Millions secured for MU cancer research

More than $3 million in federal funds will allow the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center to expand an overcrowded research laboratory at MU.

Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., MU and UM system officials attended the opening of the 5,500-square-foot research laboratory in the MU School of Medicine on Monday.

Sentencing in murder delayed

Circuit Court Judge Gene Hamilton postponed the sentencing Monday of Taron Crawford until Jan. 10 after his attorney failed to arrive to his hearing on time.

Crawford, 20, of Kansas City, Kan., was convicted of second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the shooting of MU sophomore Charles Blondis.

Christmas is what you make of it

This Christmas Day will find many people in different living spaces than they were in at this time last year. For many and varied reasons some will find themselves living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, with children or parents or moved out of their homes into efficiency apartments. So, for a lot of these folks, making Christmas merry will require more effort than usual.

I think the longer we live, the more we realize that life, whatever the circumstances, really is pretty much what we make it.

Salvaging history

Nestled near the bank of the Missouri River on a quiet gravel road is an aging and abandoned country store. Signs featuring bold red letters on the peeling white paint declare the old wooden structure to be the Easley Store.

The building has stood for 114 years and served the Easley area almost that entire time, enduring even the Missouri River floods of 1993 and 1995 before finally closing about five years ago.

Aid on way for farmers who employ Hispanics

An increasing number of mostly Mexican immigrants are growing, harvesting and packaging Missouri’s crops and meat. For these workers, finding housing, work and health care is often difficult.

Likewise, employers in agricultural businesses are struggling with language, the law and cultural differences in their attempt to make the workplace safer and more efficient.

Fugitives lured with fake giveaway

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — More than 100 people wanted for crimes ranging from passing bad checks to assault have been nabbed in an elaborate police sting that fooled suspects into thinking they were receiving unclaimed money.

Springfield police, under the guise of Jefferson City-based Missouri Settlement Retrieval Corp., sent out 1,200 certified letters to people wanted on outstanding warrants and said they were eligible for “unclaimed money or property to which you may be entitled.” If they didn’t respond, the letter said, they could forfeit the claims.

Demand for low-carb items is thinning out

Low-carb diets took the nation by storm last year. Local grocers scrambled to meet demand even as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts — a mass producer of high-carb foods — was forced to adjust earnings projections downward and to close stores and kiosks in Canada.

The holiday season and the rule of “what goes up must come down,” however, have contributed to a decline in demand for low-carb foods, as people are being lured back to the carb-laden world of bread and doughnuts.

Conscientious Christmas

This holiday season, the Schopp family decided to forgo their usual gift exchange, and instead of decorating homes they are focused on building them.

Laura Schopp e-mailed her four sisters and one brother to enlist their talents to raise money for Food for the Poor Inc., a Christian international aid organization that has distributed more than $1.7 billion in food and medical, educational and building supplies to countries in the Caribbean and Central America.

Doing what's right

In 1991, Francisco Xavier Inzunza floated across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on an inner tube. Then, dodging surveillance cameras and border patrol agents, he crossed a busy highway and leaped over a 6-foot wall into the United States.

With only the clothes on his back, Inzunza made his way to Colorado to join his wife and 3-year-old son, who had come to the United States on tourist visas.

College town greets new graduates

Jessica Poore lost 144 family members Saturday.

Poore was among scores of students to graduate from the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources during an afternoon ceremony at the Hearnes Center.

Mother of 2 arrested in fetus abduction

SKIDMORE — This tiny town in northwest Missouri was acquainted with violence well before someone strangled Bobbie Jo Stinnett on Thursday and cut open her belly to steal her unborn child.

The town, 101 miles northwest of Kansas City, made national headlines in 1981 when someone shot 47-year-old Ken Rex McElroy, a man with a violent history, in broad daylight. No one admitted seeing anything and the case has never been solved.

UM continues to employ PeopleSoft

No major changes are expected in the wake of the buyout of a computer software company whose programs are used throughout the University of Missouri system, UM spokesman Joe Moore said.

PeopleSoft’s buyout by Oracle was announced Dec. 13. Also used by clients such as DaimlerChrysler, Verizon Wireless and Emerson Electric, PeopleSoft programs are used at college campuses to manage financial, human resources and student records.

Toys make naughty list

A public interest research group is recommending the United States ban the sale of the Yo-Yo Water Ball — a toy with the potential to strangulate those playing with it — after it caused 400 injuries last year, including 11 in Missouri.

The toy has already been banned in Canada, the United Kingdom, France and most of Europe. Consumer Reports has rated it “not acceptable.” In 2003, 11 million to 15 million of the Yo-Yo Water Balls were sold in the United States.

Ex-ax maker locks in on state costs as new chief

JEFFERSON CITY — As Senate administrator for the past three years, Michael Keathley, 47, has cut the Senate budget by 15 percent, staff salary expenses by 20 percent and operating expenses by 23 percent — all while surviving an eight-month battle with advanced colon cancer.

In January, Keathley will apply his budget-cutting expertise to the entire state government as director of Gov.-elect Matt Blunt’s Office of Administration.

New yoga studio to open in January

When Kathleen Knipp and Ken McRae moved to Columbia more than two years ago, they noticed something missing from downtown.

“Where is the yoga center?” Knipp recalls asking.

The force behind the curtain

The cornstalk can’t find her hairspray.

To make matters worse, the tree has lost her branches. The yellow brick road is wondering how to use his street signs. A munchkin in sequined suspenders wants to know how he should walk.

Showtime for the "Follies"


Stephens College’s undergraduate theater program, established in 1899, is one of the oldest in the country. It’s also considered one of the best.

According to the Princeton Review’s new survey of 110,000 university and college students, Stephens has one of the top four undergraduate theater training programs in the nation.

Children are icing on cake at holiday parties

This is the morning after. My house is eerily quiet and fairly clean. My refrigerator has lots of odd food. I have four boxes of cream cheese, several bunches of green onions, two packages of wontons and a ham bone. Today is the day after my annual Christmas party.

For the past few years, I’ve opted to cancel our usual cattle call of inviting people I only see when I’m hosting the party. In days gone by, at these parties held after dark with lots of liquor, there was always at least one incident of someone becoming inebriated and causing a scene. So, I decided to host a party in the afternoon where children are the focus. I let my grown children invite their friends and their own children.

Angels spreading their voices

Twenty silver halos sit on the heads of the children at Sturgeon Baptist Church. Mary, Joseph and the three wise men look around the room nervously.

Kelly Reeves, director of the children’s choir, stands in the doorway. There are only 10 minutes until the start of the dress rehearsal for “Angel Alert,” the church’s Christmas play, she warns.

Christmas past

At some point every year, many of us see Charles Schulz’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” make its annual appearance on television. In the midst of letters filled with detailed gift requests to Santa, a play that includes a Christmas queen and pink, metallic trees, Charlie Brown walks to the center of the school auditorium stage, throws up his hands and shouts, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

At Tiger Columns, a senior retirement community in downtown Columbia, a few residents discussed their favorite Christmas memories and the meaning of the season over peanut-butter cookies and coffee. Their stories might not explain everything Christmas is about, but they bring life to its definition.