Low vote tally seen for Bonds

If you want to avoid clots of fired-up gadflies and long, coiling lines at polling places Tuesday, stop in anytime between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

County Clerk Wendy Noren is predicting fewer residents will turn out to vote than it takes to fill one-sixth of MU’s Memorial Stadium.

Lawsuit to contest K-12 school funds

JEFFERSON CITY — Boone County is considering joining more than 200 other Missouri school districts set to challenge the state’s kindergarten through 12 funding system. While none of the county’s six school districts have come to a decision, the issue is before most school boards across the county.

Thomas Baugh, Hallsville superintendent, supports the planned suit. “The amount of per-pupil funding given to kids in the richest and poorest districts in the state are not even close, and getting worse,” Baugh said.

Florida considers Lehmkuhle for provost

Steve Lehmkuhle, UM system’s vice president of academic affairs, is one of eight people the University of South Florida in Tampa is considering for its new provost.

Lehmkuhle was selected from a pool of almost 70 applicants who responded to an advertisement in the Chronicle for Higher Education, said Stuart Silverman, chairman of the Provost Search Committee at USF. The committee reviewed the applications and narrowed its search to eight candidates, he said.

Projects: good ideas, but ...

I hate doing repetitive things like folding laundry or doing dishes. It’s not the part where I place the dishes or the dirty clothes into the machine that washes them that I hate. I loathe having to remove the items to either be folded or put back in the cupboard. What’s the use? Once I get everything put away, it’s time to use them again. These mundane tasks take time away from the projects I’m dying to start but never seem to get to.

I’m not a craft person. I’ve never stenciled a wall or appliquéd a sweatshirt — I leave those “fun” undertakings to my daughters-in-law. But there are a few projects that I’ve kept waiting in the wings.

Whooo lives here?

FRANKENSTEIN — To an outsider, little is frightening about this mid-Missouri hamlet that shares its name with the gothic novel. These villagers are more prone to know one another’s names than to rise up against a monster.

And the residents of the area say they like their close-knit community.

Insurer drops nine doctors’ coverage

Letters arrived Wednesday for nine of the 30 doctors at Boone Clinic, informing them that they would have to find a new provider for medical malpractice insurance next year.

The affected physicians specialize in pulmonary medicine, ophthalmology, rheumatology, oncology and internal medicine. Gloria Logan, Boone Clinic’s personal administrative specialist, said the doctors were “very concerned and upset” about losing their coverage.

Salt might shake out for snow

After years of spreading cinders on city streets for snow removal, Columbia is beginning to lay the groundwork to use salt as the primary snow-removing substance.

Cinders, a waste product from the coal-fired Municipal Power Plant, are economical because they’re free. And cinders aren’t corrosive to pavement or vehicles.

Head-on crash kills teen

A head-on collision just east of Columbia Thursday claimed the life of a Columbia teenager and left another man in serious condition.

Melissa Howland, 18, was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:40 p.m. by Boone County Death Investigator Dori Burke. Stephen Cornelison, 27, also of Columbia, was taken to University Hospital.

City hopes to close lagoon

Tucked away at the back of the El Chaparral neighborhood just east of Columbia is Boone County’s largest sewer lagoon. Guarded by a fence and a “Keep Out” sign, the lagoon drains 166,000 gallons of treated sewage every day. It flows directly into the North Fork of Grindstone Creek, just a few miles upstream of a common swimming area.

The process is legal but not necessarily safe.

New study focuses on Hispanics

Two MU researchers have been awarded nearly $421,000 to conduct a three-year study aimed at improving family planning and outreach in Boone County’s growing Hispanic population.

Dr. James Campbell and Dr. Marjorie Sable will use the grant, funded by the nonprofit Missouri Foundation for Health, to study cultural barriers in the use of birth control among local Hispanics.

Council welcomes new clerk

Sheela Amin has never been to a Columbia City Council meeting, but soon the meetings will be an integral part of her job.

Amin, Columbia’s new city clerk, began her training Monday. After eight years of working for the State Emergency Management Agency, she is looking forward to the change.

Tips lead to heroin arrests

Acting on a series of tips from informants, Boone County Sheriff’s Department detectives arrested two Jefferson City women early Thursday morning on suspicion of possessing about a gram of heroin and a gram of crack cocaine.

Andrea Reid, 33, and Mary Ann Wilson, 31, were pulled over along U.S. 63 near Ashland at 12:25 a.m. after detectives received information that drugs were being transported to Columbia from Jefferson City over the past several days.

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.