No deer allowed

You may not see them or hear them, but you can usually tell where they have been. They can turn a vegetable garden, a field of crops, or even a plot of Christmas trees into a disaster area.

Deer are the No. 1 cause of crop damage in Missouri, and R. Scott Brundage has spent years trying to keep them from munching on his trees and soybeans. If he has his way, producers will soon be able to spend less money, time and labor in protecting their crops from deer.

A new exercise facility opens its doors to women

Women in Columbia now have a new option when it comes to fitness.

Females In Training, a new women-only fitness center, opened Feb. 7 in the building that used to house Club Woodrail. The building is attached to the Missouri Athletic Center.

Moo Cow medic

MU’s expert on so-called mad cow disease says it is “an almost nonexistent risk for people.”

“The risk of transmission is very, very small,” said Dr. Jeffrey Tyler, a professor of veterinary medicine and surgery in the food animal division.

New labor group hopes to sway local politics

The United Working People of Mid-Missouri hopes to restore labor’s effect on the political process, at least in Boone County.

The new political action committee, composed mainly of people who also belong to labor unions, served chili with a side of politics Sunday at its kickoff event, which doubled as fund-raiser and pep rally. The chili cook-off attracted about 150 people, many of them union members.

Reactions to Nader are mixed

Some love it. Some hate it. But Ralph Nader’s independent candidacy for president is real, and voters will have to deal with it.

Four years ago, Nader suffered a barrage of criticism and was accused of taking vital votes from Democrat Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election. While he’s running as an independent and not as the Green Party nominee this time, the question remains the same: Will Nader undermine the Democratic effort to claim the White House?

House panel votes to keep MAP funding

JEFFERSON CITY — The House Education Appropriations Committee voted Monday to reinstate money earmarked for the statewide Missouri Assessment Program testing regimen after learning that roughly $343 million of federal education aid was at stake.

The committee adopted an amendment to a funding bill last Wednesday that would have taken $5.1 million in state money — dedicated for funding MAP testing only — and put it into a discretionary pot. From that pot, local school boards would have had broad control over how that money was spent.


10 ways to make commuting more enjoyable

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.