Nativity in lights

Joe and Peggy Hendren enjoy sharing the meaning of Christmas even if the sharing is not voluntary.

For the past six years, the Hendrens have created an elaborate Christmas light display in their front yard at West Phyllis Avenue. From the growing number of glowing angels in the Hendrens’ yard, the illuminated scene beams the original meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ.

Source of funds for UM raises questions

JEFFERSON CITY — It’s important for the public to know where the money to pay state university chancellors is coming from; if it takes legislation to ensure that happens, so be it, one lawmaker said Monday.

Sen. Sarah Steelman, R-Rolla, promised to file legislation this week that would require the sources of public university chancellors’ salaries to be made public.

Missourian included on cover of Time

KANSAS CITY — Sgt. Ronald Buxton’s family finds it fitting the soldier was picked to represent the American soldier, the Time magazine Person of the Year, on the cover of the publication.

The name of the 32-year-old from Lake Ozark is a tribute to another soldier, slain during World War II.

Police arrest couple after horse dies

A team from the Central Missouri Humane Society was looking for a fallen, severely malnourished horse in the Hallsville area Sunday morning. But nothing could prepare them for what they found.

The horse was hidden behind a barn, some shrubs and a truck. As the team moved closer, they saw 6-inch trenches the horse had dug in the dirt with his hooves. The trenches were evidence of a desperate struggle to stand that was so violent the horse had multiple lesions on the side of his face and neck.

Christmas tree pickup starts Friday

As early as Friday, Columbia residents can dispose of their Christmas trees.

From Friday through Jan. 30, trees can be set on the curb for pickup during regular garbage collection.

Police searching for assault suspect

Columbia police are seeking an Independence man on suspicion of assaulting the owner of Mari’s Convenience Store on Sunday night.

The owner of the store, in the 1200 block of East Prathersville Road, was assaulted Sunday night after the owner refused to accept an out-of-town check, Columbia police said.

Columbia schools not on list for award

For the second straight year, Columbia School District has not been among districts receiving the “Distinction in Performance” award from Gov. Bob Holden.

The award is given to districts that have made consistent progress in improving academic performance based on Missouri Assessment Program scores.

A life of praise

The deacon reads the Bible as the organ player caresses the keyboard with jazzlike riffs that give rhythm to the words. The crowd responds with hallelujahs and amens in the small white church that seems to be lost in the snow-covered hill.

The Rev. David Ballenger, an imposing man with salt-and-pepper hair and a white beard, starts to preach in a singing tone.

Missouri joins U.S. in tighter security

ST. LOUIS — Armed guards, metal detectors, concrete barriers. For visitors at the Gateway Arch on Monday, it was a setting that’s hardly intimidating, but simply a way of life in the post-Sept. 11 era.

“You’ve got to live your life,” Dan Maloney, 42, said shrugging as his three children hurried him into a gift shop in the museum below the arch.

Draft registration just a matter of preparedness

Notices from the Selective Service System show up on bulletin boards at high schools and in the home mailboxes of young men, reminding them that all males in the United States are required to register for the draft when they turn 18.

In Boone County, 5,617 young men between 19 and 25 years of age registered with the Selective Service System this year through Sept. 30. Only 209 18-year-olds, however, registered during the first nine months of 2003.

Illinois high on seniors’ priority list

The senior class of the Missouri men’s basketball team has an impressive 66-36 record in the past three seasons, but against annual nonconference opponent Illinois, the Tigers have lost all three matchups.

The Tigers’ seniors get their final chance a-gainst Illinois at 8 tonight in the Braggin’ Rights game at Savvis Center in St. Louis.

Ricker lines up for fitting finale vs. Razorbacks

It seems A.J. Ricker was destined to play in this year’s Independence Bowl. The only question was which side he would be on. Ricker, a senior center, has started all 46 games of his career at Missouri and is likely to make it 47 against Arkansas in the Independence Bowl at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 in Shreveport, La.

Starting from day one, Ricker has been the lynchpin of Missouri’s offensive line for four years, but he almost ended up a Razorback. Ricker committed to Arkansas in high school but changed his mind later and wound up a Tiger. In the end, Ricker’s desire to play early and often nudged him toward Missouri.