The search for affordable housing

For nine years, Jean Cribb lived in an apartment at the end of a cul-de-sac in a busy area of northeast Columbia, near Interstate 70. The nighttime traffic noise was tough to take, so Cribb, a single parent of two children, asked a real estate agent to help her find a three-bedroom home in the $300-a-month range.

A year passed, during which the agent showed Cribb just one house she could afford to buy. The house, in the Lake of the Woods area, was a “major fixer-upper,” said Cribb, who has an in-store marketing job with Sears in the Columbia Mall. “It was disappointing to see what my money would really get me.”

Renters may be surprised by approval

Deciding whether to buy a home is like asking someone to dance, said Rob Weagley, chairman of the consumer and family economics department at MU. It can be particularly intimidating for people with low or moderate incomes, who, assuming they won’t qualify, are sometimes reluctant to ask financial professionals about mortgages.

But with the availability of low-interest mortgages and special homeownership programs, families of modest means can stop paying rent and put their money into owning a house.

City water treatment unit could be leaking

Groundwater studies in the vicinity of wells that draw drinking water for Columbia indicate that one of the city’s wetlands units used to treat waste water could be leaking contaminants into the underground system.

Joseph Richards of the U.S. Geological Survey, which has been studying groundwater in the Missouri River bottoms south of Columbia since 1992, said increased levels of chloride, sulfate and sodium have been detected in monitoring wells since 1995. The highest levels of chloride were detected in a monitoring well 50 to 100 feet from a city wetlands treatment unit.

Discovering POWs’ lives

Today the Sigma Phi Epsilon house on Kentucky Boulevard at UM is full of students. Sixty years ago it was full of prisoners of war.

During World War II, 15,000 Italian and German POWs were held in 30 camps in Missouri. Today, many people know nothing of this local lore.

A neighborhood makeover

When Square Circle resident Tasha Loggins orders a pizza, she’s often asked if her address is a joke.

Square Circle is a cul-de-sac off of Hoedown Drive where Loggins has lived in a rented, ranch-style duplex for nine years. The 21-year-old said she’s never been fond of the street name. She’s even more put off by the disrepair of the private street, which she said is hard on her car.

Fire station to aid southeast

Residents who live on the southeast side of Columbia near U.S. 63 soon will have a neighborhood fire station.

The Boone County Fire Protection District has bought 2.4 acres and a building from Simon Steel, 5881 S. U.S. 63, for $700,000. The money comes from a 1998 fire district bond issue.

Blunt kicks off tour, outlines goals at MU

Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt spread the news of his candidacy for governor in a tour starting in Columbia on Saturday. He also visited Camdenton, Joplin and Branson to outline his goals and ask for support.

About 70 people, among them Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane and Boone County Presiding Commissioner Keith Schnarre, gathered in MU’s Memorial Union to show their support.

Democrats join race for 24th District, treasurer

Travis Ballenger, a fourth-generation Boone County native, is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for the 24th District seat in the Missouri House. It would be his first legislative position.

Ballenger, along with Mark Powell, a candidate for state treasurer, asked for support from local Democrats on Friday after the Boone County Muleskinners luncheon at Stephens College.

Senate panel to scrutinize Muslim funds

WASHINGTON — The Senate Finance committee has asked the Internal Revenue Service to turn over confidential tax and financial records, including donor lists, for dozens of Muslim charities and foundations as part of a widening congressional investigation into alleged ties between tax-exempt organizations and terrorist groups, according to documents and officials.

The request marks a rare and unusually broad use of the Finance Committee’s power to obtain private financial records held by the government, and raises the possibility that individual contributors to the Holy Land Foundation or the activities of the Muslim Student Association could be subjected to Senate scrutiny.

Agency has denied ties to terrorists

The Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency has faced government scrutiny in the past.

In 1999, the U.S. Agency for International Development revoked most of a $4.2 million grant to the agency after the State Department asserted that the group had ties to Sudan’s government — which had been identified by the U.S. government as friendly to terrorist organizations.

Fostering the future

Jasmine Coleman is a popular honors student in her sophomore year at Hickman High School. She has a boyfriend and a part-time job that funds outings to the mall with her friends. She’s active in student government and well-liked by her teachers. She sees college in her future, followed by a career in medicine. No one close to her doubts that she will achieve whatever she sets out to do.

What you might not guess about Jasmine is that she is one of 4,769 teens in Missouri who are in foster care.

Not exactly free rent

Andrew Cobb and Carl Giacchi watch TV as they wait for emergency calls at Station 14 of the Boone County Fire Protection District.

Cobb, an MU political science major, has been living at the station free for a year and a half. Although Giacchi no longer lives at a station, he’s lived at stations for a total of five years. He is now the lieutenant of Station 14.

Jeep fire no accident

The Columbia woman who was badly burned Monday in a vehicle fire survived her second round of surgeries Thursday. Meanwhile, investigators have ruled that the fire was intentionally set using an accelerant.

“We eliminated unintentional causes such as mechanical failure,” said Steven Sapp, battalion chief with the Columbia Fire Department. “So we drew the conclusion that it was an intentionally set fire.”

Missouri MAP test standards reviewed

JEFFERSON CITY — Some Missouri legislators proposed a plan Thursday to stop penalizing Missouri schools for being too tough in testing students.

A House and Senate bill to rework various components of Missouri’s MAP testing regimen will help allow schools to meet a federal standard that is actually lower than the goal than Missouri educators set for themselves.

Democrats from Missouri going to Iowa

Stacy Silverman has never worked in politics before. But in the past five months, Silverman has made two trips to Iowa and one to New Hampshire, and she will make another trip to Iowa this weekend.

An assistant professor with the communications science and disorders program at MU, Silverman will travel to Iowa, just in time for Monday’s caucuses, to canvass for the Democrat who she favors in the presidential race: Missouri native Dick Gephardt.

Bush has little-known challengers

Blake Ashby and Bill Wyatt know they are political lightweights, challenging a reigning champion who has the approval of about 65 percent of the nation.

Although Republican leaders say most Missourians support President Bush, Ashby and Wyatt will run against the incumbent in the Missouri Republican presidential primary on Feb. 3.

National Guard to deploy soldiers

Three young men sat in black plastic chairs around a table at Mojo’s on Wednesday night. The table closest to the stage is cluttered with their musical instruments.

A sense of excitement surrounds the members of Mile 48, a Columbia band, and tonight is their farewell show. Twenty-one-year-old bassist Roby Hopkins is being deployed.

Diversity and community

George Frissell, a teacher of classical ideas and world religions at Hickman High School, had an “excused absence” from proctoring the beginning his own exam. His excuse: He was one of several people nominated for the Columbia Values Diversity Award.

At Thursday’s breakfast, Frissell and Clyde Ruffin, a professor at MU’s Department of Theatre and pastor at Second Baptist Church, were presented the 2004 Columbia Values Diversity Award for individuals.

Forum to discuss medical school rumors

JEFFERSON CITY — A forum to address rumors about MU’s medical school making a move to Kansas City has been scheduled for next week in Columbia.

The forum, which was requested by Rep. Chuck Graham last October, is scheduled for

Whose land?

Since arriving on the market in 1970, the popularity of all-terrain vehicles soared. Originally designed as recreation vehicles for outdoor enthusiasts, ATVs later became the vehicle of choice for many farmers.

These days, ATVs are once again attracting thrill-seekers looking for an adventurous way to experience the outdoors.