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Signers lend a hand at church

Scott Courtney sits on a chair in the front of the sanctuary at Grace Bible Church dressed in a gray shirt with the embroidery of Ephesians 3:20. Over his left shoulder, in the background, hangs a sign that reads, “Holding forth the Word of Life.”

At Grace Bible Church, holding forth the Word may mean not even uttering a single word.

‘Big Bird’ finds a friendly roost

Of all the fields, in all the towns, in all the world, the emu now going by the name of Big Bird walked into theirs.

A wandering emu couldn’t have asked for a better temporary home when it picked its way into the Selbys’ field on Sunday. The animal-loving Selbys – Pat, Terry and their twin teenage daughters — already have three dogs and four cats at their home near Deer Park off U.S. 63 between Columbia and Ashland.

Horton confident

With the clock ticking down, Missouri point guard Jason Horton calmly dribbled the basketball near half court.

Not even the piercing gaze of Gonzaga’s Dereck Raivio, who was watching his every move, could faze Horton as he moved toward the basket.

Bulger’s play makes him Rams’ MVP

ST. LOUIS — Marc Bulger has become the indispensable man in the St. Louis Rams’ offense. On Monday, the team acknowledged it by naming him its MVP for the second time in three seasons.

“He’s just a terrific, outstanding quarterback,” coach Mike Martz said. “He’s one of the upper echelon quarterbacks in this league.”

Chiefs defense lets offense down again

KANSAS CITY — The Kansas City Chiefs have proved once more that no matter how high any offense might soar, all is lost when the defense can’t stop anything.

It’s a point they’ve made three years in a row — perhaps never more emphatically than this season.

A city’s expansion

As the city of Ashland anticipates another year of unprecedented growth, City Administrator Ken Eftink knows this can be a blessing and a curse.

“The challenge is to make sure we are growing the way we have envisioned,” Eftink said. “We don’t want things to get out of control and go unchecked.”

Wal-Mart decision expected tonight

After nearly a year of fiery debate, the Columbia City Council will likely decide tonight whether Wal-Mart can build the city’s second Supercenter on 23 acres of zoned residential property.

Two council members — Second Ward Councilman Chris Janku and Third Ward Councilman Bob Hutton — said they probably would vote in favor of rezoning those 23 acres, which would also entail acquiring and then demolishing five homes. Three other council members said they were undecided.

Home sales climbing

As executive officer for the Columbia Board of Realtors, Carol Van Gorp eyes a lot of real estate statistics about buyers and sellers. In October, she became one of those statistics when she joined the thousands of new homeowners in Columbia.

“Everybody kind of wants to get into homeownership right now,” she said. “We felt like we could get a lot of house for our dollar.”

Blunt’s majority doesn’t guarantee easy ride

JEFFERSON CITY — For a freshman governor, Matt Blunt already has plenty of friends. With 120 fellow Republicans in the Legislature, Blunt theoretically could enact any proposal he likes, or stop anything he doesn’t. His own expectations are high.

Enough to win

The coach didn’t quite know what to say.

“Well, I think the most important thing coming out of this game is that fact that we won,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein finally said.

Bond back for Tigers

At halftime, LaToya Bond was upset in the locker room.

Against St. Louis on Sunday, Bond only had two points in the first half.

No kicking out Rams

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz couldn’t care less that his team finished .500. Somehow, they are in the playoffs.

The Rams clinched a postseason berth when Jeff Wilkins kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime to beat the New York Jets 32-29 on Sunday. They got a little help earlier in the day when Minnesota lost.

Chiefs’ winning streak fizzles

SAN DIEGO — Doug Flutie got to scramble around as he does so well and a nervous Philip Rivers threw his first NFL touchdown pass.

Now they get to give Drew Brees his job back.

Irresponsible parents hurt core of society

It happens at least once a month.

  I find myself feeling sad when I have to tell young parents that I can’t help them solve the problems they are having with their children. I have to tell them truthfully that I have no experience with children who have no respect for their parents. In the days of my childhood, the single, most powerfully motivating factor for doing good among my friends and me was the hope that our parents would be proud of our behavior.

Suspected meth lab discovered by deputies

A suspected methamphetamine lab was discovered at 12:53 p.m. Saturday at a residence at 10300 Route N in rural Boone County by deputies from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

The residents, Louis Henry, 34, and Octavia Price, 20, were arrested and charged with one count each of manufacturing a controlled substance.

Groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon

Although the second-floor balcony overlooking the entrance to the Columbia Public Library was quiet and nearly empty, Tom Verdot sat down, unpacked his instruments, closed his eyes and started fiddling anyway.

“If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said.

Army of support

On a hot summer afternoon in July, Samantha and Jacob Guilford watched an airplane touch down at Columbia Regional Airport then rushed to greet their father, Sgt. Stacy Guilford, with a “Welcome Home Daddy” banner and many long-awaited embraces.

It was a joyful reunion, but it didn’t last long. A 38-year-old Army reservist, Guilford was deployed to Iraq to fly Black Hawk helicopters. But two weeks after he came home in July, he had to say goodbye again to return to Iraq to finish his deployment.

Many resolve, again, to lose weight

A new year. A clean slate. Millions of resolutions.

Each New Year’s Eve, millions of people make promises to themselves that they’ll be better this year. They decide to quit smoking, lose weight or stop procrastinating. The tradition dates back 4,000 years to the early Babylonians who celebrated their New Year for 11 days at the beginning of spring. It was the time of rebirth, renewal and resolutions.

Baby makes a birthday gift

Jody Lewis received a special birthday gift early Saturday morning: the birth of her first child.

Devon Keith Lewis was born at 1:29 a.m. at Columbia Regional Hospital, making him Columbia’s first baby of 2005, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Establishing resolutions is the easy part

I have a 10-year journal that I use to record my daily thoughts. This is the beginning of the fourth year. After reviewing what I wrote on Jan. 1 of each and EVERY New Year’s Day, I decided to change my tune.

EVERY Jan. 1, I wrote that I would lose weight that year. Then, at the end of each first day’s missive, I wrote my current weight in teeny numbers.

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