Unwrapping creativity

So many people have already spent countless hours shopping for the perfect gifts, but what lies ahead can be just as time consuming.

Presentation has the ability to enhance the gift inside, so concealing a delightful surprise under neatly folded wrapping paper or within another creative method is important.

Advocates want medicinal pot on the state agenda

Advocates of marijuana reform are hoping to follow up their success in Columbia with a statewide law to protect medicinal users of the drug. But while local residents overwhelmingly supported medical marijuana at the ballot box, taking the law statewide will be difficult.

“It will be an uphill fight, but it’s possible,” said Dan Viets, a board member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “We clearly had a lot of support for Proposition 1 from Republican voters, and there are many Republicans — I’m sure — in the legislature who recognize the importance of marijuana as a medicine.”

Angling for new hires

Surrounded by hunting gear, a full-size mounted lion and red fox, and Bass Pro Shops’ NASCAR stock car, between 30 and 40 aspiring salespeople awaited their interviews on Monday.

“I’ve never seen a job fair like this,” Jerry Foriester of Columbia said. “It’s comfortable; it relieves some of the pressure.”

Putting a lid on Java

Many people start their day with a cup of Joe to go. Burns, leaks, stains and cold coffee are troublesome for these people.

The Cherry Street Artisan, 911 S. Ninth St., provides a solution to save clothes and burnt fingers for coffee-to-go fans: a resealable and spill-resistant lid. A tab on the top of the lid slides to open and close the cover.

Petition calls for small-farm support

The Missouri Rural Crisis Center wants state lawmakers to put their mouths where their money is.

The Columbia-based advocacy group has started a petition drive calling for Jefferson City legislators to pass a bill requiring the state to buy 10 percent of the food consumed in government buildings and institutions from Missouri farmers.

T-Man changes rhythm of youths’ lives

It certainly isn’t Tyrone “T-Man” Raybon’s physical build that demands respect from the underprivileged youth enrolled in the Moving Ahead after-school program at the Columbia Housing Authority’s J.W. “Blind” Boone Center. His firm discipline, strict eye and intimidating speech exaggerate his 5-foot 7-inch, 152-pound frame.

Who’s to say what it is that draws children to “T-Man”? Maybe it’s his big heart. Perhaps it’s his confident gait. Whatever the inspiration, 20 to 25 arrive at the center every Monday through Thursday seeking a dose of his devotion.

A camera’s eye view of the Iraq war

Two photographers who have worked in Iraq for more than a year say their experiences have been dangerous but worthwhile, both to them and to the public.

“As photojournalists, we try to give a voice to people who don’t have one, and we go to places where the public can’t,” said Stefan Zaklin, a graduate student in photojournalism at MU.

Blunt’s search for chief of staff over

Gov.-elect Matt Blunt has selected his former Sunday school teacher, Ken McClure, to be his chief of staff.

“I’m very pleased that Ken McClure has agreed to continue assisting me in this effort,” Blunt said Tuesday.

Anti-annexation petition aims to halt Sapp plan

Boone County residents opposed to a 1,000-acre development of homes, condominiums and a golf course will not sue the city of Columbia over a proposed annexation of the property, said Patrick Cronan, the residents’ lawyer.

Cronan, who said he nonetheless believes such a lawsuit would succeed, said he expects to accomplish the same goals with a petition drive to force an involuntary annexation, which requires more land to touch the city than the current tract has.

Shooting woes sink Tigers

Missouri tried its best to disguise a poor shooting night.

It almost worked.

Despite struggling from the field and from the line, the Tigers put themselves in position to pull out a victory. But Arkansas removed the veil and snatched a 62-52 win Tuesday at Mizzou Arena.

Tigers turn up defense

All season, Missouri coach Quin Snyder has been preaching the virtues of defense to his young Tiger team.

“I’ve been taking people out of the game when they aren’t guarding,” Snyder said. “I can’t get them out quick enough when they’re not playing defense.”

Bears hit stride without Koch

Taking a cue from Southwest Missouri State, the Missouri women’s basketball team must continue to come together.

Playing without its leading scorer, Kari Koch, has not been easy for the Bears. Still, SMS coach Kate Abrahamson-Henderson’s team is looking for its fourth straight win. “Playing together,” she said, is the key to a team’s success. “Absolutely, that is the number one thing, playing together.”

Scrappy Kewpies lose in 1st round

The Hickman girls’ basketball team lost to Blue Valley (Kan.) North 51-35 in the opening round of the Blue Springs/Blue Springs South McDonald’s Tournament. The Kewpies trailed 20-15 at halftime, but Blue Valley North pulled away in the second half. Lauren Nolke led the Kewpies (2-5) with 10 points.

MU quells Arkansas’ fast start

Arkansas started quickly in its first game at Mizzou Arena.

The Razorbacks jumped to a 6-0 lead. After scoring their first basket of the game, the Razorbacks used a full-court press to get two straight turnovers and converted both.

Sluggish start dooms Cougars

If the Columbia College men’s basketball team could somehow bypass the first five minutes of each game, things might be looking much brighter.

Instead, it was business as usual Tuesday, as Belleview University used an early run to deflate the Cougars en route to a 70-60 win at the Arena of Southwell Complex.

The world according to Dud

Like any artist, Justin Lawson hears from people who don’t like his work. But the student cartoonist could end up having the last laugh.

Lawson, a 19-year-old sophomore at MU who signs his comic strip as Dud, is one of five cartoonists left in mtvU’s Strips contest — a nationwide contest of competing college comic strips on MTV’s 24-hour college television network. On the line is a development deal with United Feature Syndicate, which syndicates comics like “Peanuts,” “Dilbert” and “Pearls Before Swine.” The final votes were cast online Sunday at where the results will be posted on Monday.