Fair food defies dietary fashion

In many ways, a county fair’s appeal lies in harkening back to simpler times, before hour-long commutes, color-coded terror levels, and the information scroll at the bottom of your evening newscast.

Strolling through the Boone County Fair this year, it becomes apparent that the fair harkens back to a time before dietary hysteria condemned all the foods that fairgoers wait all year to eat.

Not clowning around

He stood in what little shade he could find. Around him were six children, eagerly watching his every move. His weathered hands worked nimbly, twisting, stretching and squeezing a light-blue balloon.

His face wasn’t painted, he didn’t have a red nose, and he wore New Balance sneakers instead of those goofy, oversized shoes. Yet, to Boone County fairgoers, Gail Bank is known as Whiskers the Clown.

Faithful Connection

The Old Testament’s Job is a virtuous, upstanding man forced to suffer through continual misfortune. Even through his trouble, Job maintains his piety.

The Sunday morning when the Rev. David Casto gave his sermon from the book of Job, he considered himself a living example of the story. That October 2003 day he told his Bethel Baptist Church congregation that he had been diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer, proof, he said, that even the righteous suffer.

Health care, rising costs fuel debate

Democrat Mike Blum didn’t shy away from opportunities to attack Republican Joel Jeffries during a forum Wednesday for candidates in the 25th District House race.

From the remaining four Democratic candidates — Judy Baker, Russell Breyfogle, D. Duane Dimmitt and Lara Underwood, Jeffries got a more cordial welcome during his first formal appearance with them at back-to-back forums at Lenoir Retirement Center and Paquin Towers.

MU audit suggests changing 3 programs

Six MU programs under the magnifying glass for possible alteration or elimination know their likely fates. Changes will be recommended for three programs; the recommendation for the others will be they stay the same.

Provost Brady Deaton will present the recommendations Friday to the UM Board of Curators. According to a statement on the MU News Bureau Web site, the recommendations are:

Reign begins for fair queen

On a hot summer day three years ago, Jessica Wilson was checking on the cured hams she had entered in the ham show at the Boone County Fair when she heard some girls rehearsing for the Fair Queen Pageant. Wilson decided then and there she could do something like that.

“I stumbled upon the pageant,” Wilson said. “I thought, ‘Hey, I could do that,’ and so I tried and tried and now here I am.”

Race for treasurer’s office heats up

The race for state treasurer is not high profile and, not surprisingly, it’s about money.

Last week’s candidate finance disclosures showed that Bob Holden and Claire McCaskill, the main candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for governor, each have more than $2 million in cash to run their campaigns. Sarah Steelman, who leads the treasurer’s candidates in campaign receipts has more than $500,000. That’s a lot of money for a race that, on admission from some of the candidates themselves, Missourians know little about.

Carey endorsed by county official

Boone County Commissioner Skip Elkin on Wednesday endorsed Capt. Dwayne Carey, one of the three Democratic candidates in the race for Boone County sheriff.

“It’s more than being a good cop,” Elkin said about the sheriff’s job. “You have to work with the budget, with personnel and have legislative experience. Sometimes you have to change laws. Sometimes you have to be an administrator.”

Holden reiterates stance on education at conference

Gov. Bob Holden spoke to a crowd of more than 300 cheering teachers and administrators Wednesday at the Missouri National Education Association’s annual leadership conference in Columbia.

The association announced its support for Holden — who faces a primary election Aug. 3 — last fall, said Greg Jung, MNEA president.

Helping seize the day

For the past eight years, Bill Klett, 85, of Columbia has traveled more than 17,000 miles to help 213 people. He drives to pick them up, takes them to a doctor, helps them with grocery shopping and sometimes just visits with them.

He does it, he said, “because I am able. I volunteer to pass along all the good things people did for me during my 85 years,” Klett said.

Overcrowding causes some to miss concert

Payton Spence, 19, arrived at The Blue Note on Tuesday night two hours after the doors opened with a ticket in hand for the Snoop Dogg concert. He said he was confused to see a long line still outside and disappointed when he found out people weren’t being allowed in.

Spence was among more than 100 people holding tickets to the sold out concert who never got to see the show because of concerns that the venue would fill over capacity.

Heat advisories issued across state

ST. LOUIS — Ted Klos kept a wary eye to the sky Wednesday as he poured a concrete sidewalk on the Washington University campus. The sun was about to emerge from behind a tree, and this was no day to work on a tan.

“The bad part is we haven’t had any heat for a while, and when it hits all at once you can’t get used to it,” Klos said.

Teaching with adventure

It’s not often that obesity and the dangers of smoking are dealt with through fun, hands-on exhibits, but that’s what the Health Adventure Center hopes to accomplish.

As the “science center with a health focus” gets closer to completion, ideas on how to get parents and children involved in learning about the body is the primary challenge for the center.

School attendance rewarded with cash

Columbia School District officials said Tuesday that incentives totaling $354,000 were given to summer school students.

Jacque Cowherd, deputy superintendent, said incentives were awarded as follows: 2,585 students had perfect attendance, for which they received a $100 gift card; 992 students had only one absence, for which they received a $75 gift card; and 422 students had only two absences, resulting in a $50 gift card. The cards are meant to be used as cash at a variety of locations.

Progress made on Green Meadows

After months of failed negotiations, the development of three tracts of land off Green Meadows Road in south Columbia may be closer to becoming a reality.

In the first sign of progress in weeks, developer Don Stohldrier agreed with neighbors’ request to reduce the number of units on a 2.5 acre tract of land from 21 townhouses to 16 townhouses, said Mark Farnen, spokesman for Stohldrier. In return neighbors would have to agree to support Stohldrier’s proposals for two other tracts on the 17-acre piece of land.

Dems’ debate gets personal

ST. LOUIS — Getting personal at times during their second debate, Gov. Bob Holden and State Auditor Claire McCaskill on Tuesday night presented two starkly different images of Missouri’s governor: Holden held himself forth as a winner; McCaskill painted him as a loser.

Each proclaimed they were better able to bear the Democratic banner against Republicans — reason for Democrats to vote for them in the Aug. 3 gubernatorial primary.

Small businesses endorse Blunt

Although Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Blunt is running uncontested in the August primaries, he received a major boost for his campaign Tuesday.

The National Federation of Independent Business announced its endorsement of Blunt following an overwhelming show of support by Missouri small business-owners.

School board to hold 2 meetings at schools

In an effort to attract more parents and members of the community, the Columbia School Board plans to move its meetings to schools twice in the coming academic year.

Board members hope that by holding meetings in schools, more people will attend, said board president J.C. Headley.

Flowers, education bloom

Science is not limited to the inside of MU’s new Life Sciences Center. Outside the southern face of the building is the Life Sciences Discovery Garden, which features crops that are the subject of research at MU and plants with medical uses.

Joan Smith, the landscape designer at Campus Facilities-Landscape Services who designed the roughly 6,400-square-foot garden, calls it “a passive learning experience.” Labels, Smith said, will tell each plant’s common and botanical name, as well as its beneficial uses.

Twilight fest report urges open streets

The Central Columbia Association is thrilled that the Twilight Festival is drawing record crowds. But the voluntary merchants’ association is not thrilled that the Columbia City Council is considering a resolution to close a two-block stretch of one road because of safety concerns.

At Monday’s meeting, the Columbia City Council directed city staff to draft a resolution to close Ninth Street between Broadway and Walnut Street during the first two weeks of the September Twilight Festival. The decision followed discussion of a report submitted to the council by the CCA that outlines methods used to provide the public with safe, accessible festival activities. The report also lists the reasons why the board of the CCA does not support festival street closures.