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State Farm to transfer 300 jobs to Columbia

After almost a year of speculation about the future of State Farm Insurance Company in Columbia, the company announced Wednesday the transfer of roughly 300 jobs to Columbia from its Monroe, La., facility.

MO-MENTUM: Sen. John Kerry racks up wins in five states

John Kerry dominated Boone County in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary without investing in an extensive campaign here. His victory showed decisive strength in what has been called a county of maverick voters when compared with the rest of the state.

With nearly all results totaled late Tuesday, Kerry led all candidates in Boone County with 44.4 percent of the vote. He declared victory in Missouri less than three hours after polls closed, finishing with more than half the vote statewide.

Mayoral hopeful wants more wards

When John Clark moved to Columbia in 1968, he was one of its approximately 50,000 residents. The crowd has grown significantly, but Clark hasn’t gotten lost in it. He’s more recognizable now than ever.

Clark, 61, is a candidate in Columbia’s mayoral election. He talks a lot about how Columbia has grown and how he feels it will grow. His written platform, released Sunday, places expansion issues at the forefront of his campaign. Clark doesn’t seem totally satisfied with the way Columbia has developed since his arrival.

Delayed permits granted to sites

Lax city oversight prompted the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to hold up land-disturbance permits for 23 construction projects in the Hinkson Creek watershed.

The DNR on Tuesday, however, granted permits to 16 of those 23 projects, including a Wal-Mart Supercenter in south Columbia, that had been on hold because the state feared they could further pollute Hinkson Creek. Five other projects, including a Bass Pro Shop planned for Vandiver Drive and a new student commons for Columbia College, remained on hold.

Louisiana tries to woo State Farm centers

State officials in Louisiana have offered State Farm Insurance a $33 million incentive package that they hope will bring the company’s newly consolidated operations centers to Monroe, La.

State Farm plans to announce the results of an internal review of its three Central Zone operations centers in the next few weeks. The results could affect the company’s Columbia operations center, which employs about 785 people.

Ex-drug investigator: Legalize it

A former undercover narcotics agent thinks U.S. authorities aren’t using the right tactics to fight the war on drugs.

“This is not a war on drugs — it’s a war on people,” said Jack Cole, who spent 26 years with the New Jersey State Police and 12 years as an undercover officer. He calls the law enforcement effort a “dismal failure” and is spreading that message across the country.

Sturgeon man dies in silo accident

A Sturgeon man died Tuesday in a silo accident on Route Y in southern Audrain County.

The Boone County Fire Protection District responded to a 911 call and found Robert Pollard trapped in machinery inside the silo. Assistant Fire Chief Ken Hines said that Pollard, who was hanging about 40 feet off the ground, was removed from the silo by an aerial ladder device. He had no pulse and was not breathing, Hines said. The Columbia Fire Department was also dispatched to assist with Pollard’s extrication.

Saved dogs given second leash on life

The family of a woman who died in an accidental house fire last week has released the 57 dogs she owned to the custody of the Central Missouri Humane Society.

Humane society workers, assisted by Boone County Animal Control and the Boone County Fire Department, moved and transported the animals, which had been found in an outdoor kennel with no water and little food. Elouise Sipe died Thursday in a flue fire that caused more than $100,000 damage to her house at 5660 Liddell Lane.

Hulshof joins cause of soldier, Iraqi dog

It’s not every day that a U.S. congressman’s schedule includes helping get a puppy out of Iraq, but that’s what Kenny Hulshof is offering to do.

The puppy, a black-and-white mutt named Niki, belongs to Army Pfc. Jeremiah Smith. Stationed in Baghdad, Smith and his company befriended Niki when she was found starving at the gate to their base.

Sigma Kappa to close May 17

More than three decades after its initiation to MU, the Epsilon Mu chapter of the Sigma Kappa sorority will close its doors in May.

With the permission of the national council of Sigma Kappa, Epsilon Mu will continue to function as a chapter until May 17. At that time, it will close and members will be granted alumnae status, according to a press release from Sigma Kappa national headquarters.

New grocer in town

When Melody White heard about a new grocery store coming to Ashland, she decided to take advantage of a job opportunity closer to home. She left her job at Sam’s Club — and the drive to Columbia — to work as a cashier and in customer service at Moser’s Discount Foods.

White, 51, started working at the store a few weeks before its Jan. 8 opening, helping to stock shelves and get everything ready for the public.

Apathy, indecision reign in mid-Missouri

Walk around town and ask folks how they plan to vote in today’s primary, and there’s one answer you’ll get more than any other.

Not at all.

Proposal targets policy on gay bias

JEFFERSON CITY — The University of Missouri system’s new policy prohibiting sexual-orientation discrimination would be effectively outlawed under a measure before Missouri’s legislature.

The bill would require that groups receiving state money — such as cities, school districts, and universities — use current federal standards and nothing more.

N.C. systems chief named MU Health Care director

A North Carolina leader of health care systems has been named executive director of University of Missouri Health Care, MU officials said Monday.

Jim Ross, president and chief operating officer of University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, begins April 1.

Rise in taxes favored to aid schools

ST. LOUIS — A poll released Monday shows that most Missouri voters would pay higher state taxes to help public education, and most approve of the job their local schools are doing.

Voters in the poll, conducted by Maryland-based Research 2000 for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis’ KMOV-TV, also said they would pay higher taxes to address the cost and supply of health insurance and improve homeland security.

James brings long shot

In the past two games, Stretch James has let opponents know she has shots they have never seen.

James, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, scores most of her points inside, but she recently began to showcase her improved outside shot. This will help Missouri (11-7, 2-5 Big 12 Conference) against No. 3 Texas. The Tigers play the Longhorns at 7 tonight in Austin, Texas.

Medical examiner picked

A certified forensic pathologist from Florida is the new chief medical examiner for Boone and Callaway counties.

Downtown added to list of historic places

Columbians have long enjoyed the historic and cultural flavor of downtown. Now that the area has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the local activity hub will gain national and state recognition for its historical significance.

The Columbia Special Business District submitted a proposal to the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the State Historic Preservation Office in November. These nominations were then sent to Washington, D.C., for approval by the National Park Service.

Bill aims to aid small businesses

JEFFERSON CITY — Catfish pond owner Jim Baumgartner is being showcased by Republican lawmakers as an example of why small business owners need their own advocacy agency inside government itself.

At a House committee hearing Monday, Baumgartner testified that though the Department of Natural Resources has inspected his 35-foot-long dam in the past, he recently received notice that he would have to hire an outside consultant to comply with regulations — costing him anywhere from $500 to $1,200 for an initial examination of the site.

Latest Philips debate focuses on park

While Columbia officials want to make an offer to buy part of the 489-acre Philips tract for a new regional park, council members still have questions about the land.

Developer Elvin Sapp, who wants to put a mix of homes, offices and shops on the Philips land, has already offered to sell park land to the city. The targeted land, which city officials have been eyeing for almost a year, consists of 153 acres of the Philips farm, including the 40-acre Bristol Lake. That land would possibly be combined with 320 acres across Gans Road owned by Sue Crane to create the park.

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