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Matchup brings interest to game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gunther Cunningham knows exactly what he would like to see tonight: Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck on Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Cunningham, the Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive coordinator, spent the past three seasons with Bulluck, helping coach him into a star.

Passing Grizzly test builds MU’s confidence

Finals week won’t carry the same pressure for Missouri’s Jason Conley as it has in the past, and he is not afraid to brag about it.

“I’m just going be honest with you, (my teammates are) going to have some problems with exams because I’m finished,” Conley said. “I graduate in exactly one week, so I’m excited. They’ll be in exams and I’ll be here in the gym.”

Cougars collapse in second

For 35 minutes Sunday afternoon, the Columbia College men’s basketball team played its best basketball of the season.

For 5 minutes, it played some of its worst.

Trading spaces after the election

JEFFERSON CITY — Throughout the halls of the state Capitol, there are signs of change.

Boxes, paint supplies, filing cabinets, rolls of carpet and discarded fluorescent lights litter the marble walkways.

More flu vaccine coming

JEFFERSON CITY — More than 100,000 new doses of flu vaccine will arrive in Missouri next week, but unless you’re pregnant, sick, still in diapers or collecting Social Security, health officials say there’s not enough to cover you.

Only 100 of the doses are coming to Boone County. Sue Denny, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health, said that’s because Boone County already has more vaccines for its population than other areas of the state.

Leader of the park

On a windy December afternoon, Jim Gast walks through Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, the place where he has worked in one capacity or another for nearly 13 years. Now, the park will officially become his.

After former superintendent Scott Schulte’s retirement in March, Gast, 45, became the acting superintendent of the park. He will be officially named superintendent today.

Rams deep-sixed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers were a joke two months ago, in danger of becoming the answer to a trivia question as the biggest bust after a Super Bowl season.

The Panthers are surging now, though. They moved into the thick of the playoff race Sunday with a 20-7 victory against the St. Louis Rams.

Santa to the rescue

Barking, squawking and chatter filled Award Pet Supply on Saturday afternoon as residents lined the store to get their pets’ pictures taken for the holiday season. The event’s proceeds benefit Columbia Second Chance, a private pet rescue organization that finds homes for dogs and cats throughout Missouri.

Howdy Matchery donated his time to pose as Santa Claus.

Budget, election top school board agenda

Those eager to run for a spot on the Columbia Board of Education can file starting Tuesday for the coming election.

Three seats on the board will be up for grabs, as terms for board members Russ Still, David Ballenger and Donald Ludwig expire in April.

Laurie scandal troubles college officials

A national expert in college cheating says he has never heard of a case as extensive as the one alleged against Wal-Mart heiress Elizabeth Paige Laurie.

“It took a significant risk to involve another student so extensively in the cheating,” said Donald McCabe, president and founder of the national Center for Academic Integrity at Duke University. “I think both the extent of it and that it just involved one other person are somewhat surprising. … Certainly you hear instances of somebody paying someone else to take a test or buying a paper off of the Internet, but it’s the fact that it was such an extensive amount of work over such a long period of time that is surprising.”

Release law helps fewer than some envisioned

JEFFERSON CITY — Looking to slow the growth of Missouri’s inmate population, state lawmakers relaxed sentencing laws a year and a half ago to allow some nonviolent offenders to seek release after just three months in prison.

When the Missouri Supreme Court interpreted the law to apply to people already in prison — not just those sentenced after the law took effect — state Attorney General Jay Nixon warned that thousands of inmates could be turned loose, making communities less safe.

Rock Bridge will choose construction bid for flooring project

The annual budget for Columbia schools tops the agenda for the Columbia Board of Education’s meeting today.

Superintendent Phyllis Chase will give a report to the board about the 2004-05 fiscal budget and an update on planning for the 2005-06 budget. The board will meet at 7 p.m. today at the administration building, 1818 W. Worley St.

Fluffy, don’t eat the ornaments!

The tree is decorated, tinsel surrounds the mantel, and mistletoe hangs above the doorway. All the Christmas decorations are up, creating a spirited atmosphere within the house. The only problem is, the cat won’t leave them alone.

Pets can be detrimental to holiday decorations, but the decorations can be just as detrimental to pets.

A memorial day for children

When Del McMillen walked into her first Missouri Compassionate Friends meeting, she couldn’t even speak her name.

The grief after her 10-year-old grandson’s death had muted her.

Turn eyes to skies tonight for meteors

If the sky is clear tonight, as predicted, anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of a meteor shower will have a chance. The Geminid meteor shower will reach its peak tonight.

According to Geoff Chester, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory, the Geminid shower is one of the most reliable of the annual periodic showers.

The Shelter to gain new federal funding

U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof announced Sunday that $247,925 in federal funds will be given to The Shelter, a local organization devoted to helping victims of domestic violence.

The money will be used to establish a transitional living program consisting of three apartments and a day-care facility.

MU developing new sports major

MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources is in the first stages of developing an undergraduate degree in sport venue management.

Jim Spain, assistant dean of academic programs for the college, said the program would train students to manage the locations where sports occur or become part of a team’s administrative staff, from the high school to professional level.

Disability Web site focuses on community

Putting a personal spin on areas of accessibility, as well as making available resources for disabled people in mid-Missouri, was Laura Schopp’s goal. She was instrumental in getting disAbility Spin Web site started.

With the community’s involvement, the site has the possibility of becoming an all-encompassing resource. DisAbility Spin is devoted to the disabled residents of Columbia who can visit and post their own experiences on the discussion forums within the site. There’s also a section for event listings. “People can constantly update the site. It really belongs to the community and it’s going to rely very heavily on the community’s interest to keep it vibrant,” said Schopp, a neuropsychologist and associate professor in the department of health psychology at MU.

Faces: Leslie Perna

Leslie Perna’s career as a violist has taken her all over the world. Perna, who is associate professor of viola at MU’s School of Music, initially focused on the violin. She received a bachelor’s degree from the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music in Cleveland in 1984 and a master’s degree from Boston University in 1986, both in violin.

Perna said she drifted toward the viola because she appreciated its role in classical music and its richer and darker sound.

Fun Fact

The Columbia Female Academy was founded in 1833 as a place for Columbia’s elite to send their daughters to be educated. The Presbyterian-based institute was reorganized in 1856 as the Columbia Baptist Female College.

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