Columbia plans reconstruction for roads near downtown

John Clark is excited that Columbia has begun a reconstruction project to improve the dilapidated streets near downtown.

Campaign opens doors

What started out as a bad day for Peter Freidin snowballed into a yearlong struggle for accessibility to the downtown post office.

Lost toddler wanders nearly a mile to house

Minutes after hordes of police officers and firefighters scoured Rock Quarry Park in a lunchtime search for a lost 2-year-old boy, he was found safe nearly a mile away at his day care. He had walked there alone.

The search lasted for about 40 minutes in the park, near the intersection of Rock Quarry Road and Grindstone Parkway. The boy was found at 3805 Churchill Drive, a home where the boy attends day care.

New testing methods for deer ailment

While chronic wasting disease has yet to appear in Missouri’s white-tailed deer herd, state wildlife researchers remain persistent in their testing for the fatal illness.

This deer season, Boone will be one of 30 counties in Missouri randomly selected as a testing site for chronic wasting disease, the neurological disease that has crippled deer and elk herds in several Midwestern and northern states.

Stephens to focus on next five years

Stephens College is planning for the future. Its Board of Trustees has passed a resolution to begin a major strategic planning initiative.

State to alter I-70 guardrails

Even though it will be years before the Improve I-70 project comes to fruition, the Missouri Department of Transportation plans to make costly safety changes to sections of the corridor in mid-Missouri during the next year.

The transportation agency has two projects in the works in the central Missouri district. The first one, already under way, will replace 41,000 feet of damaged and outdated guardrails along a 70-mile stretch across Callaway, Boone and Cooper counties. A separate project, tentatively set for next summer, aims to prevent vehicles from crossing the center median by installing 37 miles of guard cables from eastern Columbia to Montgomery County.

New group to raise cash for police

The Columbia Police Officers Association, local businesses and Columbia Police Chief Randy Boehm have established a nonprofit organization that seeks to raise money to support additional programs and purchase equipment for the Columbia Police Department.

The nine-member Board of Trustees, which works with the police to identify areas of need, includes Boehm, former Boone County presiding judge Frank Conley, local attorney Dan Atwill, and Randy Wright, vice president and general manager of KMIZ/Channel 17. The co-chairs of the board are Jim and Billie Silvey, longtime supporters of the police department, who Officer Steve Rios, the foundation’s administrator, said were a unanimous choice.

Alliance calls price of cable access too steep

A Mediacom proposal for public-access television that calls for users to pay hourly fees for studio and airtime is “ridiculous,” a leader of the Columbia Media Resource Alliance said.

The cable television company on Sept. 15 submitted a proposal to the Columbia City Council that provides a public-access channel and studio through an agreement with KMIZ/KQFX. It requires users, however, to pay $80 per hour for studio production time, $35 an hour for program editing and $30 an hour for broadcast time.

Maximizing their potential

It’s 9 a.m. and time for school.

But for 7-year-old Ian McEuen, there is no bus ride involved. McEuen, who has cerebral palsy, is being educated in his family’s living room. His curriculum consists of coordination exercises, as well as speech and physical therapy.

Wallace: Med school stays

The School of Medicine is not leaving MU, Chancellor Richard Wallace said Tuesday.

Addressing preliminary discussions about proposals to close MU’s School of Medicine and shift its operations to Kansas City, Wallace said the school is critically important to MU’s plans and to retaining membership in the American Association of Universities.

3M layoffs blamed on soft market

From the outside, the 3M plant appeared to be doing business as usual on Monday. But inside, as workers learned whether they were one of the 124 let go by the company, things were anything but normal. Some emerged from the meeting with tears, others with sighs of relief.

They all wondered why.

City gets backup water main in deal

Owners of a private wetland in the Missouri River bottoms near McBaine have struck a deal with the city that exchanges access to electricity for access to groundwater.

Mike Brooks and Dan Brothers of B&B Agriculture own 240 acres between two pieces of the state-owned Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, and asked the city for electric service to pump water into their private wetlands instead of relying on diesel engines.

Graham enters state Senate race

State Rep. Chuck Graham’s decision to join the race for 19th District state senator creates the possibility that three Democratic allies from Columbia will fight each other for a job.

Graham, of the 24th District, announced his long-anticipated entry at the MU Child Development Laboratory on Tuesday to emphasize his focus on education. He’ll compete with former 23rd District Rep. Tim Harlan, who entered the campaign in May, and perhaps with 25th District Rep. Vicky Riback Wilson, who is considering the race.

Winging it

Dozens of monarch butterflies glide from one branch to the next at Shelter Gardens in preparation for their long trip south. The sound of crickets and the smell of freshly mowed grass and flowers provide the backdrop for this midday meal for the monarchs as they pass through Missouri to their wintering grounds in the southern Sierra Madre near Mexico City.

The Leucothoe fontanesiana bush, commonly called “Girard’s Rainbow,” seems to be the favorite of the orange-and-black butterflies, said Joy Long, superintendent of the Shelter Gardens ground crew.

3M announces record layoffs

Columbia’s 3M manufacturing plant announced Monday it will lay off 124 workers within the next two months, marking the largest single round of layoffs in the plant’s 33-year history.

The plant, which employs 741 local workers, will eliminate jobs of some salaried workers and lay off other employees paid on a per-hour basis, said spokesman Bill Nelson. Company officials said the move, which will affect 17 percent of the plant’s total work force, is a reaction to the recession and the struggling electronics and telecommunications markets.

Son’s innocence proclaimed

Light reflects off the photograph of a brown-haired, blue-eyed boy grinning underneath a North Carolina Tar Heels hat. Nearby, a dark-brown urn, decorated with fir trees and miniature deer figures, sits above a shiny plaque that reads, “Jonathan Gramling, August 22, 1983-August 31, 2001.”

The shrine at the rural Boone County home of Jim and Deanna Gramling is a small monument to their son, who had just turned 18 years old when he died. It is also a painful reminder that the circumstances surrounding his death have never made any sense to them.

Please, Mr. Postman

When Jerry Niemeier got a call at 4 a.m. from a young man wanting to buy a duck stamp, Niemeier told him to come out to the house because he had an extra one in his wallet.

Niemeier doesn’t hunt — he is Harrisburg’s postmaster. But in this one-stop town, everyone knows his number.

Plenty raring to carry firearms

Thousands of Missourians are waiting.

They’re waiting for Oct. 11 — the date Missouri’s new concealed-gun law kicks in. And they’re joining waiting lists in droves to get into firearms-training classes required by the law, which passed two weeks ago when the Missouri General Assembly overturned a veto by Gov. Bob Holden.

Elderly women focus of study

The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded $600,000 for an MU study of women 85 and older who live alone.

The study, “Old Homebound Women’s Intention of Reaching Help Quickly,” is led by Eileen Porter, an associate professor in MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing. It will examine the experiences of women who use a personal emergency response system — bracelets or necklaces with beepers attached to them — and the experiences of women who do not use them.

KQFX-TV rolls back news time

Starting this fall, mid-Missourians can watch their weeknight newscast at a new time and station with a new anchor. The local Fox affiliate, KQFX, plans to debut its first live newscast by late October at the 9 p.m. time slot.

The station joins more than 125 Fox affiliates across the country that broadcast their nightly news an hour ahead of the traditional networks.