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Nikonchuk joins national program

For Missouri’s Elyse Nikonchuk, being a student-athlete also means being a national soccer player.

Nikonchuk, a freshman midfielder for the Tigers from New Lennox, Ill., was selected to the Under-19 U.S. National Team. She left Saturday to train with the team for a week at Home Depot Center, U.S. Soccer’s national training center in Carson, Calif.

Thank children’s teachers

Editor’s note: Sharon Harl shares one of her favorite columns, along with a reminder to thank those who teach.

I never realized how much a teacher could affect the life of a young person until I became a teacher myself. When my kids were young they would come home with statements like “Miss Smith says we should brush our teeth twice a day.” With an in-house dentist who was constantly nagging the kids to brush more often, I was amazed that the “teacher” got through with the message where he had failed.

Nativity interpreted in local clay

Sue Gerard points a slightly shaky finger at the matronly figure of Mary in her Nativity scene.

The girl, made of cream-colored clay, stands behind a manger and cradles a bundle. Gerard explains that her minister told her Mary was probably only 14 when she gave birth to Jesus.

Holiday duty in Iraq is felt at home

This Christmas, Centralia’s Jason Blakemore will not take the presence of his family for granted. Unlike many of his comrades still in Iraq, Blakemore, of the 101st Airborne Division, will get to spend the Christmas holiday with his family, possibly watching the movie “Christmas Vacation.”

According to Blakemore, being away from his family was harder on them than it was on him.

Mo. experts, industry insist beef is safe

Despite the discovery of mad cow disease on a dairy farm in Washington state, Missouri’s beef supply of 4.5 million cattle is safe, veterinary and beef industry experts say.

Missouri’s $1 billion-per-year beef industry ranks second in the nation, behind Texas. There are 40,000 cattle in Boone County alone. Dr. Jeff Tyler, professor of food animal medicine and surgery at the MU School of Veterinary Medicine, who recently co-authored a research paper on mad cow disease, wasn’t surprised to hear about the Washington case. However, he said people should not be concerned about contracting the disease, which is officially known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Beth Shalom serves cookies, thanks

This Christmas Eve, members of the First Baptist Church of Columbia were to have been greeted by smiling faces and large tables adorned with festive Christmas tablecloths and filled with homemade cookies, fudge and pastries. Hot apple cider was to have warmed them before they stepped out into cold December air.

This wasn’t the ladies’ Sunday school class or a youth ministry bake sale at work. This dessert reception after the 11 p.m. service was planned by Congregation Beth Shalom Synagogue in Columbia.

Woman spreads spirit of Kwanzaa

Nia Imani’s name is a testament to the message of Kwanzaa.

More than two decades ago, she changed her first and last name to glorify the Kwanzaa principles that most inspire her.

Applicants sought for city positions

The city of Columbia has made applications for city boards and commissions available. The applications are available from the city clerk’s office or on the Internet at www.gocolumbiamo.com.

There are seven vacancies.

Tigers struggling to get quick start

For 20 minutes in Tuesday night’s game against Illinois, the 10th-ranked Missouri basketball team made defensive stops, outrebounded its opponent and handled the ball well.

The Tigers’ play during the other 20 minutes, on the other hand, warranted their second loss. The Illini defeated them 71-70.

Football with a family

College athletes think they know commitment. They’re not entirely wrong.

Three weeks after Missouri plays in the Independence Bowl against Arkansas on Wednesday in Shreveport, La., the Tigers begin working out in preparation for the next season. Over the summer, almost every player stays in Columbia to try to improve. The team’s in-season obligations are so regimented that the schedule makes it nearly impossible for players to participate in anything else.

Cougars reaching top form

At the beginning of the season, Columbia College coach Bob Burchard said he was worried about his men’s basketball team winning one game, much less producing the 13-1 record and No. 15 ranking it has accumulated.

Considering Burchard has one losing record in his previous 15 seasons at Columbia College, that statement was probably hyperbole.

MU-Arkansas could boost economy $20M

SHREVEPORT, La. — Many Arkansas and Missouri fans won’t stay in Shreveport or Bossier City on Dec. 31, the night of the Independence Bowl.

They will be lodged in hotels and motels in other north Louisiana cities and towns, such as Ruston, Natchitoches, Mansfield and Minden.

Charity still needs donations

Some of Maj. George Windham’s hopes of reaching his holiday goal lie with the people who have been ringing Salvation Army bells for the past few weeks.

By Jan. 15, Windham, the commanding officer for the Salvation Army in Boone County, wants to have raised $250,000 — $7,000 more than last year. Through bell ringers and private donations, the Salvation Army has raised about $170,000 so far.

Red Cross seeks blood donations

The American Red Cross is predicting that by Jan. 1 its blood supply will be gone.

According to the Red Cross, blood supplies typically decline during the holidays and deplete regional supplies. The Red Cross has already issued a community alert asking for blood donations because patient needs might be compromised.

No newspaper Friday

The Missourian does not publish a newspaper the day after Christmas. Normal delivery will resume with the Sunday edition. Merry Christmas.

Holden plan aims to create jobs

Mike Chippendale envisions Columbia as the next Silicon Valley. Only instead of developing microchips, Chippendale wants to develop a cure for cancer. Or perhaps a plant that removes pollutants from contaminated soil. Or perhaps something so extraordinary, it has yet to be imagined.

Chippendale’s vision for Columbia might have moved one step closer to reality Tuesday.

Decision to hush rumbling trucks on north side

Construction trucks that have routinely rolled through the Lake of the Woods subdivision during the past several months were halted Tuesday when Boone County commissioners voted to close Teton Drive and block access to the Eastport Village construction site.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to close the road Tuesday.

Rezoning OK’d on Route WW

After slogging through a slew of obstacles, Prime Development gained approval Tuesday to start platting development in eastern Boone County.

The Boone County Commission approved the company’s request to rezone about 47 acres of a 200-acre plot at 4750 E. Route WW. The area will be zoned as planned commercial and planned residential areas instead of single-family residential areas.

Illini sink key shots

ST. LOUIS –- The bottom line in Missouri’s loss to Illinois on Tuesday was the free-throw line.

The Illini won bragging rights with a 71-70 win despite hitting only 57.6 percent of their foul shots.

Weak first half dooms Tigers

ST. LOUIS –- Missouri’s play in the second half was good enough to win, but unfortunately for the Tigers, their play in the first left much to be desired.

Furious play in the final 10 minutes from Missouri couldn’t make up for a sluggish first half as Illinois withstood a late rally to win its fourth straight in the Braggin’ Rights series 71-70 on Tuesday.

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