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What's Happened

A UM Board of Curators search committee meets Thursday at the Columbia campus to begin discussing the process for finding Gary Forsee’s replacement. Forsee stepped down Jan. 7; he said he wants to spend more time with his wife, who is undergoing treatment for cancer. Forsee, former CEO of Sprint Nextel Corp., was at the helm of the four-campus system since 2007 and overcame skepticism among faculty who worried about his lack of experience in leading an academic institution.
Gov. Jay Nixon, in his State of the State address Wednesday, proposed cutting 7 percent in state support to the UM System. University officials say that cut equates to $29.8 million and would put the university’s funding gap at nearly $72 million.
Preparing for the projected funding gap, the Curators will likely vote to raise tuition at their regular meeting next week. University administrators have indicated they will likely ask for a percentage increase greater than the rate of inflation, which requires a waiver from the Department of Higher Education. Administrators have said they want to keep the increase less than 10 percent.
The Columbia City Council Tuesday night approved adding a bond measure to the April 5 ballot to purchase the Columbia Energy Center from Ameren Corporation. The city currently owns 25 percent of the natural gas-powered generator and would buy the remaining 75 percent.
Also Tuesday, the City Council decided against paying $34,500 to Kansas City-based Burns and McDonnell Engineering Company Inc. to review updated building codes developed by the Building Construction Codes Commission. Commissioners and some builders opposed the outside review because it would begin after the commission finished developing their recommendations. They were also worried the review could lead to more stringent building regulations aimed at increasing energy efficiency.
The Council amended the city code to keep a rental permit from being transferred to a new owner when a property is sold. New owners would have to submit to a property inspection after they buy a rental property. The ordinance would also revoke a property owner’s rental permit for three years if city inspectors found evidence of over-occupancy. The owner would then have to apply for a temporary one-year permit that mandates quarterly inspections.
The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-3 to recommend the City Council reject a proposal by developers Nathan and Jon Odle to rezone 2.5 acres at the corner of College Avenue and Walnut Street from residential to commercial. (See story, Page 9)
The Columbia Tax Increment Financing Commission recommended approval of Dave Parmley’s request for tax increment financing to redevelop the downtown Regency Hotel. (See story, Page 20)
The Missouri Department of Transportation announced it will replace the Route WW bridge over the north fork of the Grindstone Creek just east of US Highway 63 in mid-February. The bridge will be closed for approximately 54 days, and motorists will have to use a detour during construction.
The Missouri Department of Transportation informed Columbia staff that the state would begin work this summer on a new interchange at the entrance to the Columbia Regional Airport at Route H and US 63. A new interchange has been a Columbia and Boone County priority since 2008 because of the increase in traffic at the airport and frequent dangerous accidents at the intersection.
Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, was appointed chairman of the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee. After only two years in the legislature, Schaefer’s post on one of the most important committees in the legislature gives him a huge say in deciding the state’s spending priorities.
The filing period for candidates planning to run for City Council in the April 5 election closed Jan. 11. Four candidates filed for the 1st Ward City Council seat being vacated by Paul Sturtz, and two filed for the 5th Ward seat being vacated by Laura Nauser.
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Helen Anthony entered the race last week for the 5th Ward City Council seat. Anthony, an attorney who practiced law in New England before moving to Columbia in 2003, will face Glen Ehrhardt, a partner in the law firm Rogers, Ehrhardt and Weber LLC.
The candidates running for the 1st Ward are: Darrell Foster, a 1st Ward Ambassador who worked on the campaign of Sturtz’s predecessor on the Council, Almeta Crayton; Pam Forbes, who works at Schneider Electric Square D and is a member of the Community Development Commission and was involved with the People for a Taser-Free Columbia campaign; Mitch Richards, a member of Keep Columbia Free, which formed in opposition to the successful April ballot proposition to install downtown surveillance cameras; and accountant Fred Schmidt, the first candidate to file for the 1st Ward race. Schmidt owns Accounting Cycle, is a member of the Columbia Locally Owned Retail and Services board, the Missouri Bicycle Federation, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.
Filing closed Jan. 18 for candidates planning to run for the Columbia Board of Education. Six candidates filed for three open seats: Liz Peterson, Helen Wade, Dave Raithel, Sara Dickson and incumbents Jonathan Sessions and Tom Rose. Current board member Ines Segert did not apply for reelection.
KOMU and Mediacom reached an agreement Jan. 7 on compensation the local NBC and CW affiliate demanded from the cable giant. The approximately 30,000 local Mediacom customers spent four days without access to NBC and CW programming because the two sides failed to reach an agreement by a contract deadline.
The State Historical Society of Missouri took over management of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection and laid off 10 employees, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported Jan. 10. Both operations were headquartered in Ellis Library, and six of the 10 layoffs were employees at the MU location.
Loveall RVs, located at 8877 I-70 Drive N.E, was destroyed by a fire early Tuesday morning, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported. Damage to the business, owned by Dale Loveall, is estimated in the millions of dollars.
The US Small Business Administration named Patricia Brown-Dixon regional administrator for Region 7, which includes Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

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