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.

C-SPAN tour bus visits MU

Schools were closed Monday, but one big yellow bus was running right on schedule.

The C-SPAN School Bus was parked at the north end of the Francis Quadrangle from noon to 4 p.m. to allow students and other Columbia residents to come aboard and learn about the news channel.

Enduring the elements

After chipping out of the thick layer of ice that coated everything in sight, motorists and road crews were bracing Monday night for another winter storm that was expected to blanket the frozen landscape in several inches of snow.

Bill challenges Floyd's chancellor bid

A Rolla senator wants to make sure UM system President Elson Floyd doesn’t take over the Columbia campus. A bill filed last week before the Missouri Senate would prevent the current president from becoming chancellor of any of the four campuses in the system — Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis.

Candidates finish N.H. on nasty note

NASHUA, N.H. — Playing to huge crowds of wavering voters, Democrats swapped charges of dirty tricks and elitism Monday, closing out the New Hampshire primary on a sour note before the presidential race goes national.

From coffee shops, truck stops, school gyms and country stores, the candidates took their last dose of small-state retail politicking with a collective grimace, testy and tired after a seesaw week of campaigning.

Mo. execution case is bound for high court

WASHINGTON — When Christopher Simmons was sentenced to death for the murder of Shirley Ann Crook in 1994, it got little more than a brief in a local newspaper, as did the discovery of Crook’s body in the Meramec River near St. Louis.

But now a ruling in that case could affect the lives of about 75 people on death row in the United States.

College of Education to get big gift

Today, MU’s College of Education will announce its largest gift ever, campus officials said Monday.

Although MU officials declined to release the donor’s name, he is Harold Hook of Houston, an MU graduate and former chief executive officer of insurance giant American General Corp.

Office space

A pair of beady red eyes glare at George Batek as he works at his desk at the Boone County Public Defenders office. They belong to a black plastic rat he calls “State’s Witness,” a squeaky old friend once used as a prop in the courtroom.

Nearby, not far from books with titles such as “The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers” and “Murder in the Heartland” is a bobble-head doll, The Enforcer from the movie “Lilo and Stitch.”

Ice covers Columbia

Columbians awoke Sunday morning to find their town coated with a quarter-inch to a half-inch of ice thanks to an early morning freezing rainstorm. For much of the day, downtown was deserted as ice and snow forced some businesses to close and made a simple stroll down the sidewalk a treacherous undertaking.

By lunchtime, the freezing rain had been replaced by light snow. Joe Pedigo of the National Weather Service in St. Louis said snow would probably fall throughout much of the day today and continue into the night. Pedigo expected 1 to 2 inches of snow accumulation by this evening but said no more snow was expected for the rest of the week.

Signs to mark path of Boone’s Lick Trail

David Sapp spent almost two years researching old deeds, land surveys and other historical records to map the exact route of the historic Boone’s Lick Trail across Boone County.

By this summer, the trail, one of the first routes used by 19th-century settlers heading west, will be marked by signs designed by a Boone County resident.

Bills could cost county revenue

Nike Thompson is keeping a close eye on the state budget process this legislative session.

As a state lobbyist for Boone County government, Thompson worries that a projected state revenue shortfall of $773 million might roll “downhill to the county” in the form of unfunded mandates and that other legislation might cost the county revenue.

Focusing on money clouds the mind

I’ll be the first to admit that although I realize money is not everything, shortly after I wake up in the morning one of the first things I’ve been thinking about lately is whether I owe anybody anything and when it is due. I mention this because it is a new experience for me. I’ve always been the kind of person who has so much going on in my mind that money has not occupied many of my thoughts. Never having had any money to speak of, I have never had any reason to give it much thought. In other words, I’m not one of those people who have experienced an economic boom either before or after the big tax cut.

So, I don’t know why it is that money has become such an important subject in my thought factory over the past couple of years. Since it is rarely a topic of discussion among my friends and family, I can only guess that it is outside influences that keep me financially anxious and stressed. I know, for example, that all the junk mail I receive either online or by snail mail is about money. I get volumes on how much I can borrow and all the wonderful goods and services available for purchase for so many dollars and cents. An hour of television viewing will earn me at least a 30-minute sales presentation involving the receipt and expenditure of money. The subject screams at me from billboards. It seems every available slip of empty paper has been confiscated and turned into an advertising document that has to do with money.