Unchained memories

Traci Wilson-Kleekamp often lies awake until 2 a.m. reading cemetery records. Her husband calls it sick and teases her about her fascination with dead people.

She calls it one of her life’s passions, and it goes far beyond reading about burials.

Park’s dog fence plans unleashed

Gone are the days of chasing joggers and begging for food from children at family reunions, at least for dogs at Twin Lakes Recreation Area.

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department is taking steps to alleviate conflicts among users of the park by building fences to enclose a leash-free area for dogs, creating Columbia’s first dog park.

Driver charged in fatal crash

A 33-year-old Columbia man was arrested last week on charges of first-degree involuntary manslaughter after the death of a passenger in his car.

Lance B. Morris was arrested on March 22, five days after a one-car crash on Creasy Springs Road.

Memorializing a musician, writer

A vase of blooming red roses, with one pure white rose, sat on the altar. His stand-up bass with its trademark snake head stood nearby. Half the crowd sat in neat rows; the other half stood wherever they could find room.

And, of course, there was music.

Educators: School year comes up short

In America, most students will attend more than 2,300 days of school from kindergarten through 12th grade. In Japan, most students will have attended the same number of school days by eighth grade.

To ensure an equal opportunity for academic achievement, the number of days in a school year could increase in Columbia schools.

Making Himself Heard

Where was he?

He should have been here by now.

It’s the second inning of a Friday night Missouri baseball game against North Dakota State and there is no sign of super fan Larry Wyatt II.

Usually wearing a Missouri hat and dressed in a black-and-gold sweat top and black khaki pants, he is known to most as just “Larry.”

He is an unmistakable presence at Taylor Stadium.

Tigers edge Kansas St. in baseball

Missouri extended its winning streak to 11 games and secured a victory in its first Big 12 series of the season, defeating Kansas State 6-5 on Saturday. Derek Chambers went 2-for-5 with two RBIs to stretch his hitting streak to eight games and sparked an eighth inning rally to help Missouri overcome the Wildcats and four unearned runs scored off starter Nathan Culp, who got a no decision. Andrew Johnston (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

On Friday, Max Scherzer (5-1) pitched seven innings of three-hit ball to win his fifth straight start. Hunter Mense had the Tigers' lone RBI and scored a run as Missouri (19-4) scored a season-low three runs on three hits, but managed to win its Big 12 opener.

Extra Points: MU Softball

Missouri (27-3) split a doubleheader Friday with Oklahoma State to open conference play. In Game One, the Tigers fell 6-5 in 10 innings. In a seesaw game, the Tigers took the lead in tops of the ninth and 10th innings, only to see Oklahoma State answer immediately in the bottom half. Sophomore catcher Kathy Masterson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two strikeouts in the loss.

Extra Points: MU Diving

Evan Watters finished 21st in the 3-meter springboard event at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis. He was the only Tiger to qualify for the national meet.

Extra Points: MU Track and Field

Missouri took first place in four events at the Tulsa Invitational this weekend, led by senior Lindsey Markworth, who won the women’s shot put and discus. Jennifer Bennett won the women's pole vault, clearing a height of 12 feet, while Jesse Sims won the men’s high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 10.75 inches.

Extra Points: MU Gymnastics

The Tigers placed fourth at the Big 12 Championships in Norman, Okla. with a score of 194.875. Nebraska won its seventh title in the ninth year of the competition.

Senior Alisha Robinson won the conference vault title for the second straight season, scoring a 9.925 in the event.

Hear the noise

The term “e-mail” has been part of mainstream terminology for years. An Internet search engine’s name, Google, is now a verb. And the word “blog” is a Webster’s entry.

Get ready for a new buzzword: podcasting.

Smiling trainer provides drive, muscle aches

For as long as I can remember, I have been in a battle with my weight. And although I’ve won a few skirmishes, I’ve never won the war. For the last decade it’s been a standoff. A few weeks ago I started my “now or never” makeover. First the braces (not my idea), then I stopped smoking (again) and decided that if I was really going to be a lifetime nonsmoker, I’d have to address the weight issue. It’s always been the number one reason why I start puffing nicotine again.

I heard about a 30-day makeover one of the gyms in town was offering. I met with a young (thin) woman who explained the program. She said I needed the “extended” program to get the results I wanted. I guess I’m too far gone to see a transformation in only one month.

A Special Sunday

Every year, an hour before the clock strikes Easter Sunday, members of Missouri United Methodist Church gather in the sanctuary on Ninth Street.

The ceremony begins with scriptural accounts of Jesus Christ’s arrest, trial and crucifixion. The mood is somber: the room is candle-lit, there are no flowers and black cloth covers the walls and altar brass. As each reading is concluded, a series of candles are snuffed out and a hymn is sung.

Beyond the sugar coating

For many children, Easter Sunday means candy baskets and colored-egg hunts. For church leaders and Sunday school teachers, combining all the fun of the holiday with doctrine and education is a challenge.

On Palm Sunday, children at First Christian Church were busy baking cookies, carving wood blocks and listening to storytellers as part of their five-week lesson on the Easter story. Amy Kay Pavlovich, associate minister, said each of the activities had a specific message to be found within the fun. For example, the cookie recipe, which had a hollow center, was designed to help the children understand reaction to the opening of Jesus’ tomb after the resurrection.

'Roids Rage

Ten days ago, a cavalcade of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars testified before Congress, yet another in a series of revelations about steroid use that have rocked the sports world.

Those revelations are felt acutely in places like San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis. But their consequences extend past those baseball hotbeds right into smaller cities and towns, including Columbia.

Accident blocks I-70

Police were still investigating an accident late Saturday evening that brought traffic on Interstate 70 to a halt in both directions.

A medical helicopter and an ambulance were at the scene. At least one passenger was taken by ambulance to the hospital.