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Council approves Wal-Mart plan

Another Wal-Mart is coming to town.

After tabling the issue three times in the past two months, the Columbia City Council voted 6-1 Monday to approve a rezoning that will put a new Wal-Mart Supercenter on the city’s south side. The 53-acre shopping plaza, along Grindstone Parkway, will include other commercial developments.

Rolling on the river

Each year, Steve Witzig anxiously awaits December, when the air is bitingly cold and the wind rips through Columbia. On icy winter weekends, Witzig gets out of bed and bundles himself in a thick sweater and his favorite pair of swim trunks. Witzig is going kayaking.

Witzig, an MU graduate student, started the MU Canoe and Kayak club, better known to members as MUCK, in 2001. The idea stemmed from the closure of the MU Wilderness Adventure Program, which had left more than a dozen canoes and kayaks sitting unused at the MU Student Recreation Center.

Gun law to bar names from public records

Missouri’s new concealed-gun law prohibits law enforcement from releasing the names of people with permits to carry hidden handguns, and Boone County Sheriff Ted Boehm doesn’t like it.

“This is completely opposite of other laws that are on the books,” Boehm said. “If they’re going to open one up for public record, they need to open them all.”

Recall? What recall?

CALIFORNIA, Mo. — Political bus tours haven’t made their way here yet, and this town’s 20 churches have more clout than anything produced in Hollywood. The biggest political spat in this California is whether the new city hall should be built within city limits.

To residents of California, Mo., population 4,005, today’s recall vote on embattled California Gov. Gray Davis is a farce. It’s something they keep half an ear on — if that — and harumph when reporters come to call.

Population of deer creating concern in city

John George, a natural history biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, sees the overpopulation of Columbia’s urban deer population as something that can’t be ignored.

“There’s a trend here, and it’s not going away,” George said during a presentation he made to members of the Columbia City Council before its Monday meeting.

Feeding your nest egg

With the future of Social Security in doubt and company pensions becoming increasingly rare, many employers are taking a more active role in helping workers plan for retirement.

Even smaller companies are implementing savings programs, such as the 401(k). Savings programs allow employees to contribute to their own retirement funds, with some employers offering matching contributions.

Who does that job?

After working 39 years and three months as the Athletic Department’s food service manager, Charles Eubanks just cannot get enough of working around MU sports.

Eubanks, 66, now owns and operates Eubanks Cleaning Service, the company that cleans Memorial Stadium after all home football games; a job that Eubanks said has its game-time advantages amid the mess that is left behind.

Helicopter search yields no new leads

Investigators will meet this morning to decide whether to call off their search for a downed helicopter after spending more than two days combing for clues in soybean fields in western Boone County.

The search began Saturday night after an anguished caller told 911 dispatchers his helicopter, westbound from North Carolina, had crashed while carrying him and six other people.

Budget chairman: Give Mo. schools withheld funds

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House budget committee chairman is calling on Gov. Bob Holden to release some of his $240 million in withholdings to public schools because state revenues are up.

However, it is too early to consider releasing the withholdings, state Budget Director Linda Luebbering said.

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.

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