Pictures of the Year

For the next three weeks, Columbia and MU resume their tradition of hosting judging of the previous year’s best photographs.

For the 62nd year, the Pictures of the Year International competition will once again challenge visual media figures to honor colleagues within the industry.

Spaniel honored at Westminster

Debi Bell and her prized show dog, Willie, share a peanut butter parfait at Dairy Queen each time he wins a Best in Show ribbon. Willie, an 8-year-old English toy spaniel, has eaten plenty of ice cream during his career because he’s been in the top five of his breed for five years running.

Willie recently added his second Best of Breed award at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Seat belt law would get tougher under bill

Missouri drivers who are fined for not wearing their seat belts must first be caught in another traffic violation.

But if legislators pass a new bill, police will be able to stop motorists solely for not wearing a seat belt, which national studies have shown could save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in medical costs.

Parents, experts push ban on mercury in some vaccines

Staunch isn’t a strong enough word to describe Lujene and Alan Clark’s support for a proposed new law that would prohibit mercury-based preservatives from being included in childhood vaccines.

The Southwest Missouri couple’s 9-year-old son, Devon, has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Some scientists and parents of autistic children have suggested that excessive exposure to thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury, could contribute to the disease.

Forum to focus on giving pupils extra help

Parents of students in the Columbia Public Schools are invited to meet with members of the special education department to discuss the Individual Education Plan process.

The process is aimed at assisting children who need extra attention in the classroom.

Rural church revival

Lucille Street delicately moves her aged hands across a large black and white picture in the homemade photo album displaying her church’s history. About 30 men and women, fully dressed, stand shoulder to shoulder in a small lake in northern Boone County ready to submerge themselves in the sacrament of spiritual regeneration. As they emerge from the water, they believe they are passing through doors to a more religious, meaningful life. Around the lake stand nearly 100 townspeople, doing what people did in 1931 at Dripping Spring: watch the revival. Model T Fords line up behind the crowd.

During that era, rural churches were the focus of small towns, with services such as the summer revivals attracting major crowds. But they were also largely the only gig in town.

Hundreds show support for police at barbecue

The smell of smoked pork and hot kettle corn wafted in from the cold. Long tables covered with white plastic table clothes awaited crowds. A chorus echoed through the arena.

“I have a daughter with the police.”

Judge denies request to unfreeze assets

WASHINGTON — A federal judge tried to balance the right of association with national security Friday when he heard arguments concerning the Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency.

After much back-and-forth questioning, Justice Reggie Walton denied the charity’s motion to unfreeze its assets.

Church honors woman’s decades of work with refugees

Alice Wolters has helped more than 1,000 refugees from almost 15 countries resettle in mid-Missouri during the past three decades.

But the speech she gave at a dinner held in her honor Friday evening at First Christian Church made it clear she refuses to take too much credit despite her years of service.

Joyous return for three soldiers

It had been almost a year since Sgt. John Kloeckner, 1st Sgt. Kevin Findley and Staff Sgt. Chuck Call last set foot on Missouri soil.

When they arrived at the Columbia Regional Airport on Friday, more than 100 friends and family members packed the baggage claim room to greet them. The three men, all wearing civilian clothes, were returning from Iraq.

Teenagers arrested for posting hit list on Web

Two former Gentry Middle School students were arrested Thursday on charges of posting a list on the Internet containing names of students and faculty members to kill, according to Columbia police.

The two teens were charged with making a terrorist threat after police received a tip from a Gentry Middle School faculty member about the Web site, Columbia police Captain Brad Nelson said Friday.

Talent promotes bill limiting meth ingredients

A federal bill aims to take all over-the-counter cold and sinus medicines containing pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient for methamphetamines, off the shelves. This bill would broaden the scope of a state bill prohibiting sales of cold and sinus tablets containing the drug.

Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., sponsor of the bill, discussed the federal Combat Meth Act at a press conference Saturday at D&H Drugstore. If passed, the bill would require drugs containing pseudoephedrine to be kept behind the counter and require identification to purchase. Sales of the drug would be limited to nine grams per person every 30 days, about three or four packages. The similar state bill is now back on the Senate floor after clearing both chambers.

Deer control ordinance up for vote

The Columbia City Council drafted an ordinance that would allow firearms hunting on all 20-acre or larger tracts of land, subject to certain safety restrictions. The council will also hear public comment before taking a vote on Monday night.

The proposed ordinance could have two major benefits: curbing the urban deer population and providing an incentive for large tracts of land to be annexed into the city.

Doughnut company considers Columbia

Columbia residents may soon see the signature green tile roof and flashing red “hot” light of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in town.

About a month ago, architects met with city staff to discuss the possibility of building a Krispy Kreme in the new Broadway Shoppes development, said senior planner Chuck Bondra.

Blunt urges privatizing revenue offices

The Columbia branch office of the Missouri Department of Revenue is one of 11 that Gov. Matt Blunt plans to shut down and replace with operations that will be run by hand-picked private contractors.

Seventeen people work at the branch office on Vandiver Drive, where residents go to get drivers licenses, to renew license plates and to pay taxes on vehicles. While the governor included the proposal in his budget for fiscal year 2006, the revenue department hopes to implement the changes as soon as late spring or early summer.

Documenting the truth

Independent film producer John Pierson will be in town this week to screen his most recent work at the True/False Film Festival. But he can never go back to Fiji, where his movie, “Reel Paradise,” was filmed.

Pierson was banned from the country after screening the raucous “Jackass” on the island of Taveuni. The film was unrated at the time, and the showing led to the banishment of Pierson, his family and, of course, the offending “Jackass.”

Braces aren’t better for those nearing age 60

I think I’ve finally fallen over the edge. Here I am nearing the big 60 mark in life, and I just had braces put on my teeth. I’m not beholden to vanity. I have never minded my semi-crooked teeth. But it seems that I am a grinder, and over the past half-century, I have ground my teeth down to little stubs. My general dentist says I need to have my teeth built up, but I needed to have my overbite corrected first.

I didn’t tell anyone in my family, nor did I consult my friends. I went to my husband’s office last week, and he placed 24 little brackets on my teeth. I have always been told that I have a big mouth, but that plastic cheek and lip retractor stretched my lips until they cracked. I knew the staff was watching to see if I was going to be a wimp, so I said nothing. After the brackets were cemented on, the technician slipped a wire across each arch and cut off the ends.

Columbia is...VIBRANT

Vibrant (vi´brant)

adj. 1. Pulsing or throbbing with energy or activity.

Path out of debt

John Beverstein led the group in prayer, then picked up a hatchet. In his left hand, a credit card.

“We don’t need these,” Beverstein said as he set the plastic on a board. Bringing the hatchet down, he chopped the card in two. “Credit cards reek.”

A fit man’s best friend

Will Johansen’s new exercise partner, Rosie, has helped him lose 15 pounds in six weeks.

Rosie is a therapy dog that is part of the Pet Assisted Love and Support program based at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. Her current assignment is the Walking for Healthy Hearts program at Oak Towers, a Columbia retirement community.