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Nasal vaccine for flu offered

Telltale flu symptoms — fever, cough, chills and muscle aches — are almost nonexistent to Boone County residents so far this year. Yet members of the Boone County Health Department continue to urge residents to receive their vaccination as the height of flu season approaches.

“We haven’t seen the worst of it at this point,” said Heather Baer, Boone County Health Department spokeswoman. “We really just want to let people know that it is not too late. There’s still time to protect you and your family.”

Hearings slated for Sapp plan

Public hearings are scheduled for January and February for the annexation of the 1,000 acres east of Columbia that Billy Sapp plans to develop.

Earlier this month, Sapp resubmitted his application to annex the land, and the city declared the application valid. The resubmitted application includes a more detailed description of the area where land borders the city. In the fall, the city asked the developer to identify this area in his application, Sapp spokesman Don Stamper said.

Beware of thin ice on lakes and ponds

Warming temperatures this week have officials worried about ice safety. The ice might look thick, but no ice in Boone County is safe to walk or skate on now, according to Gale Blomenkamp, division specialist of the Boone County Fire Protection District.

During the last week in Columbia, Blomenkamp had to chase people off thin ice.

Boehm, retiring Friday, is lauded for 20 years of service as sheriff

In his 20 years as Boone County sheriff, the honors piled up for Ted Boehm. He served longer than any of his predecessors, so the accolades for Boehm, who will retire Friday, seem to know no bounds. Almost.

“I’ll tell you one thing about him,” said Billy Boyce, who helped persuade Boehm to run for office more than 20 years ago, “He stinks at golf.”

Solid foundations

Brandy Phillips’ long, sandy-brown hair falls over her back as she sits at a dark brown picnic table with books and papers spread out in front of her. She untangles a playful kitten from a piece of sweater and cuddles him gently in her arms.

“I’ll be able to graduate on time with this program,” Philips said in her soft, child-like voice. “If I was in the regular high school, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate on time.”

Huge relief efforts needed across Asia

The Boone County office of the American Red Cross has been fielding calls from people concerned about family members in southern Asia after tidal waves crushed coastlines in several countries Sunday.

“We refer them to the State Department,” said Jutta Hopkins, executive director for the Boone County chapter.

Millions left homeless by tidal waves

GALLE, Sri Lanka — Bodies washed up on tropical beaches and piled up in hospitals Monday, raising fears of disease across a 10-nation arc of destruction left by a monster earthquake and walls of water that killed more than 22,000 people. Thousands were missing and millions homeless.

Humanitarian agencies began what the United Nations said would become the biggest relief effort the world has ever seen.

SMS name clash has deep roots

The rhetoric centers on a name change, but the battle about a proposal to rechristen Southwest Missouri State University has long been a regional struggle over state resources.

Craig Hosmer, chairman of the Democratic Party in Greene County, represented Springfield in the House from 1991 to 2002. Hosmer, an MU graduate, sponsored the name-change bill during part of his tenure. He said the issue has been blown out of proportion.

Learning farm to bring agriculture to the people

Rob Myers has a plan that would allow children to read a book, plant a garden and pet barnyard animals all in one location.

Jefferson Farm and Gardens is being planned as a new educational farm that would offer visitors a hands-on approach to agriculture. At a time when less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is directly involved in agriculture, the facility would focus on the relevance of agriculture to each visitor’s everyday life.

Confession could shape slaying case

KANSAS CITY — Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery face an immediate hurdle that could challenge the defense throughout her case: Her alleged confession to killing a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from the victim’s womb.

Montgomery is due in federal court today, her first appearance before a judge in Missouri. It is just the next step in a long judicial process in which she will likely fight for a declaration of innocence — and possibly to save her own life.

Tea, traditions and Tinseltown

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

The expression familiar to so many brides will be one of many traditions highlighted at “Bridal Legends: A Weekend of Tea, Traditions and Tinseltown” next month at Stephens College.

Resident escapes, but candle fire consumes condo

A woman narrowly escaped a fire that destroyed her home and displaced five other condominium residents Monday morning.

At 1:12 a.m. Monday, the Columbia Fire Department arrived at the fire at Park De Ville Condominiums, 2307 Park De Ville Place, in west Columbia, Battalion Chief Steven Sapp said.

Many happy returns

Traditionally, the day after Christmas is a day of returns and exchanges, but many area shoppers also hit the stores Sunday ready to take advantage of the post-holiday sales.

For Nikki Allen, 27, the first stop was J.C. Penney at Columbia Mall. By 12:30 p.m., Allen, who had traveled from Macon, already had found several clothing bargains for herself and her 4-year-old son. She also planned to hunt for further deals throughout the mall.

Travel a luxury for foreign students

Mohammed Khalilia is from the West Bank in the Middle East. The MU computer science major hasn’t been home in 3½ years.

Although he’s Muslim, Khalilia says the Christmas season is the loneliest time of year for him because many of his friends are home visiting family.

Adventure video games are eclipsed

Last spring, when LucasArts pulled the plug on its first planned graphic adventure computer game in four years, Sam and Max 2, the company wasn’t just canceling an anticipated title. It was burying a genre.

Graphic adventures are video games in which players encounter virtual situations and characters and solve puzzles as part of an over-arching narrative. These games reward wit and creative thinking above reflex and speed, skills required by most of today’s top video game buyers.

Christmas Eve brings three fires

A wood-burning stove sparked a fire that led to explosions in a shed and caused an estimated $65,000 in damage to an outbuilding and a trailer home at 9360 Smith Hatchery Road on Christmas Eve.

The Boone County Fire Protection District sent 25 firefighters and eight trucks to the blaze, which was reported at 7:45 p.m. Friday. Volunteers, with help from the Southern Boone County Fire District, quickly controlled the fire, according to a fire district news release.

Keeping my smile is harder each year

I gave up on making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. Since then, all I’ve resolved is to maintain the positive attributes of my status quo (whatever they happen to be at the time). The one promise I’ve made to myself since I attained adulthood is to keep my sense of humor. And I’ve found that that gets harder and harder to do each time the calendar runs out of days.

This year is no exception. In fact, it’s an even greater challenge to keep on smiling. That’s because the list of things that threaten my resolve has grown even longer due to the most disheartening presidential campaign I’ve ever known.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus

During the past few years, Nelson and Patricia Richter have become accustomed to the whispers.

It happens in grocery store aisles, at restaurants and just about everywhere in between. Children usually notice first, but adults soon catch on.

Jobless rate in Missouri rises to 5.8%

Joe Speichinger isn’t worried about crowded parking lots or long lines at airport security this holiday season. He just wants

to eat.

Webcam unites soldier with family for Christmas Day

With leaves rustling in the wind, Catherine Guilford hurries across the back lawn, across the small metal bridge crossing the creek, through a clearing and into her beloved woods. She holds a phone to her ear, listening as her husband’s voice help her re-create the memory of their walks together.

“Walk me through the woods,” he tells her. “Have you reached our tree yet?”

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