City tweaks Sapp’s plan for Philips tract, park

City Manager Ray Beck issued a counterproposal Friday that calls for Elvin Sapp, the would-be developer of the Philips farm, to contribute more money toward road improvements to serve his development and a city park planned for the property.

The proposal also asks that Sapp split the cost of a traffic study and cover two-thirds of the expense of raising a dam and dredging the 40-acre Bristol Lake. This is so the lake can serve double duty as a regional storm-water detention basin and a place of recreation.

Checking out coffee, too

Patrons strolling in on Saturday morning slowed their steps and turned their heads to look at the new Lakota Coffee Kiosk in the Columbia Public Library that was up and running for its first full day of business.

The kiosk stands opposite to the book checkout in front of the ceiling-high windows that illuminate the lobby on sunny days. The state-of-the-art countertop holds the self-serve coffee dispensers and a top-of-the-line Brasilia cappuccino maker. The biggest seller is the regular cup of joe, called the “library blend,” which was specially brewed for this location, said Lakota employee Anthony Russomanno.

Mapping system locates 911 callers

The Public Safety Communications Center in Columbia/Boone County can now pinpoint the specific location of 911 callers thanks to a new software system.

The Geographical Information Systems mapping system was officially unveiled and activated on Feb. 6. The software was added to the current phone system and will allow 911 calls, including calls that come from cellular phones, to be located geographically. The location of 911 callers was not always available.

County appoints new board member

David Shorr, former director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, has been appointed to the Boone County Regional Sewer District’s board of directors.

The Boone County Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to appoint Shorr, who will serve as a representative of the Rock Bridge Township. His term expires on Jan. 1, 2009.

Education bill would raise casino tax

Missouri higher education could receive more than $100 million from increased taxation on people’s gambling losses, said Columbia’s Reps. Chuck Graham and Jeff Harris.

The two Democrats introduced a bill in the House on Friday, HB 1537, that would eliminate a Missouri casino-gambling law that limits spending to $500 every two hours. The bill would then raise the tax on casino revenue by 1 percent.

Trust grants Scouts $20,000

The Columbia Police Department and the Great Rivers Council Boy Scouts of America are the most recent beneficiaries of the Stafford Family Charitable Trust.

The trust gave $20,000 to the Scouting group for a camp ranger residence at Camp Thunderbird in Cairo, Mo.

Loss of liberties blamed on fear

Professors from around the country gathered at the MU School of Law Friday afternoon and Saturday morning to discuss the roles that fear and risk perceptions play in society during times of democratic crisis — times when civil liberties are jeopardized, such as during war.

The symposium focused specifically on governmental responses to national states of emergency.

Sports haven envisioned

Columbia park planners are excited about the potential for a 500-acre regional park that could link Rock Bridge Memorial State Park to Nifong Park, but they warn the planning and development process could take as long as five years.

City officials believe they can create a park that fits the city’s 2002 master plan, which calls for a 300- to 500-acre park in southeast Columbia.

Mardi Gras in Soulard takes students back home

With Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday just around the corner, MU students from St. Louis are packing their bags to head home for the 25th annual Grand Parade through Soulard.

“I love going to Mardi Gras in St. Louis,” said Justin Hitschler, an education major. “I go every year and make a four-day weekend out of it. It is a great time hanging out in the streets; you can find great music.”

Police searches disputed

Columbia police don’t always need a warrant to enter someone’s home. Sometimes, all they need to do is knock.

Police call this tactic a “knock-and-talk” investigation, and officers use it to make contact with people they believe are involved in illegal drug activity. According to reports from the narcotics unit, the number of these investigations conducted between 2002 and 2003 doubled from 11 to 22.

Meet local candidates

The Columbia Missourian asked the candidates for the Columbia City Council, which includes the mayor, to tell readers in 100 words or fewer what they believe is the most pressing or important issue in local government today and why. Below are their verbatim, written responses. Also included is a brief personal look at each of the candidates. The Missourian provides the contact information as a service to its readers.

New Sunday

My Sunday is coffee beans and hymns and bagels and car washes and Missouri basketball on the radio. It is trips to parks like Rock Bridge for walks and drives down Broadway for no reason at all. It is art fairs and street music. It is people-watching on Ninth Street. It is polite conversation and public eavesdropping. It is my son’s baseball practice at The Barn, my daughter’s friends at the house, my wife’s research papers spread all over the table and floor and sofa. My Sunday is wondering what the Missourian staff is doing and whether I should sneak in to help out.

My Sunday is not perfect. It is far from perfect. Just as my Columbia is not perfect. But it’s my Columbia, and your Columbia. And although it’s my newsroom, it’s really your Missourian.

Farmers net higher prices for soybeans

Nathan Martin usually plants equal amounts of soybeans and corn on his 1,400 acres of cropland just outside Centralia. This spring, though, Martin plans to put two-thirds of his cropland in soybeans to take advantage of some of the best prices in years.

Soybeans, the No. 1 cash crop in Missouri, were selling in central Missouri on Friday for a lofty $8.66 to $8.69 per bushel — a price the market has not seen since September 1997.

Aging isn’t always so graceful

Winter is especially difficult for the elderly, and lately I’ve been feeling their pain. When I get up from a chair, something cracks or snaps. I now look down when I walk instead of straight ahead. My war wounds from my youth are coming back to life. When I was in ninth grade at Jeff Jr. (in this very town) someone dared me to jump over a half wall to the landing, which separated the stairs going down to the girls and boys locker rooms. I took the dare and missed the landing and fell to the bottom of the stairs, crushing my fourth thoracic vertebra. The doctor gave me an ugly brace that extended from my collarbone to my pelvis. I wore loose-fitting jumpers (which were NOT in style) for more than a year. And I remember the doctor saying that I would have a dowager hump when I was old. I just giggled. I was only 13; old was 40. Well, it seems lately my kids keep telling me to stand up straight. They say I’m bent over when I walk. GULP!

I recently started thinking about getting old. You don’t just wake up one morning and walk to the mirror and gasp, wondering who the person is staring back at you. It’s a gradual process. But, by golly, I’m showing definite signs.

Details about these positions

All seven members of the Columbia City Council serve three-year terms and volunteer their time and efforts.

Voters in each of the city’s six wards elect one council member each, and the mayor is elected by voters citywide to serve as an at-large council representative with no more real power than any other member.

Dynamic Direction

Twenty-nine-year-old Stefan Freund snaps his fingers as 38 pairs of eyes follow intently for their cue. “Short, long. Short, short — long,” Freund sings, raising the baton. After a few more stanzas, the Columbia Civic Orchestra is done with Czech composer Antonin Dvorzak’s “New World Symphony.”

“All right, we kind of got through it. We’ll run through it again the coming two weeks,” Freund says before turning to Igor Stravinski’s “Suite No. 2.” Freund snaps his fingers or whistles the melody at times; his expressive mouth and eyebrows sets the mood for the piece.

Holy Hoops

As a voice on the loudspeaker boomed their names, 10 boys clad in identical royal blue T-shirts and bright orange jerseys charged through a silver tunnel made of wire and paper that stretched out in front of them.

They leapt over a cloud of gray smoke that billowed in wisps at the tunnel’s exit and then darted onto a basketball court surrounded by their cheering families.

The Family Flock

Gerri Moore is a little sick of having lambs all over her kitchen floor.

“At first they’re kind of cute, but after you get four or five in here, it gets a little old,” she says. She raises her voice slightly to be heard over the bleating practically underfoot.

Schools crunching funds

Almost 50 staff positions will have to be cut next year if teachers are to remain on their current salary schedule, school administrators told the Columbia Board of Education on Thursday.

The board decided to continue operating the district salary schedule — that is, incremental payments for teachers based on experience and education — but said raises beyond that are not feasible with a predicted budget shortfall of $8.7 million for the next school year.

Mothers in their Prime

Not long ago, it wasn’t unusual for young women attending college to say they were going to get an M.R.S. degree, better known as the “Mrs.” degree.

Christine Pierson, now 32, was not one of those women. When she attended college in California, she said, many people in her circle of friends weren’t looking for future husbands and wives and were not engaged until about five years after college.