Tiger Columns fire temporarily closes Eighth Street

A trash can fire broke out today at 7:38 a.m. at Tiger Columns, a retirement community located on Eight Street in downtown Columbia. Lieutenant Amy Barrett said that as of this morning, the fire's exact cause had not been determined.

Healing health care

Hattie Nichols waited patiently between the microwave popcorn display and a table of baked goods at Moser’s Discount Foods while a nurse checked her blood pressure. She appeared content as the pressure cuff was removed from her arm.

“I keep a close watch on my blood pressure,” said Nichols, 73, of Ashland, as she handed the nurse a card on which she frequently records her blood pressure readings.

Zoning issue irks county

Boone County officials are frustrated with developments on the urban fringe, and a rezoning request before the county Planning and Zoning Commission tonight is highlighting the problem.

Prime Development Corp. plans to build 250 homes and 70 townhouses on the 200-acre property off Route WW near the El Chaparral and Concorde Estates subdivisions. Prime President Rob Smith said, 20 acres have been set aside for neighborhood commercial development, such as a dry cleaning business, a bank or a salon. An Elk’s Lodge is also planned for a 4-acre tract.

AmerenUE seeks to raise non-gas charges

Columbia residents have been hearing for months that they can expect higher natural gas bills this winter. Those bills could be even higher in December if the Missouri Public Service Commission approves a proposed 78 percent increase in the non-gas portion of AmerenUE bills.

Doug Micheel of the Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers on utility issues, said he has fielded several calls from residents who are worried about the proposed increase, many of them from Columbia.

More women eligible for free cancer clinics

More than 50,000 Missouri women could be eligible for free cancer screenings again this year thanks to a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Public health officials are hoping to increase the number of people taking advantage of the offer, since, last year, only 6,000 underwent the screening.

MU spotlighted on cable TV

Athletic events are usually the only time to see icons of school spirit on national television. However, on Saturday, MU will be featured on the TBS Superstation for a different reason.

Big Playstation Saturdays are a new venture for TBS, airing all-day movies before and after a college football game. The game Saturday is MU vs. the University of Oklahoma, and the movie is “Road House.”

Columbian gets Purple Heart

Spc. William Nelson was en route to a security checkpoint a few miles outside of Baghdad in August when he was momentarily blinded by a blast of white light. The next thing he knew, his arm, which was hanging casually out of the window of his vehicle, had shrapnel in it. The Humvee Nelson was riding in had detonated an improvised explosive device.

It was Aug. 30 — Nelson’s 22nd birthday. The wounds were so severe that the on-site medic thought Nelson might lose the use of his elbow. After two surgeries to correct nerve damage in his elbow, Nelson has regained almost all flexibility in his arm and some feeling in his fingers.

Sexual assault, robbery trial starts

A Huntsville man pleaded not guilty to rape and abduction charges Wednesday at the Boone County Courthouse, claiming that the sexual activities were consensual.

On Jan. 23, Robert Dale Schlup, 47, was arrested on charges of one count each of forcible rape, forcible sodomy and kidnapping, and two counts of first-degree robbery.

How fat is fat?

A few weeks ago, I was dumbfounded to learn that my left arm is the fattest part of my body.

I discovered this after having a body composition assessment that used a “dual energy x-ray absorptiometry” procedure, or DXA, to look at the percentage of fat versus muscle or lean tissue in the body.

Mentors use ‘the Zone’ to empower students

To Dale Musser, creating Web sites and digital video are like riding a bicycle: You learn by doing.

“You have to get on the bicycle and learn how to ride it,” not be told how from the front of a classroom, said Musser, assistant professor of Network Learning Systems in MU’s School of Information Science and Learning Technologies.

Mastering martial arts

The serene atmosphere of Peace Park was a fitting setting for the focused movements of Japanese swordsmanship on an early Sunday morning. Joseph Bowes, 54, led a private lesson with an accomplished student in the ancient traditions of Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu.

Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu are rooted in warrior traditions and have been around for more than 650 years with little alteration. Kenjutsu uses wooden weapons and features full speed and contact. Steel blades are the combat tool in Iaijutsu. The traditions require mastery of a variety of weapons, including long and short swords, a 6-foot staff, a 9-foot pole and the naginata, a long pole with a hooked end.

Radio revitalized

In 1975, David Owens left his home and family on his grandparents’ farm to join a fledgling community radio station in Columbia. He wanted to make a difference in people’s lives by fostering communication through diverse voices. Owens spent the next 18 years at KOPN/89.5 FM, watching it blossom in the late 1970s and then suffer through harder times in the 1980s.

After nine years at Lincoln University in Jefferson City as program director of KJLU, Owens returned to KOPN on Monday as the new station manager.

Husker faces assault charge

The University of Nebraska football player who was videotaped punching an MU fan Saturday night was suspended Tuesday for one game.

The suspension comes the same day that 21-year-old Matthew Scott of Lee’s Summit contacted the MU Police Department to press charges against Kellen Huston, the Nebraska football player who was videotaped punching him on Faurot Field after MU’s 41-24 victory Saturday night.

Bill adds perks for biodiesel users

Every day, tanker trucks fill up their tanks with gasoline or diesel at the Williams Pipe Line Co. south of Columbia. Next door, at the Piasa Bulk Terminal, trucks can top off with ethanol or biodiesel before getting back on U.S. 63.

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof held a news conference at the Piasa terminal to promote a bill he introduced in Congress to provide tax credits to users of biodiesel and continue tax credits already in place for ethanol.

Road work frustrates residents

Kurt Armstrong has lived on Barber Road in northern Boone County for almost 25 years. Tree branches used to hang down over the dirt road, and the ditches were dangerous. Cars and trucks would rumble down the lane, leaving Armstrong and his neighbors in a dust storm.

The Boone County Public Works Department this summer began preparing Barber Road for a chip-and-seal surface, and Armstrong couldn’t have been happier.

Increase in utility rates up for vote

Columbia and Boone County residents will pay a few dollars more for water and sewer service during the next decade if voters pass three bond issues on Nov. 4.

City voters will see three bond issues on the ballot, while county voters will see only a proposal from the Boone County Regional Sewer District. All three measures call for increases in monthly water and sewer bills.

Police force seeks counsel from clergy

Ashland police are looking to the clergy for a helping hand.

The town in southern Boone County, which starts its city council meetings with a prayer, plans to provide officers with chaplains to counsel them on difficulties encountered in their personal lives or on the job.

Chamber endorses Nov. bond issues

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is encouraging residents to vote “yes” in November.

The group announced its support Monday for three water and sewer bond issues on the Nov. 4 ballot. Together, the bonds would pay for more than $50 million worth of projects in Columbia and Boone County.

Dealers: Gun sales don’t reflect interest in new permits

Conventional wisdom suggests that Missouri’s new conceal-and-carry law would be a bonanza for gun dealers, sending gun sales through the roof.

But so far, the evidence proves otherwise, according to several area gun shop owners.

Ready to rebuild

Two ceramic tigers and four German beer steins are the only relics that survived the early-morning blaze back in August. Even the well-known red-brick façade must now be torn down.

“Everything else was charred or not worth saving,” said Rusty Walls, whose family has owned The Olde Heidelberg for 40 years. “That’s all I’ve got left from it.”