City Council postpones vote on Philips farm

Last-minute, significant changes in development plans for the Philips farm prompted the Columbia City Council to table its decision on annexation and rezoning for the property Monday night.

At Monday’s pre-council meeting, the council was given a list of proposed changes to plans for the 489-acre farm just southeast of Columbia. Those changes were submitted to the city staff Friday after developer Elvin Sapp learned the city might want to redraw the boundaries of a regional park proposed on the land.

On her own time

“The sky is not the limit, nor are the stars. Wish it... dream it... do it.”

This is the saying scrawled across the back wall of Expressive Outlet, a unique clothing store on Forum Boulevard in Columbia. A few feet away is a picture of the store’s co-owners, Molly Morgan and Michele Towns, on their first buying trip in New York City. Their story is the classic American dream: friends who dream about starting a small business together — and do it.

Political advisor brings passion

Columbia’s new branch of the political consulting business, Rosman & Associates, can add years of experience to a candidate’s campaign, along with a lot of enthusiasm.

Owner David Rosman, who established himself in Denver over the past 25 years, decided to move to Columbia after being offered a job here. After the potential job fell through, Rosman quickly made local politics a main priority, and he chose to start a business here based on new markets and growth opportunities.

Sidewalk sought on Business Loop

The City Council made the first step toward improving what one PedNet Coalition member described as "a black hole" in the city during Monday night’s meeting: a 14,000-foot strip of land running along the north side of Business Loop 70 between Creasy Springs Road and Garth Avenue.

After several residents came forward to request that the proposed 5-foot sidewalk be expanded to 6 feet, the council decided to vote on the motion at a later date.

Health Web site will translate documents

Walking through the doors of a hospital can be scary enough for those who know exactly what’s going on around them. But for those who don’t understand the language being spoken, hospital visits can become even more intimidating. With the creation of a new Web site, the Missouri Hospital Association is trying to make visits easier on everyone who walks through the hospital doors — no matter what language they speak.

Since Oct. 1, has been available for local hospitals and paid subscribers. According to Leslie Porth, vice president of health improvement at MHA, the Web site, a link off the MHA’s Web page, helps translate the most important documents needed when a patient enters the hospital.

NPR figure tells of listening to America

National Public Radio’s Linda Wertheimer has talked to American Democrats throughout the country, and one overriding message has come through for the future, still undecided, Democratic candidate.

“American people are saying we don’t care what you do, just do what works,” Wertheimer said.

Tax break on cars proposed

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s automobile industry supports exempting Missouri-made vehicles from state sales tax, but it could cost the state’s roads — while saving a new-car purchaser as much as $1,000.

The measure would exempt vehicles made in Missouri from state sales tax. Individual cities could decide to exempt Missouri-made vehicles from local sales tax as well. The bill’s supporters said this would likely increase sales of Missouri-made vehicles and encourage other manufacturers to open plants in the state.

Bass Pro’s plans aim to protect watershed

Bass Pro Shops wants to use its Columbia store to teach people more than just how to fish — it wants to teach them about water quality.

In the midst of controversy over land-disturbance permits in the polluted Hinkson Creek watershed, Bass Pro Shops is promising that its Vandiver Drive store will protect the creek and be a model for other developments in the watershed. And it’s backing up those claims by planning to use several storm-water management techniques in construction and to put an interactive water-quality education center at the store.

Inmate overflow

In the late 1990s, Boone County law enforcement officials, faced with the rising cost of housing inmates at out-of-county facilities, discussed building a new jail. The problem became acute in 1998, when the county spent more than $650,000 to incarcerate inmates in other jails.

By the end of the decade, the average daily population at the Boone County Jail had stabilized at about 200 inmates. Talk of building a new jail waned, and instead the work-release section of the jail was renovated to accommodate more inmates.

Council to vote on fairground use

After more than four years of deliberation over the future of the Boone County Fairground, the Columbia City Council tonight is poised to put its stamp of approval on a master plan for how the county should proceed with developing the property as a park and recreational complex.

A resolution on tonight’s agenda calls for the council to endorse Option III, which includes three ponds, a lake, several athletic fields, trails, shelters and an ice hockey and roller rink.

Sociology building has rich history

MU’s red brick Sociology Building stands empty. A sign on each door tells passers-by to “Stop” in large red letters. Most of the windows are covered. Inside, there are a few abandoned chairs, desks, file cabinets and sheets of paper strewn across the floor.

Hardly anyone has been inside the 111-year-old building — once the home of the law school, then the business school and, finally, the sociology and rural sociology departments — since it closed a year and a half ago.

NPR reporter to speak at MU

Linda Wertheimer gets recognized by strangers all the time. But it’s not her face that’s familiar; it’s her voice.

“I was standing in line at the airport one time and saw a blond woman across the room,” Wertheimer said. “I asked the woman in front of me whether she thought it was Sissy Spacek. The woman said, ‘I don’t know if that’s Sissy Spacek, but are you Linda Wertheimer?’ She recognized my voice.”

True or False?

The inaugural True/False Film Festival wrapped up its three-day run Sunday in Columbia, receiving rave reviews from moviegoers and filmmakers who seemed optimistic that the festival could become an annual city event.

At the 2:30 p.m. Sunday showing of “CSA: Confederate States of America,” people lined up in the cold outside the Blue Note to purchase tickets. The film is a mock documentary about what the world would be like if the South had won the Civil War.

Composer and cellist to lead Columbia Civic Orchestra

Columbia’s only orchestra designed for nonprofessional musicians of all ages has a new leader. Stefan Freund was named music director and conductor of the Columbia Civic Orchestra on Sunday. He has been rehearsing with the chamber orchestra’s 58 active members since January.

Freund, 29, a composer and cellist, fulfills the board of directors’ main requirements, said orchestra manager Bruce Gordon.

Transitioning transit

Columbia Transit is hoping that changes to the city’s bus routes will improve on-time performance and attract more riders.

The city agency has proposed a number of changes to the current bus routes. The changes announced in December could take effect as soon as June if approved by the City Council.

Bill would ban traffic light devices

JEFFERSON CITY — Imagine a device that would let you change a traffic light from green to red without even stopping. Traffic preemption emitter devices shoot infrared beams at traffic signals, causing the lights to cycle from green to red early. The devices are only intended for police and emergency personnel, but some Missouri lawmakers warn the devices can be purchased by anyone willing to shell out $300.

Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, is one of four state lawmakers working to ban the general public from using the device.

Free speech isn’t just about talking

I seriously doubt that the framers of the Constitution could have envisioned the many and varied ways in which freedom of expression would manifest itself in the years that have followed its ratification. Hmm, let’s see, there’s rap music shattering the night as it erupts from car stereos, there are pornographic images readily available to be pasted on the screens of home computers and vulgar and offensive language pouring out across the airwaves day and night, just to name a few examples.

Janet Jackson’s episode of wardrobe malfunction during halftime activities at the Super Bowl was all the incentive needed to trigger dialogues about the decline of the country’s moral standards all across America. Within the first 24 hours following the incident, probably everybody who had an opinion on the subject had taken an opportunity to express it. Frankly, I see this as just another occasion for daily life to duplicate television by enabling everyday people to audition for spots on the world’s largest and most spectacular open-air talk show. Except for a few cosmetic changes, it’s doubtful that anything concrete will come out of all this discussion. If things proceed in their usual fashion, the people that think something’s broken will lack the power to fix it, and those that think everything is fine will continue to advance and test the limits.

Who may marry?

For Rep. Larry Morris, a Republican from Springfield, homosexuality was never discussed while growing up in a Baptist setting. It was considered something sinful, a way of life he still believes is wrong.

For Melissa Stevens, a 25-year-old medicine student from Springfield and also a Baptist, homosexuality was something she battled most of her life. At first she thought it was sinful, but has now embraced it as a part of her identity.

Lower temperatures increase business

While you might be cursing the cold, some local businesses are benefiting from this winter's frigid temperatures. The dramatic drop in temperatures has upped January sales for many retailers selling cold-weather items.

TV task force hears public-access plans

Columbia’s cable companies are promising to establish a “phase one” public-access cable channel within 60 days, but a city task force will continue evaluating three competing proposals for a permanent channel.

The “phase one” channel would air for a trial period before the city council would decide to construct a permanent studio, according to the proposal put before the task force.