Examining the MAP

The music starts as flashlights flicker in the audience. A spotlight shines on the stage. Kids burst through a paper wall like football players on a Friday night, medals dangling from their necks.

This was the scene at Parkade Elementary School last spring as its leaders sought to encourage students to do well on the Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP.

Cyclists complain of poor conditions

There are times and places in Columbia when riding a bicycle can be like swimming with sharks. Traffic hums along a four-lane thoroughfare. You’re on two wheels. Pedals serve as your motor. There are no sidewalks, no turn lanes. The shoulder is littered with gravel, glass and chunks of broken concrete.

By the end of September, Columbia bicyclists had been involved in 17 accidents this year, compared with 10 in 2002. With an overall average of about 10 traffic accidents a day, and more bicyclists taking to the streets, the likelihood for more cycling-related mishaps is strong.

On the offensive

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

When Missouri plays Nebraska, MU is supposed to be the team to drop kicks, commit penalties and allow 452 yards.

Tigers struggle, drop under .500

Missouri’s offense couldn’t atone for defensive mistakes.

Kansas handed the Tigers’ women’s soccer team a 2-0 Border War loss on Sunday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium, with the Tigers struggling on both ends of the field.

Runnells determined despite frustrations

Freda Runnells is familiar with playing in pain.

Runnells, a 6-foot sophomore middle hitter from Urbana, Ill., has persevered through almost two seasons of frustrating losses and personal injuries with the Stephens Stars.

Roadblock weighed for Rollins Street

A proposal before the Missouri Students Association to close a campus section of Rollins Street might soon force student drivers to rethink their navigation strategies.

On Wednesday, MSA, led by President Brett Ordnung, will review legislation to approve blocking general vehicle traffic on Rollins from Hitt Street to Missouri Avenue between 8:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. on weekdays.

Tenants request more accessible recycling bins

Alia Moore has asked the city to place a recycling bin at her apartment complex, and she isn’t alone.

While the city has made strides in expanding recycling opportunities for apartment dwellers, Moore and others continue to haul their cans and bottles to recycling bins outside grocery stores.

A pizzeria's past painted

It might not qualify as a cultural event, but walking past Shakespeare’s Pizza certainly can be an experience.

It’s always packed with students, professors, office workers and families who appreciate not only the food but also the flying chunks of dough, the comedic staff and shouts of “Pizza time!” erupting over the loudspeaker.

County rescue dog undergoes training for Task Force One

There are dogs who look out for people, and then there’s Cal. Cal, a hard-working Belgian Malinois, is in the process of becoming certified to join Missouri’s Task Force One team in Boone County. Once part of the team, he will risk life and paw to save complete strangers.

Cal, short for Calvary, got his name from Calvary Episcopal Church, which held its 13th annual horse show this weekend at the Midway Exposition Center in Columbia. Money raised from this year’s show will help cover the purchase and training of Cal, who arrived in Columbia in late June.

Cycling for life

Accidents will happen, but Columbia’s bike community has seen more accidents in 2003 than in previous years. With more and more bikes on the road, cyclists and drivers must use more than simple caution to prevent unnecessary wrecks.

Officer Lyn Woolford and his colleagues at the Columbia Police Department aren’t sure why the number of bike accidents has nearly doubled from last year. They’ve talked about what they can do to prevent accidents, but they don’t see a pattern.

Change in season is pleasant distraction

Now that some of the bad news is in — for example, the news about higher winter-heating costs — its time for me to start getting prepared for the winter ahead. Most of my friends would say I stay ready year-round and always have a sweater or jacket handy in case of a chill wind, even in July. Preparedness for me, though, is about more than just warm clothes and heavy blankets. It requires a mental, as well as a physical, adjustment.

When the weather is warm, the sun shining and I’m surrounded by blooming flowers, I can maintain a mellow mood. I can swallow the news stories with a grain of salt, drink a cold glass of water and commune with nature. I can lay down on the bank of a bubbling brook and, with a blink of the eye, make the world go away. I can enjoy a picnic with friends, play badminton and take photographs of the birds and beasts that come to visit.