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Elections, a business fire and a levy doesn’t break were all the buzz with Columbians on Twitter this past week.
At around 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, eleven units and 35 Columbia firefighters responded to a fire consuming O’Reilly Auto Parts on Business Loop. By the time I drove by that afternoon at around 4 p.m., the business was in ruins and a portion of the busy Columbia street Business Loop still was closed. Firefighters worked for nearly 12 hours to get the blaze under control. Early estimates of the fire damage placed the building’s destruction cost at $2.5 million, with $4 million lost in merchandise. Nearby Hong Kong Restaurant hopes to rebuild at its location and continue to serve the “best Chinese in Columbia.”
Columbia voters Tuesday decided to vote for hope, or Barbara Hoppe to remain in her Sixth Ward city council seat. Her opponent, Bill Tillotson, had waged a controversial and negative campaign against her, claiming that the councilwoman had misused her power as a member of City Council to earn favors throughout the city. Columbia voters responded decisively against the tactic, with Hoppe receiving 67 percent of the votes cast. First-time politician Michael Trapp won the Second Ward city council seat with his “Neighbors for Trapp” slogan, knocking on nearly 3,000 doors during his campaign and only spending $3,000.
A 40-cent levy passed as well on Tuesday, expecting to raise $7.8 million for Columbia Public Schools. With the increase in revenue, the district hopes to add 41 new positions across the district and increase technology district-wide. In addition to the levy, Columbians approved a $50 million bond that will help fund new CPS construction projects and improvements to facilities Columbia-wide. These improvements include a new, $20 million elementary school, building upgrades at all district high schools and an $8 million early childhood learning center. The $50 million bond won’t come into effect until 2014.
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