Women’s groups need fresh input

Last week, I spoke to a women’s group that’s been around for more than a hundred years. Because most of the members are middle aged or older, one of the things we talked about was the difficulty such groups as these face in recruiting younger women. Some think those young women are not as interested in serving their communities as previous generations. Others think these clubs are dominated by older women who refuse to change their outdated agendas

One thing is certain, women’s services to the community were never more sorely needed than they are today. The plight of neglected children is only one of many concerns women are uniquely qualified to address. Women’s clubs and organizations play such vital roles that it is difficult to imagine what society would be like without them. Day care centers, facilities devoted to eldercare, hospices, rape counseling centers are just a few of the many areas where women’s talents and skills are essential.

This horse is a course, of course, of course

On a muggy Monday evening, Kelly Deline got on a horse for the first time in 25 years. Her desire to find a new activity connected her with a summer group that helps all types of people get back in the saddle.

Tucked back on the east end of the Stephens College campus on Old 63 is the Stephens Equestrian Center. Even though many Stephens students leave the stables when the school year ends, the center remains active for others.

Church OKs gay marriage

ATLANTA — The United Church of Christ’s rule-making body voted overwhelmingly Monday to approve a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage, making it the largest Christian denomination to do so.

The vote is not binding on individual churches, but could cause some congregations to leave the fold.

MU observatory holds comet viewing

Val Germann had the champagne ready to toast the successful collision between a probe fired from the NASA Deep Impact spacecraft and comet Tempel 1 early Monday.

“This is absolutely unique,” said Germann, president of the Central Missouri Astronomical Association, getting excited about the impact. “This is what science should be.”

Feline show flaunts purr-fect contenders

Larry Swanson has judged more than 10,000 cats.

More than 1,000 paper towels were used to clean cages and display tables.

And celebrate some more

Feel like a kid again

Cassie Acton knows her way around Columbia’s fireworks stands.

Rios sentenced to life in prison

Former Columbia police officer Steven Rios was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the killing of 23-year-old MU student Jesse Valencia.

A Clay County jury convicted Rios, 28, of first-degree murder on May 27 after nearly nine hours of deliberation. Rios received an additional 10 years in prison for armed criminal action.

Intruder fires gun and flees, police say

A north Columbia family awoke to the sound of a gunshot early Sunday after police said an intruder broke into their home, fired at least one shot and left.

Columbia police said two women and two children were asleep at their home in the 3000 block of Haden Drive when the shooting occurred at about 2:30 a.m. One of the four called 911 and gathered the other three into a bedroom until officers arrived.

Union reps praise Beck, await heir

While Columbia City Manager Ray Beck’s retirement won’t take effect until the end of the year, union leaders have high hopes for his successor.

Union representatives have little direct interaction with the city manager, but they do occasionally consult on important personnel issues. During budget preparations each year, union leaders meet with department heads and the assistant city manager for “meet and confer” sessions to negotiate issues such as salaries, insurance and other benefits. The tentative agreements that result from those meetings are forwarded to the city manager, who either approves them or asks for further negotiations.

Look west on school spending

JEFFERSON CITY — With Missouri facing a lawsuit challenging the state’s method of funding public schools, developments in Kansas could provide a glimpse of where this case is headed.

In both states, school officials challenged state spending, saying it did not provide fair and adequate funding for schools as the state constitutions require.

Taking a frank look at frankfurters

Hot dogs, frankfurters, wienies or redhots — no matter their name, they have become a part of the American culture.

When Americans celebrate their nation’s birthday, they eat more hot dogs than any other day of the year — 150 million, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. “Hot dogs have been historically associated as an all-American food,” said Ayoka Blandford, public relations manager for the council.

A bang-up job

Past the pasture-turned parking lot, just inside the gated entrance, a crowd of 20 spectators mills near a concession stand that sells funnel cakes and beer in half-gallon plastic jugs.

Behind the wooden bleachers, three boys wrestle one another for a place in line for the portable toilet. In the pit, a bandana–clad driver with a long blond goatee hunches under the hood of his car, making last-minute adjustments to a vehicle that soon could be headed to the scrap heap.

Late bill eases paddle industry liability

LEASBURG — The members of the extended Hall family had traveled for hours to get to this moment. They were about to board an old yellow bus that would take them to the drop-off point for their family canoe trip on the Meramec River.

As part of his routine, the bus driver asked if they needed life jackets.

Lights in the night

There are the ones with rings and the ones that look like geysers. Beyond that, a lot of us have trouble describing what a firework explosion looks like, much less knowing the differences between them. The Fire in the Sky show tonight at Memorial Stadium in Columbia will make use of 568 different types of fireworks.

22-year-old in serious condition after accident

A two-car collision near Stadium Boulevard and Ash Street on Saturday left one person in serious condition at University Hospital.

Uintah J. Geiger, 22, was listed in serious condition at University Hospital Saturday night after police said the driver’s side of her car was hit by another car.

City Council to vote on annexation

Columbia City Council members will have to decide on Tuesday whether what would be a historic expansion of the city is worth the $5.9 million it will cost taxpayers.

Before they vote on the proposed annexation, council members will consider approving a detailed agreement between developer Billy Sapp and the city. Included in the 17-page agreement are promises by the city to extend a sanitary sewer line through the land Sapp wants annexed and to lengthen Rolling Hills Road, which would run along part of Sapp’s property.

Scanner cuts time to process fingerprints electronically

Missouri businesses and state agencies seeking background information on potential employees will soon have a much shorter time to wait.

Gov. Matt Blunt announced Tuesday a new partnership between the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Identix Identification Services will enable Missouri Applicant Processing Services to process fingerprint information electronically. The program, which begins July 20, is expected to reduce the time to conduct background checks from six to eight weeks to only five days.

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.