King of the road?

You either love them or hate them. Or maybe you just sip your Big Gulp and whiz right by them.

Drive east from Columbia on Interstate 70, and you’ll see more than 200 billboards displaying ads for gas stations and tourist shops, funeral homes and tractor supply stores.

Lewis’ boating experiment

Meriwether Lewis spent hours of preparation and dedication on his iron boat before the expedition of the Corps of Discovery. The boat, invented especially for the expedition, was aimed at tackling the problems Lewis knew lay ahead on the Missouri River.

And then it sank.

Golden Years

Art and Vera Gelder are moving into a retirement spent taking care of more than 1 million bees, 24 goats, 12 rabbits, 12 ducks, five llamas, four emus, three peacocks and a pair of pigs. That’s not counting the dogs, cats, guinea fowl or the 2,500 adults and children who visit their family farm on the outskirts of Columbia.

“This is what we want to do when we retire,” Art says.

Guessing game

From doodles in Clark’s journal to copies of maps given to the expedition by American Indians to celestial observation, William Clark drew, compiled or collected the maps that detailed one of the greatest expeditions in American history.

More than 140 maps were made during the Lewis and Clark expedition and more than 30 were collected from American Indians, fur trappers and traders.

The kindness of strangers

The Lewis and Clark journey was deeply influenced by native tribes living in the American wilderness. Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation says, “The North American people shared their unique knowledge of people in the land — helping (Lewis and Clark) map the lands around them, providing horses, and providing valuable knowledge about food preservation and ways to survive.”

Bob Moore, a historian at the Museum of Westward Expansion, says Lewis and Clark didn’t have a clue how lucky they were until the expedition was over.

A woman, a symbol

Sacagawea’s part in the expedition began with the party’s hope to acquire horses. She was to help guide the expedition to the headwaters of the Columbia River. However, her role evolved greatly during the voyage.

She served as an interpreter, and expedition members hoped she would speak kindly of them to American Indians they met along the way. She was also valued as a woman. As expedition co-leader William Clark noted in his journal, “one woman with a party of men is a token of peace.”

Playing your cards right

Starting Monday, Medicare recipients can begin applying for the new prescription drug discount cards. But with 28 different cards, each with its own formulary of available drugs, deciding which card to get might be difficult.

The discount cards, which will cost $30 a year, are aimed at providing relief to senior citizens until the new prescription drug plan for Medicare recipients goes into full effect in 2006. The card could reduce the cost of prescription medications by 10 percent to 25 percent.

Stomaching the expedition

The old saying, “an army moves on its stomach,” proved true for the men on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

But the most important part of each day wasn’t the exploration but rather the hunting, gathering and shepherding of the daily food requirements.

On the rivers, they traveled into the unknown

In the course of walking, boating and canoeing nearly 3,000 miles, it was inevitable that the more than two dozen men of the Lewis and Clark expedition would encounter trouble.

Sometimes it came from within.

Holden talks at Democrat Day

Democrats from counties throughout Missouri attended the Central Missouri Democrat Day on Saturday, which aimed to unite Democrats and raise money. Featured speakers were Gov. Bob Holden and former Gov. Roger Wilson, who spoke in place of State Auditor Claire McCaskill.

Daily planner

One morning this past January, MU quarterback Brad Smith sat at a table with Scott Ashton, director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in mid-Missouri. The pair were discussing plans for an upcoming FCA event to be held before the MU-Kansas basketball game. During the event, Ashton and Smith would be speaking in front of about 750 young people from across the region.

Strangers interrupted them four times during their 45-minute-meeting to ask Smith for his autograph and to praise his on-the-field achievements. At the end of the meeting, Ashton asked Smith if all that attention bothered him.

College political parties debate

Close to 100 people were on hand Thursday night when the MU College Republicans and College Democrats held the first annual debate between the two groups.

New development plans afoot

Plans are in place for a three-phase development that will span nearly 1,000 acres and include about 2,000 homes, a championship golf course, a country club and a commercial area along Route WW, just east of Columbia.

The proposal from developer Billy Sapp has yet to be presented to either city or county officials, but many of its details have been unveiled at neighborhood meetings. The development should begin taking shape within two years, Sapp spokesman Don Stamper said Wednesday. Its proximity to the city and need for adequate sewer service make it a prime candidate for annexation by the city, Stamper said. Its size and scope also will require improvements to Route WW.

Chunky missile of cast iron hits residence

A piece of cast iron, apparently fired from a cannon located on the property of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, tore through the fifth floor of a residence building adjacent to the MU campus Thursday night.

Doug Miller, manager of University Place at the corner of University and College avenues, said what appeared to be an eight-inch piece of cast iron struck the roof of the building, fell through the fifth floor and settled on the fourth floor. No residents were injured, he said, but the impact blew out an apartment window.

Festival to honor Lewis, Clark journey

Sleepless nights and endless anxiety describe Mayor Nancy Grant as she prepares for Hartsburg’s first Lewis and Clark bicentennial festival and one of the largest in the area.

In the town of a little more than 100 people, Grant and her husband, Mike Rodemeyer, along with several volunteers, are setting up tents, welcoming re-enactors and worrying about the forecast, which is calling for a chance of showers and thunderstorms Friday night and Saturday morning.

Fulton remains calm in glare of spotlight

FULTON — On Thursday, a day before John Kerry is scheduled to arrive and three days after Vice President Dick Cheney left, you could have driven straight past Westminster College and not realized it was America’s political battleground du jour.

There were no banners. No protests. Few students meandered about and the Winston Churchill Museum was as dead as a department store on Christmas. It’s striking, considering the national attention the college has received since Monday, when Cheney was chided for giving a stump speech when college officials said they thought he was making a foreign policy announcement.

Developer quizzed by residents

Residents of the El Chaparral neighborhood may not love it, but they accept the inevitability of growth and development — as long as it is high quality.

Neighborhood residents got their first look at a graphic of the nearby 976-acre development being planned by Billy Sapp at a meeting Thursday night, when Sapp representative Don Stamper presented preliminary drafts to about 20 people.

School dress codes not fashionable for all

As girls' clothing gets smaller, boys' clothing gets bigger and parents' patience grows thinner, the mention of school uniforms and dress codes tends to creep into the conversation. Studies on the effect of uniforms on student behavior, however, have produced mixed results.

Kerry receives warm welcome at Columbia Regional Airport

Wilma Droz Miller and her friend Ginny Van Hove arrived at the Columbia Regional Airport at 9 this morning to wait for Sen. John Kerry's plane to land.

Kerry speaks at Westminster College

FULTON -- Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry on Friday told a crowd at Westminster College that the word today is as perilous as it was nearly 60 years ago, when Winston Churchill warned that the "iron curtain" of communism was descending upon Europe.