Memorializing a musician, writer

A vase of blooming red roses, with one pure white rose, sat on the altar. His stand-up bass with its trademark snake head stood nearby. Half the crowd sat in neat rows; the other half stood wherever they could find room.

And, of course, there was music.

Educators: School year comes up short

In America, most students will attend more than 2,300 days of school from kindergarten through 12th grade. In Japan, most students will have attended the same number of school days by eighth grade.

To ensure an equal opportunity for academic achievement, the number of days in a school year could increase in Columbia schools.

Hear the noise

The term “e-mail” has been part of mainstream terminology for years. An Internet search engine’s name, Google, is now a verb. And the word “blog” is a Webster’s entry.

Get ready for a new buzzword: podcasting.

Smiling trainer provides drive, muscle aches

For as long as I can remember, I have been in a battle with my weight. And although I’ve won a few skirmishes, I’ve never won the war. For the last decade it’s been a standoff. A few weeks ago I started my “now or never” makeover. First the braces (not my idea), then I stopped smoking (again) and decided that if I was really going to be a lifetime nonsmoker, I’d have to address the weight issue. It’s always been the number one reason why I start puffing nicotine again.

I heard about a 30-day makeover one of the gyms in town was offering. I met with a young (thin) woman who explained the program. She said I needed the “extended” program to get the results I wanted. I guess I’m too far gone to see a transformation in only one month.

A Special Sunday

Every year, an hour before the clock strikes Easter Sunday, members of Missouri United Methodist Church gather in the sanctuary on Ninth Street.

The ceremony begins with scriptural accounts of Jesus Christ’s arrest, trial and crucifixion. The mood is somber: the room is candle-lit, there are no flowers and black cloth covers the walls and altar brass. As each reading is concluded, a series of candles are snuffed out and a hymn is sung.

Beyond the sugar coating

For many children, Easter Sunday means candy baskets and colored-egg hunts. For church leaders and Sunday school teachers, combining all the fun of the holiday with doctrine and education is a challenge.

On Palm Sunday, children at First Christian Church were busy baking cookies, carving wood blocks and listening to storytellers as part of their five-week lesson on the Easter story. Amy Kay Pavlovich, associate minister, said each of the activities had a specific message to be found within the fun. For example, the cookie recipe, which had a hollow center, was designed to help the children understand reaction to the opening of Jesus’ tomb after the resurrection.

'Roids Rage

Ten days ago, a cavalcade of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars testified before Congress, yet another in a series of revelations about steroid use that have rocked the sports world.

Those revelations are felt acutely in places like San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis. But their consequences extend past those baseball hotbeds right into smaller cities and towns, including Columbia.

Accident blocks I-70

Police were still investigating an accident late Saturday evening that brought traffic on Interstate 70 to a halt in both directions.

A medical helicopter and an ambulance were at the scene. At least one passenger was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Well-grounded family

The farmer is 79 years old. Her farms are ages 107 and 140. In the rosy dusk, Grace Butler powers her big red SUV across a creek and winds up a hill to feed and count her cattle. She talks to them as if they’re old friends, and they really are.

As she counts the herd, she spies a black cow in a clump of trees. “You naughty girl, hidden here,” she says in a brisk voice. “I see you have a baby to come, don’t you?”

Gov. Blunt spells out state’s reduction plan

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Matt Blunt spelled out Thursday how various agencies would cut nearly $240 million from their budgets for the coming fiscal year, with social services taking the hardest hit.

Among the cuts are eliminating the grandparent foster care program, temporarily shutting down the Central Missouri Correctional Center, which is six miles west of Jefferson City, and eliminating the state’s payment to keep Amtrak trains running between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Options near end in Schiavo conflicts

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — With Terri Schiavo visibly drawing closer to death, her parents were rebuffed by both the U.S. and Florida supreme courts Thursday in their battle to reinsert their brain-damaged daughter’s feeding tube.

Bob and Mary Schindler held onto the slim hope that Gov. Jeb Bush would somehow find a way to intervene or a federal judge, who had turned them down before, would see things their way. But Bush warned that he was running out of options.

Grocery store seen as perk of rezoning

A grocery story is one of the first things people mentioned when the would-be developers of land at Range Line Street and Blue Ridge Road approached neighborhood associations to see what type of commercial uses they would support.

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday recommended the Columbia City Council approve the developers’ request for rezoning to accommodate planned commercial and office uses that might include a grocery store. Magnus Enterprises LLC submitted the request, which seeks to rezone three tracts totaling 45 acres at the southeast corner of the north-side intersection.

Hundreds mourn patrolman

DEXTER — During a funeral that drew hundreds of police from at least four states, a Missouri state patrolman ambushed and slain outside his home was tearfully eulogized Thursday as a Christian man who masterfully blended passion for his job with adoration for his 4-year-old son.

“Family, you’re wrapped in blue; they’re all around,” Denny McGinley — alluding to mourners largely dressed in police uniforms — told Sgt. Carl Dewayne Graham Jr.’s survivors at a packed First Baptist Church in this Missouri Bootheel town where Graham grew up.

Childhood inspired candidate’s school goals

Darin Preis grew up in a family of educators and remembers dinner discussions that revolved around the successes and challenges in the classroom. His upbringing inspired him to keep education a priority, which is one of the reasons he decided to run for the Columbia School Board.

Preis said the board could use his expertise to bring a new perspective to early childhood education and to further work to close the achievement gap. Preis said being the director of the Missouri Head Start, State Collaboration Office has prepared him to deal with important school board issues.

The Sport of Wings

"The Book of St. Albans,” a 15th century text, lists a hierarchy for the sport of falconry. Kings flew large and rare gyrfalcons, knaves used smaller and more common kestrels, and every rank in between used different breeds of falcon and hawk.

Whether the rules were strictly enforced or simply represented economic realities is unsure, but since then, falconry has become the most regulated field sport in the world. Now, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is trying to make falconry more accessible to everyone by simplifying federal regulations.

U.S. lawyers ask IARA suit be dismissed

KANSAS CITY — Government lawyers are asking a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by a Missouri charity accused of having terrorist ties.

The Islamic American Relief Agency is seeking to have its assets unfrozen. The assets were frozen in October after federal agents raided the charity’s headquarters in Columbia as part of a criminal investigation. The Treasury Department also made it illegal for people to send contributions to the charity.

Blunt’s budget threatens Alzheimer’s research

JEFFERSON CITY — James Galvin has spent four years investigating how the brain changes as adults grow older, trying to uncover what triggers dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Washington University assistant professor credits a $26,000 seed grant from the state in 2001 for launching his study by giving him the money he needed to start collecting basic data. He then used that data to secure $1.2 million in federal grants to fund his research.

Ten copycats repeat local activist’s act for Schiavo

Ten people followed the example of Columbia activist, Lana Jacobs, who crossed a police line in front of the Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., to bring water to Terri Schiavo, said officials with the Pinellas County Jail.

Schiavo, brain-damaged and unable to speak or eat without assistance, has not been given food or water for five days. Her feeding tube was removed by court order Friday.

Recreating the past for the future

Olin Fugit braved 30-degree temperatures and donned a purple, cotton cap under a navy blue hard-hat covered in stickers Wednesday, all for a good friend and a good cause.

Fugit and four volunteers began dismantling the Easley Store, a 114-year-old country store in the Easley area of southern Boone County. The Boone County Historical Society is sponsoring the project and plans to use parts from the original building to reconstruct the store on its land near Nifong Park.

Candidate champions tutoring, parents, exercise

Rhonda Garland is running for the Columbia School Board to let her daughter know that “she has boundless opportunities.”

She wants her daughter to know she can be whatever she wants to be, the impossible can happen, and she can make a difference.