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SMS name clash has deep roots

The rhetoric centers on a name change, but the battle about a proposal to rechristen Southwest Missouri State University has long been a regional struggle over state resources.

Craig Hosmer, chairman of the Democratic Party in Greene County, represented Springfield in the House from 1991 to 2002. Hosmer, an MU graduate, sponsored the name-change bill during part of his tenure. He said the issue has been blown out of proportion.

Learning farm to bring agriculture to the people

Rob Myers has a plan that would allow children to read a book, plant a garden and pet barnyard animals all in one location.

Jefferson Farm and Gardens is being planned as a new educational farm that would offer visitors a hands-on approach to agriculture. At a time when less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is directly involved in agriculture, the facility would focus on the relevance of agriculture to each visitor’s everyday life.

Confession could shape slaying case

KANSAS CITY — Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery face an immediate hurdle that could challenge the defense throughout her case: Her alleged confession to killing a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from the victim’s womb.

Montgomery is due in federal court today, her first appearance before a judge in Missouri. It is just the next step in a long judicial process in which she will likely fight for a declaration of innocence — and possibly to save her own life.

Tea, traditions and Tinseltown

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

The expression familiar to so many brides will be one of many traditions highlighted at “Bridal Legends: A Weekend of Tea, Traditions and Tinseltown” next month at Stephens College.

Resident escapes, but candle fire consumes condo

A woman narrowly escaped a fire that destroyed her home and displaced five other condominium residents Monday morning.

At 1:12 a.m. Monday, the Columbia Fire Department arrived at the fire at Park De Ville Condominiums, 2307 Park De Ville Place, in west Columbia, Battalion Chief Steven Sapp said.

Austin’s record night powers Bruins

LIBERTY — A record performance from junior Alex Austin helped the Rock Bridge boys’ basketball team overcome a slow start and sloppy play on Monday.

The Bruins defeated Kansas City Central 73-62 in the first round of the Holiday Basketball Classic at William Jewell College.

Rams stay in playoff chase

ST. LOUIS — The Rams desperately needed a win and played like it. The Eagles desperately wanted to stay healthy and played like it.

Rookie Steven Jackson’s best NFL performance carried St. Louis to a 20-7 victory against Philadelphia that kept the Rams in the NFC playoff race. Jackson rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown, but he also limped off midway through the fourth quarter with a bruised right knee.

Vermeil seeks win in finale

KANSAS CITY — If ever an NFL game might seem meaningless, it’s Sunday’s regular-season finale between playoff-bound San Diego and the going-nowhere Kansas City Chiefs.

Nevertheless, there are several ways for each team to approach things, and Dick Vermeil can only guess what path the Chargers will take.

Many happy returns

Traditionally, the day after Christmas is a day of returns and exchanges, but many area shoppers also hit the stores Sunday ready to take advantage of the post-holiday sales.

For Nikki Allen, 27, the first stop was J.C. Penney at Columbia Mall. By 12:30 p.m., Allen, who had traveled from Macon, already had found several clothing bargains for herself and her 4-year-old son. She also planned to hunt for further deals throughout the mall.

Travel a luxury for foreign students

Mohammed Khalilia is from the West Bank in the Middle East. The MU computer science major hasn’t been home in 3½ years.

Although he’s Muslim, Khalilia says the Christmas season is the loneliest time of year for him because many of his friends are home visiting family.

Adventure video games are eclipsed

Last spring, when LucasArts pulled the plug on its first planned graphic adventure computer game in four years, Sam and Max 2, the company wasn’t just canceling an anticipated title. It was burying a genre.

Graphic adventures are video games in which players encounter virtual situations and characters and solve puzzles as part of an over-arching narrative. These games reward wit and creative thinking above reflex and speed, skills required by most of today’s top video game buyers.

Christmas Eve brings three fires

A wood-burning stove sparked a fire that led to explosions in a shed and caused an estimated $65,000 in damage to an outbuilding and a trailer home at 9360 Smith Hatchery Road on Christmas Eve.

The Boone County Fire Protection District sent 25 firefighters and eight trucks to the blaze, which was reported at 7:45 p.m. Friday. Volunteers, with help from the Southern Boone County Fire District, quickly controlled the fire, according to a fire district news release.

Keeping my smile is harder each year

I gave up on making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. Since then, all I’ve resolved is to maintain the positive attributes of my status quo (whatever they happen to be at the time). The one promise I’ve made to myself since I attained adulthood is to keep my sense of humor. And I’ve found that that gets harder and harder to do each time the calendar runs out of days.

This year is no exception. In fact, it’s an even greater challenge to keep on smiling. That’s because the list of things that threaten my resolve has grown even longer due to the most disheartening presidential campaign I’ve ever known.

McNabb remembers

ST. LOUIS — For Donovan McNabb, the heartache began at the hands of the St. Louis Rams.

For three straight years, the Philadelphia Eagles have finished their season one victory away from the Super Bowl. The trend began in January 2002, a 29-24 loss at St. Louis where McNabb remembers jealously watching the celebration on the field.

Surging Chiefs going nowhere

KANSAS CITY — The football year is winding down for Kansas City the way it was supposed to start.

With one game left, there’s not enough time for this season-ending surge that has reached four straight victories to accomplish a thing.

Top NFL defender dies at 43

CORNELIUS, N.C. — Reggie White, a fearsome defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers who was one of the great players in NFL history, died Sunday, his wife said. He was 43.

The cause of death was not immediately known, but White had a respiratory ailment for several years that affected his sleep, according to Keith Johnson, a pastor serving as family spokesman. An autopsy was to be performed.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus

During the past few years, Nelson and Patricia Richter have become accustomed to the whispers.

It happens in grocery store aisles, at restaurants and just about everywhere in between. Children usually notice first, but adults soon catch on.

Jobless rate in Missouri rises to 5.8%

Joe Speichinger isn’t worried about crowded parking lots or long lines at airport security this holiday season. He just wants

to eat.

Webcam unites soldier with family for Christmas Day

With leaves rustling in the wind, Catherine Guilford hurries across the back lawn, across the small metal bridge crossing the creek, through a clearing and into her beloved woods. She holds a phone to her ear, listening as her husband’s voice help her re-create the memory of their walks together.

“Walk me through the woods,” he tells her. “Have you reached our tree yet?”

Monks peddle prize-winning fruitcake

Some people believe the only uses for fruitcake are those that deal with feeding birds or with weighing something down.

Others think like Johnny Carson, who once joked: “The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.”

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