Cell phone problems plentiful

I don’t consider myself an old fuddy duddy. I try to keep up on the latest technology. My coffeepot is on a timer that promises fresh-brewed java upon my arrival in the kitchen each morning. The only problem is, I haven’t learned how to set the timer and I forget to load the coffee beans at night.

I have a lovely lightweight camcorder that my husband gave me for Christmas. It was on Oprah’s “must have” holiday gift list. If you’re thinking that I haven’t taken it out of the box, you are wrong. It’s out; I just haven’t used it.

Death penalty ruled out in Rios case

Special prosecutor Morley Swingle will not pursue the death penalty for murder suspect Steven Rios.

In a court notice filed last week, Swingle said the state had no evidence to support any of the statutory aggravating circumstances required to pursue capital punishment in Missouri.

Autopsy number rises in county

Valerie Rao was shocked when she became the medical examiner for Boone and Callaway Counties. The medical examiner’s office wasn’t conducting autopsies after every death that was not of natural causes.

“I came here and my eyeballs nearly came out of my head,” Rao said. “They’re medical examiner’s cases. That’s my understanding of the law.”

Getting off the ground

When Diane Patrick decided to expand her home-based day-care business, she had no idea how big her dream would grow.

But with the help of a new microloan program from Columbia’s nonprofit Enterprise Development Corp., Patrick’s dreams have materialized in the form of the 4,400-square-foot child-care center nearing completion at 404 McBaine Ave.

President, Ditmore talk tort reform

Mike Ditmore’s stance on tort reform got him some extra attention from President Bush on Tuesday.

The thousands of people waiting for Bush to speak at the Boone County Fairgrounds probably didn’t notice when Ditmore, the Republican candidate for the 19th District state Senate seat, slipped away from the bleachers. Secret Service agents escorted him to the grounds’ main entrance, where he boarded Bush’s bus and talked with the president about one of the main issues in both their campaigns.

Campaign for children tours state

Leaders from two advocate groups for Missouri’s children rode a school bus across Missouri Thursday — including a stop in Columbia at West Junior High School — to begin the “Missouri’s No. 1 Question Campaign.”

The two groups, Partnership for Children and Citizens for Missouri’s Children, say the No. 1 question for voters and politicians should be, “Is it good for the children?”

Show to offer old-time fun

Those wishing to step back in time to an era when steam still powered the farm don’t have to travel far this weekend. Just a short drive down Interstate 70, Brady Showgrounds near Boonville will showcase early American farming equipment from a time when self-propelled steam engines pulled the plows and powered threshing machines.

The festivities began Thursday at the 41st annual “Back to the Farm Reunion” show put on by the Missouri River Valley Steam Engine Association.

Series aims to polish science’s image

Science can be cool.

That’s the message behind Saturday Morning Science, an MU lecture series designed to broaden an understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

Music to Missouri troops’ ears

Eli Gallagher doesn’t want much from his musical career, just world domination. “I think I’d be a good Emperor of All,” Gallagher said. “But that probably won’t happen.”Although Gallagher, vocalist for the band Fall Children, conceded an omnipotent empire is a bit far-fetched, world domination is a step-by-step process. Fall Children will take the first step toward building a global musical empire when it ships some of its music to Iraq.Guitarist Dan Isaac said the band completed its demo July 28.

Technology keeps cars in control

In 1900, Columbia residents inched through town by prodding large, hairy animals. By 1950, they could cruise down Broadway in large, roaring machines of steel. Now they can do so without even touching a pedal.

A new technology called Adaptive Cruise Control is slowly trickling into Columbia’s mid-range car market. By automatically adjusting speeds to sync with traffic, ACC will move the car industry nearer to the renowned “K.I.T.T.” robocar that rid society of evil-doers in the 1980s hit television show “Knight Rider.”

A protest in memoriam

As American military casualties in Iraq surpassed 1,000 deaths, protesters held several demonstrations Wednesday expressing grief and anger at the continuing U.S. military occupation of the country. While reaction to the protests was mixed, political observers cautioned that the significance of the casualty count would depend on media coverage.

“The media doesn’t tell you what to think, but it tells you what to think about,” said John Petrocik, MU professor of political science. “A lot of stories on 1,000 casualties will have people thinking about the Iraq war and that might be consequential.”

Web site helps truckers to vote

Truckers Ron and Jeremy Ellis are finished making excuses for not exercising their right to vote.

And with the help of a Grain Valley-based company, the father-son trucking team that often works 28-day stretches without a break can now get absentee ballots and even cast votes in this November’s election — from the road.

Academy teaches public about law enforcement

Sometime in the next couple months, Columbia police detective Jeff Nichols will smear diluted horse blood on tile and carpet samples. A group of 15 citizens will watch the blood, diluted until it is invisible, glow when he applies a special chemical used to uncover evidence in crime scenes.

“I’ve heard people say, ‘Wow that’s just like CSI,’” Nichols said, referring to the popular TV program about forensic scientists.

MU to take on medical investigations

Between a serene pond and a stolid funeral home is a structure that serves as the medical investigator’s office for Boone and Callaway counties.

The building has been used as the medical examiner’s office since 1997. It’s also attached to home of former chief death investigator Jo Fountain.

Historical society names leader

A Missouri native and longtime state historian has taken the reins of Missouri’s largest historical records collection.

Gary Kremer, who has researched Missouri history since the late 1960s, has been named executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri and director of the University of Missouri system’s Western Historical Manuscript Collection.

Antibiotic study finds fatal risks

A widely used antibiotic, long considered safe, dramatically increases the risk of cardiac arrest, particularly when taken with some popular drugs for infections and high blood pressure, a study found.

The drug is erythromycin, which has been on the market for 50 years and is prescribed for everything from strep throat to syphilis.

Discovery theme for annual talk

MU launched what it hopes will become a tradition Wednesday night when professor John Miles Foley helped those gathered in Jesse Auditorium rediscover their roots with his lecture on oral tradition and the Internet.

Foley, founder and director of the world’s only Center for Studies in Oral Tradition, located at MU, is also a professor of classical studies and English. He was selected by a committee to deliver the lecture in honor of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration.

No Guinness record for city’s tagline

The city’s new tourism logo — The smart, innovative, artsy, eclectic, clever, savvy, vibrant, too-dynamic-to-fit-into-a-short-tagline city — made its way into the Columbia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s history books as part of the most extensive advertising campaign the bureau has ever waged.

Woodruff Communications, the ad agency that worked with the bureau to create the tagline, thought it was worthy of even greater recognition.

Holding knowledge in their palms

Lauren Guillory works on her Palm Pilot m130 with fiery grace. Using a slender 3-inch stick, her hand flicks staccato taps across the half-sandwich-sized computer as she etches a memo to a friend.

In a breath, she clicks on an icon, sends the message into cyberspace and feverishly scrolls down the screen to tackle the day’s next task.

Fall Fest promotes minority involvement

Rushing around a circle of tables, students filled their hands with packets and brochures while a crowd gathered to get a good spot to watch the step show. Others were busy enjoying free barbecue. The atmosphere was busy as students of many different backgrounds interacted with each other Wednesday evening, kicking off the year at MU Black Culture Center's annual Fall Fest.