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Roundtable at Stephens College discusses U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security

Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, South Korea and Haiti were a few of the countries mentioned Monday night at the Roblee Lecture Series’ "Roundtable on U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security."

More than 50 people attended the 90-minute Stephens College event in Windsor Auditorium, 1407 East Broadway. The roundtable was open to the public and followed by a reception.

Chancellor succession

The retirement clock is ticking for MU Chancellor Richard Wallace, but UM system President Elson Floyd has yet to announce his plans for the Columbia campus.

Wallace steps down in August, with no successor on the horizon. Floyd has said he was considering taking Wallace’s place along with running the four-campus system. But he declined last week to provide new details about the status of the process.

Civil unions aren’t holy matters

The mating game is becoming more complex every day. As if it isn’t hard enough sometimes for two people to agree to tie the knot, now the government is getting involved in the selection process. Same-sex marriages, of course, are the source of the debate.

Usually, the government tends to be involved in the dissolution of the union, settling matters regarding alimony, child custody, property settlements, etc. So, I think the libertarian argument that government has no business in mating agreements is pretty simplistic. I believe civil unions are important in maintaining the social order.

Art in the trees

Nestled between a roundabout and a bar on Old 63 is the future of an artist, wrapped up in the paws of two maple wood tigers.

“Fighting Tigers of Missouri,” a 9-foot sculpture weighing 1,200 pounds, is the result of more than three years of work that Columbia artist Lonnie Tapia hopes will be worth every chisel mark.

Concerns snag plan to widen highway

Without successful mediation, a barrier between county commissioners, business owners and the Missouri Department of Transportation may divide or halt the plan to improve Missouri 763.

Grading, paving and widening the road to four lanes with a raised median from Big Bear Boulevard to U.S. 63 are the proposed improvements for the project.

Honor system for tax credit scrutinized

JEFFERSON CITY — It seemed like a perfect, albeit somewhat complicated, scheme. Fake the purchase of business equipment, send the state the phony invoices and checks, then receive a $75,000 tax credit under a program meant to reward high-tech companies in low-income areas.

During the past two years, James Holtrop and his wife, Jill Meyerhardt, used the scheme to collect $300,000 in Rebuilding Communities tax credits. The St. Louis couple pleaded guilty last week to two counts each of stealing by deceit and agreed to cooperate in an ongoing investigation into others accused of doing the same thing.

Every curve represents a lesson

A teacher’s footsteps echo on the ceramic floor as her pupils sit armed with their crayons. Making her rounds, the teacher spies an unfamiliar scene on one student’s page.

“Lonnie,” she says. “Trees don’t look like that.”

Rezoned land to be for duplexes

Columbia will soon have a new development on its west side.

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday approved the rezoning of 40 acres in western Columbia, allowing builder Jack Dougherty to continue with his plan to build upscale duplexes.

Security concerns hamper relocation of attorney’s office

County commissioners are divided over the possibility of moving the prosecuting attorney’s office to the third floor of the Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center because of the office’s need for metal detectors and security guards.

“My biggest concern is how we would deal with the security,” Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller said. “I don’t want to change the culture of the building for the public.”

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.

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