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‘Big Bird’ finds a friendly roost

Of all the fields, in all the towns, in all the world, the emu now going by the name of Big Bird walked into theirs.

A wandering emu couldn’t have asked for a better temporary home when it picked its way into the Selbys’ field on Sunday. The animal-loving Selbys – Pat, Terry and their twin teenage daughters — already have three dogs and four cats at their home near Deer Park off U.S. 63 between Columbia and Ashland.

A city’s expansion

As the city of Ashland anticipates another year of unprecedented growth, City Administrator Ken Eftink knows this can be a blessing and a curse.

“The challenge is to make sure we are growing the way we have envisioned,” Eftink said. “We don’t want things to get out of control and go unchecked.”

Wal-Mart decision expected tonight

After nearly a year of fiery debate, the Columbia City Council will likely decide tonight whether Wal-Mart can build the city’s second Supercenter on 23 acres of zoned residential property.

Two council members — Second Ward Councilman Chris Janku and Third Ward Councilman Bob Hutton — said they probably would vote in favor of rezoning those 23 acres, which would also entail acquiring and then demolishing five homes. Three other council members said they were undecided.

Home sales climbing

As executive officer for the Columbia Board of Realtors, Carol Van Gorp eyes a lot of real estate statistics about buyers and sellers. In October, she became one of those statistics when she joined the thousands of new homeowners in Columbia.

“Everybody kind of wants to get into homeownership right now,” she said. “We felt like we could get a lot of house for our dollar.”

Blunt’s majority doesn’t guarantee easy ride

JEFFERSON CITY — For a freshman governor, Matt Blunt already has plenty of friends. With 120 fellow Republicans in the Legislature, Blunt theoretically could enact any proposal he likes, or stop anything he doesn’t. His own expectations are high.

Irresponsible parents hurt core of society

It happens at least once a month.

  I find myself feeling sad when I have to tell young parents that I can’t help them solve the problems they are having with their children. I have to tell them truthfully that I have no experience with children who have no respect for their parents. In the days of my childhood, the single, most powerfully motivating factor for doing good among my friends and me was the hope that our parents would be proud of our behavior.

Suspected meth lab discovered by deputies

A suspected methamphetamine lab was discovered at 12:53 p.m. Saturday at a residence at 10300 Route N in rural Boone County by deputies from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

The residents, Louis Henry, 34, and Octavia Price, 20, were arrested and charged with one count each of manufacturing a controlled substance.

Groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon

Although the second-floor balcony overlooking the entrance to the Columbia Public Library was quiet and nearly empty, Tom Verdot sat down, unpacked his instruments, closed his eyes and started fiddling anyway.

“If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said.

Army of support

On a hot summer afternoon in July, Samantha and Jacob Guilford watched an airplane touch down at Columbia Regional Airport then rushed to greet their father, Sgt. Stacy Guilford, with a “Welcome Home Daddy” banner and many long-awaited embraces.

It was a joyful reunion, but it didn’t last long. A 38-year-old Army reservist, Guilford was deployed to Iraq to fly Black Hawk helicopters. But two weeks after he came home in July, he had to say goodbye again to return to Iraq to finish his deployment.

Many resolve, again, to lose weight

A new year. A clean slate. Millions of resolutions.

Each New Year’s Eve, millions of people make promises to themselves that they’ll be better this year. They decide to quit smoking, lose weight or stop procrastinating. The tradition dates back 4,000 years to the early Babylonians who celebrated their New Year for 11 days at the beginning of spring. It was the time of rebirth, renewal and resolutions.

Baby makes a birthday gift

Jody Lewis received a special birthday gift early Saturday morning: the birth of her first child.

Devon Keith Lewis was born at 1:29 a.m. at Columbia Regional Hospital, making him Columbia’s first baby of 2005, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Establishing resolutions is the easy part

I have a 10-year journal that I use to record my daily thoughts. This is the beginning of the fourth year. After reviewing what I wrote on Jan. 1 of each and EVERY New Year’s Day, I decided to change my tune.

EVERY Jan. 1, I wrote that I would lose weight that year. Then, at the end of each first day’s missive, I wrote my current weight in teeny numbers.

Ringing in the new year

Unusually warm weather helped draw a record crowd to Columbia’s First Night celebration on New Year’s Eve.

Karen Ramey, First Night director, had predicted 8,000 people would attend, but on Friday night, she said, the crowd was even larger. Some venues were so full they had to turn people away.

Boehm’s legacy

So few people had heard of Ted Boehm when he first ran for Boone County sheriff that his campaign came up with a phonetic clue to pronouncing his name: “Check the name — Boehm.”

Boehm trounced his opponent with 72 percent of the vote. That was 20 years ago. Today, Boehm leaves office having served as sheriff of Boone County longer than anyone else.

Columbians, fearing loss of relatives, join tsunami relief efforts

A Columbia woman says her cousin in Sri Lanka is presumed dead and another relative has lost his wife and son.

Mihiri Udawatta said her cousin had gone for a swim in the sea with his friends when the tsunamis struck Sri Lanka, and he and the other swimmers were swept away.

Blunt predicts weak revenue will lead to cuts

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov.-elect Matt Blunt warned of widespread government cuts Thursday as he predicted “anemic growth” in the money available for Missouri’s next budget.

“This is going to be a challenging budget process,” Blunt said while outlining a state revenue estimate reached with lawmakers, “but we can surmount challenges.”

Islamic charity files lawsuit to free assets

The Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency filed a lawsuit Thursday against the U.S. Justice and Treasury departments. The suit was filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C.

The agency was listed as a specially designated global terrorist group by the Treasury Department on Oct. 13. Its offices, as well as the home of its executive director, Mubarek Hamed, were raided by federal officials the same day. The agency’s assets were frozen, and officials confiscated files, donor lists and other materials.

Traveling DNA lab

OWENSVILLE — With a population near 2,500, this Gasconade County town doesn’t often get opportunities to embrace the high-tech trappings of MU up close.

Located about 85 miles southeast of Columbia, Owensville isn’t hard to miss. But thanks to an MU mobile biological sciences laboratory, teachers and students in Owensville and dozens of other small Missouri towns are able to keep abreast of the latest developments in genomics, biotechnology and other life sciences through a traveling science road show.

County OKs plan to fight drug costs

In the coming months, Boone County residents could save an average of 21 percent on prescription drug costs.

The Boone County Commission voted Thursday to participate in a national pilot program that will issue discount cards.

City offers tips to reduce waste

After the shopping malls stop playing catchy Christmas tunes, and when living room floors are no longer covered in packages decorated with brightly colored paper and shiny bows, the question still remains — what to do with all of this stuff?

Columbia Public Works offers a few environmentally friendly solutions to the problem of too much stuff that many Columbians encounter during the post-holiday season.

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