Thumbs up to Missouri Students Association President Nick Droege, who traveled to Jefferson City on Feb. 5 with advisers Ben Levin and Sam Green to urge lawmakers to allocate part of a state construction fund to MU. It has been at least a decade since the university has received money from this kind of fund, which uses revenues from a bond issuance, and it's badly needed — the money would fund the renovation of the nearly-crumbling Lafferre Hall. The trip was a good way to kick off Droege's term, and we hope he continues to advocate for MU and its students.
Thumbs up to Sen. Rory Ellinger, D-University City, and Sen. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, for supporting legislation to make Missouri's marijuana laws similar to the city of Columbia's. The bill would treat seizures involving less than 35 grams like traffic violations, eliminating the state's ridiculously low standards for incarcerating pot offenders and moving Missouri toward a more sensible drug policy. It would also make it easier for MUPD officers, who are commissioned by both the state and the city, to say nothing of students caught with small amounts of marijuana.
Thumbs down to the Columbia Police Department, which was sued by four plaintiffs for unlawfully seizing citizens' weapons and holding onto them for far too long, in clear violation of asset forfeiture laws. We learned earlier this year that the CPD has been profiting from forfeited funds, and this lawsuit is a painfully costly reminder that the department's asset forfeiture policies must change. The CPD thieved these citizens and violated their Second Amendment rights. It's pitiful, it's unjust and it has to stop.
Thumbs up to Ashland Police Department employee Terry Toalson for helping reunite former police dog Fano with his trainer and rightful owner, fired CPD officer Rob Sanders. After Sanders was fired last year, CPD sold Fano to the Clarence Police Department for $1 despite Sanders offering $10,000 for the canine. Clarence police chief Raymond Barton then sold Fano to Toalson, who then gave the dog back to Sanders. The dog should have been retired as soon as Sanders, his handler, was fired, and CPD lost $9,999 by refusing to take him out of commission. But at least now Fano has the best home possible - with his original owner.
Thumbs down to the city of Columbia for raising parking meter costs downtown after installing a new meter system. The new meters also carry a minimum two-hour purchase with credit cards, which means many residents and visitors will still have to carry around quarters with them when they park downtown. The key to a vibrant commercial district is accessibility, and raising the costs of parking will only serve to discourage Columbians and others from spending more time exploring our downtown district.
Thumbs way up to MU wheelchair basketball coach Ron Lykins, who was named head coach for the 2016 U.S. Paralympics men’s team. It’s a huge accomplishment and is well deserved for Lykins, who has done great things with the blossoming MU team. For the first time in the squad’s brief history, they defeated top-ranked Alabama on Feb. 1, which is surely a sign of things to come for the program and Lykins’s continued success.
Finally, a thumbs up to the cast and crew of MU Vagina Monologues. The show is a well-publicized, well-organized and long-running tradition here and is a great experience both for those on the stage and for those in the audience. Ticket revenues benefit the True North Center, the L.E.A.D. Institute and the MU Stop The Violence Fund. We urge you, whether you possess a vagina or not, to attend Saturday's show and help celebrate women's empowerment - and by doing so, help support some of Columbia's most vulnerable residents.
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