Way off target

Mel Chandler didn’t expect a huge demand for concealed-weapons permits after the state law took effect in March, and the numbers indicate he was right.

“They thought there’d be a lot of people applying for permits, but they thought there’d be gun fights in the streets, too,” said Chandler, who owns Second Amendment Gun Shop in Columbia. “And that didn’t happen, either.”

UM mum on SMSU changing its name

At least publicly, the University of Missouri system has stayed on the sidelines when it comes to changing names at state colleges and universities.

As Southwest Missouri State University tries once again to drop the “Southwest” from its name, UM system President Elson Floyd and the UM Board of Curators keep restating they have no official stance.

Caregivers: Alzheimer’s calls for flexibility

Be generous with hugs and be flexible. That’s the advice of experts for families who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia this season.

Although each person’s situation is unique, there are some general approaches to use that will help make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone.

Skidmore funeral draws crowd

MARYVILLE — Hundreds of mourners gathered Tuesday in this small northwestern Missouri farming community to bury a young woman who was strangled and whose baby was cut from her womb.

Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, of Skidmore was found by her mother Thursday in a pool of blood in her small home, her baby missing. A woman Stinnett knew from breeding and showing rat terrier dogs made a first court appearance Monday on a charge of kidnapping resulting in death.

Heat elements to melt snow from library steps

Ice and snow the past two winters made the Columbia Public Library’s main entrance steps slippery and dangerous. Beginning today, however, visitors will be able to use the steps worry-free.

Work began earlier this month to install a heat-element snow-melting system in the steps. Karl West, a construction worker for KCI Construction of St. Louis, expects the work to be done today.

Two ballfields to be built at fairgrounds

A $76,000 matching grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will help create two baseball fields on the Boone County Fairgrounds.

Boone County will pitch in $50,000 from the fairgrounds’ insurance proceeds, and baseball organizations have pledged funds and labor to help build the fields. The total monetary amount that will go into the project is $146,000, and other groups plan to volunteer labor, Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin said Tuesday.

‘Laborvision’ debuts on CAT

Columbia Access Television has added the award-winning show “Laborvision” to its Wednesday night lineup.

“Laborvision” first aired in Columbia on Dec. 15 and is making its second appearance at 6 tonight on Channel 3.

Horton has an inside track on handling Illini

Missouri’s freshman guard Jason Horton will have a secret weapon when the Tigers play Illinois today. Horton has a personal scout watching the Big Ten Conference for him.

He also has his own private teacher, mentor, trainer and coach a phone call away. He only has to dial his brother’s cell phone number.

Weber says rivalry good for teams, fans

Most people think this year’s annual Braggin’ Rights game is going to be a blowout for Illinois, but Illini coach Bruce Weber knows nothing in college basketball is certain.

It isn’t outlandish to think the match-up between No. 1 Illinois and a young, shaky Missouri team at St. Louis’ Savvis Center will be ugly. However, Weber said he’s certain the game will be closer than most people expect because of the strong rivalry between the two teams.

Bigger and better

The season began in October amid an aura of pessimism. The seasoned seniors, Travon Bryant and Arthur Johnson, were gone, and so was their presence in the post. In their stead emerged junior Kevin Young and freshman Kalen Grimes, big men full of talent but unproven at the collegiate level.

Together they sought to quell the negative chatter surrounding the Missouri men’s basketball team.

No. 1 teams stir emotions, memories

It’s inevitable. It happens every March.

Phone calls and television highlights provide friendly reminders of a day Jason Sutherland can’t seem to forget.

Tough Illini not the only challenge

Missouri won’t just be facing a formidable opponent in No. 1 Illinois on Wednesday.

The Tigers will also be trying to overcome a disappointing start by snapping a four-game losing streak in the Braggin’ Rights game. .

Hickman boys lose in overtime at home

Hickman’s boys’ basketball team isn’t a model of consistency.

With the Kewpies’ 56-52 home loss in overtime Tuesday night to the Jefferson City Jays, Hickman (3-8) dropped its third consecutive close game.

Ring of recognition

Harry Smith’s eyes penetrate through his dark, thick-rimmed glasses easier than a running back through one of the holes he so often opened.

His forehead is permanently wrinkled, a testament more to years of furrowing his brow ala Bill Cowher than his age.

Yule love Christmas in Norway

Norwegians call the Christmas holiday Yule, and we start celebrating in October. The celebrations culminate with a two-week feast for friends and family. Is it any wonder why I felt cheated when I discovered that American celebrations were over in half a day?

It is impossible to write about Yule without writing about food. The traditional holiday dishes are not prepared at other times of the year. The recipes are often time-consuming and can be traced to the days when most Norwegians lived on farms and kept livestock.

Bright shoes make an impression

Beetroot, bumble gum, turquoise and electric blue sound more like the color of crayons than shoes. However, companies such as Kangaroos and Puma are marketing these colors in sneakers.

“The different colors are so bright, you just have to stop and look,” said Mike Burgess, manager at The Shoe Box, 922 E. Broadway.