Bram Sable-Smith

Civics Desk

A curious Columbia, Missouri native, Bram Sable-Smith has documented mbira musicians in Zimbabwe, mining protests in Chile, and the St. Louis Airport's tumultuous relationship with the Chinese cargo business. He comes to KBIA most recently from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. 

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Katie Hiler / KBIA

This week the EPA will make a final decision on a proposed new rule for the disposal of coal combustion residuals, called CCRs, or coal ash.


Hamoodi Family / HelpHamoodi.org

Dr. Shakir Hammodi - a Columbia business man sentenced to three years in prison for violating trade sanctions - was released from prison this week.

According to his son Owais Abdul-Kafi, Hamoodi was released to a Columbia halfway house on December 9. Abdul-Kafi says Hamoodi will be allowed to return home at some point to serve the remainder of his sentence - ending April 7 -  under house arrest. Abdul-Kafi says he's not sure when that transfer would take place.

In a relatively short meeting last night, three of  seven non-consent agenda  items considered by the Columbia City Council pertained to sidewalks, bringing to light the sometimes conflicting views that could lead the city to reevaluate its sidewalk regulations.


Rowden keeps seat in lopsided victory

Nov 5, 2014
Jieyan Zheng / KBIA

While there were several close races for Republican candidates in Boone County Tuesday night, the 44th district was not one of them.

cindyt7070 / Flickr

The University of Missouri and KBIA announced today the purchase of 90.5FM KWWC from Stephens College. Pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), MU will pay Stephens College $50,000 for the station in addition to providing the college with $50,000 in underwriting over a five-year period.

KBIA

After more than 80 minutes of public testimony, the Columbia City Council voted Monday night against a proposed ordinance that would have decriminalized the cultivation of medical and non-medical marijuana.

For a while, it appeared the ordinance would pass. 


TASER International, Inc.

Last year Assistant Chief John Gordon of the Columbia Police Department assembled a panel of officers. Their aim was to research cameras that could be worn by all of the officers in the department.

The panel "ranged in years of experience, obviously we had males and females on the panel and then we also had different heights," Gordon said.

"When you wear a body worn camera you wouldn't think about it but height has an element to it because of the way the lens works on the camera,” he added.


KBIA

In its first meeting of fiscal year 2015 last night, the Columbia City Council approved the rezoning of a property on Tiger Avenue that will allow the lot to be used for surface parking by the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. The five to one decision requires the statement of intent for the property be amended to remove parking garages from its proposed uses.

Columbia Daily Tribune

Sales tax. Not a great opening line for journalists trying to educate people about how a city functions. The moment sales tax is mentioned eyes glaze over, something else suddenly becomes important, and we all casually scroll through twitter on our phones.

But sales tax is actually a really fascinating topic, especially right now in our city and country’s history. To learn why, we have to go back…way back, to 1970.

401(K)2013 / Flickr

By most indicators, Columbia is a thriving city. It ranks high on several “best small places” lists. The unemployment rate is pretty low – 3.7% in 2013. The growth rate is pretty high – up 5.9% between 2010 and 2013. And you’d think as goes the city, so goes its government.

 

But during budget discussions at city council earlier this month, city manager Mike Matthes noted, “every city department is about 30% understaffed from our competition, our bench mark, our comparison cities.”

KBIA

The Columbia City Council voted unanimously last night to adopt the city manager’s budget for fiscal year 2015. The budget includes almost $429 million in spending and projects $399 million dollars in revenues.

Bram Sable-Smith

Pierre Whitfield’s shift riding on the back of a city garbage truck begins at 7:30 A.M. Over the course of one eight hour shift, Pierre and his partner will make two trips to the landfill to unload between three and five tons of trash.

The garbage sitting outside each home comes in all kinds of bags – black trash bags, white trash bags, dog food bags, grocery bags – and Whitfield says as long as they are bundled and tied,  the choice in bag doesn’t really matter to him.

But the same cannot be said for Cynthia Mitchell, manager of Columbia’s Solid Waste Utility.

Bram Sable-Smith

More than one hundred people gathered in Peace Park yesterday for Artists for Justice. The event featured performances of music and poetry as well as opportunities to contribute to collaborative artwork. 

According to Kenneth Bryant, one of the organizers for Artists for Justice, the event grew from a desire to create an outlet for the community to respond to the August 9th death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. 

  More than 70 people were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony today for Columbia’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station. 

Two of the pumps at the fueling station are reserved for the city of Columbia’s vehicle fleet. A third pump is open to private trucks while a fourth will be made available upon demand. The ribbon cutting comes just under a year after the Columbia City Council approved a partnership with California based company Clean Energy Fuels.

Opus Group

A lawsuit seeking to delay the Opus Group’s downtown student development project has been moved to federal court.

The United States Courts, Western District of Missouri will hear the case following a notice of removal filed last Thursday by attorney Christopher Rackers, representing the city of Columbia.

The lawsuit filed August 12 against the city of Columbia and City Manager Mike Matthes alleges a violation of the plaintiffs’ civil rights to free speech and to petition the government.

Austin Federa / KBIA

As demonstrations continue in Ferguson Missouri in response to the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, youth in the community are grappling with what is happening in their community. A team of KBIA reporters on Thursday went to the apartment complex where Brown was shot five days earlier to have conversations with young people about the past and future of their town.