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City employee saved in a heartbeat

Workers at the city power plant are no strangers to emergencies. Their jobs require quick reactions to problems with machinery, and they’ve dealt with fires and explosions. Monthly safety meetings ensure that employees know where the oxygen tank and automated external defibrillator are kept and how to perform CPR.

“These guys have seen emergencies. … It’s just never involved a human life before,” said Tad Johnsen, superintendent of the power plant.

Fan use not ideal for beating heat

While many Columbians enjoy the cool comfort of air conditioning in their homes, some aren’t as fortunate to have that luxury.

Temperatures soared into the upper 90s last week, and Wednesday’s heat advisory in Boone County issued by the National Weather Service made it almost unbearable for those without air conditioning.

Five Ideas

Rural Missouri is one of the most popular places in the country for methamphetamine production. The state has established guidelines for how a meth-production site should be cleaned but has no enforceable legal standard for determining when a site has been adequately cleaned. Michelle Hartman, of Missouri Department of Health, said there isn’t enough evidence on the adverse health effects on residents of former production sites to merit legal guidelines.

Some researchers believe that even after a meth site has been cleaned, chemicals can be present that could cause pulmonary damage and peripheral nerve compression. Residents may also be at risk for more serious side effects, including cancer and asthma.

Deportation decision splits family

JEFFERSON CITY — With tears in her eyes, Marina Gonzalez watched her 19-year-old daughter, Marie Gonzalez, calmly try to explain to the press why she would be able to stay in the United States while her parents are deported to Costa Rica.

It was something not easily explained.

Blowing their minds

The technical skills required to become a master glass blower were once considered such valuable secrets they were worth killing to protect.

In the 13th century, glass blowers in Venice were forced to settle on the nearby Italian island of Murano, where the region’s most famous export could be closely monitored. Fearful of the competition from other artisans, the Venetian government served cruel sentences on glass blowers who leaked information or left Murano without permission. Hired assassins would reportedly hunt down and kill artists who fled the island.

Religious confusion

David Citrin has an unusual religious background. His father was Jewish. His mother was raised Catholic but converted to Judaism when she married.

The family celebrated Jewish holidays, and Citrin’s mother lit Shabbat candles on Friday nights. She taught her son Jewish prayers although eventually, Citrin says, “she realized it didn’t work without Jesus.”

An eye for perfection

The Artist: Bob Boxley was born and raised in western Kansas and has lived in Columbia since 1965. He worked as an underwriter for Shelter Insurance for 37 years. Ten years ago, Boxley retired and followed in the footsteps of his father and brother and took up wood carving. This challenging art medium keeps him busy and entertained. “Art is the creation of love, and the love of creation,” Boxley said.

The Art: Boxley’s wood carvings range from animals to crematory urns to walking sticks. He works with an assortment of wood, and he paints and finishes all of the work. Boxley is part of the Mid-Missouri Wood Carvers Association, which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Senior Center.

O’Connor leaves; debate follows

With the retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, politicians, professors and the public await what should be a firefight of a confirmation process for O’Connor’s replacement, one that has politicians and interest groups scrambling.

After 24 years on the court, O’Connor announced her retirement Friday in a letter addressed to President Bush. Although there was speculation she would retire soon, it was widely believed her Stanford Law School colleague, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, would retire first.

Mid-Missouri heat wave too hot to handle

There were several topics I was going to explore for this week’s column — deep meaty stuff that would have left my readers reflecting on my lofty thoughts. However, it’s so hot I can barely move, let alone write something profound.

I can’t remember when this heat wave began. It seems like June has been one big hazy blur. I’ve written about trying to survive the heat in mid-Missouri before, but in August. It’s more depressing to have 99 degree weather in June. You realize that the entire summer could be miserable.

First Freedoms

After Mike Hall, Southern Boone football coach, was fired earlier this year, the community exercised four of its First Amendment rights by circulating a petition, assembling with the school board, speaking in an open forum and receiving press coverage. And as for the fifth right, it could be argued that football is a form of religion.

However, actively using First Amendment rights is not always easy. Chris Gares learned that one spring evening at an Ashland R-1 School Board meeting.

Petition

When Ellen Wolfe joined a handful of Harg residents around a kitchen table in the fall, they didn’t plan to prevent the City Council from voting on an annexation and development proposal from Billy Sapp.

They only wanted someone to listen to their concerns about how the project would affect their backyards. But the kitchen crew eventually grew to more than 20 residents. Twice, the Harg residents collected enough signatures from Columbia residents to stop the City Council from voting to annex the land, and they earned an audience with the developer.

Assembly

Michael Ugarte’s father taught him the importance of civil liberties.

Francisco Ugarte was working for the U.S. Embassy in Madrid when Gen. Francisco Franco, a fascist, came to power after the Spanish Civil War.

Speech

Normally, the mere sight of a Ku Klux Klan hood incites intense emotions. For Marlon Jordan, it was wearing the hood for the first time that frightened him.

“I’d never been so scared in my life,” Jordan said.

Press

When Henry J. “Hank” Waters III took the reins of the Columbia Daily Tribune in 1966, he quickly realized the power of the newspaper’s editorials.

The stubborn son of the Tribune family wanted his editorials to be straightforward and honest with a local flavor. He wanted what he called “weak-kneed politicians” and a closed-minded city government to notice what he was saying.

Religion

Shimin Zhuang heard about Falun Gong from the government-controlled media in China.

She wondered why so many people, especially young women, would join a movement that, according to the government, was destroying China. Falun Gong has been described as a spiritual movement, a pseudo-religion, a religion and an “evil cult.”

Wreck causes early morning power outage; driver arrested

Early Saturday morning, a driver swerved off the road, knocked out three trees and struck a pole, cutting a transformer and causing a blackout around the East Campus area, said MU Police Captain Scott Richardson.

Richardson said police found an overturned car near a fire station at 12:38 a.m. on the 1100 block of Ashland Road.

Murder charge added after victim dies

A 72-year-old woman who was struck on the head with a branch during a neighborhood quarrel Monday died from complications of her injuries Friday.

Columbia Police said Earlene Bradshaw died at 2:30 p.m. Friday after nearly five days on life support in serious condition at University Hospital. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

Developers pursue acreage near river

Two lifestyles intersect at Route K and Old Plank Road.

Just before veering south toward the bluffs that line the Missouri River, the drive grazes suburbia, providing a glimpse of the urban growth that residents of southern Boone County have avoided for decades.

Smoking ban ignites debate

The Columbia smoking debate heated up Thursday night at the Board of Health subcommittee meeting, when business owners and residents argued over the change in the proposed smoking ordinance.

The Board of Health has been discussing changing Columbia’s smoking ordinance to ban indoor smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants.

Columbia gets expert help in walking issues

Dan Burden went from photographing Argentinean mountains to taking pictures of Columbia’s busiest intersections.

A former National Geographic photographer from Florida, Burden is now one of the nation’s top pedestrian consultants. He walks more than 1,500 miles and spends 300 days a year on the road advising communities and business leaders across the country on how to design for people, not cars.

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