargent, the manager of occupational outlook studies at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Design would join evolution in curriculum

A bill introduced by a group of Republican legislators could change the way Missouri schoolchildren learn about science — in particular, the creation and development of life on Earth.

Missouri House Bill 911, dubbed the Missouri Standard Science Act, would in part require state science teachers to give as much class time to “intelligent design” as they do to evolution and natural selection.

Democrats try to sway undecided voters in primaries

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Democratic presidential rivals worked across several time zones Sunday to sway undecided voters in states with contests early this week. Howard Dean conceded making an “enormous gamble” by spending so much in Iowa and New Hampshire only to lose both states. “It didn’t work,” he said.

Sen. John Kerry pressed his front-runner’s advantage in North Dakota while Sen. John Edwards concentrated on South Carolina, a state he says he must win. Edwards trails Kerry in six of the seven states holding primaries or caucuses on Tuesday, except in his native South Carolina.

Annexation deal on city agenda

A pre-annexation agreement that would allow the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to extend sewer and sanitation services to facilities inside Rock Bridge State Park will be discussed at tonight’s City Council meeting.

The DNR’s proposal would allow an eventual annexation of about 200 acres of the park’s northwest corner to the city in exchange for sewer service. Current park borders do not touch city limits.

Assessors’ aid would mean loss for schools

Gift to help schools attain passing grade

The educational gift of $2 million given to MU last week by Harold Hook and Joanne Hunt Hook comes at a crucial time of budget crunches and new achievement standards imposed by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The donation comes at a crucial time of budget crunches and new achievement standards imposed by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Risk survey aims to assess problem gambling

Three new gambling-related questions added to a survey this year could shed light on the extent of problem gambling in Missouri.

The Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling will pay $15,000 for the addition of the questions to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national survey that helps states track public health problems. The BRFSS is conducted each year by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bush to order review of Iraq intelligence failure

WASHINGTON — President Bush, under mounting political pressure, will sign an executive order to establish a full-blown investigation of U.S. intelligence failures in Iraq, a senior White House official said Sunday.

Mo. voters: Main issue is economy

ST. LOUIS — The economy outpaces both the war on terrorism and the debate about health care and education as the top issue on the minds of Missourians heading into the state’s presidential primary Tuesday, a new poll shows. A majority of the 804 likely voters surveyed Wednesday through Friday for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOV-TV also said they oppose marriage benefits for same-sex couples, although “moral issues” rank near the bottom of matters they said they would consider in the presidential race.

SMS name change gains momentum

JEFFERSON CITY — Efforts to rename Southwest Missouri State University as the more important-sounding Missouri State University have failed for two decades in the state legislature. But a collision of election year politics and financial shortfalls may have finally created the ideal circumstances for the Springfield school to get its new name. “I’m optimistic,” Sen. Norma Champion, R-Springfield, declared last week despite the Senate’s failure to reach a vote after nearly eight hours of debate over two days. “We think we’ve got more than the majority.” Standing in the way is Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, a master talker who claims ...

Simple pleasures, simple strengths

I truly believe that people who find joy in life’s simple pleasures are among the luckiest folks in the world. Among my friends and acquaintances, it seems the bird-watchers, quilters, gardeners, poets and others who court the gentler muses tend to roll with the punches at a less frenetic pace. While those caught up in the business of politics and economics appear to enjoy the pursuit of one rush of adrenaline after another, they seem to have a hard time dealing with life’s prickly thorns. Often, if at first things don’t succeed for them, there is no second chance.

I’ve always liked a world of second chances. Rejection, of course, is a way of life for writers. Some of the world’s most famous writers willingly admitted that they acquired enough rejection slips to paper the kitchen before they sold their first manuscript. It’s easy, in fact, to feel sorry for those who never failed at anything. Theirs tend to be the kind of tragedies from which it’s hardest to recover.

Local voters’ mood shifting right

Common knowledge says Democrats will win more often than they lose in Columbia and Boone County.

Maybe that’s true: Columbia’s government is led by an openly liberal and progressive mayor; the local delegation to the Missouri General Assembly is Democratic; the county government has been dominated by Democrats for years.

Edwards’ wife visits Columbia to rally support

In preparation for Tuesday’s Democratic primary, Elizabeth Edwards came to the Reynolds Alumni Center on behalf of her husband, presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards, to speak with Columbia residents Saturday.

State Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, both introduced Elizabeth Edwards to the crowd of more than 60 people and publicly announced his support for the senator.

Final days of campaigning

John Kerry was a hit in Kansas City on Saturday when the Massachusetts senator garnered support from union leaders and a crowd of about 700 at a downtown hotel.

Poll numbers look to be paving the way to victory in Missouri for Kerry, who focused his attention during the raucous campaign event on beating Bush in November. “I think they can hear you all the way in (White House adviser) Karl Rove’s office,” Kerry told the cheering crowd.

More ice, snow headed to Columbia, forecasters say

It looks like winter plans to keep its icy hold on mid-Missouri this week.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dale Bechtold said a Winter Storm Watch is in effect for Jefferson City and Columbia for Sunday night and Monday. Columbia could also get freezing rain and sleet with snow accumulation of less than two inches. The chance of precipitation is forecasted at 90 percent Sunday night.

Budget cuts could slow judicial process in Missouri

No court on Fridays. Longer delays for pending cases. Even a "get out of jail free" card for those accused of nonviolent misdemeanors. All these practices have become solutions to the budget woes of state court systems around the country - and some of them might be coming soon to Missouri.

This was the message delivered Friday by Bill Corrigan, president of the Missouri Bar Association, at a breakfast meeting in Columbia. Since 2001, Corrigan said, the Missouri court system has endured $10 million in budget cuts. Meanwhile, traffic tickets aside, caseloads in Missouri courts have increased by 59 percent over the last 20 years. In 2003, courts heard 879,000 cases, involving 15.5 percent of the state's population.

MLK celebrations end with panel discussion on police-community relations

The final event of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, a panel discussion on police and community relations, was held on the second floor of the Reynolds Alumni and Visitors Center on the MU campus Friday afternoon.

Discussion focused on the history of civil rights and the relationship between minority communities and their local police departments.

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