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Hooking MU up

New students in town no longer have to look for the hot spots in Columbia. A new Web site started by two recent MU graduates, www.MUhookitup.com, can now tell them what they need to know to survive on campus and around the city.

The site, an online source for local college students, has racked up about 50,000 hits during its first five weeks on the Web.

Holden: No guns in Capitol

Gov. Bob Holden said today that he will ban concealed weapons in state-owned or -operated buildings to ensure the safety of state employees and the public.

Holden, speaking at a news conference in St. Louis, said guns have no place on state property.

Speaking the language:

A 401(k) is a retirement plan in which employees voluntarily participate. In a 401(k), a portion of the employee’s paycheck is taken out and invested before taxes are taken out. Many companies offer some sort of matching plan in which they match all or a portion of the income an employee invests. There is a 10 percent penalty for money withdrawn before 59 1/2 years of age. A 403(b) is the equivalent of a 401(k) for educational employees and nonprofit employees.

IRA stands for “individual retirement account.” In an IRA, an employee makes tax-deferred contributions from his or her paycheck. If the employee is not a member of a company’s pension plan or meets certain income rules, he or she can make tax-deductible contributions. Others’ contributions are not tax-deductible. The main difference between an IRA and a 401(k) is that an IRA is set up by an individual, while a 401(k) is set up by a company.

City has option on gun law

The right of a Columbia resident to carry a concealed firearm might end at the front door of city buildings.

The new state law allowing certain Missouri residents to carry concealed weapons allows each municipality to decide whether to restrict that right in city buildings.

Alliance to address public-access plan

A Mediacom proposal to the Columbia City Council calls for an agreement with local television station KMIZ-KQFX to provide studio access and equipment for public-access television.

David Wilson of the Columbia Media Resource Alliance is scheduled to address the council tonight about the proposal, which would also allow Charter Communications and Mediacom to hire a full-time channel supervisor.

Conceal & Carry Comparison

And then there were five.

With Missouri’s passage of concealed-carry legislation in September, only five states — Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio — still ban hidden guns. Laws among the 45 states that issue conceal-and-carry permits are as diverse as the states themselves, and Missouri falls on the more restrictive end of the spectrum.

MU students relish chance to work for Oscar Mayer

Liz Harper is one of more than a thousand college seniors and graduates nationwide seeking to pilot America’s most recognized frankfurter: the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Oscar Mayer will choose about 12 applicants in April to attend Wienermobile training, called “Hot Dog High,” in Madison, Wis. The graduates then divide into two-person teams to drive one of the six sausage-shaped vehicles to promotional events across the country for a year, said Melissa Murphy, a current hotdogger, or driver.

Self-regulation in society is a laugh

I have observed that the “haves” seem to be the only people who do not realize that they live in a different world from the “have nots.” To say that this makes for a confused situation really is an understatement. I think those of us who read daily newspapers understand that. We can begin on page one, for example, with a story about how much better self-regulation would work in businesses like telemarketing firms or in industries which cause an impact on the environment or in insurance companies dealing with health-care management. We are supposed to glean from this that we would all be much better served if we let these people regulate themselves. We will learn that the ineffective and ineffectual “mean old” federal government will simply make a mess of it all because obviously, this is not a government of the people, but one that is comprised of people who come from another planet and don’t understand how we do things here.

From page two on, we will read stories about how often married couples cheat on their spouses, how many corporate officers have been caught stealing from their investors, how many civil servants have been caught selling classified information to the enemy, how many families have been caught stealing cable television, how many kids are illegally downloading music from the Internet and how many men have been intercepted while trafficking in child pornography. Rational thinkers will, of course, pause at this point and ask themselves where are these stellar persons of sterling character who will join hands and regulate their industries to operate in the public interest? At that time, conventional wisdom will suggest that government regulation will involve legal restrictions, which means that people found in violation will be arrested and put in jail. Self-regulation will lead to a round of wrist-slapping and some promises to do better.

Student commons draws mixed reviews

Columbia College’s new $4 million, 24,000-square-foot Atkins-Holman Student Commons is the first building to go up on the campus for eight years, but its construction has prompted mixed reactions from students.

Shawn Riley, a senior, thinks the commons will change the campus’ focus and bring in new students.

Denver supplies ways to handle panhandling

Changes in Columbia’s panhandling ordinance could take cues from the Rockies.

“Denver is a model that a lot of other downtowns look to,” said Carrie Gartner, director of the Downtown Columbia Associations.

Chance Meeting

In the summer of 1934, two college women, Alice Prey and Pearl Snavely became roommates. Aspiring teachers at Central Missouri State College in Warrensburg, they soon became best friends. After graduation, however, they drifted apart.

Almost 70 years went by, and neither woman expected to see the other ever again — until a twist of fate caused their paths to cross once more. Just as they were brought together by chance in the 1930s, the women have found themselves again living together at the Terrace Retirement Community in Columbia.

Residents pushing nuisance bill

A group of citizens is proposing an ordinance that would hold owners of rental property ultimately responsible for nuisance complaints filed against their tenants.

Under the proposed ordinance, property would be deemed a “chronic nuisance” after three reports of alleged criminal activity. A judge could close the property if the owners do not take action to eliminate the alleged nuisance. The proposed new law was drafted by John G. Clark, president of the North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association, with the help of citizens from various neighborhoods.

Battle over abortion law set for court

Missouri’s abortion rights advocates hope their lawsuit to overturn a new 24-hour waiting period for abortions will follow recent successful cases in other states.

Groups such as Planned Parenthood have successfully challenged 24-hour waiting periods in four states when courts ruled that such requirements were irrelevant or unconstitutional.

Oh, say can you sing?

A panel of judges sat expectantly as 15-year-olds China McCoy, Angel Wade and Nali Holmes circled around the black M on the floor of Hearnes Center. The rows of seats usually filled with fans were empty except for a cluster of silent singers. They raised their microphones and a moment later “The Star-Spangled Banner” filled the arena.

The girls traveled from St. Louis to audition to sing the national anthem for MU men’s or women’s basketball games.

Missourians aim to learn firearm safety

Until Saturday morning, Rita Moseley had never fired a handgun.

By Saturday night, however, the California, Mo., resident had qualified to apply for a concealed-carry permit.

Telemarketing plant closed

John and Shalloh Crandall got up early, dressed their 4-month-old son Joshua, and headed out to collect their final pay checks before filing for unemployment benefits.

The Crandalls lost their jobs on Tuesday along with 58 other employees who worked for Gannett Telemarketing Inc. They were told by the company two weeks ago that the new national do-not-call list approved by Congress would not affect their jobs, but the closure notice taped on the front door of the office told another story.

NAACP to look into local brawl

The NAACP has begun an investigation into concerns that a black man was the victim of a racially motivated crime in Columbia.

Mary Ratliff, president of the Columbia branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said she has already gathered preliminary information for the NAACP’s investigation into the injuries Bill Donnell, 46, allegedly received during a fight with two white men on Sept. 28.

Council to reconsider Grindstone proposal

As of Monday, Columbia residents might know if they’re getting another Wal-Mart.

For the third time in two months, the City Council is set to rule on the 53-acre Grindstone Plaza development that would put a Wal-Mart Supercenter along Grindstone Parkway in south Columbia. Along the way, plans have been adjusted to respond to concerns of council members and neighbors.

Missing

Rodney Griffin’s family has been waiting more than 30 years for him to come home. At the age of 21, he left Centralia for Vietnam. He’d be 55 now, but he’s never aged in the memory of his brothers. They still hope and dream for the return of a young man.

Rodney was drafted in 1969 and sent to boot camp at Fort Leonard Wood. Afterward, he came home and married a girl he had dated in high school. He didn’t know that a week later he would receive his orders to leave for Vietnam. His family didn’t know this would be the last time they would see him.

Spiritual growth

Through the double doors of Forum Boulevard Christian Church, there is a sign-up center for visitors on the right and a brightly colored map of the world on the left — on the one hand welcoming newcomers and on the other displaying the church’s mission outreach beyond Columbia.

Sixteen flags from around the world decorate the walls of the church’s eight-sided sanctuary, where every Sunday an average of 800 congregants over three services listen to the Rev. Max Jennings.

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