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After war, a heightened sense of thankfulness

When Andrea Hoffelt, 27, found out her husband Zak’s medical residency meant a sudden move to Columbia, she knew what to expect. Growing up in Vermillion, S.D., home of the state’s flagship university, life in a college town was nothing new. She could handle the skateboarding teens on downtown sidewalks, traffic jams on football weekends and other vagaries of life in a college town. Far more difficult was getting used to the eternal calm of the suburbs without mortar shells flying over her head. “When the deployment was over, it felt as though a tornado had picked me up, spun ...

The gift of a garden

Preparing the earth is a labor of love for gardeners in the Community Garden Coalition. For Zackary Riley, it’s also a way to give back to someone who gave a lot to him: his late girlfriend, Autumn Cox.

Earlier in the spring, Riley was moved to donate a strip of land on Seventh Street and 10 acres near the Lake of the Woods, east of Columbia, to the coalition.

House blaze caused by storm

Sunday morning’s storm started a fire that caused about $30,000 in damage when lightning struck the house on Glenn Wesley Court.

Homeowners Dwayne and Lois Baskett awoke about 3 a.m. to a loud “thump” that activated their bedroom fire alarm. The alarm sounded for a few seconds and then stopped. While investigating, Dwayne smelled smoke in an upstairs computer room above the garage.

Woman charged with arson

A woman suspected of trying to set fire to her ex-boyfriend’s third-floor apartment and two cars was arrested Friday by Columbia police.

The cars belong to the ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

Career Center to get more money

Columbia’s Board of Education wants to give the district’s Career Center $100,000 in additional money to expand a computer-aided drafting and design program. The expansion would also include the hiring of a second full-time instructor.

The center, which provides career technical training to high school students and adults, had requested $4,660,825 for the 2005-06 fiscal year. But after seeing an enrollment increase for the second year in a row, Arden Boyer-Stephens, the center’s director, asked for more money.

Summer fun eases pain of icy winters

The big day finally came, and I took a ride out to the old fishing hole to check it out. Within a few moments, the gently rippling water cast its spell on me, and I hurried back home to begin the annual ritual. Time to pull out the rods and reels, check the lines and tackle box and start making plans for the highlight of the season — the first fishing trip. I do this every year, and it never fails to add the touch of excitement that embellishes the substance of my great expectations for the summer.

Road work ahead

Ashley Curry lives and works in Columbia. Lately, it’s often been taking her more than 30 minutes to commute from her home south of Nifong Boulevard to her office at Premier Bank, just north of Clark Lane.

“The construction on the Hominy Creek bridge forces me to leave 15 minutes earlier from my house to get to work on time,” Curry said. “With traffic down to one lane in each direction, it makes for a slow go during morning and evening rush hours.”

Air Force was her ticket out of Fayette

Vicky Weaver still feels a twinge of guilt when she recalls encouraging her daughter Rebecca, now 22, to join the Air Force after graduating from Fayette High School four years ago.

“Being here, she just had bad influences,” Weaver said.

Rebel flag flies at Missouri memorial

JEFFERSON CITY — Hundreds of people turned out for a Confederate memorial service Sunday held under the rebel battle flag as others demonstrated their disapproval outside the Missouri Governor’s Mansion.

The crowd at the annual ceremony at Confederate Memorial State Historic Site in Higginsville was about four times larger than organizers had expected. Site administrator Greta Marshall attributed the roughly 400-person turnout to the return of the Confederate flag.

Battle over bridge gets political

JEFFERSON CITY — For quite a while now, Katy Railroad Bridge 191.1 over the Missouri River literally has been a bridge to nowhere.

The last locomotive crossed its steel frame when Ronald Reagan was president. And it’s not even possible for a train to try it again.

Sierra Club supports lawsuit

The statewide chapter of the Sierra Club on Sunday gave its support to Attorney General Jay Nixon’s legal efforts to prevent removal of a historic railroad bridge at Boonville.

The Ozark chapter’s leadership voted to oppose plans by Union Pacific to dismantle the bridge and use parts of it elsewhere.

Methodist bishop warns of bankruptcy

A $6 million judgment against the United Methodist Church in Missouri is about $500,000 more than the church’s total net assets and could bankrupt the church, the Missouri conference’s new bishop told members over the weekend.

Last month, a Springfield jury awarded $4 million in punitive damages to Teresa Norris, who already had been awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.

Love for lost dog fuels a search

Jianna and Michael Beeson went to work together every day and fell asleep together every night. Their picture is posted in the United Church of Christ album with all of the other families and is mounted on the wall at the home of Beeson’s parents. Beeson brought Jianna almost everywhere, and even his friends became attached to the mixed-breed dog.

“If I was coming, they knew she was coming,” Beeson said.

The heart of war

The sky was clear, the day bright and sunny. Three young men, barely adults, walked into the Centralia Army recruitment office, staring at the brochures and pamphlets that plastered the walls.

Freshly graduated from high school, Jason Blakemore, Gordon Mills and James Pierce took in the scene. Every wall was covered with posters encouraging them to become an Army of One, to sacrifice for their family, their God, their country. The sky was clear.

From New Mexico to Missouri

Brian Foster has a window in his house with a perfect view of the Sandia Mountains. In late July, he will have to say goodbye to that window and to the New Mexican breakfast burritos he loves. But he’s thrilled about moving to Columbia.

Foster, 66, is leaving his job as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque to become provost at MU.

Columbia schools send off seniors

Shawn Sahota was class president at Rock Bridge High School all four years and student council president his senior year. As he stood before his fellow graduates, he reminded them of the things they would miss such as homecoming and games with cross-town rival Hickman High School.

Rock Bridge and Hickman both celebrated commencement on Saturday in separate ceremonies at the Hearnes Center — just a stone’s throw from the MU football stadium where their two high schools’ football teams played last year.

Study shows students have poor eating habits

Nutritionist Ellen Schuster is concerned about the eating behaviors of youth because they tend to continue into adulthood. She believes the focus of chronic disease prevention should start at a young age.

“The younger that we can start them the better, because behaviors are built up over time,” said Schuster, who works for the MU Extension program.

Stem cell vote stirs local debate

The director of Life Sciences at MU sees opportunity in federal legislation opposed by Congressman Kenny Hulshof of Columbia.

Hulshof, who represents the 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, was among 194 House members who voted against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act that would provide federal funding for stem cell research. Hulshof could not be reached to discuss his vote, but a spokesman said the congressman opposes the bill on moral grounds.

Missourians gain more wine variety

Missouri wineries should gain a larger customer base and Missourians will have a wider selection of wines available for direct shipping after a recent Supreme Court decision.

Before the ruling, Missourians could only make direct purchases from wineries in about 14 states. But Missourians can now have wine shipped to them from more states, said Jim Anderson, program coordinator of the Missouri Grape & Wine Program.

Art fair draws crafty crowd

Danny Christopher came to the 47th annual Art in the Park festival Saturday as both a spectator and an aspiring artist.

“I like looking at the different jewelry and designs,” he said.

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