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Grisly violence erupts in Iraq

FALLUJAH, Iraq — In a scene reminiscent of Somalia, frenzied crowds dragged the burned, mutilated bodies of four American contractors through the streets of a town west of Baghdad on Wednesday and strung two of them up from a bridge after rebels ambushed their sport utility vehicles.

Five U.S. soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division also were killed when a bomb exploded under their M-113 armored personnel carrier north of Fallujah, making it the bloodiest day for Americans in Iraq since Jan. 8.

Baby beats

A flowing blue scarf was spread out on the floor for the children and their teacher to sit on. When a captain was chosen, they finally were ready to take a trip in their big blue boat.

While singing and moving to the rhythm, the children saw sharks and fish on their voyage.

Violence reigns in Fallujah

WASHINGTON — After a year of trying, the U.S. military can’t figure out how to quell the rage in Fallujah, perhaps the most dangerous city in Iraq’s most dangerous region.

Last spring, the Army’s 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment sent in a small, light force that got into a firefight and was forced to retreat. Next came the 3rd Infantry Division and, then, the 82nd Airborne with more iron-fisted approaches. When each left, the insurgents seemed as strong as ever.

Mayoral hopefuls discuss disability

The three mayoral candidates presented their views about several disability issues in Columbia on Wednesday at one of their last forums before the election on Tuesday.

About 30 people gathered at the Activity and Recreation Center to hear what Mayor Darwin Hindman and mayoral candidates John Clark and Arch Brooks had to say.

Iraqis protest U.S. order

BAGHDAD, Iraq — At least 10,000 supporters of a radical Shiite cleric rallied Wednesday outside the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition in a protest against the closure of their weekly newspaper, accused by the top American official in Iraq of inciting violence against coalition troops.

The chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, ordered Al-Hawza closed for two months on Sunday because its articles “form a serious threat of violence” against coalition forces and Iraqi citizens working with them. Al-Hawza’s managing editor dismissed the accusation and said political motives were behind Bremer’s decision.

Some raise issue with more land for schools

Supporters and critics of the $22.5 million Columbia School District bond issue agree that the district needs money for improving and maintaining existing facilities. They disagree, however, over using $1.2 million of it to buy land for a new high school and a new elementary school.

A super majority — 57 percent — of voters will have to approve the district’s request for $22.5 million in general obligation bonds on Tuesday. The issue would not increase property taxes and would extend debt payment for another three years.

Mo. House bills divert drive for gay rights

JEFFERSON CITY — Gay rights suffered two setbacks in the Missouri House on Wednesday.

The first loss came when a House committee approved a bill that would prohibit state-funded public institutions from using anti-discrimination policies that exceed federal standards. Federal standards do not include sexual orientation.

Park boss retires after 28 years

Scott Schulte knows a lot about how nature works. At his farewell luncheon Wednesday, he noted how well fertilized his money tree, a going-away present from friends in and out of the Missouri state park system, must have been.

After 28 years with Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, superintendent Scott Schulte has retired. More than 40 people, including park workers and friends from all over Missouri, came to say goodbye.

State Senate accepts car bill

JEFFERSON CITY — Police could stop motorists solely for not wearing seat belts, and children younger than 6 would have to ride in safety seats, under legislation given initial Senate approval Wednesday.

The bill received first-round approval on a voice vote and needs a second vote to advance to the House.

City growth lingers as mayor issue

Columbia is an expanding city, and it showed Tuesday as the three mayoral candidates fielded questions about development and expansion at the League of Women Voters candidate forum.

With exactly a week until the April 6 election, nearly 100 people attended the event at the Columbia Public Library.

Candidates focus on summer school

Candidates for the Columbia school board discussed privatization of summer school Tuesday night at a forum at the Columbia Public Library.

The five candidates — competing for two seats on April 6 — participated in two forums Tuesday, one sponsored by KFRU/ 1400 AM in the afternoon and the second at the library, sponsored by the League of Women Voters. These were the last public forums before the election.

Candidates file for House, Senate seats

In the final hours before the filing deadline, three Republican candidates filed for Columbia’s state senate district.

Michael Ditmore of Columbia, Andrew Spain of Columbia and a person from Moberly listed as “A. Sage” are the latest candidates for the 19th District seat, which will be vacated by Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, because of term limits.

The few, the proud, the Trumans

MU’s Spirit squad is going to the Chick-Fil-A Cheer and Dance Collegiate Championships today, and not just the cheerleaders. After a seven-year hiatus, Truman the Tiger is going to take part.

Love 'em & Leave 'em

Last September, MU medical student Sabrina Adams came upon a book in a local restaurant.

“It was sitting on top of the restroom toilet in Flat Branch (Pub & Brewery),” she recalled. “I thought it was a lost book and walked out, but I wondered what it was and why it was there.”

Attorney reviews Philips ordinance

The city attorney is reviewing a request by the Sierra Club to repeal the ordinance allowing development on the Philips farm, city officials said Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the Columbia City Council approved the ordinance to annex and zone the 489 acres in southeast Columbia to allow developer Elvin Sapp to put a mix of homes, shops and office buildings on the land.

UM students question tuition increase

As this week’s UM Board of Curators meeting approaches, students are protesting the proposal of a 7.5 percent increase in educational fees, or tuition, on the table for a vote.

“A lot of students are opposed to an increase of more than 3 to 5 percent,” said Joshua Judy, academic affairs committee chairman for MU’s Missouri Students Association Senate.

Gun law rehearing denied

JEFFERSON CITY — Opponents of concealed guns lost a bid Tuesday for another Missouri Supreme Court hearing on their claims that the new state law imposes an unfunded mandate on sheriffs responsible for implementing it.

While denying the rehearing request, the Supreme Court finalized its Feb. 26 decision upholding the legislature’s right to legalize concealed guns but faulting the law’s funding mechanism.

Paintball, go-karts approved

Boone County will get a go-kart track and paintball field in the near future.

The Boone County Commission, without Commissioner Karen Miller, voted Tuesday to grant a permit to Scott-Poe Properties LLC to build the new recreation facilities at Perche Creek Golf Club, west of Columbia.

Off and Running

Here’s a look at candidates thus far for federal and statewide offices and for legislative offices representing Columbia and Boone County. Tuesday was the deadline for filing. Also included is the city of each candidate’s official mailing address and his or her party affiliation.

Panel OKs bond for research

JEFFERSON CITY — A bond bill to fund construction of buildings related to scientific research throughout the state was almost doubled Monday night by the time the Senate Appropriations Committee approved it.

The bond’s newly enlarged total, measuring $350 million, accounts for projects beyond those requested by the University of Missouri system in the original bonding bill, as well as the debt service. The bill would provide money for fifteen projects at 12 colleges and universities throughout Missouri.

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