Volatile milk prices squeeze Missouri dairies

The average price dairy farmers were paid for 100 pounds (approximately 11.6 gallons) of milk has dropped sharply after hitting record highs in recent years, imperiling Missouri dairies and triggering federal Milk Income Loss Contract payments. MILC payments are distributed when benchmark prices drop below a certain level and cover 2,985,000 pounds of milk, or the production of about 130 average cows. With an average herd size of 63 cows as of 2008, the vast majority of Missouri’s 1,760 dairy operators receive the MILC subsidy for all the milk they produce. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also responded to plunging prices by taking the highly unusual step of setting a federal support price for some cheese and dry milk.

Police standards unit report

A report by the Columbia Police Department’s Professional Standards Unit shows an increase in arrests and a decrease in use of force from the first to the second quarter.

School MAP scores

Schools get graded

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released this year's adequate yearly progress results for schools. All states must comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act by proving a growing number of students are proficient in communication arts and math.
In 2009, 59.2 percent of students were expected to be proficient in communication arts and 54.1 percent proficient in math. However, several other factors are also considered when determining whether a school makes adequate yearly progress.

If you can't stand the heat

GRAPHIC | The Columbia Public School District changed its policy on heat-related dismissals in 2008. Under the new policy, only schools without air-conditioning will be released early.

Acoustic piano sales fall

A rough 150 years for Providence

The minuscule Providence, a once-thriving river town that peaked at about 3,000 residents and is now occupied by just one family, has faced more than a century of setbacks, beginning when the Missouri River changed course and left it high and dry in the 19th century. Now the Forum Development Group, which had consolidated the old Providence town site and about 1,200 acres in the area is, like the river before it, moving on. The property is for sale for about $36 million.

Truman VA Coverage Area

GRAPHIC | Truman Veterans Hospital covers 44 counties in Missouri as well as Pike County, Ill.

VA Hospital Expansion

GRAPHIC | On Monday, Truman Veterans Hospital will break ground on a new addition. Construction at the hospital will unfold in three phases — construction of the new building, followed by two phases of renovations within the old.

VA map

Breaking with the Party

GRAPHIC | Sen. Kit Bond has voted with his party 78.1 percent of the time since the 111th Congress convened in January.

VA coverage

VA Construction Timeline

GRAPHIC | Construction plans for the addition to and renovation of Truman Veterans Hospital.

Online enrollment

Advances in technology and a rise in demand has enabled an increase in online classes offered by Missouri schools, with MU, Stephens College and Columbia College leading the way. Columbia College, in particular, has seized the opportunity and now runs online and satellite campuses across the country.

Radiofrequency ablation

RF Ablation is a treatment for a precancerous condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. The treatment consists of inserting and then inflating a balloon at the end of a scope within the affected area of the esophagus. A rapid (less than one second) burst of energy removes a very thin layer of the diseased esophagus, allowing healthy underlying tissue to surface.

Same book, different prices

Textbooks are becoming more readily available in alternative formats to help students cope with book costs. “Exploring Business,” by Karen Collins, is one textbook offered in multiple formats. An open source version is also available free online.

Recording red-light renegades

The city’s first red-light cameras, at Providence Road and Broadway, are up and running, though violators will not be ticketed until the end of a 30-day warning period. A second set of cameras should be installed on the corner of Stadium Boulevard and Worley Street sometime next week.

Missouri River 340 Race and canoe designs

2010 City Budget

GRAPHIC | Although the proposed city budget for 2010 is down from the 2009 budget, the distribution of funds to departments remains similar.

2010 city budget 2

GRAPHIC | The relative distribution of funds to departments for the proposed 2010 city budget.