Diet choices fuel rising cost of milk

Ernest Zhang’s family drinks three gallons of skim milk each week. When Zhang went shopping for milk on May 9, he was shocked at what he found.

“For the price of skim milk, it has been $1.80 to $2.09 a gallon for a long time, but it was $2.69,” Zhang said. “We compared it with the soaring gasoline prices. We can not live without both of them because we need to drink a lot of milk and drive every day.”

Healthy exchange

To prepare the way for her Russian guest, Susan Burns carefully compiled a list of useful words for almost every room in her house 20 miles outside Columbia. She used a Web site to translate the key words from English to Russian.

“I gave her several lists for different rooms,” Burns said. “But she has been taking English classes for two months, and her English is much better than she said it would be.”

A year later, parents look to law

MOKANE — Christine Ewing was an adventurous young woman, recently living on her own, who loved spending time outdoors with family and friends.

It was a family outing to a ball game that led to the unthinkable.

Senate candidates split on oil policy

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Nancy Farmer criticized President George W. Bush and U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., for refusing to act on the high cost of gasoline.

Speaking to a handful of people gathered Friday at the MFA Oil gas station on West Boulevard, Farmer mirrored the stance of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, saying the Bush administration should suspend the delivery of oil into the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. She said the move would reduce the price of gas by 10 to 25 cents a gallon.

Cleaning the Big Muddy

Jim Fogle of Kansas City is committed to retracing the route of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery from Missouri all the way to Oregon. Alone and carrying everything he needs on his bicycle, Fogle set out at 4 p.m. May 14, the same time the expedition departed from St. Charles 200 years ago.

Fogle will bike across the country and camp each night along the way. Retired, he has time to stop wherever he sees fit. On Saturday, he decided to stop at Cooper’s Landing south of Columbia, where he joined nearly 200 other volunteers who lent a hand to Missouri River Relief’s annual cleanup and “trash bash.”

Burglar at large after assaulting woman

A woman who awoke to find a burglar climbing into bed with her early Saturday morning was sexually assaulted before she escaped and called authorities from a neighbor’s house in Valley Creek subdivision, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

The man is suspected of a burglary minutes earlier in the same neighborhood east of Columbia. The crimes occurred between 4:30 and 5 a.m., according to a news release from detective Andy Anderson.

Roadway funding to get more focus

OSAGE BEACH — Several top officials at the Columbia City Council’s annual retreat this weekend raised concerns over the creation of transportation development districts to build new roads, furthering the debate over how the city will meet its growing transportation needs.

Most of the city’s major street projects are financed by a quarter-cent capital improvements sales tax, which brings in an estimated $4 million a year. While it seems a foregone conclusion that the council will ask voters this fall to extend that tax for street work, City Manager Ray Beck has already indicated that won’t be enough to keep pace with the city’s growth.

Not much fabric, but a lot of grief

Note to readers: I’m resurrecting another old column, again with additional comments.

I just returned from my annual swimsuit quest. I normally love to shop, but this is one instance where the whole procedure is very painful. A one-piece bathing suit is nothing more than a colorful girdle. And those of us who wore girdles in the ’60s know that they don’t hold in the fat, they just squish the flab so it looks for the nearest opening to fan out. And with the latest styles, there is plenty of room for redistribution.

District to challenge tax ruling

Henry Lane’s property tax lawsuit may substantially affect the way school districts across the state create and implement their budgets.

In a ruling handed down Tuesday, Judge Edwin Smith of the Missouri Court of Appeals applied the state’s budget laws to school districts, saying they must keep revenues “substantially the same” as the amount budgeted for the school year.

Student cases of disease increase

Whooping cough continues to works its way through the Columbia Public School District.

Nine cases have been confirmed throughout the district, with six cases reported at Smithton Middle School. The most recent case was confirmed Thursday at Gentry Middle School, the school’s first case.

Emergency practice

Outside at the Boone County Fairgrounds, patients are wheeled to military-issue emergency tents on camouflage-colored stretchers. The skin of many has turned bright red, and blisters are stuck to faces, arms and legs. One of the most vivid cases, recalls Chris Babich, the noncommissioned officer in charge of triage, was a 14-year-old burn victim who began a high-pitched screaming as she was carried in.

The girl and the other patients are actors, volunteers working with the National Guard and local emergency agencies. Their injuries are created by Staff Sgt. Yaneth Alvarez and a team of impromptu make-up artists who use chicken bones, wax and Vaseline to make injuries appear realistic.

Lunches going up in price, nutrition

In the district’s first price increase since 1996, children in Columbia’s public schools will pay more for meals starting next fall.

To help cover an expected increase in expenses of nearly $295,000, the district will generate about $224,000 by way of an 11 percent elementary increase, 9 percent secondary increase and 18 percent adult increase in meal prices. The Columbia Public Schools will serve about 1.5 million meals this year.

Broadway to feature new shopping mall

Hollywood Video, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and CiCi’s Pizza are among the first tenants moving into The Broadway Shops, the retail center being built by the Forum Development Group on East Broadway near U.S. 63.

The owners of the Forum Development Group announced Thursday that leases with 11 merchants had been signed for space inside the new 85,000-square foot center. The 11 stores will occupy about 45 percent of the center’s available space.

Avid academic

Cool, perky and energetic were all words that Jill Villasana’s ninth-grade students used to describe her.

And cool is a word Villasana uses to describe a James Madison Foundation Fellowship she recently received. The fellowship, awarded annually to one person from each state, will pay up to $24,000 of Villasana’s educational fees as she pursues a master’s degree in social studies.

Eastside hotel proposed

The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved plans to build a four-story, 152-room Hilton Garden Inn at the CenterState Crossings development between Vandiver Drive and U.S. 63 at its meeting Thursday night.

Commission member Jerry Wade called the hotel a pleasant addition to the CenterState Crossings location.

From here to there costs more

Fred Bunney regularly travels from his home in Pittsburg, Kan., to Columbia for treatment at Truman Veteran’s Hospital. Not long ago, gasoline for the round trip cost him about $23. Today, it runs him closer to $50.

“I used to go out riding around because I’m disabled,” said Bunney, as he filled his tank at the Phillips 66 at Providence Road and Locust Street. “Now I can’t do that.”

Grandfather admits to arson at son’s residence

An exhaustive two-year investigation culminated Friday in the guilty plea of an Arizona man to the largest arson fire in the history of the Boone County Fire District.

Francis Wildman, 82, of Prescott, Ariz., admitted setting his son’s house ablaze the night of his granddaughter’s wedding.

Lane wins 53 cents in school tax suit

The Columbia Board of Education will decide what to do today after the Missouri Court of Appeals sided against it Tuesday in a case concerning property tax levies.

The lead plaintiff, Henry Lane, said he was happy with the decision.

City manager: transportation key to growth

An increase in the city sales tax and expanded use of transportation development districts might help cover fiscal year 2005 transportation costs, according to City Manager Ray Beck.

At the State of the City address Wednesday morning, Beck emphasized quality infrastructure as a means to maintain annual city growth rates of 1 percent to 2 percent.

Beck: Tax-free Internet still taxes city services

Columbia City Manager Ray Beck would like to tax Internet purchases that occur in Columbia, but he isn’t sure exactly how to do it.

During his annual State of the City address, Beck said the trend toward Internet buying is one reason for slower growth in revenue from the city’s sales tax. Recent economic downturns and the emergence of businesses in neighboring communities are also to blame, he said.