Senate delays bonds bill

JEFFERSON CITY — Political fighting delayed a vote on a bill authorizing bonds for higher education in the Senate Monday.

The bill, which began as an authorization for $90 million in bonds for life sciences in the UM system, has been expanded to authorize $350 million in bonds for higher education across the state. That has upset some senators.

Virtual realty

MU freshman Lisa Zirk cautiously walks up the driveway to her potential home. Her parents have agreed to buy a condominium for her and her sister. After walking through two condos and snapping a few pictures, Zirk has made her decision.

“I think I like the first one better. It sits lower, and it has a spot for a garden,” Zirk said.

Council again affirms Philips

Act II of the Philips development drama Monday night didn’t live up to the theatrics of previous public hearings.

Forced to reconsider the ordinance after the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club protested a flawed title in the previous version, the council reaffirmed its previous vote in favor of annexing and zoning the 489-acre Philips property on the southeast edge of the city.

Stephens plans to cut faculty and degrees

In an attempt to make the school financially stable, Stephens College will not renew contracts for 15 faculty members and will phase out six degree programs, two of which do not now have any students enrolled, over the next two years.

Although degree programs will be cut, many of the courses in those programs will remain, and provided that enrollment is high enough in these classes, some faculty contracts may be extended beyond the 2004-05 school year.

Memories soothe sorrows of today

When I was growing up, the doors of the little church my family attended were always open. We could pop inside and kneel at the altar and pray at any hour of the day. I treasure that memory as if it were a 10-carat diamond ring. It’s one of a host of memories that I can draw on to remind myself of the special experiences that have enriched my life.

I remember the beautiful park where my siblings and I spent so many leisurely summer afternoons at play. Parents never had to worry that we would be abducted. As children in those days, we were a protected class. That knowledge carried with it a certain carefree attitude. We had the understanding that as long as we obeyed the rules, no one would bother us.

Mo. budget deficit on the decline

JEFFERSON CITY — Increased revenues have shrunk Missouri’s budget deficit for the coming fiscal year, but the state still lags behind others in overall economic recovery.

A February report from the national Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed 32 states predicted that their deficits would be smaller percentages of their overall budgets than Missouri’s. Overall budget deficits for fiscal year 2005 are down to $35 billion from $78 billion last fiscal year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Plan would use archers to control urban deer

The Missouri Department of Conservation is making a proposal to allow archery hunting during deer season on some city property in an effort to curb the urban deer population in Columbia.

“The bottom line is that we have problems with urban deer, and it’s going to get worse if we don’t take action,” said Lonnie Hansen, a resource scientist with the MDC. “Statewide, their population is probably fairly stable,” he said. “Where it is increasing is in our urban areas, and Columbia is no exception.”

Street smarts

After more than a year of discussion and tweaking, a thick revision of Columbia’s street standards — designed to make streets narrower and friendlier for bicyclists and pedestrians — is finally before the City Council.

The council will hold a public hearing on the new standards at its meeting tonight but plans to continue to get public input until May 3, when it is scheduled to take a final vote on the matter.

Spring turkey season kicks off today

Spring turkey season begins today, which means hunters will soon find out whether mid-Missouri’s recent run of warm weather benefits the hunter or the hunted.

“I think this recent warm-up will help the hunters,” said Jeff Beringer, a resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. “It has caused everything to get green, which should get the turkeys broken up and into their breeding ranges. They had been kind of wadding up into their winter flocks.”

Yearlong learning

With the school year winding down, the Fun City Youth Academy is preparing to shift its focus from its Saturday tutoring academy to its summer academy.

Since September, children ages 5 to 18 have been meeting every Saturday at the J.W. “Blind” Boone Community Center. From noon to 4 p.m., they receive mentoring, homework help, entrepreneurial skills and leadership.

Local students move on to national history competition

Five local students who competed at the state level in National History Day on Saturday will be moving on to the national competition June 13-17 at the University of Maryland.

Schnucks reissues a recall on salmon

Schnucks Markets Inc. reissued a recall on Friday for sliced smoked Atlantic salmon from Sea Specialties Inc. because of possible contamination.

Hamas leader assassinated

JERUSALEM — An Israeli helicopter missile strike Saturday killed Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a well-known and popular leader of Hamas, hospital officials and witnesses said, about a month after a similar attack killed the spiritual leader of the radical Palestinian group.

Rantisi, 54, who had recently become the Gaza Strip leader of Hamas, for years launched vitriolic assaults on Israel and its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He could order a demonstration and within hours mobilize tens of thousands of Palestinians into the streets.

MU professor says recent shift in Israeli tactics will affect course of events

When the news reached him that Abdel Aziz Rantisi had been killed Saturday night in Gaza City by an Israeli attack, MU Professor Michael Grinfeld wasn’t surprised.

“The tactical shift that’s now occurred in Israel is very significant, and it will change whatever outcomes occur in the region,” he said. “What’s clear is that the Israelis have run out of patience.”

Provost tapped for interim post

Elson Floyd, UM system president, asked Provost Brady Deaton to be the interim MU chancellor Saturday, said a release from UM spokesman Joe Moore.

“I asked Provost Deaton to serve in the role of interim chancellor at the University of Missouri-Columbia because I believe he is the most qualified person for the job,” Floyd said in the press release. “Brady has extensive knowledge of the campus, its mission and academic programs, and its many important stakeholders. I am hopeful that he will agree to take on this new leadership challenge.”

Democrats convene

Amid the stuffed toy donkeys, primary colors and ample campaign paraphernalia covering Columbia’s Expo Center on Friday and Saturday were Missouri Democrats on a mission to make it a blue Super Tuesday come November.

“We have a president who is not leading this country in the right direction,” said former presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt, who addressed members at the state party’s convention Saturday.

New Sunday Missourian

Dear Reader:

Some really smart graduate students sat down with editors on Friday to present their preliminary research findings for the NewSunday Missourian’s first draft. The top headline: People who spent more time reading the April 4 edition found more stories and features to like. They liked the positive community focus. They liked the in-depth reporting. They found NewSunday to be useful and relevant.

Fulton soldier’s pet dog arrives from Iraq

There’s one more mouth to feed at the Fulton home of Don and Phyllis Smith, but the house still feels empty.

They miss their military son, Army Pfc. Jeremiah Smith, whose stay in Iraq was extended until August. Yet they keep some comfort in their new arrival, Niki, a stray dog the soldier found on duty overseas and nursed back to health.

Libertarian Party candidates outline campaign platforms

Libertarians took a break from raising party awareness Saturday to host “Jefferson Days” in Cosmopolitan Park.

The Libertarian convention featured speaker Lloyd Sloan, an expert on Thomas Jefferson, who lectured on the former president’s political philosophies.

Monks on a mission

For seven months, a large silver van plastered with “Free Tibet” stickers has carried 10 Tibetan Buddhist monks on a tour around the United States. That van arrived in Columbia on Friday night from St. Louis, and after unloading, the monks gathered with Students for a Free Tibet for dinner at the Interfaith Center.

The monks come from the Drepung Gomang monastic college in Mundgod, India, where 1,700 refugee Tibetan monks live in a settlement of 16,000.