Pomp or circumstance

The forecasted rain and cold may put a damper on some Homecoming celebrations, but the festivities will go on.

Andy McCarthy, a Homecoming co-director, said “something drastic would have to happen for it to be canceled.”

A Debate on Proposed Catfish Regulations has Missourians Angling for a Solution

At 1206 Business Loop 70 W. in Columbia, there stands a bait shop divided. Here among the fishing poles of Tombstone Tackle, friends and fellow fishermen convene to discuss fishing conditions, what the fish are biting on and, lately, the controversial new catfish regulations being proposed by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

I-70 improvement options presented

Interstate 70 ran right through Gentry Middle School library Thursday night.

At an Improve I-70 Advisory Group meeting in the school’s library, three maps were presented that displayed alternate plans for access roads in Columbia along a six-mile stretch of the interstate. The meeting offered advisory group members and interested residents a chance to discuss the options.

Power isn’t everything

Pollution, or lack thereof, may soon help pay for repairs at Columbia’s Municipal Power Plant.

The city plans to sell the power plant’s excess sulfur dioxide allowances, which permit the plant to emit a certain amount of the pollutant each year. Money from the sale will enable the city to repair one of the plant’s two coal-fired boilers without increasing electricity rates. The repairs probably will cost around $5 million, Water and Light Director Richard Malon said.

MoDOT evaluates tolls for I-70

If it were up to the top brass at the Missouri Department of Transportation, tollbooths would be placed on Interstate 70 at the Illinois and Kansas borders.

Revenue from the tolls would be enough to cover at least 40 percent, and perhaps as much as 80 percent, of the estimated $2.4 billion to $2.7 billion needed to widen and improve I-70 all the way across the state, according to the Missouri Toll Feasibility Study. Conducted for the Transportation Department in 2002, the study explored the idea of using tollbooths on several highway corridors throughout Missouri.

Don’t let the cold weather keep you inside

As the air becomes crisp and multihued leaves tumble to the ground, the annual exodus of outside exercisers begins, filling gyms to the brim and leaving the streets and trails longing for the bustle of springtime.

The usual tips for winter exercise are to flock indoors, but there is enjoyment in trooping through cold conditions. My fondest running memories are of frolicking through a fresh blanket of snow, creating the first footprints into my imaginary wilderness. 

Saving seeds preserves past

Imagine a garden peach that is about 2 inches in diameter — yellow, with a red blush and fuzzy. It sounds like a normal peach, but this “garden peach” is actually a tomato, and it tastes like a tomato would be expected to taste.

Conservation Sleuth

Scott Rice backed his black Dodge Ram into a field between a group of trees so he was hidden from view. Boone County’s newest conservation agent waited only an hour before he caught someone in the illegal act of spotlighting deer.

“I was pumped,” Rice said. “You sit for hours — sometimes days — to catch someone.”

Graham calls for panel on med school

Although doctors at MU’s School of Medicine are not packing their bags, Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, wants to discuss the medical school’s future in Columbia in a public forum.

In a letter Monday to UM Board of Curators President Connie Silverstein of St. Louis, Graham asked for a forum in the next month that would involve the curators, representatives from the UM system, MU and the School of Medicine, legislators and students.

Billing beef leads to Web site offer

Settling more billing disputes in favor of customers could earn University of Missouri Health Care a free Web domain name.

Pam Holley of Jefferson City, who claimed the domain name on Oct. 11 for her less-than-complimentary Web site, said she designed it earlier this year when she was unable to resolve a billing dispute with MU Health Care.

Loans help landlords fix properties

Owners of run-down rental properties in parts of Columbia now face an alternative to watching their homes slowly decline and eventually be demolished.

City officials, believing that property owners who invest in their units are making an overall investment in neighborhood quality, are making federal money available to owners through a low-interest loan rental rehabilitation program.

City investing in low-tech well

Columbia is prepared to spend less than 1 percent of a $28.3 million bond issue on the Nov. 4 ballot on bargain technology to stash 31 million gallons of treated water deep in an underground well.

The process, Aquifer Storage and Recovery, works sort of like an underground water tower. City officials say they love it. For one, they said, it’s clean, safe and environmentally sound. For another, installing an ASR system can be less expensive than painting a water tower, let alone building one.

Under the knife

Tom Thomas of MU’s exercise physiology program said it needs help — not elimination or consolidation.

Exercise physiology is one of six degree programs and two departments at MU targeted for a viability audit. The audit is looking for ways to merge, close or leave alone programs that cost more than similar programs do at other universities, generate a low number of credit hours or graduated fewer than 10 students last year.

Panelists offer sharp post-war Iraq differences

Even though most high school students can’t vote, about 200 Hickman high school students found a way to participate in the democratic process Wednesday.

They questioned four panelists, with differing viewpoints, about post-war Iraq during the “Speak Your Mind Forum” at Hickman High School.

Online ease

When MU biochemistry instructor Shari Freyermuth signed up her 100-plus students for discussion groups, a few juniors and seniors with jobs just never could attend.

So Freyermuth used WebCT, one of two market-leading, Web-based learning systems used at MU, to move the discussion groups to her class Web site. Now, students can share information in a virtual space. “They don’t all have to be together,” Freyermuth said. “People can do it on their own time.”

Midwest and Japan to share biotech ideas

The University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska have put their differences aside to represent the Midwest on a mission to Japan.

Tom Sharpe, executive director of UM’s Office of Technology and Special Projects, is representing the UM system on a weeklong tour of Japan’s Kansai region. He is one of more than 70 delegates from 11 Midwest states visiting the country.

In The Shadow of Progress

Hinton is a now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t kind of town.

  Main Street is a hilly, winding, stone’s throw stretch of Route VV that on the east side boasts a Texaco gas station and a few aging homes built on narrow lots. The west side of the street is home to unassuming, mustard-yellow Hinton Radio and TV — a dilapidated, wooden building once used as a feed-and-grain store; the white, house-like Rocky Fork Primitive Baptist Church; and a crowded antebellum cemetery.

Sewer debate surrounds Prime plan

Developer Robert Smith wants to talk.

Smith on Tuesday asked that the Boone County Commission table a proposed rezoning of 200 acres off Route WW east of Columbia until Dec. 2 so he can meet with neighbors and county sewer officials.

Web site diagnoses MU’s care

If you’re hunting for the University of Missouri Health Care Web site, you won’t find it at

What comes up instead is MU Healthcare Victims, a collection of billing and health care horror stories, audit reports and links aimed at “private citizens who have one thing in common — frustration with MU Hospital and Clinics,” the home page says.

Two decades of service rewarded

Norma and Ernie Falloon have only one daughter, but the kindness and generosity they’ve spread all over Boone County makes them seem part of a larger family.

The Falloons have been married 53 years and, since retiring, have become a volunteering team.