A troubling forecast

An abrupt climate change caused by global warming — long thought to be centuries away — could take place in a few decades. That’s one of the scenarios proposed by a new Pentagon report that stirred European public opinion earlier this year.

The report, published earlier this year in the British newspaper The Observer, has raised eyebrows among environmentalists because it is one of the first times the threat of global warming has been tied to national security.

Gas bags

Have you heard? Gas prices could reach $3 a gallon this summer, forcing Americans to radically rethink the SUVs they drive and causing politicians to expend enormous amounts of political capital reshaping the country’s energy consumption.

Please. Sockdolager has a request for those spouting such nonsense: Stop patronizing us. The current angst over rising gas prices will not result in any substantive changes to the country’s energy policy. Paying next to nothing for fuel has become as American as tax cuts for the filthy rich. That said, Thursday was Earth Day, and we can’t resist ranting a bit about the country’s dependence on black gold.

Columbia airport will get new evening flight

AmericanConnection will add an additional evening flight from Columbia Regional Airport to St. Louis beginning June 1.

The 30-passenger plane will depart Columbia at 5:12 p.m. and arrive in St. Louis at 5:57 p.m.

Day of Silence a success

Carol Snively spent Thursday in silence. Her phone would ring, but she couldn't pick it up. Her colleagues asked her questions, but she just looked at them blankly. Throughout the day, she used sign language and notes to communicate.

When those didn't work, she just gave up. For someone who is "very vocal," keeping silent wasn't easy.

Marriage bill clears House — 124-19

JEFFERSON CITY— The House on Thursday passed a proposed constitutional amendment barring gay marriage — a move supporters said would guard against activist judges but opponents criticized as discriminatory.

On a 124-19 announced vote, the House sent its version of the proposed amendment of the Missouri Constitution to the Senate. The Senate has passed a simpler version and that bill is pending in the House.

Despite rancor, liability bill passes Senate

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Senate came to what one senior member called the “edge of chaos” Thursday as Democratic floor leader Ken Jacob and Democratic Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell created a two-hour block on a Republican attempt to end a Democratic filibuster. The fight was over a medical liability lawsuit awards bill.

At issue was a Republican motion to move the previous question— a rare procedural move that cuts off debate and forces a vote.

Supporters say bill will stop frivolous lawsuits

JEFFERSON CITY — Supporters of the medical liability lawsuit awards bill say the legislation would prevent frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals. Large awards are cited as a major reason for the rising medical malpractice insurance claims. Supporters say doctors are, in many cases, being forced to give up their medical practices totally or move to another state with lower malpractice insurance premium rates.

Sen. Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City, told the Senate that Missouri is facing a crisis.

West Boulevard principal announced

Vickie Robb will be the new principal of West Boulevard Elementary School, the school chosen by the district as the new model school to help with achievement disparities. Robb is currently the principal of Russell Boulevard Elementary School, a position she has held since 1990.

Organizers hope event encourages awareness

Up to 10,000 people are expected to hit Columbia’s streets with their friends and families on Sunday to celebrate Earth Day 2004.

Once a small event observed by a few environmentalists, the event has become a popular annual fixture in Columbia, packed with information and fun activities.

A quick and quiet quitting

JEFFERSON CITY — With Republican senators out of the chamber during floor debate Wednesday, Columbia state Sen. Ken Jacob told four other Democrats to snatch control and adjourn for the day to prevent debate on a bill to limit liability lawsuit awards.

The move angered Republicans — and some Democrats — who said it violated Senate customs and traditions.

Financial aid slump reshapes MU

Mike Harrison relaxed in his duplex after work on a recent Thursday night. Friends wandered through his front door, making plans for the weekend. Many were returning home. Harrison, however, was not. He would spend the weekend working at Home Depot, his part-time job, so he can pay for college.

Harrison’s case is not unique. The decrease in state appropriations for higher education and rising educational fees make it difficult for low-income students to afford a college degree, MU leaders say.

Faculty gives high marks to Deaton

Faculty members voiced their approval Wednesday at the announcement that MU provost Brady Deaton would become MU’s interim chancellor.

In a Wednesday press release, Deaton formally announced he had accepted the post of interim chancellor that had been offered to him by UM system President Elson Floyd.

MU activists heading to Washington

They’re armed with sleeping bags, ear plugs, comfortable shoes and “fabulous, low-maintenance outfits.” But they’re mentally armed as well for dealing with counter-demonstrators, a march crowd as large as 1 million and for spending every waking moment of the three days with thousands of other protesters.

A Columbia group composed of mostly MU students will join about 200 others from Kansas to participate in a women’s rights march on Saturday.

Big dreams, tiny race

In a fictional story called “Pierre’s River Adventure,” young Pierre and his father canoe down the Missouri River, trading furs and having the time of their lives. The story became the basis for a project involving fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders in almost 125 classrooms across mid-Missouri. In addition to the story, a miniature canoe was delivered to each classroom to be named and decorated for the “Great Canoe Race of 2004” on Saturday. In the race, the 15-inch-long canoes will float the Missouri from Brunswick, northwest of Columbia, to Augusta, west of St. Louis, a voyage of about 190 river ...

Council cooks up kitchen parade idea

While remodeled kitchens can be stunning, they are usually only enjoyed by the homeowners and their friends and family. However, thanks to the Boone County Council on Aging, four remodeled kitchens will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday for public viewing.

“Kitchens In Bloom,” a new event, will raise funds for the council.

CNN’s Buchanan gives views on war

Angela “Bay” Buchanan, president of the American Cause and CNN political analyst spoke on the need for supporting the “War on Terror,” to about 60 people Wednesday night at MU’s Hulston Hall.

In addition to the war, Buchanan touched on issues including illegal immigration and the need for young Americans to participate in politics.

Capital rally opposes ‘official’ language

JEFFERSON CITY — Nearly 200 Hispanic representatives from throughout Missouri attended the third annual Hispanic Day at the Capitol, doubling last year’s number. The growing event allows leaders of the Hispanic community to address the goals of unifying a voice for the community and increasing Hispanic representation at the state level.

Neither task is easy for such a diverse group, leaders said. Wednesday’s event boasted representatives with roots in 21 different Spanish-speaking countries, Mexico and Puerto Rico being the most common. In addition to different heritages, representatives also had different backgrounds, from education to political views.

Deaton to lead MU after Wallace

MU Provost Brady Deaton will take over as interim MU chancellor when the current chancellor, Richard Wallace, retires on Aug. 31, Deaton said Tuesday.

Deaton learned Tuesday evening in Knoxville, Tenn., that he would not be the new president of the University of Tennessee system. Shortly afterward, he said, he phoned UM system President Elson Floyd to accept the interim leadership position for MU.

Democrats are tops in donations

With four months to go until the primary election for Columbia’s state Senate seat, running for the office is already looking pretty expensive.

Thursday was the deadline for filing campaign finance forms, and fund-raising leaders Rep. Chuck Graham and former Rep. Tim Harlan, both Democrats, led the way. Combined, they raised close to $60,000 in the last three months.

Green Thumbs Up

Using the city as her canvas and colorful floral designs as her medium, Lisa Phillips has made Columbia part of an ongoing art project.

Her work is showcased throughout the city: in the beautifully designed flower beds of its parks, in vibrant floral boxes downtown and in freshly cut green patches around roadway intersections.