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The healing power of faith

Inside the doors of a nondescript office in building 3 at Doctors’ Park, more than 250 cases as varied as rotator-cuff injury, toothache and depression have been treated. The 36 people who volunteer in the office did it all without using one X-ray, dental drill or prescription drug.

But the difference between this office and other medical practices is that the people who work inside aren’t medical doctors. They are Christians from Columbia churches, and for nearly a year, they have worked at the Columbia Healing Rooms using prayer to help make people well. Dennis Sievers, the office’s director, has been involved with healing ministry for 25 years. He started the local healing center because he said he believes God wanted the ministry in Columbia. The practice is based on the Bible and its promises that God is a healer, he said. The Bible, he added, sees the human as having three parts: body, soul and spirit.

Welcome to another school year

I’m happy to report that 12 of my 14 grandchildren are in school this year. The oldest grandson is starting ninth grade where his grades will be written down and follow him for the rest of his life. Wanting him to understand that his future depends on how well he does academically, I sat him down a few weeks ago and tried to have a serious discussion about life.

I went on and on about how important it is to take courses that would prepare him for his career. Up until now, I pontificated, he was just “playing” school. But, beginning this fall, everything changes. He sat there listening semi-attentively, mostly avoiding eye contact. But when I told him that one bad grade and there goes West Point, he looked at me as if I had just sprouted two heads.

Columbia cashes in with sales tax

Seventy miles isn’t enough to keep Sedalia resident Jim Larson from the movies and coffee he desires.

Larson, who was shopping at Columbia Mall on Wednesday afternoon with his wife, Donna, and their two children, said he makes the drive to Columbia twice a month because Columbia has a better selection of DVDs and coffee.

City looks to use salt to melt ice on streets

Columbia is one step closer to abandoning cinders as its primary means of combating snow and ice on its streets.

The city’s proposed budget for fiscal 2005 includes $30,000 to fund a site plan for a salt-housing facility. In late July the city paid $300,000 for a 6-acre tract, formerly owned by Columbia Ready Mix, at the east end of Big Bear Boulevard, where it plans to build a facility that would shelter salt and liquid calcium chloride.

Book critical of Kerry in short supply

Columbians who want to read the controversial book behind the controversy surrounding presidential candidate John Kerry’s war record might have trouble finding a copy.

That’s because the book, “Unfit for Command” by Jerome Corsi and John O’Neill, is absent from all Columbia bookstores and other retailers that stock books. Its Aug. 15 release has been plagued with production and distribution problems nationwide. Only about half the 625,000 orders have been met.

Submarine vets claim part of I-70

Baseball star Mark McGwire got his stretch of highway a few years back. Now U.S. submarine veterans will get theirs.

At 10 a.m. today, a ceremony will be held to commemorate the renaming of 54 miles of Interstate 70 as U.S. Submarine Veterans Memorial Highway. The ceremony — to be held in MU’s Jesse Hall — will include remarks by submarine veterans as well as city, county, state and federal officials.

Medicare firm opens new office

There’s a new federally designated Medicare quality improvement organization in town.

After 20 years in Jefferson City, the Missouri Patient Care Review Foundation, also known as MissouriPRO, opened a new office on 200 N. Keene St. in mid-July.

Meet-up provides site for Kerry supporters

When John Kerry received the Democratic presidential nomination last month, it brought together different factions of the party. Since then, groups that once supported candidates like Howard Dean and Wesley Clark have been heading to the Boone County Democratic Headquarters to back Kerry.

This unity was put on display Thursday at the first Kerry Meet-Up since the Democratic National Convention. Jim Windsor, the event's coordinator, describes a Kerry Meet-Up as a monthly meeting for people who haven't yet been involved in the campaign. He stresses that meet-ups can be used to organize any group of people with similar interests.

Rejuvenating Ellis Library

Jim Cogswell, director of MU Libraries, has a dream that breaks tradition: He wants the library to become a campus hot spot.

Libraries have long been regarded as places big on serious thought and sober behavior. This aura comes through particularly in some of Ellis’ older sections, dominated by worn, marked furniture, dusty windows and books, books, books.

Off-campus treks forge freshmen bonds

While many freshmen spend their first days at college touring the grounds and visiting the bookstore, some first-years at Columbia College spent last Saturday getting to know each other away from campus.

Through the school’s “Explorientation’’ program, participating students spent “Cougar Day’’ — named for the Columbia College mascot — with campus life staff members at the Lake of the Ozarks, on a float trip in Steelville, at the state fair in Sedalia or in downtown St. Louis.

Road chief promises value

JEFFERSON CITY — As he was introduced Thursday, Missouri’s new transportation director said that he has no immediate solutions to the state’s highway problems.

Pete Rahn, former chief of transportation in New Mexico, was presented as the Missouri Highways and Transportation Department’s new director Thursday.

City roadway vote postponed

Two dozen residents attended a public hearing Thursday afternoon at the City Council Chambers to add input to the Columbia Area Transportation Study Organization’s proposed changes to the city’s roadway plan.

But not enough of the organization’s members stuck around for the committee to make its quorum and take a vote.

Christian groups join forces for concert

Several campus ministry organizations are joining forces to bring a Christian band to the MU campus Saturday evening.

Summerville, an acoustic-rock band formerly known as the Pool Boys, has performed nationwide at both church gatherings and public venues. The band, which was formed by students at the University of Kansas six years ago and is now based in Nashville, has also released five CDs.

Turn down the heat!

After enjoying unusually cool temperatures for most of the summer, Boone County residents finally felt the heat Thursday. Temperatures in the low 90s combined with high humidity to produce heat indices of nearly 110 degrees at times. The county was one of 11 in mid-Missouri under a heat advisory from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

On Hartfield Drive off Scott Boulevard, a construction crew for Kirby McKenzie Construction continued to put up the framework for a new home despite the heat. But the workers — and other Boone County residents — can expect relief this weekend. According to the National Weather Service, a cold front will move into mid-Missouri by Saturday.

New report details prison abuses

WASHINGTON — More than two dozen soldiers and contractors attached to a military intelligence unit at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq approved or took part in abuses of Iraqi detainees, an Army investigation has found in one of the most comprehensive looks to date at the scandal that damaged America’s image around the world.

Lightning strikes down power lines

A lightning strike severed a power line overhanging Providence Road between Green Meadows and Nifong at 3:05 p.m. Wednesday.

“The lightning hit pretty close several times around here,” said Wayne Wiles, a resident near the site of the strike.

Young at Heart

For most of us, turning 99 would be remarkable. But for 98-year-old Loren Reid, it hardly seems noteworthy.

 “I’m not celebrating my 99th birthday,” he said of today’s milestone. “I’ll just push on to 100.”

Advanced technology helps fight child pornography

On Feb. 11, 2003, detectives from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department raided the home of Columbia resident Frank W. Petering, seizing computers, floppy disks and documents. Officers confiscated an estimated 80,000 pornographic images depicting children, from infants to teenagers, engaged in sexual conduct.

On Monday, Petering was convicted of promoting child pornography in what is believed to be the largest case of its kind in county history. Petering’s apprehension offers a glimpse at how law enforcement is taking advantage of legal and technological advances to combat the exponential growth in the distribution of child pornography.

Labor mediator to seal contract for bus drivers

A federal labor mediator is expected to come to Columbia in the middle of next month to resolve an ongoing contract dispute between Columbia Public Schools’ bus drivers and First Student Inc., the area’s school bus service provider, officials said Wednesday.

The district’s school bus drivers, represented by Union Local 833, rejected a new contract proposal Aug. 5 with First Student Inc., the area’s school bus service provider. The old contract expired Aug. 1.

I-70 repairs set to start today

Starting today, for the next two months some east and westbound lanes of Interstate 70 will be closed from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. The closures will extend from the Callaway and Montgomery county line east of Columbia to the I-70 and U.S. 63 interchange as part of the Missouri Department of Transportation program to upgrade safety on the interstate. Closures won’t involve more than one lane at a time in each direction.

The construction is a continuation of the guard cable installation project, tentatively scheduled to be completed in summer of 2005. It involves placing guard cables down the center of the interstate to stop crossover traffic and prevent serious crashes.

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