Prices rise at the pump

The impact of Hurricane Katrina in Columbia is being felt at the gas pump, and consumers worry the worst is yet to come. After gas stations around the state raised their prices by 20 or 30 cents per gallon overnight, Attorney General Jay Nixon announced his office would look into instances of gas gouging around the state.

Laparoscopic prostate cancer surgery reduces recovery time at University Hospital

University Hospital has a new surgical option for men diagnosed with prostate cancer: a laparoscopic prostatectomy. The minimally invasive procedure has a shorter recovery time than traditional open surgery.

Spokesman: No votes taken by curators during closed session

The UM System Board of Curators met in closed session Wednesday “to discuss matters of litigation,” spokesperson Joe Moore said. The nine curators spoke from 3:15 p.m. to about 6:15 p.m., via conference phone, Moore said.

County crew helps restore power

Four Boone Electric Cooperative linemen sent to help restore power in southeastern Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are already hard at work. “These guys are working from about 4:30 in the morning to about 9:30 at night,” Boone Electric Manager of Operations Lee Ardrey said Wednesday. Despite the heat, humidity and long hours, “they were upbeat,” he said.

Lane striping to begin on East Nifong

Drivers experiencing problems because of a lack of lane stripes on East Nifong Boulevard should see improvements soon. The city’s Public Works Department, which began an asphalt overlay project July 25, reconditioned Nifong between Providence and Bethel roads. The half-mile overlay project was completed weeks ago, with the exception of lane striping. The staff and patrons of Legends Sports Bar and Grill, 10 W. Nifong Blvd., have noticed the missing stripes. Some motorists have mistakenly driven in the turning lane and on the shoulder.

Groups aid in hurricane relief

Local citizens, businesses and organizations are coming to the aid of hurricane victims in the coastal regions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida most in need. Jutta Hopkins, executive di­rec­tor of the Boone County Chapter of the American Red Cross, estimates local donations in excess of $10,000 on Wednesday alone. Others called to say they plan to start fundraisers at their schools, businesses and churches.

Blunt deploys troops from National Guard to disaster area

Between 1,000 and 1,100 troops from the Missouri National Guard, including some from Columbia and Fulton, will be deployed to Louisiana and Mississippi this week to help with security in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The deployment is part of Gov. Matt Blunt’s response to the states’ requests for help. Troops will provide support to the states’ emergency management departments. The aid comes under an Emergency Mutual Assistance Compact that Missouri has with other states in the southern region.

Missouri schools enrolling refugees from hurricane

Columbia elementary schools have welcomed children relocating from the Gulf Coast. Refugee students have recently enrolled in both Shepard Boulevard and Russell Boulevard elementary schools. Lynn Barnett, assistant superintendent for student support services, said two or three additional families with children will soon enter Columbia schools as well.

Nixon warns Missouri donors against charity scams

The desire to donate to hurricane victims prompted Attorney General Jay Nixon to warn Missouri residents to be aware before they open their wallets. “I encourage Missourians to help these victims in any way they see fit, whether it be through donations of cash, clothing or food, or by assisting on-site with the cleanup,” Nixon said. “But I also want them to use common sense when choosing a charity so they can be sure their donations actually go toward the victims and not the crooks.”

A new kind of fame

Charlie Rosenbury looks and sounds like an average college sophomore. He’s dressed in an obscure band T-shirt, brown corduroy shorts and green flip-flops that look like they’re covered in AstroTurf. His hair is dark and curly, and his face is a little bit scruffy today. Drumming his fingers on his leg and mumbling the tune “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson, he talks about his favorite bands and how living off campus is treating him. The twist is that this MU sophomore majoring in computer science has set a record­­­ — and it is making him famous.

MU to launch Reynolds center

For 10 months, Pam Johnson, executive director of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, has planned to break ground this afternoon on the Francis Quadrangle. She did not plan to break her foot a week before the big day. “I don’t know how I came to do it at such an important date,” Johnson said. “I will be there one way or the other.”

New bankruptcy law will make filing tougher

Money, money, money. The number of people filing for bankruptcy in Missouri’s central division, including Boone and 12 other surrounding counties, is on the rise, increasing 115 percent in the past five years. But, a new law will soon make it tougher to file. On Oct. 17, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, signed by President Bush in April, will increase bankruptcy fees and tighten qualifications for those seeking financial relief.

SAT scores on the rise

Columbia’s college-bound seniors posted higher scores this year than last in the verbal and math sections of the SAT entrance exams, up 3 points each. “Our average SAT verbal was 623 and the average math score was 625, with a composite of 1,248,” said Cheryl Cozette, assistant superintendant for curriculum and instruction for the Columbia Public School District.

City campaign aims to attract tourists statewide

Next year, Columbia will launch a large-scale advertising campaign with the intent of making Columbia one of Missouri’s biggest tourism locations. Lorah Steiner, director of the Convention and Visitors Advisory Board, said attracting visitors to the city is important to the local economy.

Be wary when opening inboxes inbox g here

Two out of three e-mails are nuisances at the least and can be financially debilitating at the most, according to MU’s information technology staff. As the academic year resumes, information technology employees at MU prepare to keep students and their computers safe from spam and related programs that contain viruses.

Like crops, shrubbery hit hard by the drought

JEFFERSON CITY — While Missouri crops have suffered severely due to the drought this year, so have personal landscapes. A top Missouri Department of Conservation official reports that almost all shrubbery, oriental trees and what is thought to be well-established forestry have been hit hard by the drought.

Study: Skin cancer up in youths

It seems a person is never too young to get skin cancer. That’s the finding of a recent study published in August in the Journal of the American Medical Association . The rate of skin cancer for youths has tripled in the past 30 years, the study said, citing the popularity of tanning among young people and teenagers as a prominent cause. These findings also coincide with the Skin Cancer Foundation’s report that women ages 25 to 29 seem to have a higher rate of skin cancer.

Flooded Out

NEW ORLEANS — Rescuers along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast pushed aside the dead to reach the living Tuesday in a race against time and rising waters, while New Orleans sank deeper into crisis and Louisiana’s governor ordered storm refugees out of the drowning city. Two levees broke and sent water coursing into the streets of the Big Easy a full day after New Orleans appeared to have escaped widespread destruction from Hurricane Katrina. An estimated 80 percent of the below-sea-level city was under water, up to 20 feet deep in places, with miles and miles of homes swamped.

Boone County team saves hundreds in Louisiana

As of Tuesday evening, the 38-member Boone County-based Missouri Task Force I saved 332 people in New Orleans as part of its hurricane-relief actions. “Our men are engaged in reconnaissance and search-and-rescue operations,” said Chief Steve Paulsell of the Boone County Fire Protection District. The fire district serves as the headquarters and sponsoring agency to the task force.

Man put to death after court lifts stay

Timothy Johnston, 44, was executed at 12:07 a.m. today at the Missouri state prison in Bonne Terre. Johnston was convicted of beating his wife, 27-year-old Nancy Johnston, to death in front of her 11-year-old son in 1989, according to Associated Press reports.