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Republicans break ranks in Senate

JEFFERSON CITY — Some Senate Republicans have expressed support for revenue increases to help balance the budget.

Sen. Matt Bartle, R- Lee’s Summit, introduced bills that would increase gambling boat admission fees and court fees with the proceeds earmarked for education.

MU law student to run for office

Lara Underwood, an MU law student from Columbia, has thrown her hat into the ring to become the fourth Democratic candidate for the 25th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives.

“I’ve always had an interest in politics,” Underwood said Wednesday. “I knew I wanted to enter public service.”

Tax bill cleared for passage

JEFFERSON CITY — A bill that would close a corporate tax loophole was cleared for final passage in the House on Wednesday. The loophole is on Gov. Bob Holden’s hitlist, but the resulting bill doesn’t fall quite in line with his recommendations.

The loophole allows national corporations to transfer revenues to holding companies in other states and write them off on Missouri tax returns as franchise costs such as trademarks and copyrights — which allows them to avoid Missouri taxes. It’s named the “Geoffrey Loophole” after the mascot for Toys “R” Us, one national corporation operating in Missouri.

Groundwater slows ’Berg construction

A few trucks are the only things standing in the space where the Olde Heidelberg restaurant burned down and where the new restaurant will stand.

Construction of the Olde Heidelberg was expected to start in November, and Rusty Walls, general manager of the restaurant, had anticipated re-opening in February or March. But plans have been pushed back due to groundwater problems.

MU recalls King’s art legacy

Three days late, MU began its celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. on Wednesday with “The King Legacy on Art and Public Policy.” The university’s celebration of King, “The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on American Public Policy,” was supposed to be a weeklong series of events; however, this week’s snap of cold, ice and snow forced the cancellation of events on Sunday and Tuesday.

Wednesday’s panelists were Norree Boyd, executive director of the Missouri Arts Council; Marie Hunter from the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs; Teresa Unseld, former chairwoman of the art department at Winston-Salem State University; Jean Brueggenjohann, an MU professor of graphic design; and Eduardo Díaz, former director of cultural affairs for San Antonio.

Highway chief calls for more road money

JEFFERSON CITY — More money topped the list of recommendations Missouri’s Department of Transportation director presented to a joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday.

“It is time to make constructive plans for the critical transportation needs of this state,” transportation director Henry Hungerbeeler said in the first State of Transportation address.

Fire critically injures Boone County woman

Shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday morning the Boone County Fire Protection

District responded to a fire at 5660 Liddell Lane, about seven miles east of Columbia between Route PP and Route Z. Lt. Carl Giacchi, investigator for the county fire department, said the fire started in a fireplace flue. Owner Penny Sipe was believed to be near the fireplace when the fire started. Lt. Giacchi said Sipe had burns over more than 90 percent of her body. Sipe was taken to University Hospital.

Coach accused of bartering tickets

A house painter has accused MU assistant basketball coach Tony Harvey of giving him free MU basketball and football tickets as partial payment for painting sections of Harvey’s Columbia home. The painter is suing Harvey for nearly $5,000 still owed.

Ken Hensel of 2605 Oak Gate Court, who lives around the block from Harvey, filed the lawsuit Jan. 16 in Boone County Circuit Court claiming Harvey defaulted on their “oral contract” in which Hensel would paint interior sections and the pool house of Harvey’s residence at 2605 Chambray Road in exchange for MU football and basketball tickets.

Bringing Iraqi dog home no easy trick

Army Pfc. Jeremiah Smith had just finished his shift guarding a gate to a U.S. military compound in Baghdad when he saw a starving, lost and homeless Iraqi refugee. Smith’s humanitarianism kicked in, and he took the refugee back to camp, where she was fed a steady diet of Spam, Vienna sausages and other leftovers.

Now, Smith, a National Guard reservist from Fulton, wants to bring the refugee — a black-and-white puppy — back to the United States. In an e-mail from Baghdad to the Missourian, Smith said that his unit is scheduled to leave Iraq in early June and that he hates the thought of leaving the Middle East without the dog, whom he and his unit have named Niki.

Educational gift

MU Chancellor Richard Wallace said Tuesday morning that he found it difficult to keep his composure while announcing the largest gift ever presented to the College of Education. The $2 million contribution, made by MU alumni Harold Hook and Joanne Hunt Hook of Houston, will create the first endowed dean’s chair at MU, as well as a center for educational leadership.

At a press conference in the Reynolds Alumni Center, Harold Hook corrected Wallace, saying the $2 million was not a gift.

Hopefuls set sights on Missouri voters

Sens. John Edwards and John Kerry and the Rev. Al Sharpton will make campaign stops in Missouri today — the first of the remaining Democratic presidential candidates trying to capitalize on voter indecision after Rep. Dick Gephardt dropped out of the race last week.

Edwards will speak at 7:15 p.m. at Southwest Missouri State University’s Strong Hall and is scheduled for a 9:15 p.m. appearance at the Blueberry Hill restaurant in suburban St. Louis. Kerry will hold a rally at St. Louis Community College’s Forest Park campus at 4:30 p.m. today, and Sharpton will tour the St. Louis area all afternoon and into the evening.

Philips developer seeks leeway

Would-be developers of the Philips farm don’t think they should be forced to comply with the city’s policy on impervious surfaces.

The policy, intended to limit potential pollution from storm-water runoff in environmentally sensitive watersheds, suggests developers should limit the proportion of impenetrable surfaces on projects to 30 percent.

Changes to city’s bus lines possible

For the first time in more than three years, officials with the Columbia Transit System are planning significant changes to the city’s bus routes, but they won’t do it without giving the public a chance to comment.

If accepted by the Columbia City Council, the route changes could be implemented as early as June. The main goals, Columbia Public Works Director Lowell Patterson said in a December report to the council, are to ensure the buses run on time, to boost the number of riders and to expand routes to popular destinations in the city.

Worm slithers into Columbia PCs

The Novarg computer e-mail virus that started Monday has slithered its way into Columbia.

In an e-mail inbox this worm appears as an attachment to a message with familiar words such as “hi,” “test” and “status” in the subject box. A worm is a virus that replicates itself among networked computers by sending infected e-mails.

Office Depot closes indefinitely for building repairs

Confused customers stood outside a “Temporarily Closed” sign hanging on the doors of Office Depot, 101 S. Providence Road, on Tuesday morning.

At 11:45 a.m. Richard Sternadori, Columbia’s chief building inspector, ordered the store to be evacuated and to close its doors for an undetermined amount of time. He cited lateral soil pressures from the foundation wall on the building’s south side that had spread to the roof, making the building unsafe for occupants.

Task forces to tackle meth

Although the 320 seventh-graders scheduled to attend Gov. Bob Holden’s speech Tuesday were at home enjoying a snow day, the governor still spoke firmly about a new statewide initiative on methamphetamine education, prevention and treatment.

Addressing a small crowd of law enforcement officers and state officials gathered at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Jefferson City, Gov. Holden emphasized the widespread dangers associated with Missouri’s methamphetamine problem, including addiction, violent behavior and the environmental hazards related to meth production.

New health facility gets U.S. grant

Construction of a new, comprehensive health facility at Worley Street and West Boulevard is nearing completion.

The project got a boost last week when the U.S. Senate approved an appropriations bill sponsored by Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo.

State considers chicken pox rule

Missouri parents might have another vaccine to add to their list before sending children to school next year.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services has proposed adding immunization against chicken pox to the list of required vaccinations, which already includes polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, tetanus and diphtheria.

Legislators mull revisions for school aid

JEFFERSON CITY — A committee studying ways to revise Missouri’s school funding formula heard Monday from a consultant who recommended two plans that would cost the state an additional $710 million to $1.5 billion a year.

But the committee’s chairman said the proposals offered by John Augenblick, head of a Denver-based firm that advises states on school finance issues, would go nowhere this year, partly because of the costs.

MU fee raise is up for vote

A student fee increase to help fund a massive overhaul of MU’s Student Recreation Center will take effect next fall if approved Thursday by the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

Students voted overwhelmingly for the fee increase of $75 per semester in October 2001, but it was not meant to be assessed until the center opens. That opening is scheduled for the fall.

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