More power

For the first time in more than two decades, Columbia residents and businesses face rising electric rates as a result of unbalanced energy supply and demand in mid-Missouri.

In early June, the Water and Light Advisory Board recommended the consulting firm R.W. Beck review Columbia’s electricity needs. This study, completed July 1, estimated Columbia will need an additional 75 to 150 megawatts of capacity between 2008 and 2020 as the city’s peak energy load increases.

Mother charged in infant deaths

A Moberly woman was arrested Thursday morning and charged with murder in connection with the deaths just over a year apart of her two infant children.

Carla Clay, 23, was arraigned before Randolph County Associate Circut Judge Scott Haynes Thursday afternoon on two counts of first-degree murder. She is being held on $1 million bond in the Randolph County Jail.

Cheney to campaign Monday in Columbia

Vice President Dick Cheney will visit Columbia on Monday to tout the administration’s agenda and shore up support in a presidential battleground state.

Cheney will speak at a campaign event at Boone County Millwork showroom and production facility on Vandiver Drive, according to a news release issued Thursday by the Bush-Cheney campaign. “The vice president will talk about the importance of continuing the administration’s optimistic agenda and the progress being made as a result of the president’s leadership,” said Tracey Schmitt, a Bush-Cheney spokeswoman.

Democrats debate in House races

Even the Democratic candidates for the 24th and 25th District House races admitted it’s been tough to distinguish the differences among them.

“We’re all good, progressive, Democratic candidates ... so wherein lies the difference?” Mike Blum, a candidate for the 25th District, said in his opening remarks at a Thursday night debate leading up to the Aug. 3 primary.

Teens to hold activist meeting

Isaiah Taylor empties his pockets as he looks for the list of panelists for Saturday’s Youth Activist Conference.

As the 19-year-old begins to sort through the scraps of paper, fellow conference organizer Sarah Whites-Koditschek chimes in playfully.

A good room for mushroom

Brad Bomanz loves mushrooms. He loves to cook with them and he loves to eat them. He also loves to collect them, a passion he traces back to his childhood.

Bomanz is a member of the Missouri Mycological Society, referred to as MOMS. It started in 1986 as a small group of amateur mushroom researchers and hunters. Now a chapter of the North American Mycological Society, MOMS has about 150 mushroom lovers.

Columbia School District asks for appeal in tax case

Lawyers for the two defendants in a property-tax lawsuit against the Columbia School District have asked the Missouri Supreme Court to hear the case following an unfavorable decision by an appeals court.

Alex Bartlett, attorney for the Columbia School District, and John Patton, attorney for Boone County Collector Pat Lensmeyer, each filed on Wednesday an application for transfer with the Supreme Court. A decision on whether to hear the case will likely come on the court’s next hand-down date, Aug. 24, although the Supreme Court clerk’s office said the decision could come earlier.

Climbing wall retrial set for late August

Local climbing wall owner Marcus Floyd will face a retrial set for Aug. 24.

Judge Gene Hamilton of the 13th Judicial Court overruled a motion for Floyd’s acquittal, which his defense attorneys raised at a motion hearing last week.

Awareness key goal of poverty game

Participants in the “Creating our Future Together” forum will be playing with fake money, a utility company and a jail this weekend, but they will not be sitting around a Monopoly board. Instead, they will be role-playing in the “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” poverty simulation hosted by the Columbia/Boone County Community Partnership.

To the more than 13,000 Boone County residents the 2000 U.S. Census says are living at or below the federal poverty level, however, being poor is much more than a game.

Finance disclosures reveal Holden leading by millions

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Bob Holden outspent Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill and yet had 10 times as much money in the bank heading into the final month before the Aug. 3 primary elections, according to campaign finance reports released Thursday.

A McCaskill spokesman said the cash discrepancy was due partly to the fact her campaign already had paid for TV ads to run through the election.

A taste of medicine

The smell of formaldehyde hung thickly in the warm afternoon air in the lab.

Kody Finstad concentrated intently on his patient, scalpel hovering over the foot. The room grew hushed except for a few good-natured jabs from the crowd surrounding him.

Teacher salaries rank 43rd

JEFFERSON CITY — The average salary of Missouri teachers ranks 43rd in the country, below all of Missouri’s neighbors except Arkansas and Oklahoma, according to a survey by a teachers union.

The American Federation of Teachers found the national average salary for the 2002-03 school year, the latest data available, was $45,771. In Missouri, the average salary was $37,641. By comparison, the average median household income in Missouri was $43,955 as of 2002, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Senate hopefuls debate

Democratic candidates for the 19th District State Senate took off their gloves Wednesday night in a Boone County debate.

Tim Harlan, former 23rd District House representative until 2002, began the jabs against State Rep. Chuck Graham when responding to a question about plans to minimize the undue influence of corporations on the political process.

Hamming it up: preparing for the fair

People from all over the county are expected to bring their carefully crafted projects to the fairgrounds today for the Boone County Fair. The 58th annual event kicks off Monday. They’ll enter their items — everything from displays on cake decorating to the ideal country cured ham — for judging in three different fair contests.

Camp promotes positive choices

The steady sound of marching echoes throughout the parking lot.

“Left, left, left right left,” bellow the campers, their foreheads and cheeks coated with green and black face paint. Serious, determined expressions line their faces.

State tax credits help local charities

For 11 Boone County charities, finding donations from businesses became easier Tuesday when the Missouri Department of Economic Development announced they would receive about $2.5 million in state tax credits.

The 11 charities were among 107 in the state that received a total of $16 million in tax credits to provide incentives for businesses to donate.

DVD outlines treatments for farmers

You’ve heard it before: No pain, no gain. For farmers living with arthritis, the cliché often becomes a way of life. But it doesn’t have to be.

Many farmers with arthritis perform physically demanding work daily, despite debilitating aches and pains. The doctors who treat such farmers now have a new resource to help them to better understand their patients’ lifestyle and provide more comprehensive treatment.

Naturalists program combines outdoors study, volunteerism

Mid-Missourians who want to expand their knowledge of the natural world will have the opportunity through a new program being offered this fall.

The Master Naturalist program, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the University of Missouri Extension, is a nine-week course in ecology and natural history. Participants who complete the course, which includes 40 hours of class sessions and field trips, eight hours of advanced training in a specific field and 40 hours of volunteer service, can be certified as master naturalists.

Flat Branch Park plans to add a water plaza

Columbia’s Flat Branch Park may get a little more interactive.

Mike Snyder, park planner for Columbia Parks and Recreation, said the plan is to create a water plaza with fountains that children can play in. Often called “spray-grounds,” the fountain will feature water that shoots out in designs, such as arches. Plans include smaller fountains for children who may not like playing in the larger fountain. The plaza will be constructed with brick or cobblestone, which Snyder said will be more attractive in winter, when the water is turned off.

Bird’s-eye view of Boone

New aerial maps available online can help Boone County residents find a new home or a piece of property. The maps can be found at, where users can type in an address, zoom in and out on a particular parcel, identify who owns the property, measure distances and print the maps at no cost.

The aerial photos of Boone County were taken in March 2002 to assist local government officials. But, since becoming available to the public Feb. 6, the photos have also helped local realtors, surveyors and title companies research property and tax information.