You can take your living room on the road

A trip this holiday season might seem like an adventure that takes the amenities of your living room to your vehicle with the variety of gadgets available.

Keeping children, guests and everyone in the vehicle entertained for a short ride to the grocery store or across states can be a challenge. A portable DVD player might be the ideal gift.

Small electronic items big seller

Big advances in electronics come in gadgets tiny enough to pop into your pocket this holiday season.

Everything from portable DVD players to high-tech global positioning systems is on the market and small enough to stuff into a stocking.

Pets love the holiday season, too

The gentle rustling of paper at Brian Rehg’s house is a signal to Dakota that something exciting is about to be revealed.

A glimpse at her new toy, a Frisbee, and she heads for the door; it’s time to play.

Bruins take down Hickman hopes

For all but a few minutes Tuesday night, the coach’s chair on Hickman’s side of the wrestling mat was vacant.

Coach J.D. Coffman stood for the duration of the dual meet and bark-ed orders and words of encouragement to his wrestlers.

Spotlight on Big 12 as season unfolds

The ACC is touted by many pundits as the best conference for men’s basketball, but this year the Big 12 is giving it a run for its money.

The Big 12 is the only conference with four undefeated teams. The ACC and Big East each have three.

Douglass lacks experience, not enthusiasm

Young basketball players can bring excitement and energy to complement veteran players.

The problem for Douglass High basketball coach Lynn Allen is that he doesn’t have many veterans.

Meet pumps up wrestling rivals

Rock Bridge wrestler Jason Richards described Tuesday’s dual meet against rival Hickman as “the biggest match of the season.”

Although Richards thought the meet was huge, Hickman’s K.C. Pescaglia treated it the same as any other match.

Tyus too much for Kewpies

The Hickman boys’ basketball team lost to Hazelwood Central 73-60 in Florissant. The loss dropped the Kewpies to 3-5. Hazelwood improved to 5-0.

The Kewpies were led by senior Kyle Smith, who scored 29 points. Hazelwood was lead by junior Alex Tyus’ 26 points. Hickman assistant coach Dan Bachmeier said Tyus lived up to his expectations.

Look no further: It's Holiday Hot Dozen

It’s that time of year again. Get out your list, head to stores and join the thousands of other holiday shoppers trying to find the perfect gift.

Shopping for multiple friends and relatives can be a nightmare if you don’t know what they’re interested in. Your preschool-age daughter won’t want the same thing as your college-age nephew.

Homemade gifts add personal touch

Marcella Frederick of Columbia buys her fleece fabric at Hobby Lobby. She said fleece blankets she has sewn have been popular gifts for her grandchildren, who are 3 and 5.

Receiving a homemade gift rather than a retail item is usually more personal and thoughtful than an item bought from a store.

Gadgets provide glimpse of future

The future is not so clear in the gadget world.

As a result, there is not such thing as a futuristic gift.

When you hear someone say, “Hey, that looks futuristic,” you expect to see something like George Jetson would use or that his son, Elroy, would make.

Several items are getting make-overs, but they are the same. Other gifts are unique in size, shape or function but are not from the future.

Not every gift needs to be bought

You have spent days shopping and hours wrapping, all in the name of giving.

The gift of service, though, is one of the best and most-needed gifts. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities around the Columbia area throughout the year, but those few extra days of vacation make the holidays an ideal time to get together with friends and family and help make a difference in others’ lives.

Electronic games suit almost anyone

The concept of electronic games has a different meaning to everyone.

Some think board games with electronic, battery-operated pieces. Others think game systems such as Nintendo or handheld pocket games such as poker.

A gallery of gourds

When Melynda Lotven moved into her new home off O’Neal Road in Columbia, she found grit-covered gourds in a heap of rubble.

They seemed worthless, but with a short soak in hot water and a good scrubbing, they led to a change of career for the self-taught artist.

The McRib: Is it more myth than a sandwich?

Sometimes, in the course of American history, something achieves cultural status simply by being mysterious or shrouded in a veil of uncertainty. Conspiracy theorists have their own spin on the Kennedy assassination, the Freemasons and, curiously, a McDonald’s sandwich.

In 1982, the McDonald’s Corp. unveiled a new sandwich oddly titled “The McRib.”

Tax to aid mental health in the works

Ten years after Boone County voters overwhelmingly rejected a property tax tagged to fund area mental health services, boosters of a similar effort now in its infancy see significant obstacles in convincing a cost-conscious public.

Last month, voters in St. Louis approved a property tax of 19 cents for each $100 of assessed value to finance a community children’s services fund. Also, Jefferson and St. Charles counties added a sales tax of one-eighth of a cent to create a similar pot of money for juvenile mental health.

Victims would get say in parole

A proposed bill would give crime victims in Missouri the right to submit statements when first-time, nonviolent offenders request early releases from prison.

Under a law passed in 2003, an offender convicted of a Class C or Class D felony can petition for early release after serving 120 days.

Columbia colleges to graduate almost 2,500

After Holly Brengarth graduates from MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing on Friday, she will trade in her jobs at a restaurant and a doctor’s office for one as a cancer nurse at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

“I’m looking forward to having a paycheck more than $260 a month,” said Brengarth, who will receive her bachelor’s degree in the first of several commencement ceremonies this weekend. She has been elected undergraduate class speaker and plans to talk about “differences that made our class so great.”