U.S. aims to buy avian flu vaccines

WASHINGTON — Mass production of a new vaccine that scientists believe can protect against an avian flu outbreak could begin as early as mid-September, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Sunday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the government is ready to move ahead with ordering significantly more than the 2 million doses it acquired from a French vaccine maker before testing began earlier this year to jump-start the U.S. vaccine stockpile in case the tests were successful.

Visiting overlooked scenery

Wearing a camouflage-patterned baseball cap, Justin Stegeman, 12, stands, looking out over the Eagle Bluffs Wetlands.

The sound of a buzzing engine comes down the river. Scott Bell, a member of the Missouri Waterfowl Association, points more than 100 feet below, showing Justin a flat-bottomed motorboat boat poking out from between the trees. Bell shows him where ducks would fly over the fields in hunting season.

MU’s parking shifts gears

Addition and subtraction are integral to MU's parking equation.

“Every day I'm in the process of adding more parking or losing parking. It is never done,” said Jim Joy, director of parking and transportation.

Police look into woman's death

The death of a 74-year-old woman Saturday is under investigation by Columbia police.

Officers arrived at a residence in the 800 block of Again Street to assist medics with an unresponsive woman at 10:18 a.m. after a report from a family member, Sgt. John White said.

In search of the pink planarian

Roxie Campbell is listening intently to her crew. “Iso 1,” a voice calls out from a few feet away. “Iso 4,” another answers without skipping a beat. “Iso 2” … “Iso 10” … “Iso 1.”

Campbell is seated on a clay bank in the black depths of Devil’s Icebox Cave, a hundred feet or so under Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. Campbell, a park naturalist for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, knows the ins and outs of Devil’s Icebox. She’s the leader of this research expedition.

Shoppers save on school supplies

Zach Ziegelbrin loaded his new computer into the bed of a white pickup Saturday afternoon in the parking lot of Best Buy.

“He said it’s for college,” said Ziegelbrin’s stepfather, Chip Bixby. “I know it’ll be for games.”

Rotarians give input on fixed tuition

In a preview of what Elson Floyd will experience on his “tuition tour,” the president of the University of Missouri System fielded an array of questions and concerns Friday about a fixed tuition plan he has been considering.

“We just simply want to hear from Missourians,” Floyd told members of the Columbia-South Rotary Club at their weekly meeting. He was there to begin developing a sense of whether fixed tuition is feasible for the four-campus system.

Suspected driver charged with smuggling

A man police say was a driver of the van involved in a June crash that left five dead on Interstate 70 was indicted Friday on a charge of conspiring to transport illegal aliens within the United States.

A federal grand jury indicted Gelson Omar Mancilla-Santiago, 22, of Guatemala, on the conspiracy charge and on a charge of illegally entering the United States after deportation, according to a statement issued by the U.S. District Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Moms, multiples make splash

Trey is the elusive troublemaker. Drake likes to dress up. Carly is athletic. Peyton is the emotional one. Mary and Rob Kiesling know that even though their quadruplets started life together, the 4-year-olds have adopted unique personalities.

Brother Gage, 10, has each of his siblings pegged and is at the age when he uses that knowledge to “push their buttons,” Mary says.

Like a rolling stone

By the end of this week, Scott Owen will have lugged his belongings in his car nearly a thousand miles. He moved from his old duplex on Rangeline Street to his girlfriend’s apartment on Richmond Avenue to his parent’s home in Kansas City and back to Wolpers Hall at MU — five miles from where he started.

The reason? Owen is one of many students every year who find themselves in limbo between the end of one apartment lease and the start of another, a time commonly referred to as the turnover season. The real problem, students say, isn’t sleeping on a friend’s couch or floor; it’s finding a place to store belongings.

Fire chief terminates three staffers

Two Boone County Fire Protection District volunteer firefighters and a paid staff member were fired Thursday shortly after a two-hour closed meeting of the board of directors.

Volunteers Todd Burke and Jerry Jenkins and Rob Brown, formerly the fire district chief-of-staff, were fired for undisclosed reasons.

Solutions sought as drought continues

Joe Baumgartner looked momentarily pleased when he stood in the intermittent rain that fell Thursday morning on his south-county farm during a visit by Gov. Matt Blunt. But the 0.18 inches reported at the Columbia Regional Airport wouldn’t be enough to give him — or his crops — any meaningful relief.

Baumgartner, 66, has been farming for 45 years. He and other Boone County farmers would need at least 3 to 5 inches of rain for three consecutive days to make a difference.

City, county limit tax holiday

Missouri’s holiday from sales taxes will allow Missouri shoppers to get a break on school-related items this weekend, but bargain hunters in Columbia won’t get the full discount that some Missourians will receive.

Today through Sunday, the state won’t collect sales taxes on computers, clothing and school supplies. The holiday was enacted into law in 2003 and was officially made an annual event this year, said Jeff Craver, director of fiscal affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Police say hold-up, arrest minutes apart

A Columbia man was arrested Wednesday night less than 10 minutes after a taxi driver reported he was held up at gunpoint at the intersection of Wilkes Boulevard and College Avenue.

Jamine Leonard, 26, was arrested by Columbia Police near the intersection on suspicion of first-degree robbery, armed criminal action and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Program aims to get youths set for school

A new program in Columbia will teach children about school before they ever step foot in a kindergarten classroom.

Columbia Public Schools and Head Start held an open house Thursday to commemorate the opening of the Park Avenue Child and Family Development Center. The new center, scheduled to start classes Aug. 29, will provide full-day preschool to prepare at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds for kindergarten.

Children teaching children

Alex Majors could have spent her summer as many of her friends did: sleeping in late, swimming and lounging in front of the TV.

For the third summer in a row, this 13- year-old is learning what it’s like to be a teacher.

Floyd tours state for fixed tuition input

Elson Floyd, University of Missouri System president, said Thursday that he will tour the state for community input on a fixed tuition plan he has been considering since June.

If the UM system were to adopt fixed tuition rates, incoming freshmen would pay the same annual tuition for each year of their undergraduate programs. Non-freshman undergraduates would pay the same rate for each of the remaining years in their programs.

P&Z ignores Route E plan advice

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission defied the recommendations of city staff and the Missouri Department of Transportation by opening planning on a 62-acre plot of land without first conducting a traffic study.

The land, located on the southwest corner of Route E and Sunflower Street, is owned by Con-Agg of Mo LLC, a cement maker. The commission voted to recommend that the City Council rezone the area from agricultural to single-family residential without requiring the developer to conduct a traffic study before the initial planning stages. The developer says he wants to build about 120 single-family homes in the area.

Neighbors lodge contractor complaints

When Mariom Jackman appeared before the Boone County Commission Thursday to voice complaints about contractor Robert Berendzen, the commissioners weren’t surprised.

“Our planning and our public works have complained to us multiple times on this situation,” Keith Schnarre, presiding commissioner said.

Knights, dragons encourage children to read

“I dub thee knight of Daniel Boone Regional Library. Be brave. Be loyal. Go forth and read,” employees working the children’s desk at the Columbia Public Library said Thursday to children who finished the Summer Reading Program.

After being knighted with a giant inflatable sword, children were presented a certificate, a bag adorned with the “Dragons, Dreams & Daring Deeds” theme and a free book.