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A game about fun, not winning

In today’s sports world, fan appreciation is not exactly a top priority for professional athletes receiving multi-million dollar salaries.

But, on Saturday at Hickman High School, a group of athletes who never forget about their fans will be appearing. Athletes from 16 central Missouri counties will be competing in the Special Olympics Central Area Spring Games. For some Special Olympic athletes, acknowledging the fans takes priority over finishing the race. David Hood recalls his son Matt’s first track and field race.

Public access board still stalled on details

For much of the Thursday night meeting of the Columbia Cable Television Task Force, there seemed to be a general feeling among the members that the issue of public access programming in Columbia was near completion.

Then task force member Marty Riback spoke up.

MU group collects recyclables

Four college students sit and chat Thursday afternoon among a few pairs of old shoes at the edge of a nearly empty, white semi-truck trailer containing about 50 trash bags filled with used clothing. The girls examine a painted tarp folded in one of the two cardboard boxes next to the trailer, trying to decide if it can be recycled.

In an effort to encourage consumers to recycle old clothing and request products made from used textiles, the Association of Textile and Apparel Management, a student organization at MU, is hosting a clothing drive today through Sunday. The goal is to collect enough textiles to fill the truck to its 18,000-pound capacity.

Hunters spend hours making duck decoys

Sweat pours from the wrinkled brow of Ric Mayer. A painter’s mask covers his mouth and graying beard, but the saturated mask does little to hide his perspiration. He works hunched over the corner of a table, his left arm stabilizing a piece of cork while his right arm moves back and forth shaping his masterpiece.

Mayer isn’t sculpting a Roman god. He’s replicating a duck.

Philips decision to face new vote

The vote approving the annexation and zoning of the Philips farm will have to be redone.

Because of a faulty title, City Counselor Fred Boeckmann said Thursday, the Columbia City Council will have to vote again on an ordinance allowing Elvin Sapp to develop the 489 acres just southeast of the city limits for a mix of homes, offices and businesses. The change means there will be another public hearing on the plans as well.

UM curators vote to raise tuition in 2005

ST. LOUIS — Placing blame primarily on the shoulders of state lawmakers, the UM Board of Curators met Thursday afternoon to approve a tuition raise for 2005 that curators hope will help offset another year of decreasing state aid.

Though the curators said the move — which increases tuition costs by 7.5 percent and allows individual colleges at MU to charge more — was necessary, they also decried the lack of support from state government. The General Assembly has cut $158 million from higher education funding over the past three years.

MU hospital reports record-high profits

ST. LOUIS — In a brief bit of good news at the Thursday UM system Board of Curators meeting, MU Health Care, which oversees University Hospital, reported record revenue collection for March.

The $28 million figure, a record for any single month, represents a dramatic turnaround from just 19 months ago, when consultants from the Hunter Group were brought in to help salvage the financially troubled organization.

Honestlywood

Is there a more overused and utterly meaningless word today than “reality”? Reality used to refer to spontaneous events that were beyond the control of spinmeisters. Now reality’s become the new irony, both figuratively and literally. And reality is far from dead. In fact, it’s being used brilliantly to hawk the most staged and wholly unrealistic situations ever to be presented on the small screen.

This may all seem like harmless voyeuristic fun, but the faux reality being presented on television seems to be gradually seeping into every aspect of American society. Take the recent revelation that the Department of Health and Human Services has been distributing “news” videos anchored by fake reporters to promote the new Medicare prescription drug benefit bill. To paraphrase an idea from our good friend Bill O’Reilly, the reality television craze is helping turn the country into one giant spin zone.

Cougars earn sweep

Krista Viefhaus decided that 10 innings of softball were enough.

Viefhaus’ home run in extra innings in the first game helped Columbia College sweep a doubleheader from Lindenwood University on Thursday at Columbia College.

Swede success

It’s easy to draw comparisons between Annika Sorenstam and Maria Ohlsson.

Although Ohlsson is taller than Sorenstam, she resembles the LPGA phenom in many ways. Both hail from Sweden and are exceptionally competitive.

Tigers feel little stress at regional

Lauren Schwartzman is relaxing into perfection.

As Missouri intensifies its efforts for precisely pointed toes, stuck landings and smiling showmanship, Schwartzman has found herself easing out of superstitions.

1B Ehlers leads way for Tigers

Missouri first baseman Cody Ehlers has proved he responds well to pressure.

On Sunday, with Missouri facing a sweep for the fourth straight year in a Big 12 Conference opening series, Ehlers, a senior, hit home runs in his first two at-bats, driving in the first three runs of a 12-0 win against Kansas State.

Better communication key for talkative Tigers

There are never any members of the Missouri Spirit Squad at University Field, but Joanne Loethen is always there to compensate.

“Everybody calls me the cheerleader because I’m always doing cheers and yelling as loud as I can,” Loethen said.

Hickman starts with shutout

The Hickman boys’ tennis team started its season by winning at district opponent Rolla 9-0 on Thursday.

Hickman’s Nate Bohon, Kyle King and Sean Schofield won their singles matches in straight sets. Bohon teamed up with Erich Chen for one of the Kewpies’ three doubles wins. Omeed Latifi, Zach Coble and Greg Anderson added wins for the Kewpies.

Rock Bridge tops Helias

Jon-Eric Meyer wasn’t happy with the way he acted on the court, but he was happy with his win.

Ben Loeb, the Rock Bridge tennis coach, found no reason to be upset with his team’s 7-2 victory against Helias at Bethel Park on Thursday. The Bruins improved to 2-0.

Play speaks volumes

The difference in personalities between Missouri tennis player Hana Kraftova and her opponent March 7 could not have been more apparent.

Oklahoma’s Irina Lykina, whose wild gestures and screams of self-motivation made her noticeable throughout Green Tennis Center, was on one side of the court.

Strickland looks to regain old form

Janae Strickland wants to put the indoor season behind her.

Strickland, a Missouri shot putter, will compete in the Missouri Relays at 10 a.m. today and 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.

Museum chief pitches Negro Leagues players

Josh Gibson was such a good baseball player, he was often called “the black Babe Ruth.” In fact, he was so good, some question whether Ruth should have been called the “white Josh Gibson.”

Thursday night Raymond Doswell, the curator and education director for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, spoke in front of about 25 people at the Columbia Public Library about Gibson and other African-American players and the contributions these players made.

Grisly violence erupts in Iraq

FALLUJAH, Iraq — In a scene reminiscent of Somalia, frenzied crowds dragged the burned, mutilated bodies of four American contractors through the streets of a town west of Baghdad on Wednesday and strung two of them up from a bridge after rebels ambushed their sport utility vehicles.

Five U.S. soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division also were killed when a bomb exploded under their M-113 armored personnel carrier north of Fallujah, making it the bloodiest day for Americans in Iraq since Jan. 8.

Baby beats

A flowing blue scarf was spread out on the floor for the children and their teacher to sit on. When a captain was chosen, they finally were ready to take a trip in their big blue boat.

While singing and moving to the rhythm, the children saw sharks and fish on their voyage.

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