Lent does not make time easy

I apologize to all of you who celebrated your birthday this month (that includes one son, a daughter-in-law, my youngest grandson and a sister) but I hate February. I think that whoever decided to make it the shortest month of the year knew what he was doing. Oh sure, St. Valentine tried to distract us from the dull, dreary monotonous days with talk of love and hearts and flowers, but it’s only a momentary diversion. I have friends who walk around staring at light boxes to avoid depression. Others take to their beds to wait for spring. I go about my normal routine, but I’m in the state of perpetual grouchiness. Then to add salt to my wounds, Lent begins.

Being raised in a strict Catholic family (that means my mother was in charge) these 40 days and nights were to be spent fasting, abstaining and repenting. I never quite got the fasting part. I was told that two of the meals each day should not equal the third. The idea one patient nun informed our class was to experience hunger. Heck! I experienced it every day. I was always starving when I got home from school. The church has never pushed the fasting part of Lent, but my mother did. She told us that during Lent we couldn’t eat between meals. That was fairly easy between breakfast and lunch. I even made it until dinner, but going to bed without a snack really hurts.

Scrimmage helps relieve some nerves

The Missouri softball team is learning to lighten up.

In Missouri’s Black and Gold scrimmage Saturday at University Field, 16 players divided into three teams with pitchers Erin Kalka, Samantha Fleeman and Erica Peterson leading each group.

Dessau sparks Tigers

Erik Dessau has been perfect for the Missouri baseball team.

Dessau, a junior pitcher, won his third game in as many starts Saturday when the Tigers defeated Youngstown State 7-0 at Taylor Stadium. The win evens the series at 1 after a 3-2 Tigers loss Friday night.

Free throws key as MU ends skid

Sloppy is the word that best describes the final regular-season women’s basketball game at Hearnes Center on Saturday.

Despite committing 21 turnovers, Missouri snapped its four-game home losing streak, beating Iowa State 63-58 in a Big 12 Conference game.

Unspectacular Unrau earns praise

Evan Unrau was the first thing Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly wanted to talk about.

After the Tigers’ 63-58 win Saturday at Hearnes Center, Fennelly started his postgame interview with a statement about Missouri’s star forward.

Early shooting troubles don’t faze Conley

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Before the season started, many thought Jason Conley would boost Missouri’s offense.

Although that didn’t happen immediately, Conley, a junior guard, has begun to play a big role, thanks in large part to his rediscovered confidence.

Defense keeps Cougars rolling

Fans chanted “overrated” on Saturday, but perhaps an “underrated” chant directed at the Columbia College women’s basketball team would have been more appropriate.

The Cougars beat McKendree (Ill.) 76-60 at The Arena of Southwell Complex to win their third consecutive American Midwest Conference championship. The win also extended the Cougars’ winning streak to 16.

Kewpies roll

JEFFERSON CITY – After a week and a half layoff, senior guard Jodi Bolerjack said Hickman was worried it wouldn’t be as sharp as usual.

It took three early misses and the rust disappeared.

Columbia Transit hosts hearing on proposed bus route changes

Columbia Transit held its first public information hearing on the proposed bus route changes Thursday night. A small group of residents attended the hearing to learn more about the route changes and discuss their concerns.

High court upholds concealed gun law

JEFFERSON CITY — Missourians won the right to carry concealed guns Thursday, but it’s unclear whether they will be able to do it anytime soon.

That’s because the Missouri Supreme Court said the state’s concealed weapons law could amount to an unconstitutional, unfunded mandate — a state-imposed program that requires county governments to pick up the tab.

Guilty verdict in local murder

After deliberating for less than three hours Thursday, a Boone County jury found Lucille Faith Duncan guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting death of her ex-boyfriend, James Pruitt.

During closing arguments, Boone County prosecuting attorney Kevin Crane stood near the bloodstained car seat Pruitt was occupying when he died and told jurors that Duncan, 37, showed “cool reflection and deliberation” in planning and carrying out the murder with her brother, Gerald Alan Duncan. He has been accused of shooting Pruitt as he sat in the front seat of Lucille Duncan’s car and is scheduled to stand trial for first-degree murder in April.

New city logo draws mixed reaction

Almost two years and $45,000 after it began, the quest for a new city of Columbia logo has ended. Framed as an attempt to capture the spirit of today’s Columbia, the Convention and Visitors Bureau hopes the logo will help attract people by representing the city’s “cosmopolitan appeal.”

At Tuesday’s unveiling, Mayor Darwin Hindman said, “Will people make fun of it? I hope they do. If people are talking about it, that’s good.”

Caucus turnout sparse

The way Democrats begin selecting delegates for its national convention is similar to the way a coach recruits players. But the legislative district caucuses held statewide Thursday night were lacking one key ingredient: warm bodies.

In Boone County, not enough Democrats turned out to fill the party’s roster, turning almost every caucus attendee into a de facto delegate. Caucus organizers said they were hardly surprised, especially considering the largely ceremonial role delegates have come to play in the presidential selection process.

Wherever it is, Missouri mirrors U.S.

In this presidential election cycle, where each state gets a primary spotlight, Missouri stands out because it’s average.

“As Missouri goes, so goes the vote for the national presidency,” said Walter Schroeder, a former MU geography professor who calls the state America’s bellwether. “No other state comes that close to being the nation’s average.”

Study: I-70 options hamper businesses

Plans to widen Interstate 70 to eight lanes through Columbia could cause many businesses to relocate and those that stay to lose significant numbers of customers, according to a consultant’s study.

The report by CH2MHill, a consulting company, described the potential impact of the I-70 project on Columbia businesses.

Bruins look to future

JEFFERSON CITY – After losing to Hickman, a number of Rock Bridge players exited the locker room with teary red eyes while carrying plates of cake.

Although the Class 5 District 10 semifinal loss at Helias wasn’t cause for celebration, the occasion was, for sophomore Cameo Holly turned 16 on Thursday.

Experimenting with ecstasy

One little pill.

It is about the size of an aspirin and comes in a range of colors, including baby blue, frog green, canary yellow and plain white.

Experts predict a cougar comeback

Cougars are listed on Missouri’s endangered and protected species list, but new DNA evidence suggests the cats might be making a comeback. “An increase in trends leads us to believe the population will increase,” said Dave Hamilton, research biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

A preliminary necropsy done on a cougar killed last August in Callaway County indicated it had migrated to central Missouri from the West. DNA tests received last week from Central Michigan University provided more evidence that confirms the cat came from the wild in North America.

A nurse by heart

An African woman gives birth at a maternal HIV clinic in Cape Town, South Africa. Foreign doctors sweep her newborn away, and return shortly to tell her that her baby has died.

The mother accepts the news and hurries home to care for her four other children. She knows she must make the most of the time she has left — she has AIDS and no treatment is available.

Ambulance fleet grows with demand

University Hospital unveiled one of its two new emergency response vehicles Thursday.

The new ambulances, which are larger than the hospital’s existing vehicles and painted a different color, were received by the hospital Feb. 13 and are expected to be in use beginning next month.