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.

City, county talk growth

A more efficient means of ensuring the expansion and growth of Columbia could be in the future.

Columbia’s expanding city limits and the subsequent challenges faced by the Columbia City Council and the Boone County Commission were the topics of discussion at a joint work session Monday night.

Potential for growth

Classes such as “Dealing with Anger in the Workplace,” “Surgical Technology” and “Beginning Highland Bagpipes” are not typical curriculum for most schools, but a center in the Columbia Public School District offers these and more and — with voter blessing — is looking to expand.

The Columbia Area Career Center provides programs for adults and secondary education students interested in developing their education through specialized classes and services. Large growth in the past decade will make the Career Center the recipient of $4 million for construction if the coming bond issue is approved.

Three books contend for One Read program

It’s the public’s turn again to democratically elect a book for the Daniel Boone Regional Library’s third annual One Read program.

Voting began Monday on the three books selected by the One Read 2004 Reading Panel: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” by Mark Haddon, “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel and “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in Boom-Time America,” by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Delicious delivery

As owners Debbie Hamilton and Ali Price work in the kitchen, they make cooking seem effortless. Given the success of their business after its first year, they make starting a business from scratch look easy, too. The women behind Sweet Things started without any advertising — or even a long-term plan — and they have come out in the black. So far, so good.

“Our biggest challenge is controlling our growth because we both have responsibilities outside of the business, and we want it to be a fun thing,” Hamilton says. “It really could be bigger if we wanted it to be. We have just been overwhelmed at the response of the community.”