advertisement

Local

Task force to study qualifications for state prison guards

Guarding prisoners is one of the lowest-paid and highest-stress jobs in state government, according to the Department of Corrections. But following a recent successful manhunt in and around the Missouri State Penitentiary, the governor is looking for corrections officers to get more respect.

A task force, announced Thursday by Gov. Bob Holden, will create a professional certification program for Missouri corrections officers. The nine-member Corrections Officer Certification Commission will study what qualifications state prison guards and county jailers should meet, as well as whether applicants should be tested to become corrections officers.

Field to fuel tank

The first diesel engine produced in the United States roared to life in St. Louis in 1898. These early engines ran on peanut oil.

This primitive form of fuel was soon replaced by petroleum-based diesel, all but eliminating the market for vegetable oil-based fuels. More than 100 years later, the prospects for biodiesel’s re-emergence are brightening, and Missouri is at the center of the comeback.

Columbia businesses promote exercise with cash

In the dark mornings of early fall, when breath lingers in the air like smoke, a woman draped in an orange reflective vest struts around her Columbia neighborhood.

What could make a 57-year-old woman walk around the early-morning streets in the cold weather? Is it the stress she relieves? Is it making sure her triple-bypass surgery two years ago was her last?

Check Halloween candy and costumes

While the day and night may be filled with fun activities for the children, there are some Halloween hazards that may be masked as well.

According to William Womack, medical director of MU Health Care’s emergency services department, parents and children need to understand that while Halloween is a fun holiday for everyone, it creates some safety concerns.

Doctor’s pills aren’t the only remedy

Antiperspirant isn’t just for preventing sweat and stink. Dab a bit on mosquito bites, and the itching and swelling will soon be history.

At least, that’s what Kenneth Haller says. Haller is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and an active promoter of the value of home remedies.

Rate hike protested

Tensions were high Thursday night as a group of more than 45 Columbia residents gathered at a Public Service Commission public hearing to learn more about the proposed 78 percent increase in the nongas portion of their AmerenUE bills.

The utility’s request would eventually cost an average residential user an extra $16 a month for nongas charges, which make up one-third of a customer’s bill. The nongas rate covers expenses such as billing, maintenance, infrastructure and meter-reading — essentially everything other than the gas itself.

Adding it up

Numbers are everywhere, and the Columbia Public School District is working to make sure its students learn to understand them.

Even Dana Dillon’s fifth-grade pupils at Benton Elementary School can cite examples of math in their daily lives. Educators say that a sound understanding of basic math skills is necessary for adult success.

Irregular solar storm hits

One of the strongest geomagnetic storms in almost 30 years hit the Earth on Wednesday, and MU assistant professor of astronomy Angela Speck doesn’t know why. The solar activity that brings this type of storm usually climaxes every 11 years, she explained, meaning the cyclical peak for solar flares should have been three years ago.

“This is not supposed to be happening,” Speck said.

MU, JFA argue about protest

The provocative photo exhibit of aborted fetuses and human embryos ended on the MU campus Wednesday without the emotional confrontations that people on both sides of the abortion debate feared.

However, almost as soon as the two-story, billboard-sized photo exhibit went up in front of Kuhlman Court on Monday morning, tensions between the university and the group hosting the display, Mizzou Justice for All: Students for Bio-Ethical Equality, simmered behind the scenes.

Money flows in gun law debate

For some Missourians, the price of optimism is $125. For others, it runs as high as $100,000.

The cost depends on where one stands on the issue of concealed guns.

Experimenting with education

The eyes of 15 boys are glued to film canisters filled with water and Alka-Seltzer tablets. Suddenly, the canisters shoot to the ceiling, spraying water as they fall. Science specialist Gregory Kirchhofer shouts over the screams of joy, “maybe we should take this experiment outside.”

This was the scene at the second meeting of the Mill Creek Science Club for fifth-graders, which, because of the large roster, meets at 7:30 a.m. every Monday for boys and on Tuesdays for girls. Kirchhofer gives the students hands-on learning opportunities each week to get them interested in science.

Nickell’s to bring fairways up to par

The grass is always greener on the other side — especially when it’s got a brand new irrigation system.

L.A. Nickell Golf Course, a public course run by the Parks and Recreation Department, will get such a system soon. The Columbia City Council on Oct. 20 approved a plan to spend $700,000 to irrigate the course and convert its fairway turf to zoysia.

Dress success

Courtney Nelson has a passion for clothing, and she is willing to steam dresses for eight hours just to get hands-on experience.

Nelson, a senior at Stephens College from Keystone, Colo., has spent the past six months helping organize Stephens’ fashion department exhibit, “For Better, For Worse: The Dress, The Woman, The Life.”

Ghouls and goodies

Carol Spratt still trick-or-treats — even at age 40. Her secret: take a child along.

Spratt was an aunt at the age of 10, and there was always a child who needed her to take them out on Halloween.

Rock wall law could be revised

Rep. Chuck Graham is challenging what he calls a loophole in a state amusement park statute that doesn’t require all climbing walls to be subject to inspections or to have safety cables.

Graham announced Wednesday that he intends to file legislation on Dec. 1 that would add climbing walls to the list of rides requiring inspection under Missouri’s amusement park statute. The current law only requires rides with mechanical devices to be inspected.

MU issues values letter

A letter concerning the free exchange of ideas and appropriate student response to controversy was sent this week to about 5,700 students who live in MU’s residence halls.

The letter was sent in part to address the harassment experienced by a female student who lives in Johnston Hall. The student, who was not identified, told the Residential Life Department that posters on her dorm room door supporting abortion rights had been vandalized and that related, inappropriate messages were left on the door’s message board.

Fishing for Answers

It’s been six years since the endangered Topeka shiner was found in Boone County, and scientists think chances are slim that the species will ever be found naturally in local streams again.

The silver-colored minnow is an indicator species, which means its decline can foreshadow the survival of other species of fish.

Movin’ on up

Thrill seekers may now glide up and down Columbia’s second public escalator.

With the recent grand opening of the two-level Famous-Barr department store, J.C. Penney no longer operates the only public escalator within city limits.

Innovation touted at Famous-Barr

Managers at Famous-Barr hope their new store in Columbia, along with a small fleet of others like it nationwide, will help usher in a new era in American department stores.

With more aisle space, brighter lighting and a “racetrack aisle,” the design is intended to allow the customer more freedom, a more informal shopping experience and a brighter shopping environment.

Critics balk at sewer extension measure

Nearly a third of the money from an $18.5 million sewer bond issue on Tuesday’s ballot would be used to extend Columbia sewers into areas ripe for development. City officials, however, say it’s impossible to say for sure which lines would be extended first.

Potential sewer extensions meeting city criteria are in nearly every local watershed, including those of Clear, Mill and Grindstone creeks. Sewer engineer Steve Hunt said policy calls for new lines to begin within city limits and extend to “80-acre” points. The points are called that because they are specific points to which 80 acres of surrounding property will drain. Once the city extends a main line, developers must cover the cost of tapping into it.

advertisements