Author of West Bank book bringing her story to Columbia

Like many children, young Ellen O’Grady loved the story of Noah’s Ark and fantasized about having her own floating zoo. Her dream was short-lived, however. One day at Sunday school, a boy raised his hand and asked a question that would forever color O’Grady’s view of the world. “What about the bodies?” he asked about the animals and people that weren’t lucky enough to board the ark.

No impact so far from insurance secrecy law

JEFFERSON CITY — The enactment of a new law includes, as one of its most basic elements, the assumption of change. Yet there is one new Missouri law that — while it enacted change — seems, according to a preliminary statistical analysis, to have merely reinforced what the public may already have perceived as the status quo.

Sights set on deer

It’s morning, but it doesn’t feel like it. The sun has yet to edge up on the horizon, and stars still dot the sky as the clock reads 5:45 a.m. The only light comes from the piercing beams of truck headlights pulling into the small gravel parking lots. The nearby forest is largely silent, save for the crunch of underbrush as hunters journey into the woods. This was the scene Saturday at Three Creeks National Forest near Columbia, which experienced its first rifle shots of the hunting season. An urban deer hunting session took place Friday through today in Kansas City, Columbia, St. Louis and Springfield. The session aims to reduce the overpopulation of deer outside large urban centers.

Bicycle ride raises money for YouZeum

A snake of blinking bicycle lights wove through downtown Columbia, around Jesse Hall, over pedestrian bridges, inside Memorial Stadium and around much of the city Saturday night before returning to rest at 608 Cherry St., home of the future YouZeum. The Starlight Bike Ramble was a fundraiser for the YouZeum, an interactive health education center scheduled to open in fall 2006. Organizers estimated that as many as 50 bicyclists participated in the ride at a cost of $20 each for adults and $10 for children. Though the group hoped for as many as 200 participants, YouZeum board member John Ott said the turnout was not a disappointment.

Grass Roots Organizing group celebrates fifth birthday

From an idea originally conceived over dinner at a Pizza Hut, Grass Roots Organizing has grown into a group with hundreds of members and a $300,000 annual budget in its five years. Saturday at Ramada Inn in Columbia, the group celebrated its fifth anniversary, an event that attracted about 130 guests and raised $1,000 from new members.

The gift of mobility

The building is not much to look at from the outside. Tucked away behind Mid City Lumber, the small warehouse is barely distinguishable from any other building along the industrial strip just off Paris Road. But inside, past the dirty windows and vines that cover the peeling white paint, is a workshop filled with band saws, drill presses, lumber and steel. The walls are covered with photographs and letters from around the world. Maps tracking financial donations from families and churches hang above a desk littered with international shipping orders and a Bible.

Euthanasia law changes considered

As new Chief Justice John Roberts and his Supreme Court colleagues clash over an Oregon law that allows doctors to assist terminally ill patients end their lives, the debate is under way in Missouri as legislators and end-of-life groups review the state’s position on doctor-assisted suicide. The Missouri End of Life Coalition held a summit in Jefferson City last Thursday and will begin compiling a report for next year’s Missouri General Assembly.

Credit card payment to cost more at Mizzou

MU students who plan to pay next semester’s tuition with a credit card had better act fast. Starting Jan. 1, MU will no longer accept credit cards for payments in the cashiers office.

Migrating butterflies linger on way to Mexico

Monarch butterflies are flapping their way through Missouri this fall, heading south for the winter. But while scientists say Missouri has probably seen the peak migration for this season, the little voyagers seem to be sticking around a bit longer. “Most of the migration is over in this area by the fourth of October, but there are unusually large numbers of late monarchs this year due to the warm weather and the strong winds from the southwest,” said Chip Taylor, an entomologist with the University of Kansas research program Monarch Watch.

UM curators approve $350M in bonds

ST. LOUIS — The University of Missouri Board of Curators spent part of their meeting Friday talking about how to pay for future construction of new academic buildings. The discussion sprang from a proposal to add onto MU’s Schweitzer Hall.

UMSL institute criticized for Democratic bias

ST. LOUIS ­— Misperceptions and complaints about an institute promoting the involvement of women in public life came out as accusations during a meeting Friday of the University of Missouri Board of Curators. The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life was scrutinized over whether its current association with the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the taxpayer funding it receives conflict with what some say is bias toward Democrats and the exclusion of men.

Columbia School Board to discuss real estate in closed session

The Columbia School Board will meet in closed executive session Monday afternoon to consider the leasing, purchasing or sale of real estate, according to its agenda. Afterward, at its regular evening meeting, the board will hear from the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee. Lynn Barnett, assistant superintendent for student support services, said the committee will provide an update on existing school buildings.

Hartsburg expects 45,000 to celebrate pumpkin pride

If you think a town the size of Hartsburg — population 108 — cannot handle an influx of thousands of festival-goers, think again. The town’s 14th Annual Pumpkin Festival takes place this weekend, complete with treats such as apple butter cooking demonstrations, homemade arts and crafts, and of course, sizable pumpkins ready for Halloween carving or pumpkin pie.

5 ideas

[1] Elusive killer MU police released a photo this week of the knife they say was used to kill Jeong H. Im, a retired research professor at MU. Im was found dead of multiple stab wounds Jan. 7 in the trunk of his burning Honda in the Maryland Avenue parking garage.

Hurricane Katrina creates an unlikely marriage between Connecticut doctors and mid-Missouri EMTs

In the days immediately after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, Keith Schaefer said he called every relief organization he could think of to volunteer his help. Most told him they just wanted money. When the Red Cross expressed interest, Schaefer cleared his work schedule for three weeks but never heard back. He was frustrated and about to give up when his father, Mark Schaefer, had a wild idea: Take an ambulance and go.

Mavs, county explore building new ballpark

Boone County’s government needs commercial activity to boost its fairground. The Mid-Missouri Mavericks need a new place to play. A possible partnership between owners of the minor league franchise and county commissioners is leading representatives of the two sides out of town this week to get a look at other ballparks.

Group hears pitch for Nov. tax issues

Opinions were split among members of the Boone County Muleskinners after hearing a pitch for approval of the six city propositions that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. Muleskinner Earl Lubensky wondered if the projects could be financed from the city’s general budget if voters do not approve the propositions.

Columbia businesses fundraise for United Way

Twenty-six Columbia businesses set the pace for United Way fundraising efforts Thursday, offering $646,450 in pledges. “We went close to $1,000 over the corporate goal,” Julie Coleman, the store administrative assistant for Schnucks in Columbia said.

Cooks use steak, tofu in chili challenge

Professional chefs and amateur “campfire cooks” squared off in the Columbia Jaycees’ Chef’s Chili Challenge Thursday night at the Holiday Inn Expo Center. At least one of the cooks, Cheng-Chih Kuan, had never cooked chili before. The Taiwanese businessman made his chili with tofu mushrooms, soy sauce, beef, chili beans, green onions, tomato juice and chili bean sauce.

Group protests housing project

With signs bearing the words “Why are we left out of the process?” and “We don’t need demolition, we need proper maintenance,” public housing residents and other Columbians marched down Park Avenue on Thursday to protest plans to redevelop 70 homes administered by the Columbia Housing Authority. The marchers said they were concerned that a Housing Authority task force would vote Thursday on a final plan to redevelop the Park Avenue homes, although no such vote was taken.