Best Friends Reunited

When Army Specialist E-4 Jeremiah Smith of Fulton stepped off the bus on July 21 in Fort Leonard Wood after nearly a year in Iraq, he was met by his family, as well as a now-famous friend.

Niki, the black and white Iraqi refugee puppy, has been in the United States since April, a couple months after Smith and members of his Baghdad-stationed unit, the 2175th Military Police Co., befriended the mixed-breed dog. With the help of Military Mascots, Smith shipped Niki back to Fulton, via St. Louis.

Columbia lacks rape response team

The scenario has tragically replayed itself perhaps hundreds of times. A woman is raped, whether by an acquaintance after a party or by a stranger in some unpredictable circumstance. Distraught and disoriented, she wonders what to do.

Should she go to the hospital? Tell the police? Call a sexual assault hot line?

Shooters take aim in competition

At the sound of a buzzer, shooting competitor J.J. Racaza dropped his 007 “martini glass” and attempted to draw his pistol. But as the glass — a slightly modified plastic bottle — bounced at his feet, the weapon held firm in his holster. The holster was still locked, costing him time. Racaza freed his pistol and shells flew from his weapon in two shot bursts. Steel targets fell and he rushed on to finish the stage.

Racaza and other pistol shooters from across the county competed in this and similar contests over the weekend during the United States Practical Shooting Association Area 3 Championship at the Chapman Academy in Hallsville. Match director Emmanuel Bragg said that eight of the top 10 pistol shooters in the world were on hand for the competition, which had a James Bond theme.

Family values different from family influence

Some people seem to think that family values are a set of regulations carved on a stone tablet, handed down through the generations like the Ten Commandments. I think of them as a set of principles passed on, out of which certain behavioral patterns emerge. This subject came up last Sunday when I was visiting with a family member. She suggested that it would be difficult for us to explain to our parents why we were not in church on Sunday morning. Our mothers, after all, attended every Sunday without fail. I disagreed. I replied that I felt like the same set of principles that led my mother to do what she did also leads me to do as I do. My cousin merely looked at me strangely.

When I was growing up, the majority of the children in my neighborhood went to Sunday School. I loved being in Sunday School the same way I once loved being in church. It was one of the few places where I felt at home, as if I belonged there. I think I can truthfully say I have been in churches of virtually every denomination. It has been an experience that has been extremely valuable in helping me shape my own personal theology.

Football in the air

After a solid 2003 season, the long wait for football to return to Missouri has ended.

The Tigers will begin preseason practice at 3:45 p.m. today in Memorial Stadium. The preseason period will continue for 23 more practices, two scrimmages and conclude with the home opener Sept. 4 against Arkansas State.

Renteria sparks Cards

ST. LOUIS — One of the players who might have to move to another spot in the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup to make way for Larry Walker helped them finish off the New York Mets.

Edgar Renteria tied his career high with five hits and the Cardinals handed Al Leiter his worst loss of the year in a 6-2 victory Sunday that completed a three-game sweep.

Mavs hold off Grizzlies

For a while it looked like the Mid-Missouri Mavericks were going to let another one slip away.

After making it interesting in the end, the Mavericks held on and defeated the Gateway Grizzlies 7-6 on Sunday at Taylor Stadium.