Lawmakers: School funding is ‘not there’

Going to court or changing leadership in the Missouri General Assembly are the only ways a Columbia lawmaker thinks state-funding considerations for public education will change.

State Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, told the Columbia Board of Education on Tuesday that current leaders come from “hold harmless” districts where schools do not feel the budget cuts as deeply and that only a revolt from the rural districts may bring more money to schools.

Street privatization issue delayed

The Columbia Housing Authority commissioners assured a crowd of wary residents that it won’t discuss the privatization of streets adjacent to public housing until January.

Private ownership of those streets would allow housing authority officials to arrest individuals that are on the no-trespassing list, such as drug dealers, and move them away from people’s homes.

Liquid assets

It’s all about the cups.

Cups are the key to the keg for any student looking to drink cheap and easy in the East Campus neighborhood, where scores of college students on a typical weekend flock to any of several homes where the beer is flowing.

I-70 widening options being weighed

Jon Day, general manager of Old Chicago, said he hadn’t heard about the proposed expansion of Interstate 70 until Monday when he was contacted about a survey being sent to businesses in and around Columbia.

Day’s restaurant on I-70 Drive Southwest is one of almost 400 businesses in and around Columbia that can expect to receive a survey from the Missouri Department of Transportation in the next two weeks.

Firearms in parks no game

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Parents screaming at coaches. Coaches shoving umpires. Spectators fighting in the stands.

Hooliganism has become such a familiar part of youth sports that some Missouri parks officials worry hidden guns could soon add a new element of danger.

Supermarkets threatened by Supercenters

Before Columbia’s only Wal-Mart Supercenter opened five years ago, John Freeman usually made about four other shopping stops before he could buy everything on his list.

He frequented Gerbes, Eastgate Foods, Dollar General and area convenience stores looking for sales. But now, he just goes to Wal-Mart.

Watch Patriot Act, speaker urges

The broad powers given to the U.S. government under the Patriot Act should make citizens wary, and Americans should be prepared to protect their civil liberties, Matt LeMieux said in a speech at the MU Law School Monday night.

LeMieux, executive director of the eastern Missouri chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the act is useful in helping prevent terrorism but Americans should keep a close eye on it.

City tables gun ordinance

At its meeting Monday, the Columbia City Council voted to table a proposed ordinance that would have banned concealed weapons in city-owned buildings and affected the possession of guns in city parks.

The current city code does not allow any “deadly or dangerous” weapons in city parks, but the proposal would amend that code to allow concealed handguns to be carried, as long as the owner has a valid permit.

McCaskill makes it official

For the second time in Missouri history, an incumbent Democratic governor will face significant opposition in a primary race for the gubernatorial nomination.

Claire McCaskill officially announced Monday her candidacy in the race for governor at her alma mater, Hickman High School.

New link to trails planned

City officials are working to bridge the gap between the Seven Oaks Neighborhood and Hinkson Creek Trail.

An ordinance passed by the Columbia City Council this month will create a trail extending about 56 feet to connect the neighborhood to the Hinkson Trail, which connects Grindstone Park to the MKT Nature/Fitness Trail.

On-the-job deaths up from ’01

JEFFERSON CITY — Federal statistics suggest Missouri has become a less safe place to work.

According to a recent Department of Labor release, the number of fatal work injuries in Missouri rose by almost 21 percent during 2002 with 30 more deaths than the previous year.

Summer sneaks back into town

Columbia was so warm and breezy Monday that it was almost a surprise to see the gold and brown leaves drifting to the ground. In the late afternoon — when dozing in a hammock seemed preferable to anything else — the city reached a high of 84 degrees, two degrees shy of its record. Winds gusted at 15-25 mph.

Across the city, residents threw off their recently unpacked sweaters and headed for favorite warm-weather haunts. At Shake’s Frozen Custard off Nifong Boulevard, Karen Dye bought a box full of cold treats for co-workers at State Farm Insurance Co.

MU’s own Web-based software puts job-seeking students on the fast track

For MU graduate David Burkhold, the problem wasn’t finding a job, it was deciding which one to take. A marketing major, Burkhold was courted by a number of companies in his final semesters before negotiating his way to a lucrative sales position with Altria, a New York- based conglomerate.

All he used was a computer and eRecruiting, MU’s own closed electronic job board, where access can mean a fast track to employment.

Who does that job?

Gnawing hunger drives millions to fast-food restaurants every day. When they pull up to the drive-through window, their attention narrowly focused on the menu and what to order, few people pay much mind to the shrubs leading up to the menu or the finely sifted gravel surrounding it or the neatly trimmed grass that defines the borders of the parking lot, which is also handsomely landscaped.

Nick Pinkston was no exception — until he began his job as a laborer for Oasis Landscapes and Irrigation. He said he now realizes the time and effort it takes to beautify a fast-food restaurant’s outside appearance.

Retiree uses Web to carve niche in toy market

Gary Naylor’s eyes light up when he shows off what he can do with wood. Surrounded by wooden trains, airplanes, dump trucks and race cars in his basement workshop at 2318 Windmill Court, he often stays up past midnight working on things people tell him can’t be done.

“There’s never a dull moment around here,” he said. “I just have so much fun with it.”

Music to soothe the soul

On a typical day, Columbia Police Detective Jeff Westbrook works to combat domestic violence and counsel victims of such abuse. At night, however, Westbrook can be found on his porch working toward a different goal — mastering the banjo.

Westbrook began playing the banjo two years ago and has since joined the local bluegrass band Gospel Salute.

Water plant upgrade

From the time it was built in 1972, Columbia’s water treatment plant at McBaine has worked like a heart pumping on overdrive, trying to outpace explosive growth and sweltering Missouri summers.

It works great most of the time, plant superintendent John Betz said. For one, Columbia has had a constant supply of water. For another, he said, that water is remarkably clean.

Weapons ordinance to get vote tonight

While the new law to carry concealed guns is still on hold, Columbia is drawing closer to banning guns from city-owned buildings.

A proposed ordinance is scheduled for a second reading and a vote at tonight’s city council meeting, which is being held at 7 p.m. in the Daniel Boone City Building.

City plans to reel in park visitors by stocking lake

Columbians, starting Nov. 1, will have the opportunity to fish for trout without leaving the city.

The Missouri Department of Conservation, the Mid-Missouri Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the city of Columbia are stocking Cosmo-Bethel Lake with 2,400 rainbow trout. They are sharing the costs, which will be between $4,000 and $5,000.

New taxi service in works for city

With endorsements from the city and county, John Huskey and Glen Willet hope they’re on the road to creating a new kind of taxi service for Columbia.

“Our purpose is to improve the format by providing assistance to individuals who aren’t served by public transportation,” Huskey said. “We could solve 80 percent of the transportation problems.”