Eating-habits study leads to deeper issue

I would doubt that it came as a surprise to anyone that a study commissioned by Gerber Products Co. found that a lot of American infants were pigging out on candy, pizza and a mega-smorgasbord of sugary, salty, fat fast–foods instead of mother’s milk and baby formula. Parenting has changed so much over the last few decades that the fact that infants are being fed like adults is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

A scant 30 years ago, new mothers remained in the hospital for at least three days following the birthing experience. At least they had breathing time to recuperate from the experience before they had to assume the responsibility of caring for the baby. If they had to return to work, there was usually a family member, neighbor or friend to look after the infant.

Managed care merger would affect 1.4 million Missourians

JEFFERSON CITY — The announcement of the $16.4 billion merger between managed care providers Anthem Inc. and WellPoint Health Networks Inc. last week comes at a time when the Missouri Chamber of Commerce says businesses throughout the state are concerned about rising premiums and the availability of health insurance plan alternatives.

“It’s one of the highest priorities our employers have right now — especially the small businesses, which make up most of our membership,” said Missouri Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Karen Buschmann.

Fulton baby dies; sitter found dead

Thirteen-month-old Colin Chaney died Thursday after being admitted to an area hospital Tuesday for treatment of injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome, officials say.

Standing up for schools

JEFFERSON CITY — The lawyer whose efforts led to the largest tax increase in Missouri history sits behind stacks of paper, organized in a way that only he understands. He is serious, reserved, rehearsed. He is unknown to most Missourians, yet few people have had more impact on education in Missouri.

Alex Bartlett is getting his ducks in a row to once again contest the constitutionality of education funding in Missouri.

Districts resist budget lawsuit

JEFFERSON CITY — Not all Missouri school districts have rallied around the idea of suing the state for not fully funding public education. School officials from the wealthiest districts in Missouri fear that a successful suit could leave their districts hurting for funds.

Some superintendents of so-called “hold-harmless” school districts have cautioned their boards of education not to join in the suit.

Mourners recall Stephens coed

Members of the Stephens College community gathered Friday in Searcy Hall to grieve and remember their friend and fellow student, Melissa Howland.

Howland, 18, was killed in a car crash at 4:40 p.m. Thursday on Route WW just east of Columbia’s city limits. Howland was a freshman majoring in English at Stephens. Friends said that because she was a member of a close-knit living-learning community in Searcy Hall, her death had a major impact on people she’d known for only a few months.

Root of the matter

As it winds down, this season has been unlike any other in the 23 years since the Columbia Farmers Market opened shop in an open-air pole barn on the old fairgrounds at Ash Street and Clinkscales Road.

In the spring, disagreement over the size, cost and management of a project to build a permanent market prompted numerous growers, some of whom have been with the market since its inception, to set up shop at a separate market in a parking lot on Business Loop 70. The number of vendors at the new Boone County Farmers Market rivaled or surpassed those at the Columbia Farmers Market. Both sites are filled with individual tents.

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.