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A look at Macular Degeneration

Life lessons, posthumously

That afternoon, after arriving from Columbia, B.C. visited his son at L.A. County Hospital. Rob, who had full-blown, untreated AIDS, was tethered to IVs and breathing only with the help of an oxygen mask. Thick stubble peppered his chin and his hair was matted and greasy.

But they had an enjoyable afternoon catching up on B.C.’s work as a business writer for the Columbia Daily Tribune and chatting about the new teaching job Rob’s friend had taken. When B.C. left Rob’s bedside that evening, he promised to come back in the morning to read poetry to his son.

A selection from the book

I started grieving when Rob went to intensive care. Back home, I painted the exterior of our home and did yard work after taking Carol to work — taking breaks to walk around the block with tears dripping down my face. Soon guilt kicked in.

Why hadn’t I left immediately for L.A. when I learned that he was sick? Should I have taken Carol to L.A. to await the end? During many replays of Rob’s early phone calls about his illness, I recalled that he had said that he was having trouble breathing. Shouldn’t that have been enough to jump-start me to L.A.? Father’s Day had been horrible because I kept reminding myself that I wasn’t in L.A. for him. I reviewed his entire life trying to pinpoint where I had gone wrong.

Rocking the Vote

The artist:

Roby Hopkins plays bass in the Columbia band Mile 48, which also features guitarist and singer Scott White and drummer Josh Jaynes. Hopkins, a member of the Missouri National Guard, is stationed in Dugway, Utah, on a security mission.

Community Sketchbook

Title: America Loves Its Dogs

Artist: Eric LaPointe

Enlist a friend to help clean out the closet

It started out innocently enough. On a walk one morning, my friend told me she was trying to get up the nerve to throw out some of her worn out clothing she had been keeping in closets all around her house.

“I’ve tried before,” she said, in a confessional tone. “But I end up keeping most of it, thinking I’ll give it one more season.”

MU grad finds, talks religion

Religion has always been a controversial subject; now there is a new forum in which this controversy can be debated. “Faith Under Fire,” Pax TV’s new hour-long debate/talk show series, hosted by atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, examines not only what religious beliefs people have, but why they have them.

The hour-long series, which began Saturday, features high-profile guests who debate today’s hottest topics in the realm of faith. Guests such as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, musician Moby and Yehuda Berg, co-director of the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles, discuss their personal beliefs and the impact religion has in the world today.

Singing for the soul

Inside a large meeting room in a modern Christian church in Columbia, several women and one man arrange folding metal chairs facing inward in a square. Amid laughter and animated chatter, they face each other and open oblong books. The man calls out a number. The singers ripple the book to page 47 and the hymn “Primrose.”

A piercing song leaps from the tongues of those gathered. Twice monthly, the Columbia Shape Note Singers come together to sing music from “The Sacred Harp” songbook at Trinity Presbyterian Church. The group gives voice to Christian hymns in four-part harmony written in “shape-note notation.” It’s music from 18th and 19th century America.

Local students receive writing awards

Four Columbia high school seniors received achievement awards in writing from the National Council of Teachers of English.

Hickman seniors Ryan Jarvis, Kenneth Tanand Anita Sadhu, and Rock Bridge senior Joel Fox won the award.

Staff says Deaton is Mr. Right

It was a big announcement on short notice. A news release, describing only a “major announcement” at 3 p.m. in Memorial Union, came out at 1:44 p.m. An hour before the meeting came official confirmation of the suspected: Brady Deaton, MU’s interim chancellor, would become the real thing.

On a small stage in the Benton Bingham room, University of Missouri system President Elson Floyd lauded Deaton’s work as provost and interim chancellor. “I had the right candidate for the job, at the right moment, here on the campus,” he said.

Inspectors to seek grease trap records

Local restaurants might soon be required to serve up records of grease trap cleanings.

In response to a violation issued last month by the state Department of Natural Resources about a backed-up grease trap that caused a raw-sewage spill in Hinkson Creek, the city wants to require food-service establishments to document grease disposal as part of the Health Department’s regular round of inspections.

Mo. pollster numbers fall short

JEFFERSON CITY — With less than one month remaining before Election Day, local officials said they are having difficulty staffing Missouri’s polling places and fear many positions will go unfilled.

In June, DeForest Soaries, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, said the United States was 500,000 workers shy of the 2 million needed to run November’s election.

A driving force

He’s the quiet one around the office, but everyone knows he’s there. In the midst of commotion, he helps sort everything out.

Chuck Miller, a Columbia Transit bus dispatcher, has worked for the city since 1982. He began as a building attendant, worked his way up to driver and then earned a spot as a dispatcher.

Running Rovers

There were short dogs, tall dogs, big dogs and small dogs.

The frost-covered Saturday morning didn’t deter more than 100 dog-lovers of all ages from showing up for a stroll with their pooches at the 11th annual Dog Jog, hosted by MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2006. Each year, the college’s junior class organizes the jog.

Life after Beck

The work of Columbia City Manager Ray Beck and his staff reaches into your house with every flush of the toilet, every turn of the spigot.

He has a hand in where and how city streets are built.

How cities govern themselves

Council/manager government

This is the form of government that has been used in Columbia since May 1949. Elected members of the council appoint the city manager, who works full time under their direction, handling the daily affairs of the city.

A different kind of search

Ray Beck keeps thoughts about retirement to himself. He hasn’t announced plans to step down from public service, but when he does, the Columbia City Council will be looking at a different field of candidates than those from the 1985 search that ended in Beck’s hiring.

Few of them will have Beck’s training as an engineer and experience as a former public works director. Now, a majority of city managers receive training in public administration, a background that emphasizes building relationships with the council, county and community, said John Nalbandian, professor of public administration at the University of Kansas.

Small bodies, big hearts

This past month, second-grade students at Grant Elementary School took an active part in helping victims of the recent hurricanes that hit the East Coast. In just over a week, the twenty-three students raised a total of $132.90 to donate for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The students formulated the idea after reading about the storm victims in "Time for Kids" magazine.

Experts: Format may have limited true discussion of policy issues

Webster’s dictionary defines “debate” as “discussion or consideration of opposing reasons.”

But limits placed on Thursday’s presidential debate have some debate and journalism experts concerned that millions of Americans did not receive the discussion they deserved.

Site turns readers to writers

Many topics go unreported in the media, and others are repeatedly covered from the same standpoints.

Today, in an attempt to broaden the scope of local news coverage, an online journalism class at MU will launch a Web-based publication called MyMissourian. The project is MU’s first audience-driven publication, allowing people who registerwith the Web site to submit their own content, which students will edit for publication.

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