Frozen treat frenzy

On a stifling hot Sunday afternoon Robert Fulton, 13, scrabbles in his pocket for some money. The currency in his pocket is his ticket to sanctuary from the oppressive hot weather. His rescue presents itself in the form of a frosty vanilla Blizzard from Dairy Queen. With one taste, the glacial delight provides a short but sweet respite from the sweltering summer heat while entertaining his taste buds.

Fulton is not alone in his regard for ice cream. According to the International Dairy Farmers Association, ice cream is consumed in more than 90 percent of American households. And, the IDFA reports, in 2002 Americans spent $12.5 billion on “away from home” frozen dessert purchases at places like scoop shops or other ice cream retail stores.

West on its way to being a model

As students enjoy their summer vacation, Vickie Robb, the new West Boulevard Elementary School principal, and members of her recently selected staff are working through their break to put plans into effect for the “model school” project.

The school at 319 West Blvd. serves students in first through fifth grades who are living in the school’s attendance area. Several construction projects are currently under way at the 54-year-old building.

Mastodon bones found by excavator

GRAIN VALLEY — It was probably just a youngster when it died, standing perhaps 5 feet tall. But the mastodon whose remains lay for thousands of years under what is now private property in eastern Jackson County was large enough to attract paleontologists.

A construction worker came across some of the prehistoric mammal’s bones last week while excavating land owned by Debbie and Steve Gildehaus. The bones were in clay, about 30 feet below ground level.

Senator dismisses draft need

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is forcing thousands of discharged soldiers back into the military, but that does not mean the United States needs to reinstate the draft, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Sunday.

“I can tell you the all-volunteer forces worked” when former President Nixon ended conscription during the Vietnam War, said Sen. John Warner, who was Nixon’s secretary of the Navy in 1973.

Code Red:

On June 11, Steven Rios stood atop the Maryland Avenue parking garage, five stories above the ground. Down below, a few dozen on-lookers watched from just beyond a barrier of yellow police tape.

“If you’re going to jump,” a man in a wheelchair said to no one in particular, “get on with it.”

Council to hear parking issues

The Columbia City Council will meet Tuesday night to discuss several annexation and road improvement projects.

The meeting agenda also includes a vote on amendments to the city code’s criteria for surface commercial parking lots in the central business district. The amendment would restrict parking lots to the rear portion of landscaped areas, plazas and buildings and allow them no closer than 25 feet from the street’s right of way. City Manager Ray Beck said that there are potential problems with the way this ordinance is currently written and that public comment is likely.

Historic salt lick offers pleasant getaway

Boone’s Lick historic site is the remnant of an old salt mine that operated during the 1800s. A walk down the tree-shaded stairs leads you to the salt springs, creeks and areas where workers once toiled over salt furnaces, even during hot summer months.

Tourists are guided along the salt-making process and can look at preserved remains of the old mine.

Mo. candidates benefit from loophole

JEFFERSON CITY — Democrats and Republicans alike have found a clever way to get around Missouri’s campaign contribution limits. And as the 2004 campaigns heat up, the practice appears to becoming more popular.

Democratic Gov. Bob Holden has benefited. So has his Republican challenger, Secretary of State Matt Blunt. And Democratic gubernatorial challenger, State Auditor Claire McCaskill, a beneficiary to a lesser extent, is complaining about the practice to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Ways to overcome a summer slump

For a couple of weeks, the dreary weather threw a monkey wrench into my reading program. I had a hard time concentrating, even though the library supplied me with a steady flow of interesting material. My latest writing project was requiring an inordinate amount of research, which usually is enough to spur me onward in my quest for a good read. For some reason, it hadn’t worked this time, and I think I had only completed two books in the past month compared to the two a week I would normally speed through.

The rain had not been conducive to my other normal activities. I still had not been fishing, and the paint that I purchased to paint the house was still in the storage shed. I am one of those people who always seem to be more affected by weather than others. My mood depends largely on the sun. Last week, I met only the third person in my life who absolutely loves gloomy days, and she’s been on a roll while I was just drifting from day to day and barely able to manage a faint smile.

Summer science institute meets

Teachers from some of Missouri’s high-need schools will spend three weeks learning ways to improve their students’ science achievement from a group of MU professors and teaching assistants.

Starting today, the Physical Science Summer Institute for Middle Level Teachers will target schools with poverty levels greater than 20 percent and low MAP scores. “High-need” schools are those that meet federal guidelines for poverty and teacher quality as outlined in the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.

Schools debate flaws of tenure

WASHINGTON — The decades-old tradition of tenure protects teachers, often frustrates principals and has even surfaced as an issue in the presidential campaign. Now tenure itself is under review.

Tenure guarantees that public school teachers who have this protection cannot be fired without legitimate cause and due process, perhaps even a court hearing. Almost every state provides tenure in some form.

City takes over fireworks show

The Columbia Cosmopolitan Luncheon Club has always been a part of Columbia’s Fourth of July fireworks display — until this year.

In 1952, the club started to sponsor a fireworks display in the Cosmopolitan Recreation Area. The members sold barbecue chicken plates during an all-day picnic that also featured games supervised by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.

Errors were minor ones, Mizzou says

How many minor NCAA infractions add up to one major infraction?

There’s no definite answer, but the athletics authority has the option to collectively consider multiple secondary violations allegedly committed by the MU basketball staff as one major violation.

MU responses to NCAA allegations

MU officials will meet with the NCAA infractions committee next month to review the entire case. After the review, the infractions committee will decide the severity of the charges and possible penalties.

1. Tony Harvey, associate men’s basketball coach, bought meals for 10 coaches affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union. Additionally, Harvey, head coach Quin Snyder, and assistant coach Lane Odom had several impermissible contacts with prospective student-athletes when they attended events in which the athletes participated.

Mental examination of Rios before trial likely

At the news conference held after former Columbia police officer Steven Rios was arrested Thursday, special prosecutor Morley Swingle addressed the question of mental competence and the law.

“In Missouri, a person can be found guilty by reason of mental disease or defect if they suffer from a mental disease or defect that makes them incapable of understanding the nature or consequences of what they are doing,” he said. “Whether that happens in this case, that’s up to the defense.”

Runge nature center a hit

Imagine spending a peaceful summer afternoon hiking through rugged hills scattered with old oak and hickory trees, flowering dogwoods and a colorful palette of woodland wildflowers. You hear the cheerful sound of warblers and diligent woodpeckers as you make your way across the soft, woodchip trail, on the lookout for white-tailed deer, red foxes and flying squirrels.

This and other relaxing, educational encounters with Missouri wildlife await you about 30 miles southeast of Columbia at the Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City.

Swapping stamps for cards across the country

Missouri hasn’t seen a food “stamp” in six years.

Taking government assistance out of the paper era and into the age of technology, the paper coupons that were once redeemable for food products have given way to Electronic Benefit Transfer. EBT works similarly to a debit card, allowing users to “swipe” for their grocery items.

Goodbye, Ken! Hunky Blaine is Barbie toy boy

More than 2 million girls worldwide logged onto in May and June to help their favorite Barbie doll choose a new crush.

The votes were tabulated and the results released to the public Tuesday. Barbie’s new beau, Blaine, an Australian native with “sun-bleached hair and surf-bronzed skin,” now resides in Malibu, Calif., where he surfs, snowboards and skydives, Mattel said.

Company has a patent for success

Two brightly colored maps adorn the walls of Charles Ekstam’s office. Sprinkled with green, yellow, red, and blue push pins, the maps of the United States and the world illustrate the places where Jefferson City-based Ekstam Worldwide has sold its Fuel Preporator system. There are more than 30 countries marked, and many more U.S. cities.

As Ekstam shuffles through the binders that stand on the bookshelf behind his desk, he pulls out a listing of U.S. patents dating back to the 1800s.

Sixth dies in plant shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A sixth person shot in a rampage at a meatpacking plant died Saturday, and investigators said they still have not determined the gunman’s motive.

Authorities identified the shooter as Elijah Brown, 21, of Kansas City, Kan., who was hired at the ConAgra Foods Inc. plant in September 2003, laid off because of production downturns, and then called back to work a few months ago.