Saving a piece of history

Last summer, Debbie Sheals embarked on an ambitious task. Going from one address to another, she researched the architectural history of almost every building in Columbia’s Special Business District.

The result is a richly detailed report that could eventually put several dozen downtown buildings on the list of America’s most important cultural resources — the National Register of Historic Places.

The North Ninth Street Historic District could join National Register of Historic Places.

Seven buildings in a single block in downtown Columbia could soon be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The buildings, known collectively as the “North Ninth Street Historic District,” will be considered this month by the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for nomination to the register, a listing of the nation’s historic and archaeological resources.

A century of learning

Wearing a white suit, fake moustache and glasses, the hunched man wobbled into the gymnasium.

“Do you know who our special guest is?” Principal Mary Sue Gibson asked the students of Robert E. Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School on Friday morning.

A collection of counter culture

Wayne Penney will be the first to acknowledge that he doesn’t quite look like somebody who would manage a store like Sunshine Daydream Imports.

The former military man, with short brown hair and a brown mustache, owns what he calls a “hippie store” in downtown Columbia; Sunshine Daydream Imports at 812 E. Broadway.

Workers without insurance on the rise

The number of Missourians who had no health insurance in 2002 rose to almost 650,000, many of whom lacked coverage because they also lacked a job.

But more and more, even Missourians who are working are likely to be without health insurance.

Ferguson goes for record

Michael Ferguson tries to score every game.

It is a mind-set that has helped Ferguson, a junior at Rock Bridge, tie the school record for goals in a season at 28.

Drug paraphernalia laws come under fire

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a bong may still be illegal, regardless of its contents.

Recent sting operations by the Department of Justice, under the direction of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, have targeted regional retail shops in Pennsylvania and Iowa along with manufacturers and national distributors in California and elsewhere for the sale of drug paraphernalia. Although targeted largely at online retailers, the enforcement and prosecution of federal drug paraphernalia law in those cases — code-named Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter — are cause for concern for local shops selling “smoking accessories.”

Eating-habits study leads to deeper issue

I would doubt that it came as a surprise to anyone that a study commissioned by Gerber Products Co. found that a lot of American infants were pigging out on candy, pizza and a mega-smorgasbord of sugary, salty, fat fast–foods instead of mother’s milk and baby formula. Parenting has changed so much over the last few decades that the fact that infants are being fed like adults is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

A scant 30 years ago, new mothers remained in the hospital for at least three days following the birthing experience. At least they had breathing time to recuperate from the experience before they had to assume the responsibility of caring for the baby. If they had to return to work, there was usually a family member, neighbor or friend to look after the infant.

Managed care merger would affect 1.4 million Missourians

JEFFERSON CITY — The announcement of the $16.4 billion merger between managed care providers Anthem Inc. and WellPoint Health Networks Inc. last week comes at a time when the Missouri Chamber of Commerce says businesses throughout the state are concerned about rising premiums and the availability of health insurance plan alternatives.

“It’s one of the highest priorities our employers have right now — especially the small businesses, which make up most of our membership,” said Missouri Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Karen Buschmann.

49ers dive past Rams

SAN FRANCISCO — Though Tim Rattay had a smashing debut as an NFL starter, the San Francisco 49ers’ defense was even more impressive.

Ask the St. Louis Rams, who had no luck against either of them.

Okayo sets NYC mark

NEW YORK — Margaret Okayo surged past her closest competitors and took the lead with about seven miles to go in the New York City Marathon.

There was no doubt she would win. Only one question remained: What would the new course record become?

Cautions don’t halt Earnhardt

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. kept his slim Winston Cup championship hopes alive Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Earnhardt passed Jimmie Johnson for the lead with 51 laps remaining in the Checker Auto Parts 500 and stayed out front through a series of restarts in a race featuring a record-tying 10 caution flags.