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Tigers hoping for NIT bid

The teams playing in the National Invitation Tournament won’t be selected until tonight, but that hasn’t stopped Missouri from preparing for it.

A first-round win in the Big 12 Conference tournament against Nebraksa on Thursday secured a record of .500 or better for the Tigers (16-16) and eligibility for the NIT.

A Life on Stage

To those who knew him, Jerome Wheeler was the consummate collaborator — a songwriter, musician and playwright others found impossible to turn down. At the time of his death on Feb. 20 of congestive heart failure, Wheeler was involved in several projects, including a plan to document on video the music and culture of the mid-Missouri river community.

But at a memorial service at Unity Center four days after he died, Wheeler’s 27-year-old daughter, Ruby, spoke about his role as a father. This was a change of pace for Wheeler’s friends and creative partners, who knew little about his family life. But as Ruby made clear, Wheeler’s dedication to the arts often came at the expense of his children and wife, whom he divorced in 1991.

Missouri’s Big 12 story still remains untitled

The date was April 26, 1997. The Big 12 Conference was a mere nine months old, and Missouri softball pitcher Barb Wright had just led her Tigers to a doubleheader sweep of Kansas and the school’s first Big 12 championship.

A week later, Mary Babb hit two home runs to help the Tigers win the Big 12 tournament title, making MU’s early tally of Big 12 championships two.

Catching up with local artists

THE ARTIST:

William Helvey’s interest in art began when he was required to take a fine arts class at Mount Vernon High School. Helvey came to Columbia in 1967 and exhibited his first solo show three years later. Helvey’s work has been featured in more than 80 solo exhibits. Recently retired from his position of state communications director/director of media center at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Helvey, 62, still teaches art classes at the Columbia Art League and from his personal studio.

Fans vent frustration

Throughout Mizzou Arena, a sparse crowd awaited a game between the Missouri (12-3) and Baylor (9-12) on Feb. 16.

MU fans have gotten used to watching mediocre teams since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996. But even most fans didn’t know MU had won only two Big 12 titles in 20 sports.

First adventure in son’s plane will be the last

Last week my out-of-town son called to say the weather was perfect for a ride in his airplane. He has had this tiny aircraft for about two years. And although several family members have taken a ride, my husband and I have remained adamant: No way were we going to go up in a machine that could be loaded in the back of our pickup. My son didn’t even try to persuade my husband. He knew how much his father hated flying in big jumbo jets; there was no way he would ever strap himself into a plane that he towered over. But my son kept trying to reason with me, saying something about how safe the aircraft was and how more people die on the highways, blah, blah, blah. But I didn’t relent. My son said I was a wuss, and I agreed.

The call came on Friday. My husband and I were at the lake, where he works one day a week. My son dangled a carrot to entice me — a flight over the house we are building.

A fire away from disaster

Just before dawn on May 8, 1999, a fire broke out on the third floor of the Sigma Chi fraternity house on South College Avenue. The blaze was ignited by a candle in a shoebox lid that had been placed at the opening of a tiny enclosed loft in which two students were sleeping.

Columbia firefighters responded to the alarm at 4:57 a.m. and, within 20 minutes, had extinguished the fire. That wasn’t quick enough to save Dominic Passantino. While his roommate scrambled to safety, the freshman from Leawood, Kan., was trapped by the flames. He died of smoke inhalation.

Enlightened Generation

Barbara Condron knows this world is heading toward peace and happiness, and she knows how it’s going to get there — through the grace of an emerging generation of children born in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Condron is a member of the faculty at the College of Metaphysics in Windyville and author of “How to Raise an Indigo Child: 10 Keys for Cultivating Your Child’s Natural Brilliance,” in which she describes children who seem to have greater capacities of intuition, talent, intelligence and creativity than their peers.

It’s not whether you win or lose the game ...

Above the neon beer signs of Harpo’s Bar and Grill, high on a mantle, are pieces of wood and metal that represent the lifespan of a Missouri sports tradition.

After a big football victory, fans tear down Faurot Field’s goalposts and march them more than a mile through campus to Harpo’s, on the corner of Tenth and Cherry Streets.

Taking a different angle by making math a game

David Moore, 11, and his friend, Mason Nistendirk, 11, were getting stickers to put on the cards around their necks.

“That was fun,” David said to Mason about the math game that involved pulling plastic eggs with Velcro off a poster board.

Restaurant owners welcome prospect of sidewalk alcohol sales

As the weather warms, restaurants in The District will start to open outdoor dining areas. Coinciding with some of the recent balmy weather, the Columbia City Council on Monday introduced an ordinance that would permit the sale of alcoholic beverages on sidewalks in front of restaurants and cafes.

Carrie Gartner, director of the Columbia Special Business District, said the ordinance would boost business and foster the type of outdoor atmosphere that makes the downtown a fun place to be.

Small salary draws big focus

Today’s issue of Parade magazine, the annual survey of “What People Earn” includes a face familiar to anyone who knows anything about the Latino community in Columbia — that of Eduardo Crespi, director of the Centro Latino.

Parade says “What People Earn” is one of its most popular articles among readers. But when the phone rang in Crespi’s office, he didn’t know what they were talking about.

Tigers cruise, avenge 2004 defeat

Youngstown State’s Justin Thomas had shut down Missouri before, and Tigers coach Tim Jamieson was ready to scrap for every run he could get.

As it turned out, he didn’t have to.

Fifth Ward focuses on growth, planning

Candidates for the Fifth Ward seat on Columbia’s City Council discussed issues including city growth, a proposed no-smoking ordinance and Missouri’s Sunshine Law at the Columbia Public Library on Saturday. An audience of about 15 residents attended the forum sponsored by the Trail Ridge-Greenbriar Neighborhood Association.

Laura Nauser, a real estate closing officer; Gayle Troutwine, an attorney; and Joseph Vradenburg, an epidemiologist; are running for election April 5 to fill outgoing city Fifth Ward Councilman John John’s seat.

Tigers keep winning with hard hitting

Micaela Minner hit her 10th home run of the season Saturday.

But she couldn’t have told you that. She doesn’t keep track.

Bike group pushes for Katy to cross state

The Katy Trail’s 225 miles of hiking and biking paths cut through the heart of Missouri from St. Charles to Clinton. If the Missouri Bicycle Federation has its way, the trail might soon grow west another 75 miles into Kansas City.

That prospect excited Judy Knudson, 63, an active Columbia cyclist whose initial rides on the Katy Trail led to two cross-country biking trips as well as a two-wheel jaunt through France’s Loire Valley.

Extra Points:MU tennis shuts out two,extends home win streak

Missouri women’s tennis fans had a lot to cheer about on Saturday.

The Tigers shut out both Air Force and Eastern Illinois at Green Tennis Center without losing a set.

Blase pilots state’s smooth-sailing championships

As fans hopped over rails and raced for the best seats in Mizzou Arena, George Blase sat calmly at a table on the court, waiting.

There was still about an hour until the first game of the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s state basketball championships started Friday morning, and Blase had been through this process many times in the past.

Matching Interests

Danny Todd stands on one side of the table-tennis table. His 18-year-old son, Will, is on the other. Both are undefeated on the night.

“I’ve got to admit I’m tired,” Danny Todd says as he volleys with his son to warm up.

What might have been

If you closed your eyes this weekend and listened to the crowd noise at Mizzou Arena, you could almost picture him in black and gold.

McDonald’s All-American and North Carolina recruit Tyler Hansbrough spent the weekend in Columbia trying to lead Poplar Bluff to its second consecutive state championship.

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