Boys night out

ST. ROBERT -- Aerosmith blares on the sound system. Glowing neon miniskirts dot the room. A few guys hang out at the pool tables; others watch basketball on muted TVs. It’s Friday night, “drink and drown” time. All the beer you can drink for $10 or all the liquor for $15. It’s still early, and the girls are segregated at their own tables. No one seems to have heard of the idea that smoking might be hazardous to the health.

Seems like any club scene, any small town, anyplace. But the Rockin’ R is about a mile from Ft. Leonard Wood, where about 7,000 young military men and women train for the combat they may soon see in Iraq. Sometimes, they end up here or at one of the many nearby nightspots – and the stress they come to relieve has built up from the business of war. Clubs so near a military base seem to attract significantly more men. That’s why ladies’ nights – where the women don’t pay a cover charge and their drinks come half price – are frequent. Even the local strip club has a ladies night.

Growth in an orderly fashion

Ready or not, the eastward expansion of Columbia is beginning.

The process will begin with small steps, the first of which will probably be the annexation of 96.6 acres owned by Roger and Mary Bumgarner. The Bumgarners in late April filed for voluntary annexation of their farm and are seeking agricultural zoning.

Diversity leaders urge new strategy

The recent report on MU’s diversity programs and services, or lack thereof, may provide the motivation for MU to launch its long-in-the-works “diversity strategic plan.”

Without one, MU is behind many other institutions in addressing diversity, said Robert Weems, interim vice chancellor for equity.

Most Republican goals remain unfulfilled

JEFFERSON CITY — As the legislative session enters its final week, the priorities presented by the Republican leadership in January remain mostly unachieved.

The governor vetoed the legislature’s liability lawsuit bill, and the Senate abandoned the House’s bill to cut Medicaid enrollments and reduce fraud.

Patriots in the Heartland

The mayor of Waynesville conducts his duties via e-mails from Iraq. Veterans vow that this time around, the troops will be welcomed home with parades, not protests. Letters abroad fly back and forth from the post office.

For those who live in a military town, patriotism is a passion and military life a reality.

WB calls at MU for cast

"Big Man on Campus” was the big event on campus Friday afternoon, as a couple of hundred MU students attended a casting call for an upcoming WB reality show.

MU, along with the University of Arizona and the University of Texas-Austin, is one of three potential campuses for the show. Casting director Luke Conklin describes the show as a college version of “The Bachelor” — without a marriage proposal at the end.

Event spurs residents to get out, get active

PedNet Coalition members believe their vision of a pedestrian-friendly Columbia is getting closer, judging from the record participation and increase in corporate sponsorship for this year’s Bike, Walk and Wheel Week.

The event, part of the third annual Mayor’s Challenge, starts today and continues to May 16. This year’s participation is expected to exceed last year’s, which had 950 participants. Official registration begins today at 1 p.m. at the ARC, corner of Clinkscales and Ash streets.

Longball carries inspired Kewpies

Hickman had a little more reason to play hard Saturday.

After outfielder Tyler Jones’ father, Gary Jones, died Thursday, the Kewpies pulled together to win 5-3 against St. Charles and 11-0 against Vianney at Hickman Field.

Graduates focus on Stephens’ Ideals

"I’m a woman, W-O-M-A-N,” sung by the Senior Singers encompassed the celebration of powerful women as a part of Stephens College’s graduation.

As Stephens College held the commencement of its 2004 graduates Saturday, Silverthorne Arena on the campus was overflowing with family, friends, faculty and students. The ceremony recognized about 100 students.

Columbia’s ’04 graduates set record

Quentin Wilson, commissioner of Missouri higher education, addressed an audience of thousands at Columbia College’s commencement Saturday at Southwell Complex.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” Wilson told students, “and you are prepared for that change.”

Mirts meets marathon challenge

Tonya Mirts hobbled through the halls of Hickman High on Monday.

Mirts, the Kewpies’ girls’ basketball coach, didn’t elicit sympathy from her players, though.

Montreal shuts out St. Louis

MONTREAL — Tomo Ohka finally got a little offensive support, and he made sure it was enough to win.

Ohka and Rocky Biddle combined for a three-hitter, and Jose Vidro hit a home run and drove in two runs to lead the Montreal Expos past the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 Saturday night for their season-high third straight win.

Reese, Red Sox race past Royals

BOSTON — Pokey Reese hit an inside-the-park home run and added a conventional one, the first two-home run game of his career, and Curt Schilling pitched his first AL complete game Saturday as the Boston Red Sox continued their hot streak.

The 9-1 win against the Kansas City Royals was Boston’s fourth straight since losing five in a row.

Mo' better music

APOP Records may be the perfect place for music fans who are sick of tuning in a radio station only to hear the same pop songs over and over.

An eclectic, international mix of vinyl, CDs, books and independent magazines called zines pack the shelves of the small store, which opened April 19 at 807 Locust St.

M is for mothers, memories

Note: I wrote this column four years ago and decided to revise it as I have a few new thoughts.

How many times have you hummed the famous Mother’s Day tune “M is for the many times you…?” Every year I fill in the blank with something different depending on my mood.

X Marks the Spot

It’s a big day in Vicki Braddy’s kindergarten class at Southern Boone County Primary School in Ashland.

Not only is it the Week of the Young Child — which means that today is hat day and everyone is allowed to wear whatever sort of hat they want — but today Mrs. Braddy’s voice, which was stolen last week by allergy monsters, has returned.