Dynamic duo

Mihai Cernusca and Greg Puzniak had seven hours to reconstruct the human digestive system. The pressure was on. They stretched their fingers and snapped their heads from side to side — a quick release before setting to work.

On the operating table before them were keyboards and mice.

Police arrest suspect in kidnapping

A Columbia man accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend was arrested Monday night in Wichita, Kan., after five days on the run from authorities. The alleged victim, Sara Riebold, 25, was safe and set to return to Boone County Tuesday evening.

Wichita police arrested Andrew David Viggers, 34, at 8:50 p.m. Monday after Riebold called 911. Viggers was being held Tuesday at the Sedgwick County, Kan., Jail, awaiting extradition to Boone County, where he faces felony charges of kidnapping, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault. Bond has been set at $450,000.

Rape care becomes hospital priority

As Leigh Voltmer, executive director of The Shelter, looks at how victims of sexual assault have been treated the past four years by local agencies, she can’t help but think Columbia could do better.

The place to start, she said, is with the organizations that victims see first: the hospitals and the police.

Meteor shower forecast and it should be dandy

Pack some blankets and bug spray, and head away from the city lights. It’s time for the annual Perseid meteor shower.

Val Germann, president of the Central Missouri Astronomical Association, said this year’s shower is expected to be a good one, with the best prospects tonight and early Thursday morning.

Big Brothers Big Sisters gets grant

More children of Missouri inmates will be teamed with mentors in the coming months thanks to a federal grant announced last week.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Boone County, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson City and Kansas City, has received a $382,000 grant — part of $35 million in grants nationwide — from the U.S. Department of Health and Human services to expand a program for children of incarcerated parents. The organization will continue to receive the same amount for the next three years.

GOP moves into headquarters

Bumper stickers for Bush/Cheney 2004, Matt Blunt and Kenny Hulshof adorned a cluster of cars in the parking lot of Rock Bridge Shopping Center Tuesday afternoon as Republicans gathered inside a storefront to open the Boone County Republican Headquarters.

The Boone County Republican Central Committee organizes a central headquarters every four years for the presidential election. This year’s location at Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard was selected in late July.

MU gets $190,000 grant for incubator

The Columbia Life Sciences Incubator received a boost Tuesday as community and state leaders met to track the project’s progress and explore its potential for paving the road to further economic and entrepreneurial development in mid-Missouri.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce David Sampson was joined by Sen. Kit Bond, U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof and UM system President Elson Floyd at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. The luncheon was one of three stops in Columbia, Mexico and St. Louis, during which Sampson presented Economic Development Administration investment checks.

Missouri Democratic Party sues secretary of state

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Democratic Party has sued Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt, claiming voters who cast provisional ballots in the August primary at the wrong polling places should have had their votes counted anyway.

The party claims that state law, which Blunt enforces as the state’s chief elections official, conflicts with the federal Help America Vote Act.

Wal-Mart gives MU four minority scholarships

Four MU journalism students will receive $2,500 scholarships starting in fall of 2005, courtesy of Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart said Thursday it would award $500,000 in minority scholarships to be divided among 10 journalism schools across the country — including MU — over three years. “The scholarship program is an effort to increase the level of diversity in newsrooms around the country,” said a news release from Wal-Mart.

State Fair books various performers

The Missouri State Fair in Sedalia will be brimming with all kinds of performers, rides and attractions this year.

The fair, which last year attracted almost 350,000 fairgoers, starts Thursday and ends Aug. 22.

First suspect to be tried Nov. 2 in Kent Heitholt murder case

Trial dates have been set for the two suspects in the death of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.

Boone County Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton set a Nov. 2 trial date for Charles Erickson, 20, who is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in connection with Heitholt’s death.

Chasing a new system

Even though Missouri’s preseason is two days old, quarterback Chase Patton has his hands full dealing with a faster game.

“(It is faster) all around. Just like the plays they put in, they put in a lot more than I’m used to in high school,” Patton said before Tuesday’s practice. “Then you get out there and the defense’s speed is different, a lot faster.

Club tri-ific again

The Columbia Multisport Club won its second straight National Club Triathlon Championship on Sunday in Boulder, Colo.

CMC won Division I, the grouping for teams with the most racers. The event used five divisions.

Forward progress

In the second day of practice Missouri’s offense did what teams are expected to do in preseason practices: improve.

Although the defense intercepted five passes Tuesday in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills at Memorial Stadium, the offense had more success with its passing game than it had Monday.

Mavericks stay on roll, slam Rascals

The Mid-Missouri Mavericks beat the River City Rascals 12-1 on Tuesday night at T.R. Hughes Ballpark, in O’Fallon for their third straight win.

It is the first time the Mavericks (21-53) beat the Rascals (38-37) by more than two runs this season. The Mavericks are 3-10 against River City.

Dining out low-carb

Carbohydrates enter the body as a team of sugar units. Although sweet to the taste and on amicable terms with taste buds, they must be seen as opponents to the body. They are unwanted by the consumer, their glucose-producing, energy-providing abilities unwelcome. They lure you in dressed as a basket of warm, golden, buttery bread rolls the server dropped off at the table. It’s free, but costs are high. You try to look away, but the sweet aroma still tempts you. You must defend yourself with four words: “I’m on the Atkins.”

With a nod of understanding, the server complies with the implicit request to take away the bread.

Artist wins nail portrait contest

Mary Piper of Columbia won first place this year in the Nails magazine Nail Art Self-Portrait contest.

Piper, who has been doing nails for 24 years, moved to Columbia to be closer to her son, Kyle, when he attended MU. Since her move from northern Illinois, Piper has started her own nail boutique, Nails Only!, which is a family-owned business that she and Kyle co-manage while her other son, Brett, works as a receptionist.