JEFFERSON CITY — Federal statistics suggest Missouri has become a less safe place to work.
According to a recent Department of Labor release, the number of fatal work injuries in Missouri rose by almost 21 percent during 2002 with 30 more deaths than the previous year.
Columbia was so warm and breezy Monday that it was almost a surprise to see the gold and brown leaves drifting to the ground. In the late afternoon — when dozing in a hammock seemed preferable to anything else — the city reached a high of 84 degrees, two degrees shy of its record. Winds gusted at 15-25 mph.
Across the city, residents threw off their recently unpacked sweaters and headed for favorite warm-weather haunts. At Shake’s Frozen Custard off Nifong Boulevard, Karen Dye bought a box full of cold treats for co-workers at State Farm Insurance Co.
For MU graduate David Burkhold, the problem wasn’t finding a job, it was deciding which one to take. A marketing major, Burkhold was courted by a number of companies in his final semesters before negotiating his way to a lucrative sales position with Altria, a New York- based conglomerate.
All he used was a computer and eRecruiting, MU’s own closed electronic job board, where access can mean a fast track to employment.
Gnawing hunger drives millions to fast-food restaurants every day. When they pull up to the drive-through window, their attention narrowly focused on the menu and what to order, few people pay much mind to the shrubs leading up to the menu or the finely sifted gravel surrounding it or the neatly trimmed grass that defines the borders of the parking lot, which is also handsomely landscaped.
Nick Pinkston was no exception — until he began his job as a laborer for Oasis Landscapes and Irrigation. He said he now realizes the time and effort it takes to beautify a fast-food restaurant’s outside appearance.
Gary Naylor’s eyes light up when he shows off what he can do with wood. Surrounded by wooden trains, airplanes, dump trucks and race cars in his basement workshop at 2318 Windmill Court, he often stays up past midnight working on things people tell him can’t be done.
“There’s never a dull moment around here,” he said. “I just have so much fun with it.”
On a typical day, Columbia Police Detective Jeff Westbrook works to combat domestic violence and counsel victims of such abuse. At night, however, Westbrook can be found on his porch working toward a different goal — mastering the banjo.
Westbrook began playing the banjo two years ago and has since joined the local bluegrass band Gospel Salute.
From the time it was built in 1972, Columbia’s water treatment plant at McBaine has worked like a heart pumping on overdrive, trying to outpace explosive growth and sweltering Missouri summers.
It works great most of the time, plant superintendent John Betz said. For one, Columbia has had a constant supply of water. For another, he said, that water is remarkably clean.
While the new law to carry concealed guns is still on hold, Columbia is drawing closer to banning guns from city-owned buildings.
A proposed ordinance is scheduled for a second reading and a vote at tonight’s city council meeting, which is being held at 7 p.m. in the Daniel Boone City Building.
Columbians, starting Nov. 1, will have the opportunity to fish for trout without leaving the city.
The Missouri Department of Conservation, the Mid-Missouri Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the city of Columbia are stocking Cosmo-Bethel Lake with 2,400 rainbow trout. They are sharing the costs, which will be between $4,000 and $5,000.
With endorsements from the city and county, John Huskey and Glen Willet hope they’re on the road to creating a new kind of taxi service for Columbia.
“Our purpose is to improve the format by providing assistance to individuals who aren’t served by public transportation,” Huskey said. “We could solve 80 percent of the transportation problems.”
“If you just learn a single trick, Scout,” says Atticus Finch to his daughter, “you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. . . . Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
This famous dialogue is from Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Lee’s novel, set in Maycomb, Ala., during the 1930s, challenged American attitudes about race and family when it was published in 1960.
Homecoming: when old alumni and new students get together for one game to make some noise and cheer their team. But while the fans are cheering, the football team is waiting.
“It is just like in high school, it’s the one game you look forward to,” wide receiver Darius Outlaw says.
Homecoming T-shirts are seen on everyone, from students and faculty to campus visitors and alumni. Yet getting them on the backs of so many during Homecoming proves takes a lot of time, organization and MU spirit.
Andy McCarthy, director of the merchandise team for the 2003 Homecoming Steering Committee, said the T-shirts provided in the Homecoming Survival Kits are his team’s largest contribution to Homecoming.
It has its charge — now, it’s time to start making the change. Working to solve achievement gap problems in the Columbia Public School District, the Achievement Gap Task Force, headed by Skip Deming and Steve Calloway, met for the first time last week.
After sharing their perspectives on the gaps and individual interests in education, the 36 members of the group got to work Thursday, looking at district and national data and concurring on the most glaring gap issues in the district.
The fierce competition among fraternities and sororities is one of many traditions that adds to the thrill of Homecoming.
Although the Homecoming spotlight is often on Greek students, they are not alone in their spirit.
Each January, immediately after Homecoming weekend has been announced, local hotels begin to book rooms almost 10 months in advance, says Steven Noto, corporate general manager of the Stoney Creek Hospitality Corp. under which Columbia’s newly opened Stoney Creek Inn operates.
“In our pre-marketing, we’ve tried to focus on contacting the major employers in the community, and letting them know what we have to offer,” he says. “The University has been great to work with.”
Pomping: The process of folding tissue paper around a finger or pen and gluing it to a board to create “house decs.”
Ask any student in a Greek organization about pomping, and a groan will follow.
By Truman T. Tiger
In 1958, Susie Cohen became MU’s first mascot and began a tradition that continues to this day. Though just a self-proclaimed, “girl from Kansas City,” her role led her to paper mache, Miami and marriage.
Homecoming allows 10 MU seniors to take a break from senior-year stress to receive the royal treatment as King and Queen candidates.
Some discovered the royalty position rekindled many of their dearest memories of old MU.
Customs foster a connection between people that allows them to communicate even if they’ve never met. Despite how homecoming has evolved over the years, it remains a language through which alumni of each generation can relate to one another.