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Barbecue contest feeds appetites

SEDALIA — The rain and the mist had dampened the atmosphere but not the spirits of the contestants of the Missouri State Fair’s Backyard Chef Barbecue contest Friday. After almost 10 hours of hard work, the 60 contestants held their breath as they waited for the winners to be announced.

Each contestant was allowed to participate in three of the four categories —chicken, pork, lamb and beef brisket — with five prizes in each category. The person with the highest total score was awarded the grand championship.

Returning home

He mostly smiles. His hands move to emphasize syllables, maybe touching his chest when he says the word heart while always talking from it.

It’s how Tracy Cook comes across one-on-one and behind the pulpit, something the congregation at First Assembly of God might say if you ask about him, their senior pastor. He’s genuine, right down to the “God bless you” after a sneeze.

Three schools face sanctions

Derby Ridge Elementary, West Boulevard Elementary and Field Elementary schools publicly learned Thursday that they have failed the Missouri Assessment Program for two consecutive years. These three schools will now face sanctions in accordance with the No Child Left Behind Act.

According to MAP standards, any school that does not meet yearly state testing goals for two consecutive years in the same subject must allow the option of student transfers.

Hearing to begin today

Murder suspect Steven Rios is scheduled to face a preliminary hearing today, during which special prosecutor Morley Swingle could present evidence attempting to connect the former Columbia police officer to the death of MU student Jesse Valencia.

Rios will attend the hearing with a new set of defense attorneys, Valerie Leftwich and Stephen Richey, both public defenders. Rios’ former attorney, Rusty Antel, withdrew from the case Aug. 10. A representative from Antel’s office said Antel would not comment on why he left the case.

Preachers walk a fine political line

When she was a prosecuting attorney for St. Louis, Maureen Dickmann convinced people in the jury box to think like her.

When she preaches on political issues at Rock Bridge Christian Church, the Rev. Dickmann wants people in the pews to think for themselves.

Abortion-rights debate ongoing among Catholics

Jackie Cook-Eberle sports a purple button on her bag that reads “Abort Bush in the first term.” As a Catholic who supports abortion rights, she disagrees with a recent statement made by Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis.

On June 24, Burke said on KMOX radio that Catholics who vote for abortion-rights supporters should not receive Communion without first confessing their sin.

League aims for sharing of cultures

Most people entered MU’s Memorial Union on Thursday night with dripping hair and wet shirts. Despite the burst of evening rain, 20 people from the Columbia area turned out to learn about American LIFE.

LIFE, which stands for League of International Friendship Encounters, is a new program offered by the International Student and Scholar Services at MU.

Police training aims to build street fighting techniques

The small room had a huge mat lying in the middle. Todd Alber sat on a bench in a corner, carefully attaching protective gear to his knees, wrists, chest and head. A few minutes later, a police officer entered the room and the two men begin to fight.

After 30 seconds of wrestling and twisting, Alber is stretched out on the ground and breathing heavy. Jeff Rukstad, a 29-year-old police officer, crouched on top of him.

School officials express hope for better scores

Sixteen of Columbia’s 19 elementary schools won’t face sanctions from the No Child Left Behind Act in 2004. Next year might be different.

Three Columbia elementary schools are facing sanctions, two did not meet Annual Yearly Progress standards but will not be sanctioned and four of the remaining 14 schools wouldn’t meet next year’s standards with this year’s scores.

Staking out friends at State Fair

Corn dogs, funnel cakes and tractor pull contests are all part of the picture that the words “State Fair” bring to mind. But for Ginjo Reed and thousands of others, the Missouri State Fair means reunions and wedding anniversaries.

“We celebrated our 50th anniversary right here on these grounds,” said Reed, 74, of Lees Summit.

Mo. tigers fans meet the real thing

SEDALIA — Minerva does ballet. Avra is a good jumper. Nina shows off her moonwalk. Raj gives good hugs. The female performers weigh between 200 to 400 pounds, the males weigh between 400 to 600 pounds. While you may think that your groceries bills are high, these nine athletes eat about 40,000 pounds of food a year.

They are the key performers in the Bengal tiger show, a new attraction this year at the Missouri State Fair. The tigers, native to India, reside in Florida’s panhandle at the Marcan Tiger Preserve. The 88-acre preserve is home to 49 tigers; the owners strive to improve bloodlines for the endangered species.

61 barbecue teams ready for hot contest

Columbia resident Derick Miles has been barbecuing for years, but today he’s just a rookie. It’s the first time he’ll be competing against — instead of assisting — his father-in-law at the Missouri State Fair’s Backyard Chef Barbecue Contest.

Although the State Fair ends Sunday, it wouldn’t be complete without its annual barbecue contest. The event will be today from 8 a.m. until awards are announced at 4 p.m. This year, 61 teams of four are competing.

Landfill now has compost available

Columbia’s community compost can provide citizens with an alternative to commercial fertilizers and individual backyard compost piles.

According to Cynthia Mitchell, the landfill superintendent, individuals can buy up to a cubic yard of compost for $12 plus tax. Since July 1, 14 people have taken advantage of the compost, which comes primarily from yard waste, sawdust, drywall and cellulose casings.

Police: Man injured when friend drives over him

A Columbia man suffered extensive internal injuries when his girlfriend allegedly ran over him outside their home in north Columbia late Wednesday night, according to Columbia police.

The driver, Victoria Lynn Wampler, 47, of 1902 Cedar Cliff Drive faces charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action, police Sgt. Stephen Monticelli said in a news release. She remained in the Boone County Jail with bond set at $200,000.

Airport to give kids flying start

Look skyward on Saturday morning, and you might see some of Columbia’s children being chauffeured across the horizon at 120 mph in a local pilot’s private aircraft 2,500 to 3,000 feet above your rooftop.

A Day at the Columbia Regional Airport on Saturday will include free plane rides for children ages 8-17, seminars for pilots given by the Federal Aviation Administration and exhibits of small aircraft.

Senate candidate criticizes Bond on overtime revisions

Democratic candidate for U.S Senate Nancy Farmer visited Columbia to express disapproval with her opponent’s stance on changes in federal law regarding overtime pay

Revisions in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act will take effect Monday. The revisions define the pay level and types of duties that qualify for overtime pay.

40-acre tract approved for homes

Citing concern that Columbia was “oozing to the south,” the Planning and Zoning Commission approved one of two requests for new suburban neighborhoods south of the city.

The commission voted to recommend to the City Council a plan to rezone 40 acres south of Route K and the Cascades neighborhood for residential use and voluntary annexation into the city of Columbia.

Rios waives preliminary hearing

Murder suspect Steven Rios waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday morning, while appearing in front of Associate Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter.

The case of the 27-year-old former Columbia police officer, who is charged with the murder of MU student Jesse Valencia on June 5, will proceed to circuit court for arraignment on Sept. 7.

Seniors question foreign medicine

Gloria Hay of Columbia doesn’t know anyone who fills prescriptions in Canada. The retired professor of management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and acting senator in the Missouri Silver Haired Legislature has no pharmaceutical coverage and pays for her medications out of pocket. But the idea of drug importation does not appeal to her.

“I have never considered such a thing,” Hay said, echoing the predominant attitude among Columbia’s seniors.

Gay activists to organize involvement

Near the corner of Again Street and West Boulevard, an upended “No on 2” sign rests against a wooden fence. Inside the house, Heidi Murphy helps paint her friend’s entry.

The sign was up two days ago, she explains, but then the lawn mowers took it down. Gardeners also took down the sign in front of her house.

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