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Low interest rates hurt retirees

John and Shirley Whipple were living high, and times were good. They bought a top-of-the-line motor home, a Fleetwood Flair. They took vacations, traveling the country.

“We did anything we wanted to do,” John Whipple said. They weren’t extravagant, he said, but money wasn’t a worry.

Private cash increasingly vital for MU

When it comes to everyday operations, the University of Missouri is fed mainly by two hands: students and the state. The state has contributed less and less during the past three years, and in-state undergraduates will pay 20 percent more money this fall for tuition.

So where will MU turn if there’s still a shortfall?

Farmers’ outlook grim as drought withers crops

For the past 13 months, rainfall deficits that have damaged crops in northwestern Missouri have been slowly moving southeast across the state, creating the worst long-term drought since the late 1980s.

Even with last week’s showers, it will take months of above-normal rainfall to overcome the impact, said Pat Guinan, climatologist with the commercial agricultural program at MU.

The U-Haul migration

As Terry Stiles knows, moving can be a real nightmare.

Stiles has worked at TLC Moving for about a year and a half. He’s moved hundreds of houses and has seen some horrible packing jobs.

Some good, some bad

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is glad there are two weeks left until his team plays Illinois.

He’s just not sure that’s enough.

Winning never gets old

For golfer Bob Martin, winning is nothing new.

Down five strokes after Friday’s opening round, Martin came back to win his second straight overall title at the Columbia Senior Golf Championship on Saturday at A.L. Gustin Golf Course. Martin’s 137 total at the 10th annual tournament tied his winning score from a year ago.

Mavericks collapse in 9th

Mid-Missouri’s Chris Barbettini came in to close out the game with an almost perfect situation.

He had a two-run cushion, and he was about to face the bottom third of Rockford’s lineup in the ninth inning.

Chiefs upend Vikings

KANSAS CITY — NFL preseason games don’t matter, so teams can try anything.

Kansas City’s 26-16 victory against Minnesota at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday didn’t show fans much about the teams’ returning starters. Few stayed in the game for the entire first quarter, let alone the first half, making way for a contest between the second-teamers hoping to start and others hoping to make the team.

Lessons of the land

A farmer's destiny: Andrew Stanton relies on the earth

to sustain him and his future generations

Lessons of the land: Patricia Lopez

In the San Joaquin Valley, Patricia Lopez worked off and on in the fields with the sun on her back. It was the hardest work she’s done. Now she, her husband, Javier Lopez, and their two children, Jasmine, 11, and Xavier, 4, spend their summers in a little garden they rent through Columbia’s Community Garden Coalition. They hope some day soon to have their own piece of earth.

What we used to do, we would get up early in the morning. We would cut the grapes from the vines and then we would put them in the sand and lay a piece of paper on the sand. Just spread them out so they would dry up to be raisins. I think I started doing this when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I think the hardest part was just being out — the fields where the sand is at, you’re talking about a hundred degrees temperature. It tires you out.

Lessons of the land: The Kirk Family

About five years, ago Thom and Renate Kirk made a decision that brought them closer to the land — Thom would give up his job as a registered nurse while Renate continued working in the same position. Today, the couple boasts a thriving heirloom vegetable and seed business at their home in New Bloomfield, as well as four young daughters. Thom raises the plants and the girls during the day, and on Fridays, the whole clan gets together to pick, wash and bake for market on Saturday mornings in Fulton.

Thom: I grew up in central Indiana, the oldest of eight kids, and we didn’t eat anything unless it came out of the garden, pretty much. My father was a descendent of the Great Depression. We had a huge garden, and we preserved and dried and canned everything we ate, almost.

Lessons of the land: Margot Ford McMillen

Margot Ford McMillen watched farming change from a family-operated holistic system to a massive industry. But she never let go of her feeling that the old way, no chemicals allowed, was the best way. On most Wednesday evenings, she co-hosts a farm issues radio show on KOPN.

I grew up in a suburban area outside Chicago, and then I spent my summers with my grandparents and cousins and all my father’s family outside Decatur, in Taylorville. I just loved being there because of the self-sufficiency of it. Where I would come from my suburban home, if you needed something you went to the store. At my aunt’s house, if she needed something, she went out to the garden. That from the beginning — it made total sense to me. It was the way that I preferred to live.

Lessons of the land: Phoennix Conway

Phoennix Conway has always felt a kinship with the earth. First, it was through navigating trails at church camp. Then in college, she found the faith that fit perfectly: paganism, an earth-based religion. Now she marks the seasons with rituals and makes it her mission to care for everything as one interconnected whole.

I grew up in the Church of the Brethren, which is actually an old farming tradition from Germany and it’s very similar to, say, the Amish and the Mennonites. They’re peace-oriented and service-oriented. And the main teachings are following in the footsteps of Jesus, in the sense of doing as he did and living simply and being stewards of God’s creation. Which makes sense, because it came from a farming tradition. And who has a closer relationship to the earth than a farmer?

Bingham’s babies

Doves coo from inside the garage door and pigeons (or rock doves, Columba livia) slip in and out under the three-inch opening. The pigeons circling the roof are chaotic and mesmerizing. With a whoosh they simultaneously land on the gutter and peer over the edge. They seem at home.

  Nancy Bingham began rescuing pigeons 20 years ago, and they’re her children. She’s says they’re free to leave but are spoiled by good food and a bath, so they stay. She has pigeons over 15 years old, even though they usually live only five years in the wild.

Puberty is a long road for boys

They say that boys are three years behind girls in the maturity bracket, but I think it’s more like 10. Girls start preparing themselves for puberty just months after they’re potty trained.

My granddaughters were smearing lipstick somewhere near their lips before they could brush their teeth. And they’d clomp around my bedroom in my old high heels before they could ride their bikes without training wheels.

Creating sacred space

R’avi Kamath received a pair of polished stones from a friend’s 7-year-old daughter. The child’s simple gift sits in a platter on Kamath’s home shrine as a reminder of God’s gift of love.

“God is everything and everywhere,” Kamath said. “Eventually, God is love.”

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