Who may marry?

For Rep. Larry Morris, a Republican from Springfield, homosexuality was never discussed while growing up in a Baptist setting. It was considered something sinful, a way of life he still believes is wrong.

For Melissa Stevens, a 25-year-old medicine student from Springfield and also a Baptist, homosexuality was something she battled most of her life. At first she thought it was sinful, but has now embraced it as a part of her identity.

Lower temperatures increase business

While you might be cursing the cold, some local businesses are benefiting from this winter's frigid temperatures. The dramatic drop in temperatures has upped January sales for many retailers selling cold-weather items.

TV task force hears public-access plans

Columbia’s cable companies are promising to establish a “phase one” public-access cable channel within 60 days, but a city task force will continue evaluating three competing proposals for a permanent channel.

The “phase one” channel would air for a trial period before the city council would decide to construct a permanent studio, according to the proposal put before the task force.

Valentine’s veterans

The curtains are closed and the lights are off. After what one of Columbia’s local romance emporiums calls the “busiest day of the year,” a tired owner closes shop.It’s been 24 hours since the last hurried inquiry for Valentine’s Day flowers was made. All day long, the staff at Kent’s Floral Gallery and Gifts filled requests ranging from the mundane ( a dozen roses) to the exotic (a serenading Elvis impersonator) for its customers.

The name game: MSU vs. SMSU

Since the state’s legislative session began last month, hardly a day has passed when there hasn’t been a squabble — or a full-blown filibuster — about whether Southwest Missouri State University should be allowed to change its name to Missouri State University.

Those who support dropping “Southwest” from the name say it represents SMSU’s progress over the past 15 years, from a regional school in Springfield to one with statewide appeal. Those who oppose it say SMSU is trying to cash in on MU’s heritage and state money.

Cow runs loose on College Avenue

Columbia police were called to College Avenue on Saturday afternoon to quarantine a cow that had made its way onto the road. Police said the black cow was spotted heading south on the road.

Joseph Fischer, who witnessed the incident, said he saw the cow go up a hill next to a ravine and witnessed two people whistling at the animal in an attempt to get it into a trailer on the back of a truck.

Kewpies keep cruising

Surrounded by all eight of her seniors, basketball coach Tonya Mirts stood at a trophy case near the concession stand south of the Hickman High gymnasium.

As she ran her fingers across the glass, Mirts smiled and helped the Kewpies envision a trophy in the empty spot beside a second-place district track trophy.

Satellites try thinking local

Brent Gardner enjoys watching MU basketball games. But because he subscribed to satellite TV instead of the local cable company, he couldn’t watch games aired on local channels. So, Gardner recently decided to subscribe to basic cable in addition to his satellite service from DirecTV.

Otherwise, he said, “I’d go to a sports bar or a friend’s house.”

Roadway frustrates residents

For frustrated residents of Brushwood Lake Road, wet concrete flowing out of a mixer Friday was a sight for sore eyes.

Local contractors have worked for months through persistent cold weather to construct a box culvert under the north section of the road, which crosses Hinkson Creek. All the while, residents have been forced to make a long, dangerously icy detour when traveling to and from their homes.

Tigers look for winning streak

Coaches don’t like to talk about “must win” games, but for Missouri and coach Quin Snyder, that is what it has come to.

This afternoon’s game might be a must win for a different reason, though. With the Tigers’ game against UNLV at 2:30 p.m. at Hearnes Center being the second of three straight at home, it presents a good opportunity for the Tigers to earn consecutive wins for the first time since early December.

Decades of devotion

Mary and Bill Russell part with a hug and a kiss. She’ll be gone less than 12 hours, but for Bill each moment without her seems more permanent.

Bill waves goodbye and already misses her when he returns to their apartment at the Tiger Columns. They’ve never been separated for long.

Cougars’ offense clicks in blowout

Saturday’s women’s basketball game between Columbia College and Harris-Stowe State featured the American Midwest Conference’s top three scorers, but the competition outplayed the conference leader.

The Cougars beat the Hornets 99-59 at The Arena of Southwell Complex for their 11th consecutive win. The Cougars (19-7, 10-0 AMC) held Laniya Stevens, the AMC’s leading scorer with 19.8 points per game, to nine on 2-of-9 shooting as the Cougars’ Charliss Ridley and Lisa Kowalewski alternated dominant scoring halves.

4 Kewpies earn state berths

JEFFERSON CITY — After the fifth installment of the Zach Arnold-Jeremy Hudson series, Arnold hasn’t found an ending he likes.

Arnold, a Hickman wrestler, lost to Jefferson City’s Hudson in the 171-pound finals of the Class 3 Sectional 3 Tournament at Jefferson City High on Saturday. Hudson’s 2-1 victory was his fifth win against Arnold this season.

Kewpies’ 3-pointers sink Lions

Normally Kyle Smith and his Hickman teammates shoot at halftime of the junior varsity game. Before Saturday’s varsity game against the University City Lions there was no shootaround.

“We were trying to save all of our shots for the game,” Smith said.

Dressler helps Bruins cruise

Rock Bridge’s Ashley Dressler looks like a senior, plays like a senior and composes herself like a senior.

She is only a freshman.

Drawing a blank not much fun

It’s never happened to me before. And I never want it to happen again. Every week when I sit down to write this column, I have an idea or two as to what topic I will write about. But last week when I sat down at 5 a.m. (my usual time to begin writing), my mind went blank. I wasn’t worried, though. The coffee wasn’t quite ready, and I still had to go through my morning ritual of checking my e-mail.

After deleting about 75 spams and the 10 or so “jokes” sent by friends who have too much time on their hands, I played a couple of games of my new obsession, Solitaire 13. By then the coffee was ready, so I went to the kitchen and poured myself a cup. The morning paper had arrived, so I brought it from the front porch and sat in the kitchen and read the headlines.

Three Bruins advance

JEFFERSON CITY -- Three Rock Bridge wrestlers have another grueling week of practice ahead.

They earned it.

Allen, Douglass earn 100th victory

The game was a milestone for a man and a program.

In front of their home crowd at Smithton Middle School on Friday, the Douglass Bulldogs defeated Tipton 71-62. It was the Bulldogs’ 100th win since the school reinstated basketball in 1997 after a 37-year hiatus.

Living in the presence of Swami

Dr. Ravi Kamath calls a pair of sandals his prized possession. This from a man who drives a Jaguar, owns a two-story home and has a parking spot marked “Trauma Surgeon Parking Only.”

The sandals, called paduka, were worn by the Swami Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a holy man in India who Kamath and other followers consider an avatar, an incarnation of God. They call him Sai Baba or simply Swami.

Motivated Tigers set more marks

Missouri knew it would be difficult to follow last week’s record-setting Cat Classic, the best gymnastics performance in school history. It was ready for another challenge this week, though.

Breaking the school uneven bars record and tying the school vault record in the process, No. 10 Missouri defeated No. 15 Arkansas 196.600-195.925 at Hearnes Center on Friday.