Natural Selections

Students file quickly into the cafeteria at Southern Boone County Middle School in Ashland on Monday. Some sit down immediately with packed bag lunches, but most wait in line to buy lunch.

The line moves swiftly. Students sit down, some with nachos. Others eat chicken quesadillas or munch a chef salad served with fruit and homemade cookies.

City, MU brainstorm new museum

City and MU officials are considering a partnership to build an archaeology museum downtown.

The museum may cost more to build than other buildings because it will require elaborate security, ventilation, heating and cooling systems, said Bill Bondeson, an MU music professor and assistant to the chancellor.

Guard cables to help prevent I-70 crossovers

With 22 traffic deaths for every 100,000 people, Missouri is in a four-way tie for the ninth-highest traffic death rate in the country, according to a recent report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Interstate 70 has a reputation for being particularly dangerous, especially because of the state’s high rate of crossover accidents, which occur when a vehicle crosses the median into opposing traffic.

As of July 15, the most recent statistics available, there have been 50 crossover accidents on I-70 across Boone and Callaway Counties, three of which have ended in fatalities. In 2003, there were a total of 76 crossover accidents in the two counties, resulting in eight deaths. The Missouri Highways and Transportation Department is hoping to greatly reduce those numbers with its guard cable installation project, which will eventually extend median guard cable barriers across the state.

Sign of the times

The intersection of Nifong Boulevard and Providence Road is now an eyesore for Boone County Republicans. Recently, a 4-by-8 Bush and Cheney sign next to the party’s local headquarters was spray-painted with orange paint in the shape of a banned sign.

Volunteer Susan DiPietre said she noticed the sign Tuesday morning.

Low-income issues topic at annual city retreat

Buses and day-care centers accommodate daytime work schedules, excluding night shift workers at factories and hospitals. Public housing neighborhoods offer mostly low-paying jobs in fast food and retail. Too many kids are on the street at night and there is not enough interaction with the police.

These are some of the issues resident services specialist Carrie Brown of the Columbia Housing Authority raised to a group of city officials at the organization’s annual retreat Tuesday.

Hickman students adapt to upgrades

Hickman High School students have been forced to find new routes to class to avoid ongoing renovations blocking the school’s main hallway.

And while the renovations also have caused classes to switch to different rooms, school officials say students are adjusting to the changes.

Police release sketch of suspect in assault

The Columbia Police Department released a composite of the suspect in an attempted sexual assault at Hickman High School the past week.

On Sept. 14, a 16-year-old girl reported being approached in the parking lot of the school by a white male who attempted to sexually assault her. The suspect fled from the north side of the school near Circle Drive in a black truck.

Osco prepares to close Nov. 5

The closing of the Osco Drug downtown will bring more than just inconvenience for some shoppers.

“They were fair, they were kind, they were reputable and they were a good neighbor,” said Geoffrey Gunnell, a regular customer. “That’s why people are so sad.”

Jeffries pulls out of House race

Joel Jeffries withdrew as the Republican candidate for state representative in the 25th District on Tuesday to accept Gov. Bob Holden’s appointment to the Board of Probation and Parole.

“This was a remarkable opportunity that kind of dropped out of the sky,” Jeffries said.

Education of the soul

Fourteen-year-old David Churchill wakes up at 5:30 a.m. each weekday.

The teenager has to get an early start to tackle a full day of high school — and a grown-up commute to get there.

Rios asks for change of venue

Lawyers for former Columbia police officer Steven Rios have filed a motion requesting a change of venue for his trial in the death of an MU student.

The motion argues that the extensive media coverage of the case could prevent Rios from receiving a fair trial by Boone County jurors.

International election monitors pay visit to county

A four-member team of international election experts will observe election procedures during a Thursday afternoon meeting with Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren.

Sponsored by Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based international human rights organization, the group has been in Missouri since Friday. Its itinerary also includes visits to Kansas City, St. Louis and Jefferson City.

Mothers question war

Before the war in Iraq, Becky Sommerhauser was a shy housewife from a St. Louis suburb who had never spoken publicly.

Now that her son may be deployed to Iraq in the coming months, the mother of seven is speaking out.

Missourian captures 18 awards in state contest

The Columbia Missourian nabbed 18 awards in this year’s Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The Missourian won first place in general excellence among newspapers with similar circulations. The category evaluates the newspaper’s entire package including news and sports content, advertising, photography and layout.

Candidates decry using absentee list

JEFFERSON CITY — The Democratic and Republican candidates for secretary of state each proposed Tuesday to end a campaign practice used by incumbent Secretary of State Matt Blunt in which candidates can get the names of people who have requested absentee ballots.

Blunt, a Republican running for governor, has asked county clerks to submit the names of people requesting absentee ballots to a staff member at the Missouri Republican Party. A Blunt spokesman said the intent is to target campaign information at the absentee voters — a tactic other candidates have used in the past.

Road funds debate intensifies

JEFFERSON CITY — On Nov. 2, Missouri voters will decide the fate of a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would guarantee revenue raised by transportation-related taxes goes directly to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Advocates on each side of the issue, however, agree the measure will be insufficient to significantly improve Missouri’s ailing roads, which federal highway statistics indicate are the third worst in the nation.

One smashing good time

As the cymbal-like sound of a clashing wine filter mixes with the funky rhythms of a Wilco CD, Cory Bomgaars and Jacob Holman weave between large silver tanks, mashing dark red grapes and flushing out slippery white fluid.

For the past six weeks, Bomgaars, 33, and Holman, 27, have devoted their lives to harvesting grapes at Les Bourgeois winery in Rocheport.

Plane with smoking engine returns safely

A Trans States Airlines flight was forced to return to the runway minutes after takeoff from Columbia Regional Airport on Monday morning after a low-oil-pressure warning light activated.

The 21 passengers aboard flight 5505 to St. Louis deplaned safely after the landing and there were no injuries, Trans States Airlines spokesman Bill Mishk said.

$1.3 million Philips purchase OK’d

Despite a long and bitter public debate about the rezoning of the Philips farm, residents were silent Monday as the Columbia City Council unanimously approved the purchase of 77 acres of the 489-acre farm for development of a new city park.

The city will pay $1.3 million for the land and will accept developer Elvin Sapp’s donation of 63 additional acres, including 40-acre Bristol Lake.

Freedom lives in more than fashion

The other day, I read that women’s fashions in the near future will cover more of the body. I certainly hope that is true. In fact, I can hardly wait. I’m really tired of looking at women’s bare midriffs, hip lines, breasts and knees. I just don’t find that kind of information about women’s bodies useful. The main reason I’m fond of old movies is because the women in them are usually well-dressed.

I know a lot of women think getting dressed up is old-fashioned. They prefer casual dress on every occasion. Sometimes I think it’s unfortunate that women’s advocate Amelia Bloomer, who began her campaign to change women’s dress in the 1840s, didn’t live to see women’s attitudes become more in line with her own. Bloomer, who published a temperance newspaper called The Lily, thought women’s garments were too restrictive and favored shorter skirts and knee-length underpants that became known as bloomers. Most women rejected her ideas, however, favoring looking nice over being comfortable and continued to dress in the fashions of the day.