Experts on alert for West Nile peak

There is only one human case of West Nile Virus waiting to be confirmed in Missouri, a sharp decrease in the number infected at this time last year. However, the government and experts warn people to stay alert as the peak season for the virus begins.

Spread by mosquitoes, West Nile was first found in the United States in 1999 and reached Missouri last year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people show no symptoms when infected. However, about one in 150 people infected will develop a severe illness, with symptoms that may include a fever and lead to a coma.

Handling the helmet regulations

Last spring the Columbia City Council, prompted by child safety advocacy group Safe Kids and the board of health, passed a city ordinance requiring children to wear protective helmets when biking or skating. To date, no enforcement measures have been taken on the ordinance. Local lawmakers say they never intended to enforce it.

Columbia’s helmet ordinance requires children 15 and younger to wear protective helmets when riding bicycles, inline skates, skateboards or scooters within the city limits. The ordinance gives officers the power to fine the guardians of children without helmets between $5 and $25 for the infraction. It also allows officers to temporarily impound the items from children who violate the ordinance.

’03 MAP test scores slide back in areas

Missouri Aptitude Test scores for 2003 fell in more areas than they improved.

“I am disappointed,” said Kent King, Missouri’s education commissioner. “We didn’t see the kind of growth that I would have hoped and anticipated that we would see.”

Police seek area robbery suspect

A man suspected of a string of robberies Wednesday in Boone and Callaway counties remained at large Wednesday night, police said.

Police said he same man who robbed the United Security Bank in Kingdom City on Wednesday afternoon may also have stolen a car from a dealership in northeast Columbia and may have snatched the purse of a 61-year-old Columbia woman in front of the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 415 Conley Road.

Study warns of Alzheimer’s crisis

Alzheimer’s disease will spread more rapidly than previously believed, according to a new national study on the disease that destroys brain cells and leads to memory loss and dementia.

“Unless things change dramatically, we are going to have 12 to 14 million Alzheimer’s patients in the country,” said Dr. Armon Yanders, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Research Program at MU. “It is one of the major health crises facing the country over the next 50 years.”

Parents fret over lack of school supply list

As a new school year approaches, families are crowding stores searching for school supplies. Each year, to make back-to-school shopping easier, Columbia elementary schools and two junior highs distribute lists of school supplies to local Wal-Marts, Targets and Kmarts.

“Having a list means I don’t have to rush,” said Carla Hensley, a mother of three school-aged children, including two in middle school. Although Oakland and Jefferson junior high schools provide supply lists, West Junior High does not. For its opening day, West tells students to bring pens, pencils, notebooks and paper, leaving it to teachers to give students a concise list of required materials.

Research looks at anxiety in kids

Children at Columbia Montessori School might go barefoot in their daily activities today, or they might sit together observing nature on the playground.

“The child is encouraged to take care of as many things as they are capable of doing themselves,” said school director and MU psychologist Nancy Davis.

The next big step . . .

Some are moving across town and others are moving across the country. Five local high school students have chosen different paths, but are sharing some of the same mixed emotions and experiences as they prepare for the next step in their lives — college.

The transition from high school to college can be a challenge. Uncertainties about the future and goodbyes to family and friends can be overwhelming. Some high school graduates will be hours from home. Others will be only minutes, choosing one of the several options for higher education that is offered in Columbia.

AmeriCorps educating about Lewis and Clark

Joseph Fighting Bear Hodge carries a photograph of his great-great-grandfather Manuelito in his shirt pocket. The last war chief of the Navajo Nation, Manuelito described education as a ladder and urged his people to climb it. His words inspired Hodge, who is Navajo and Apache, to teach in Colorado.

Now Hodge will help educate people here about the Lewis and Clark expedition and the history of the Missouri River. Hodge is one of several AmeriCorps volunteers working on the new Lewis and Clark Bicentennial AmeriCorps project, spearheaded by the Missouri River Communities Network in Columbia.

Mistakes plaguing Missouri

Coach Gary Pinkel’s opinion of the Missouri football team hasn’t changed in the past four days.

He isn’t impressed.

NCAA’s look into Missouri spreads

The NCAA has talked with coaches at the College of Southern Idaho, a junior college program that has sent two players to Missouri, during its investigation of the MU program.

The NCAA has twice talked with Jay Cyriac, a former College of Southern Idaho assistant coach, during its search for potential rules violations. Cyriac, who coached former Tigers Ricky Clemons and Uche Okafor at CSI, said Wednesday that the Missouri coaching staff had no influence over him during the school’s recruitment of the players.

Young Tigers get started

Missouri volleyball coach Susan Kreklow stood quietly Wednesday night on the floor of Hearnes Center as she watched her team scrimmage in the Black and Gold match.

It was not an angry quiet, nor was it one of satisfaction.