Louisiana prisoner built Ruth's and Billy Graham's coffins shortly before he died

A member of the North Carolina Honor Guard stands beside the casket of Ruth Graham before a memorial service for the wife of evangelist Billy Graham in Montreat, N.C., Saturday, June 16, 2007. The casket was made by a convicted murderer at Angola prison and cost $215.

Shortly before he died, convicted murderer Richard Liggett was asked to make two of the simple plywood coffins he meticulously crafted for fellow prisoners. Except the caskets would be for Billy and Ruth Graham.

Abortion bill could force changes at Planned Parenthood

When lawmakers passed new regulations for some abortion providers last month, Planned Parenthood claimed the "onerous requirements" would force it to halt abortions in Kansas City and Columbia. But that may not be the case.

Late comeback means little in K.C. home loss

Miguel Olivo went 5-for-5, and cost himself a day off. Rick Vanden Hurk struck out a career-best seven batters, got the win and is headed for the minors.

Pac-10 teams win at CWS

Scott Santschi hit his first homer of the season and had two RBIs, and defending champion Oregon State survived some nervous moments to defeat Cal State Fullerton 3-2 in the College World Series on Saturday night.

Visit to high school rodeo finals thrills children

School buses flanked the horse trailers Friday at Boone County Fairgrounds.

Roughly 500 children from area schools and day cares showed up for the free event which showcased the cowboys and girls of the Missouri High School Rodeo state finals. Featured events were calf and goat roping, pole bending, team roping and barrel racing.

Beginners goat tying

My first thought was, “No way. I’m a city girl. City girls don’t do that.”

Less than 24 hours later, I found myself in the middle of a rodeo arena, tying my first goat.

Baddeley good so far at Oakmont

Aaron Baddeley escaped with an amazing par from deep rough at the base of a bunker on the 17th hole, finished strong with a birdie for an even-par 70 and wound up with a two-shot lead over Woods after three rounds of the U.S. Open on Saturday.

Rodeo familiar event

At 18 months, Casey Chasteen was in the saddle. Around the time most children are becoming used to walking on their own two legs, this Columbia native, now 17 years old, was learning how to stay steady on not two, but four legs.

Five Ideas

Would a coupon system for refuse bags be better or worse for you? Why? How can we strike a balance between the desire for good cell phone reception and the proliferation of towers? Will the insurgents’ move to outlying provinces help or hurt the U.S. effort? Why? What are the pros and cons of learning online as opposed to the classroom? How would you like the state to proceed on highway funding?

Lieberman’s way too independent — of good sense

What if Al Gore had won the 2000 presidential election but died in office? Would President Joe Lieberman have been worse than George W. Bush? His recent actions suggest that he could have descended even lower in his illogical and immoral responses to the tragedy of Sept. 11. Although now an independent, Lieberman provides a cautionary tale for folks who talk of backing “any Democrat” who can win.

Government looks the other way while banks rob their customers

If you rob a bank, you’re looking at doing 20 years hard time. But what if a bank robs you?

Ah, that’s an entirely different deal. Unlike you, national banks that do wrong generally don’t fear the cop on the beat. Why not? Because the cop’s salary is paid by the banks.

Why is Giuliani singled out for questions on abortion?

About that bolt of lightning that missed Rudy Giuliani last week: Frankly, Rudy would not have been my first choice for divine retribution on that Republican stage. Was the crackle — which stopped the former New York mayor from fully responding to a Rhode Island bishop’s highly personal criticism of his pro-choice views — really meant for him? One doubts it. Messages from above tend to get delivered.

Don’t cry for me, Columbia; I’m in Argentina

A confession: These last few weeks, while I’ve been chiding the legislature and advising the curators, to no appreciable effect in either case, I’ve been doing it from a safe distance. Well, maybe not a safe distance, but a considerable distance. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I can keep up with Columbia from my temporary home in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Knowing the importance of little things

I have a tiny video clip of my father.

In the clip, my dad isn’t doing anything important. He’s throwing out an old pizza box.

Three seconds, that’s all. Nothing important. But I watch it frequently.

Because we never know when things are going to end.

Reminder to audience: Turn cell phones on

The sounds of violins, flutes and trumpets fill the theater, accompanied by 100 cell phones ringing at once.

This is the sound of Columbia’s first cell phone concert.

Splashing into summer

About 50 Columbia residents gathered on a muggy afternoon Saturday at Douglass Park to rededicate the pool.

The ceremony celebrated the renovation of the nearly 70-year-old facility. The $299,000 project went better than planned, according to Park Services Manager Mike Griggs.

Airline interested in adding flights out of Columbia

A Las Vegas-based airline has expressed interest in flying into and out of Columbia Regional Airport.

Allegiant Air has talked with city officials about adding future commercial air service at Columbia Regional. Spokeswoman Tyri Squyres said the airline likes to fly to and from “underserved cities” or smaller markets.

Official says bureaucracy keeping wind power from Columbia

As part of a voter mandate requiring the city to step up its use of renewable energy, Dan Dasho, Columbia's Water and Light director, has been working to get electricity transmitted to Columbia from a wind farm in northwestern Missouri

Juneteenth looks back, celebrates heritage

Savory aromas and billowing smoke came from the barbecue grill that provided free food to attendees of the Juneteenth Celebration at Douglass Park on Saturday.

Event shows fun side of Big Muddy

On Saturday, the Missouri River Communities Network held “Rollin’ for the River,” a part fundraising, part awareness-raising event, in which participants had the chance to float over 14 miles of the river. Participants could also bike along the Katy Trail.