First-day adventures

When MU junior Dave Gasparovic showed up at the Student Recreation Center for his shift at 10 a.m. Monday, the power was down. Employees abandoned their jobs answering phones or monitoring weight room activity to stand at the door and turn away students.

“We’ve been relegated to bouncers,” Gasparovic said, “although most people have been pretty understanding.”

Gloom out of place on first day of school

Whipping rain and dark clouds failed to stop thousands of Columbia children from attending the first day of school Monday.

While official numbers won’t be available until late next month, unofficial statistics from the Columbia Public Schools show that 16,404 children attended school the first day, which is 193 more than last year.

Freshmen use one another to quell fears

When some out-of-state freshmen enter college, they often worry about not knowing anyone or having friends at their new home.

When Mack Breed and Aaron Saunders arrived at Missouri, they didn’t have that fear. They entered with each other.

Vets are fourth of Columbia homeless

Tony Mooneyham said he went to hell and came back to a place where no one wanted anything to do with him.

He served as an infantryman in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1970.

Watkins’ son joins MU basketball

Marcus Watkins, son of Melvin Watkins, Missouri’s new associate head basketball coach, joined the team Monday and is eligible to play the 2004-05 season.

Coach Quin Snyder said in a release that Watkins, a junior, will fit in well with the team. According to Snyder, the 6-foot-4 guard from Texas A&M is a well-rounded player as well as a quality student.

Hypertension afflicts 1 in 3 Americans

DALLAS — As Americans get older and fatter, the number of adults with high blood pressure has climbed to almost one in three over the past decade, putting more people at risk of a stroke, heart attack or kidney failure, government researchers said Monday.

A little more than a decade ago, the number was closer to one in four. And two decades ago, it was falling. But thenthe obesity surge hit in the late ’80s.

Tolerance, coffee and rock ‘n’ roll at Woodcrest

The lights go dim. The curtains part. The drummer beats three times to signal the start of the show, and the crowd is on its feet.

This isn’t a rock show. This is Woodcrest Chapel, and theatrical performances are the norm here. They are also its formula for growth.

St. Louis loses big in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY — The NFL’s highest-scoring offense is averaging two touchdowns every three possessions during the preseason.

If Kansas City’s woeful defense can get its act together, too, the Chiefs could be in for big things.

MU’s Uldal eyeing personal record

Norwegian decathlete Hans Uldal, a sophomore member of the Missouri track team, is in 30th place out of 39 athletes competing in the decathlon at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Uldal, who hails from Arendal, Norway, had 3,762 points after the first five events Monday and is on pace to set a school record, less than 100 points away from his personal best.

MU enrollment reaches historic high

MU announced the largest first-day enrollment in its history Monday with 27,088 students. That’s a 1.1 percent increase in the student body from last year. This includes a 2.7 percent increase in the number of new minority students on campus.

This growth — which officials must base on voluntary reporting by students — brings the total reported minority enrollment to 530.

College commons comes alive

When classes started Monday at Columbia College, everyone seemed energized about something, but the hub of activity was inside the new commons area.

“I’m excited to see how this building is going to change the culture of our campus,” said Faye Burchard, dean of Campus Life. “The students will have more interaction between themselves and with the faculty.”

Community starts class with a roar

They slowly enter the room with stealth and trepidation. Some are foreign to this new environment. Some have traveled here before and quickly mark their territory. Within seconds, they recognize the presence of others around them and their primal instincts kick in. A loud roar erupts in the middle of the classroom.

No, this is not an exhibit at the Saint Louis Zoo. It is a classroom that has come alive because the students have returned for the new school year. This classroom belongs to Patty Avery, a math teacher at Rock Bridge High School.

Rios charged in civil suit over car accident

Former Columbia police officer Steven Rios, awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges in the death of MU student Jesse Valencia, has been named a defendant in a civil suit concerning a 2003 traffic accident.

The lawsuit, which seeks in excess of $25,000 against Rios and his former employer, the Columbia Police Department, was filed Aug. 17 by Laci Harvey on behalf of her 6-year-old son, Terrence.

Road trip driven by desire to register swing voters

Bobby Schrautemeier has never voted before, but the 19-year-old MU communications student has strong views about the coming election.

“I am not really a huge fan of Kerry, but I’ll vote for anyone but Bush,” Schrautemeier said. “I think that Kerry has more experience with the military than Bush does, and I like that he’s criticizing what our country has done thus far and is looking for a way to bring our troops home as soon as possible.”

Critics question need for frequent textbook updates

“Optimus magister bonus liber,” goes the Latin adage: “The best teacher is a good book.” For generations of modern-day Latin students, that book has been “Wheelock’s Latin.”

But as the latest generation of students buying their Wheelocks in the coming weeks, they will discover a textbook that looks different from the original, densely packed tome that Frederic Wheelock sketched out a half-century ago. There are photographs, maps and eye-pleasing layouts. Exercises reflect the latest pedagogical theory. Readings feature fewer battlefield dispatches and more emphasis on women and everyday life. There is even a dirty poem by Catullus.

Engineering school gets $1 million grant to launch info technology program

MU engineering students interested in computer science will soon have a third option for a degree program. SBC Communications announced this afternoon it will give $1 million to the MU College of Engineering over the next five years to pay for a new information technology studies program.