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When it comes to gardening, I’m all thumbs

I’ve never been very good at gardening. To say I don’t have a green thumb is putting it mildly. As a matter of fact, I’m all thumbs when my hands come in contact with dirt.

When I was growing up, my mother loved to plant flowers and was actually quite good at it. She planted rose bushes and was proud of her rock garden. She never asked us to help. I think she took up the hobby to get away from her six kids. And although I’m almost a clone of my mother — down to the varicose veins — I never had the urge to take up a hoe and dig in the ground.

A musical recovery

Sheryl Clapton suffered from total amnesia in 1997. She moved from California to Albuquerque, N.M., where she worked as an on-site radio producer, and has lived in Columbia since last July. As an AmeriCorp Vista volunteer, she fixes computers at the Intersection, a local activity

center.

Drumming to the past

A light morning rain did not dampen the spirits of festivalgoers Saturday at the Hartsburg Lewis and Clark Festival.

“Nothing stops us Hartsburgers,” said resident Cheryl Miller.

Political Roundup

A potential “enterprise zone” in Columbia’s First Ward took its legislative first steps last week, when state Rep. Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, introduced legislation allowing for its creation.

Enterprise zones are set up in areas of the state considered economically disadvantaged, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development. By giving businesses tax credits to set up shop there, enterprise zones are seen as one way to spark economic growth.

Cannon explosion leads to suspension

The MU chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order faced criticism from both its national organization and the MU Office of Greek Life after a cannon exploded on the front lawn of the fraternity’s house Thursday night.

Three members of the organization have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Walk points focus to HIV

It was the early 1980s, and Damon Willow was a 20-year-old living in New York City. He remembers his friends becoming infected with HIV, and in 1985 he found the courage to be tested and learned what he had suspected all along. He, too, was HIV positive.

Twenty years later, at 42, Willow looks healthy and at peace. “I found my equilibrium,” he said.

Heartfelt singing

Everyone has something to say. We want to devote a space for you, the reader, to express your thoughts and emotions about more than just politics. In Muse, we want to give you a space to tell us what inspires you. For this week, we invited people to write about singing.

Kabob queen

As she stands behind the Schnucks meat counter, all that can be seen of 5-foot-5 Virginia Marshall is a shy smile, two blue eyes that never leave yours and neatly curled dark-blond hair under a black Certified Angus Beef hat adorned with pins.

She’ll let you pick out your meat cuts, instruct you on how to cook the meat or suggest a recipe. For example, trout is best marinated in lemon juice and butter then baked for 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 degrees then turned down to 350. One customer came back asking Virginia for this recipe: “It was just so flaky and good,” the woman reported.

How to start knitting

Expert knitter Julia Helvey has been knitting for 35 years and teaching others to knit for 34 years. She took her first knitting class at Columbia Career Center’s Adult Learning Center when she was a new mother looking for a night out and a new hobby.

“Knitting circles are a great way to socialize one night per week,” Helvey said.

Retracing their first steps

While other mid-Missouri residents are gearing up for spring by firing up the grill or pulling out the old baseball glove, Jefferson City resident Cliff Olsen is taking a trip back in time.

Olsen is a member of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, a nonprofit group that is rediscovering the legacy of Lewis and Clark by re-enacting a part of the historic expedition each year. The group members don period clothing, set out in keelboats and live in conditions similar to those faced by the expedition crew. Several members of the group will be sailing up the Missouri River this summer. And while Olsen will not be with the group this year, he’s still impressed by its efforts.

Military academy earns top honors

Missouri Military Academy cadets wowed Army inspectors April 23 during the school’s annual Formal Inspection.

From a military perspective, Formal Inspection is the most important day of MMA’s year, as cadets are graded on everything they’ve learned during their time at the academy. A successful inspection means MMA retains its standing as an Honor Unit with Distinction in the Junior ROTC; only 10 percent of all participating schools achieve this status.

Following history

Whether on a barge floating down the Missouri River or on a train traveling through the countryside, vacationers have many ways of experiencing the adventures of Lewis and Clark.

Julie Fanselow, author of “Traveling the Lewis and Clark Trail,” has been traveling the trail annually since 1993, and she has pages of advice for travelers looking for a Lewis and Clark adventure.

The new radicals

Chip Walker and Dave Sanford couldn’t believe it when they heard the Missouri Students Association had rejected a statement of support for U.S. troops headed to Afghanistan.

Walker and Sanford, friends through MU College Republicans, had talked about publishing a conservative newspaper. The student government resolution was the push they needed.

History often viewed with ‘rose-colored’ perception

Most American citizens are familiar with stories of successful explorations on the early American frontier. Stories of Lewis and Clark and Christopher Columbus are not only written about in history books, but also are passed down from generation to generation as inspirational tales of bravery and courage. What remains unquestioned is how and why these stories continue to pervade the mindsets of Americans and influence American culture today.

“Thinking about somebody being a pioneer fits into the values of an individualistic, entrepreneurial culture,” said Jeffrey Pasley, associate professor in MU’s history department. “(But) we apply these words to apply luster to activities that have relatively little to do with blazing a trail across a country that’s never been mapped.”

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

Meriwether Lewis

King of the road?

You either love them or hate them. Or maybe you just sip your Big Gulp and whiz right by them.

Drive east from Columbia on Interstate 70, and you’ll see more than 200 billboards displaying ads for gas stations and tourist shops, funeral homes and tractor supply stores.

Lewis’ boating experiment

Meriwether Lewis spent hours of preparation and dedication on his iron boat before the expedition of the Corps of Discovery. The boat, invented especially for the expedition, was aimed at tackling the problems Lewis knew lay ahead on the Missouri River.

And then it sank.

Golden Years

Art and Vera Gelder are moving into a retirement spent taking care of more than 1 million bees, 24 goats, 12 rabbits, 12 ducks, five llamas, four emus, three peacocks and a pair of pigs. That’s not counting the dogs, cats, guinea fowl or the 2,500 adults and children who visit their family farm on the outskirts of Columbia.

“This is what we want to do when we retire,” Art says.

Guessing game

From doodles in Clark’s journal to copies of maps given to the expedition by American Indians to celestial observation, William Clark drew, compiled or collected the maps that detailed one of the greatest expeditions in American history.

More than 140 maps were made during the Lewis and Clark expedition and more than 30 were collected from American Indians, fur trappers and traders.

The kindness of strangers

The Lewis and Clark journey was deeply influenced by native tribes living in the American wilderness. Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation says, “The North American people shared their unique knowledge of people in the land — helping (Lewis and Clark) map the lands around them, providing horses, and providing valuable knowledge about food preservation and ways to survive.”

Bob Moore, a historian at the Museum of Westward Expansion, says Lewis and Clark didn’t have a clue how lucky they were until the expedition was over.

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