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.

McCaskill plans to challenge incumbent for U.S. Senate

HOUSTON, Mo. — Democratic state auditor Claire McCaskill put the rumors to rest Tuesday, officially announcing that she plans to challenge Sen. Jim Talent next year. McCaskill has been state auditor since 1999 and would face re-election next year. She ran unsuccessfully for governor last year against Republican Matt Blunt, losing by about 3 percentage points after knocking out incumbent Democratic Gov. Bob Holden to reach the November election.

Study: Energy bill could help corn growers

While corn growers are reeling from this year’s drought, an MU agricultural study has concluded that increasing the use of ethanol could raise corn prices. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires that 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels be in use by 2012. The study, conducted by the University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, found that an increased demand for ethanol would raise corn prices by 12.5 cents per bushel nationwide during the next several years. This could benefit corn producers and have an impact on taxpayers, producers of other grains and the livestock industry. “It ...

Analysis deems upper Hinkson unswimmable

An advocacy group is questioning a consulting firm’s analysis that classifies the upper Hinkson Creek as unswimmable. If the creek is so classified, it would require less treatment of sewage discharged into its watershed than if it were classified differently. An analysis performed for the Boone County Regional Sewer District concluded that the section of Hinkson Creek north of Interstate 70 is not deep enough for swimming and other “whole-body” recreation.

Growth around Grindstone

Nestled behind Grindstone Nature Area’s towering trees lies an area along Old 63 South that is experiencing rapid commercial and residential growth. The newest addition to the area is the 9,600-square-foot Grindstone Village shopping plaza on Old 63 south of Stadium Boulevard and north of Grindstone Parkway. Building owner Brett Peters of Woodrail Development said he hopes his shops will provide this growing area of predominantly college students with services they lack.

Board voted to terminate fire official

The Boone Fire Protection District board did indeed vote to fire Assistant Chief Bruce Piringer on June 20, according to an Aug. 17 affidavit signed by Board President Willis Smith. The affidavit, filed in response to a pending lawsuit from Piringer, counters previous claims that Fire Chief Steve Paulsell fired Piringer without the necessary board approval. The affidavit states “that the board at said meeting voted to terminate the employment of Bruce Piringer based upon the discussions had at said meeting and also voted to authorize Steve Paulsell to negotiate a settlement with Bruce Piringer.”

Death row cases sent back

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered new penalty phase trials for two death row inmates after the U.S. Supreme Court said jurors could have been prejudiced by seeing the defendants in shackles. The court remanded Carmen L. Deck back to Jefferson County and Donald Joe Hall back to Greene County for new penalty trials.

MU cuts ties with supplier

An Arkansas couple charged this year with selling stolen animals to MU and other Missouri research institutions will forfeit $200,000, their home and their former kennels after entering guilty pleas on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, Ark. Chester Clinton “C.C.” Baird Jr. and Patsy M. Baird, animal suppliers from Williford, Ark., will also pay about $42,400 for investigative costs, the U.S. Department of Justice said. The money will be used to help reimburse animal-rescue groups that took custody of the animals seized on the Bairds’ property two years ago.

Local Sheehan supporters continue protest

Tuesday was day eight of Camp Casey Columbia, Jamie Walters and Ruth O’Neill’s contribution to Cindy Sheehan’s soon-to-be nationwide protest of the war in Iraq. It was also the day they were joined by neighbor Lana Jacobs. They seemed upbeat despite President Bush’s recent denial of a second meeting with Sheehan. Sheehan and the president had previously met at an event for military families.

UM Board of Curators to discuss litigation

The University of Missouri Board of Curators will meet in closed session this afternoon to talk about “matters of litigation,” a written statement from the UM System said. The nine curators, who govern the system’s four campuses, will talk via conference phone. Spokesman Joe Moore said he could not comment beyond the release.

Stephens scores on collegiate survey

The Princeton Review is known for ranking colleges in categories like “Best Party School” or “Toughest to Get into.” In this year’s “The Best 361 Colleges,” released last week, Stephens College found itself ranked among the top schools in the nation in five categories, from “Best Value” to “No One Plays Intramural Sports.” The Review compiled 62 ranking lists based on 110,000 student surveys. Collegians across the nation were given 70-question surveys, asking them to rate their school’s performance in academics, administration and overall campus life.

On the Road- Following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina