New kindergarteners show their skills

They sit squirming in front of her, kicking feet that don’t quite touch the ground, gazing in awe at walls covered with brightly colored pictures and letters of the alphabet. The woman across the table carefully asks her audience to name the letters in front of them. As they stare down at the paper with their faces twisting in concentration, the interrogator smiles when they don’t know the answer.

“We’ll learn that when you come to school,” says Nancy Amelunke, a kindergarten teacher at Cedar Ridge Elementary School.

Lunches lure teens off campus

It’s all about freedom for 16-year-old Taylor Morrow.

On days when the Hickman High School junior has a few extra dollars in his pocket, he and his friends spend their 40-minute lunch break not in the Hickman cafeteria, but at the Sonic or Subway a few hundred feet from the school doors.

Sheriff quiet on suspect’s transfer

A Columbia man has sat in a Sedgwick County, Kan., jail cell since Aug. 9, and authorities will not say exactly when he will return to Boone County to face charges of kidnapping, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault.

The one thing the Boone County Sheriff’s Department can say for certain is there are no remaining legal obstacles to his return.

City land to open to archers

Although the Columbia City Council approved an ordinance allowing archery hunting of deer on four city property sites, one expert said the only place you are likely to see a hunter is in the parking lot.

The council unanimously approved the measure Monday night amid the safety concerns of nearby nonhunters, particularly regarding the Grindstone Nature Area, a frequently visited park. John George of the Missouri Department of Conservation said deer hunting occurs far from trails and open areas.

Fair spotlights Columbia artists

The Missouri State Fair draws prize sheep, dairy cattle and swine from across the state to compete for ribbons, but a small building away from the livestock barns and the midway houses paintings, sculptures, and photographs from some of Missouri’s top amateur and professional artists. Few towns are better represented than Columbia.

The Fine Arts Building spotlights artists from Columbia in four competitive divisions, including the Missouri 50 Exhibition, the top 50 pieces submitted to the Fair’s Fine Arts Department.

Chainsaw sculptors keep crowd guessing

Standing side by side, Stacey Robinson and his son, Clint, start their chainsaws. Each approaches a chest-high log and begins carving.

Audience members stare, point and nudge each other.

New teachers anticipate opening day

When the morning bell rings Monday in the Columbia Public Schools, the students might not be the only ones facing first-day jitters.

This year, 119 teachers will work in the district for the first time, and 51 are first-year teachers.

Energy initiative to appear on ballot

Columbia voters will decide on a petition initiative Nov. 2 that would require the city to obtain increasing amounts of its energy from renewable sources. The matter was referred to the ballot after it failed to win City Council approval Monday night.

Sixth Ward Councilman Brian Ash said he doesn’t disagree with the spirit of the law but voted against it because he thought it should be turned over to the voters.

Recruits steam into Naval ROTC life at orientation

Freshman Amanda Heismann could hear the earth crunch beneath her shiny black boots. At 5:30 a.m., little noise punctuated the balmy air in Hinkson Park — except for the screaming.

The cry of 30 voices sliced the dark.

Teens’ campaign vs. Bush goes national

Future Voters Against Bush has come a long way in a short time. Founded in mid-May by two Columbia 13-year-olds, the organization is now sparking the interest of teenagers across the country.

“We were hoping we could make a difference,” said Lucia Bourgeois, one of the group’s co-founders. “We were hoping we could change some minds and hoping we could get the word out.”

Interim head leading Independent School

Students returning to Columbia Independent School will have a new head of school this year. Charles McClain, 72, will act as interim head until the school’s board finds a permanent replacement for Dee Corn.

McClain has over 50 years of experience ranging from teaching grade school to university administration to serving as commissioner of higher education for Missouri. CIS parents are impressed.

Private school to integrate Bible with core curriculum

A new private Christian academy has opened its doors in Columbia.

The Family Worship Center Academy on Bonne Femme Church Road began classes Monday with the goal of combining an individualized curriculum with a Christian education.

Designated-driver program draws few

When MU senior Nichole Radman ordered a bottomless soda at Fat Otter’s Street Pub, she wanted to get her $3 worth. She didn’t realize she could have gotten it for free.

Since its opening in January, Fat Otter’s has participated in Cheers, a statewide program in which designated drivers receive free nonalcoholic beverages upon request. But few students take advantage of the program.

Call it junk if you must, but some students call it lunch

High-calorie foods such as soda, Doritos, Pop Tarts and Snickers line the vending machines at both Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools. And that’s fine with Rock Bridge sophomore Kelsey Thompson.

“Sugary foods keep us awake,” Thompson said.

MU’s defense leaves little room to run

After serving as a weak spot for Gary Pinkel’s first three Missouri teams, the defense has improved and during Tuesday’s first preseason scrimmage sent a message it wants to dominate.

“The No. 2 defense looked good, but the No. 1 defense played dominant and they should be,” Pinkel said. “They are all back and in fact, I think we improved against the run with the No. 1 defense.”

Walker, Cards slam Reds

ST. LOUIS — Larry Walker keeps helping the St. Louis Cardinals win.

Tony Womack scored the go-ahead run on a bases-loaded walk from Danny Graves in the eighth inning and Walker hit the next pitch for a grand slam in a 7-2 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

Tarnished silver

ATHENS, Greece — The mistakes were so minor, the kind of errors only judges see.

Carly Patterson’s foot grazed the lower of the uneven bars. Courtney Kupets’ twirl ended here instead of there. Mohini Bhardwaj had an itty-bitty wobble on the beam.

U.S. hangs on to edge Greece

ATHENS, Greece — Tim Duncan had fouled out, Allen Iverson was playing with a broken thumb, and Greece had passed the ball inside with a chance to pull within two points with 18 seconds left.

Lamar Odom defended the play perfectly, holding his hand steady and high and getting a piece of Dimitris Pipanikoulaou’s layup attempt. Odom, playing despite severe dehydration, rebounded the miss, was fouled and made two free throws to lock up the U.S. team’s 77-71 victory Tuesday night in its second game of the Olympics.