Ready, set, write

It’s no wonder to K-5 Director Barbara Savage that Columbia Independent School kindergarteners swept the top three spots in the annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest for the second time in three years.

“If you’ve ever been in a kindergarten room for more than 25 minutes, you know they have a lot of stories to tell,” she said.

Open house educates about Islam

Jan DeLasara and her sister, Joy Rushing, came to the Islamic Center of Central Missouri’s open house Sunday with different religious perspectives. DeLasara considers herself a spiritual person but is not a member of any organized religion. Rushing is a devout Presbyterian. But both were interested in learning more about Islam.

“It’s an opportunity to get a very close look at a tradition that is pretty alien to me,” DeLasara said.

Rocheport mayor retires after two decades

The mayor of Rocheport is calling it quits after 20 years.

Frances Turner, the second female mayor of Rocheport, was elected in 1985. She will preside over her last city council meeting tonight. On Sunday, the Friends of Rocheport held a reception to honor Turner’s two decades of service.

Helping troops take the heat

In about a month, average daily temperatures in Iraq will top 95 degrees. Blazing heat and almost non-existent precipitation already mean a miserable existence for U.S. and coalition forces on the ground.

The U.S. Air Force has elicited help from a team of MU doctoral candidates. Led by Satish Nair, the team recently completed research that predicts the risk of heat stress for pilots, soldiers, firefighters and others who wear protective gear in extreme weather.

Partners in preservation

It might be easy to miss Abiel Leonard Guitar’s old house while driving down Range Line Street at 45 mph. Shade trees darken the front yard and weeds poke through the rocks on the worn gravel driveway.

The shades are pulled down over the two-story home’s nine windows, and its white paint looks as if it has been flaking off for years. There is a particularly large patch of exposed wood on the right side of the triple archway, a feature it shares with Confederate Hill, the other Guitar home. The house has remained empty since Guitar died there last year.

MU libraries bar head of high school

Four months before stepping down from his position with little explanation, Rock Bridge High School Principal Bruce Brotzman was barred by campus police from all MU libraries after an employee complained of inappropriate sexual conduct, according to an MU police report.

Michael Hopkins, 22, an MU junior and library employee, said Brotzman repeatedly squeezed his own crotch before attempting to do the same to Hopkins in an encounter on the third floor of Ellis Library in July 2004.

Canopy removal up to business owners

From the second floor of his office at Ninth Street and Broadway, lawyer Greg Copeland has a bird’s eye view of Broadway — including the concrete canopy that lines the storefronts.

“Birds nest in the corner between the canopy and the side of the building,” Copeland said, pointing out at the canopy.

Canceling cancer

People who have had the misfortune of spending days in bed after eating undercooked chicken know that salmonella can be one nasty form of bacteria.

It can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Although nearly all patients recover without receiving treatment, in severe cases, salmonella poisoning requires antibiotics or hospitalization.

Smart body art

His arms covered in colorful tattoos clear down to the knuckles, Jason Fancher looks the part of a professional body artist. He wears black boots, denim jeans and a backward baseball hat, also in black. He even has black latex gloves, a mixture of safety and style.

Fancher, owner of Hollywood Rebel Tattoo in downtown Columbia, pays close attention to his work. Tracing an ink outline of a family seal tattoo on the bicep of a MU undergrad, the image starts out as a single, thick dark line. From that single line, Fancher wipes away the excess ink, revealing a detailed sketch.

Spring brings cheery smiles to winter-weary

Every year I seem to forget about the wonders of spring until I go through winter, and this past season was one of the longest and darkest in memory. Although we didn’t have heavy snowfalls or much ice, the weeks of sunless dreariness seemed to seep beneath my skin and there were days I could barely function. I awoke in the dark and muddled about the day in the dull, dismal and depressing atmosphere, sometimes losing track of time without sunlight as my gauge.

It didn’t help that Lent began about a week after I’d boxed the last of the Christmas ornaments. We celebrated Easter one week into spring, but no one believed it. I remember seeing one Easter bonnet at Mass, and it looked out of place with most parishioners wearing heavy, dark clothing. And it was odd watching my grandchildren hunt for eggs while being impeded by winter coats and gloves.

Estranged homeland

Missouri students compete for ticket to History Day nationals

Laura Knutzen, 16, wore a velvet gown and red lipstick to explain the workings of a torpedo guidance system Saturday morning. She was channeling Hedy La-marr, the actress turned inventor, in “Strapless to Wireless,” her self-written entry in the Missouri National History Day contest.

Downstairs in MU’s Arts and Sciences building, girls in hoop skirts brushed by a cardboard replica of the Rosetta Stone and avoided catching their hems on adrum set.

Science Day experiments entertain children

Beneath his glasses, Julian Banks’ eyes widened and his jaw dropped as he yelled, “Oh mother Pete!” in reaction to Jered Coulibali, 9, who was dissecting a cow eye.

As Jered’s scissors pierced the eye, a strong smell of formaldehyde quickly entered the room.

Veterinary College’s open house aimed to teach

Prospective students, children and their parents attended first-aid

classes given by MU veterinary students on Saturday as part of MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s open house.

Changing the profile

Roger Worthington said that often people react to the findings of the Campus Climate Study in one of two ways: They conclude that MU lacks an inclusive environment for minorities, or they are reassured to find out that it didn’t do worse.

To him, both of these responses aren’t a good way to look at the results.

World famous towns

The map of Missouri is dotted with the names of Earth’s greatest cities, states and countries. The Show-Me state is the land of pharaohs, one-arm bandits and royal flushes, sombreros and French palaces. The state even has its own monster movie star: Frankenstein, Mo. These small towns don’t share a lot with their namesakes — no ancient ruins or artwork, sometimes not even the same pronunciation. Each one, though, has a hint of its better-known twin.

Novel translations

Unless you knew that Tatiana Kudriavtseva survived war and communism, then stood firm against Cold War prejudices to become a prolific translator of America’s finest literature, you might be surprised by the petite, gray-haired woman's strong handshake. In a career that has spanned more than half a century, Kudriavtseva, 84, is the Russian voice of dozens of American writers from Jack London to William Styron to Joyce Carol Oates. She has trans-lated masterworks such as “Gone With the Wind” and “Sophie's Choice” while forging friendships with such disparate and pugnacious personalities as Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer and John Updike.

Asked about Kudriavtseva’s intellectual and literary legacy, Updike called her a woman of “high intelligence and aesthetic passion,” but also one of courage. “At a time when such a pursuit was not only technically difficult but politically dangerous, she was the main bridge between American writing and the Russian language,” Updike says.

MU awaits approval of multicultural certificate

MU’s multicultural certificate, a program designed to promote diversity education and make graduates more competitive in the job market, is set for approval by the Coordinating Board of Higher Education in Jefferson City at the end of the semester.

The proposal is a result of a three-year process, which started with conversations between the Missouri Students Association’s multicultural committee and interim provost Lori Franz, said Noor Azizan-Gardner, task force facilitator. After assessing the need for multicultural education, a task force was established in the spring of 2003, with representatives from every school on campus. MU’s offices of the chancellor and provost brought the proposal before the Jefferson City board.

Sociology professor wins final Kemper

By Friday, nine of the 10 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence had been awarded and Mary Grigsby had all but lost hope on her first year to be nominated.

“She’s the last one awarded,” her husband, Gary Grigsby, said. “Last night she didn’t think she would get one. She really cares about her students and her teaching. She’s worked hard to get to this point.”

Schiavo death hasn’t ended debate in Missouri over end-of-life issues

JEFFERSON CITY — Nearly three weeks after the death of Terri Schiavo, Missouri lawmakers and residents are trying to sort out where the state should stand on end-of-life issues.

Schiavo died March 31 in Florida after 13 days without food or water. Although Schiavo’s parents appealed to the federal courts to have her feeding and hydration tubes reinserted, those courts upheld the decision by Florida courts to allow Schiavo’s husband, Michael, to decide her fate. Her death came amid a great deal of national protest.