Chinese in Columbia ring in the Year of the Rooster

Some might feel the holiday season has come and gone, but it is in full swing for Boone County’s Chinese community. Today, is the first day of the Chinese New Year, which is a major 15-day celebration in China.

Kathy Zhang, an MU graduate student, said the Chinese New Year is similar to widely celebrated American holidays.

Jays beat press, Kewpies

The Hickman and Jefferson City girls’ basketball teams have faced each other twice in the past seven days.

Both games ended the same way.

Arts educator to get state award

Susan Cole, coordinator of state programs at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in Springfield, remembers her grade school art classes in Cape Girardeau as consisting of once-a-week music classes where the teacher came to the classroom with a cart. Integration of the arts into science, math, English and social studies was nonexistent. Cole made integration her goal.

“I think it is critical that when boys and girls of any social status are in school they experience something beautiful every day,” Cole said.

Tigers go to CU without Stein

Missouri will miss her presence, stalking the sideline and demanding order from her players.

The Tigers must face Colorado without coach Cindy Stein.

A rare breed of celebrity

A certain big-time, A-list celebrity is secretly living in Columbia. His prints aren’t set in concrete in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater, and he’s not up for an Academy Award — but he’s certainly winning judges’ acclaim.

This star enjoys a good scratch on the belly, a nice afternoon nap on the floor and a chuck under the chin from passers-by.

Start of Lent brings time of deep faith

From dawn until evening today, at churches across Columbia and Boone County, hundreds of residents will have their foreheads marked with ashes in the sign of the cross. The ashes, an age-old sign of repentance, are derived from the celebratory branches handed out at the last year’s Palm Sunday service.

Ash Wednesday begins a 40-day period of repentance from sin known as Lent. The Lenten season — the word comes from an Old English term meaning lengthening of light or spring — began in the church’s infancy as a period to prepare believers to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

Cougars defeat Spartans

Seeing the score, 87-59, it looked like a routine night for the Columbia College women’s basketball team.

It was just another game, another 28-point victory for the Cougars, who have won nine in a row.

Missouri travels to Las Vegas in search of first road victory

Missouri could play in Timbuktu for all Quin Snyder cares.

At this point, it doesn’t matter that his team is traveling almost 1,500 miles to play because all he knows is the Tigers are struggling on the road, regardless of the location.

City getting new water main

Most Columbia residents should never notice the expansion of their water delivery services. Two homeowners, however, will literally see the expansion in their back yards.

Columbia is expanding the McBaine Water Treatment Plant and adding a 21,600-foot water main. These measures are the result of a $28.3 million bond issue approved by voters on Nov. 4, 2003.

Turner, Austin lead Bruins past Mexico

The Rock Bridge boys’ basketball team defeated the Mexico Bulldogs 66-36 on the road Tuesday night to pick up its fifth straight victory.

Senior Terrell Turner led the Bruins (20-3) with 18 points, and junior Alex Austin scored 11. Brett Gifford, a 6-9 center, dominated on the defensive end, pulling down nine rebounds and collecting seven blocks.

County shells out money for land

Boone County is paying high dollar for parts of downtown as the value of property in The District increases.

“There have been more real estate sales in The District in the past two years than there have been in the past 10 years,” Boone County Assessor Tom Schauwecker said.

Sweeter than honey

Reminiscent of a quaint hunting lodge, Jacques Laboile’s Columbia home has a warm country feel. His walls are adorned with trophies, and his tables are lined with wooden duck decoys. Once outside Laboile’s house, though, it becomes clear that this 55-year-old’s passion for beekeeping takes precedence over his zeal for hunting.

At least 20 white boxes circle the perimeter of the back yard of 2901 Northland Drive, and a persistent droning sound penetrates the crisp air. Soon, an uncomfortable number of bees come into view, handfuls of them hovering over the white boxes that encase their hives.

Small cities weigh tax incentives

The largest private employer in Ashland is Moser’s grocery store, which employs 30 people. The big boss in Hallsville is Mid-State Petroleum, with 10 employees, while in Centralia it’s A.B. Chance Co. For the past 100 years, one out of four people in town worked for the company.

Now, smaller cities in Boone County are taking cautious steps to lure more capital. Chapter 100 bonds, the first tax-incentive plan to gain steam in Boone County, are changing the way of doing business in mid-Missouri.

Workers’ comp bill revives

JEFFERSON CITY — Informal negotiations between a handful of Senate Republicans and Democrats will probably push a bill to reduce the state worker’s compensation program to the floor today.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. John Loudon, R-St. Louis County, said the talks came at the request of the governor’s office and were aimed at paving the way for passage of a bill that would restrict worker’s compensation claims to injuries in which work was the “prevailing cause” and exempt injuries of an unknown cause and injuries that result from a preexisting condition.

Anti-smoking group gets board’s backing

Columbia took another step toward making all public places smoke-free Tuesday night.

After a presentation by the Boone County Coalition for Tobacco Concerns, the Boone County/Columbia Board of Health voted unanimously to ask the Columbia City Council for approval to look into this issue further.

Blunt tells agencies to account for homeland security spending

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Matt Blunt has ordered all state agencies to provide detailed analyses of federal homeland security funds received and how those funds are being spent.

Missouri received $125 million in homeland security grants from the federal government in 2003 and 2004. Federal law requires states to obligate 80 percent of the funds to local governments within 45 days of receipt. Missouri has spent only $20 million of its allotted amount in the last two years.

Police think robberies are linked

Columbia police are looking for a man they think is connected with three robberies and an attempted robbery reported Tuesday.

The four incidents took place over a seven-hour span, beginning at 9:53 a.m. at Hitt and Locust streets and ending in the parking lot of Schnucks Supermarket, 1400 Forum Blvd. Police said the crimes appear to have been committed by the same individual, and the case has been turned over to the Major Crimes Unit of the Columbia Police Department.