Finding refuge, seeking a home

It was a perfect metaphor for post-war Bosnia; the scars lay just below the pristine surface. Veteran Columbia filmmaker Kerri Yost was picking berries and hunting mushrooms in a field in Poljak. The sun was shining for the first time in days, and it was “strangely peaceful,” she said. It would have been an idyllic summer day except for the live grenades and land mines in the grass.

“You’re not supposed to be walking around that area, but we did,” Yost said. Gathering mushrooms and berries was something Yost’s friend and film subject, Fatima Selimovic, had always done when she lived in the northwestern Bosnia village with her husband and children. It was an experience Fatima wanted her son, Adnan, 16, to have.

Plenty in road bill for Missouri

KANSAS CITY — Missouri’s two U.S. senators Tuesday heralded a new federal transportation bill that will increase the state’s share of yearly highway money by 30 percent and provide hundreds of millions of dollars for local transportation projects.

But motorists, be warned: It could be years before Missouri drivers begin seeing the benefits, as the state wrestles with an immense backlog of highway needs and the unavoidable bureaucracy required before the rubber hits the road.

MU plans to tune out illegal file sharing

MU has made a deal to offer students reduced-priced music to help curb the illegal downloading of copyrighted materials.

MU made the agreement last week with C-Digix, a college music and movie service, so students can buy songs at a “substantially reduced rate,” said Beth Chancellor, director of Mizzou Telecom, an arm of Information and Access Technology Services.

Club shooting remains under investigation

A new nightclub in northeast Columbia is beefing up security and changing its dress code after police responded to a report of shots fired in the club’s parking lot early Saturday.

A gunshot was reported about 1:30 a.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Silhouette Nightclub, 3405 Clark Lane. Police said the shot was fired after several partygoers got in a fight using broken beer bottles as weapons.

Social Security honored in Fayette

Fifteen minutes of tension-filled debate ended in the Fayette City Council’s unanimous approval of a resolution to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 1935 signing of the Social Security Act.

A standing-room-only crowd packed the board room of Fayette’s City Hall on Tuesday night to hear the City Council’s response to the resolution, which recognized Social Security as “essential to the prosperity and well-being of the citizens of Fayette and Howard County.”

Community marches together

Led by First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton, about 60 residents marched several blocks to Douglass Park and enjoyed a cookout afterward as part of National Night Out events.

It was the seventh year Columbia participated in the program, which is in its 22nd year nationally. With sponsors that included the Columbia Police Department, the Douglass Coalition, First Ward Ambassadors and the Columbia Housing Authority, the march was aimed at increasing safety by encouraging awareness and support for neighborhood watch programs.

Case involves college censorship

When Jenna Youngs steps into her newsroom, she feels as protected from censorship as any other newsroom in the nation.

Youngs, a 20-year-old journalism major at MU, is the editor in chief of The Maneater, the university’s student newspaper of the past 50 years.

Trial of KU student postponed due to vacation of key witness

Former University of Kansas student Andrew Wymore, who was arrested at the March 6 MU-KU basketball game, was granted a continuance until December 21 during his trial on Wednesday because the city's keywitness, MU Police Maj. Doug Schwandt, was on vacation. MU Police Chief Jack Watring is also a witness in the case, but was not subpoened and did not testify today.

Dry spell evokes memories of 1980

Roger Allison, a farmer and the director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, a group that supports family farmers across Missouri, says the most recent drought has put central Missouri’s farms in bad shape — and it calls up bad memories.

Many farmers have lost as much as a third of their hay, and as much as half of the corn crop could be lost. Soybeans are in critical shape and are at risk if they don’t receive any more moisture. Many cattle farmers are feeding their livestock hay that they would have held back for the winter because their pastures are dying.

Residents push taxes to pay for city’s future

Residents asked the Columbia City Council to think more aggressively about funding future transportation needs during a public hearing at the council meeting Monday. The council held the hearing after formally introducing its tax proposal.

“There is a very large gap between our needs and the proposed funding,” said Ben Londeree, a member of Timely and Responsible Road Infrastructure Financing. The group calls the transportation portion of the council’s tax proposal insufficient to meet the needs of the city and intends to campaign against the taxes if they are included on the November ballot.

Faith & Reason

The Rev. John Yonker takes the pulpit before his congregation at First Christian Church in Columbia and begins in the beginning: Genesis, Chapter 1, Creation.

It’s July 21, 1996, the year Pope John Paul II said evolution was “more than just a hypothesis,” three years before religious conservatives on the Kansas Board of Education struck evolutionary theory from its standards, nine years before Missouri legislators were warned that evolution rules out God.

Astronauts will spacewalk to fix Discovery

SPACE CENTER, Houston — NASA announced Monday that it will conduct a spacewalk to fix two worrisome pieces of filler material protruding from Discovery’s belly, a high-stakes operation to deal with a problem that could threaten the shuttle during re-entry.

Wayne Hale, the deputy shuttle program manager, told a news conference that engineers simply did not know enough about the problem under the shuttle to leave it unattended.

Council picks firm for city manager hunt

At a meeting Monday night, the Columbia City Council:

Hired the PAR Group to be the consulting firm to help the council hire a new city manager. The council received proposals from eight firms, interviewed three and voted Monday between the Mercer Group and the PAR Group.

Poppy gallery ready to bloom

Any attempt to catch an early glimpse of the new business on the south side of Broadway, near Tenth Street, is frustrated by butcher paper painted with brightly colored flowers covering the windows.

The only clue to passers-by of what’s to come are small white block letters announcing Poppy Fine Art, the first new art gallery to open in Columbia in several years. It is set to open Sept. 22.

New law raises sign language’s status

When Stephanie Logan received a call from a spokeswoman for Gov. Matt Blunt recently, she thought it was another practical joke. The previous day, her office had received a call from “John, from Blunt’s office.”

That call didn’t surprise Logan; she previously served on the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, a group often in contact with state government, before becoming MU’s only American Sign Language instructor. But her co-worker, interpreting for Logan, noticed “John” sounded a lot like Logan’s husband, a man fond of practical jokes.

Hurled object causes car crash

A 31-year-old Columbia man was arrested Sunday in connection with an incident in which a blunt object was thrown through a car window, striking a man in the face and knocking him unconscious, Boone County Sheriff’s detectives said.

George B. James of 5301 St. Charles Road was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault, armed criminal action and tampering with physical evidence. He was being held Monday afternoon on $104,500 bond. A first-degree assault charge is a Class A felony and carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

Neighborhood associations give residents a voice

A mile east of Columbia, at the end of what was once a winding gravel road, lies a quiet, country neighborhood filled with history.

Since 1955, Shepherd Hills neighborhood, a 40-acre area that includes a 10-acre park, is a place where 14 families have lived and enjoyed a rural lifestyle. Despite rampant development and the construction of U.S. 63, residents say the only thing that has really changed is the traffic, which can be burdensome during the peak hours of the day.

Church and books must go together

Even though I enjoy historical fiction, I wasn’t particularly anxious to read Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” and would probably never have rushed out and bought a copy. I had heard the book discussed several times by Christians and non-Christians and had, quite frankly, gotten a little bored with the comments. I do not like listening to people speak who feel that they are privy to the mind of God. However, a friend shared her copy with me and I took the plunge. The book was clearly advertised as a “novel” and as such, I found it to be entertaining and a real page-turner. I found it to be cleverly written and the subject matter to be fascinating.

When I mentioned a few days later that I had completed the book, another friend provided me with a copy of “Breaking the Da Vinci Code” by Darrell L. Bock. Bock, a professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, undertook the work of separating the facts from the fiction contained within the novel. Bock’s book addressed the historical errors one by one and provided a credible source for accurate information for readers interested in pursuing the subject.

Abortion foes want political car plate

JEFFERSON CITY — Denied in the Capitol, some abortion foes are taking advantage of a relatively new state law to try to create a “Choose Life” license plate without needing approval of the full legislature or the governor.

The slogan is one of several proposed specialty plates submitted to the Department of Revenue by nonprofit groups willing to fork over $5,000 and line up the first 200 purchasers of the plates.

Science teachers use care when teaching ‘e-word’

The evolution unit at Rock Bridge High School will take two weeks. The controversy discussion will wrap up in 20 minutes. The impact will be confounded by other, arguably more influential factors: It’s 7:50 in the morning, the homework is due, mechanical pencils are scratching in symphony, and it’s time to pass papers to the front.

The students in Kerri Graham’s sophomore biology class habitually slump into their seats, apparently unfazed that they are at the bull’s-eye of the intelligent design movement, whose “teach the controversy” slogan intends to rile up high school classrooms just like this one. Intelligent design theorists contend that a purposeful creator is responsible for the beginning and diversification of life on the planet. But these sleepy teenagers care more about reaching driving age than the age of the Earth.