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Goodbye, Ken! Hunky Blaine is Barbie toy boy

More than 2 million girls worldwide logged onto Barbie.com in May and June to help their favorite Barbie doll choose a new crush.

The votes were tabulated and the results released to the public Tuesday. Barbie’s new beau, Blaine, an Australian native with “sun-bleached hair and surf-bronzed skin,” now resides in Malibu, Calif., where he surfs, snowboards and skydives, Mattel said.

Company has a patent for success

Two brightly colored maps adorn the walls of Charles Ekstam’s office. Sprinkled with green, yellow, red, and blue push pins, the maps of the United States and the world illustrate the places where Jefferson City-based Ekstam Worldwide has sold its Fuel Preporator system. There are more than 30 countries marked, and many more U.S. cities.

As Ekstam shuffles through the binders that stand on the bookshelf behind his desk, he pulls out a listing of U.S. patents dating back to the 1800s.

Sixth dies in plant shooting

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A sixth person shot in a rampage at a meatpacking plant died Saturday, and investigators said they still have not determined the gunman’s motive.

Authorities identified the shooter as Elijah Brown, 21, of Kansas City, Kan., who was hired at the ConAgra Foods Inc. plant in September 2003, laid off because of production downturns, and then called back to work a few months ago.

Gunshots fired outside local club

Two men were taken to University Hospital with serious head injuries after an altercation early Saturday outside Lou’s Palace on Walnut Street.

Police overheard three gunshots, but neither of the men injured suffered gunshot wounds, police said. The men, 22 and 25, were from Fulton and St. Louis.

Police chase results in a robbery arrest

Police arrested two men Friday in connection with a home invasion robbery. The arrests came after a traffic chase, a car crash and pursuit on foot.

At 6:02 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 10 block of Granada Boulevard for a robbery in progress. Police said the suspects entered an apartment and pointed a handgun at the victim, a 23-year-old woman. The suspects demanded property from the victim and left. Witnesses saw them drive away. Within a few minutes of the robbery, police located the suspects’ vehicle. The suspects refused to stop, throwing a handgun and property from the vehicle. They were then involved in an accident at the intersection of Green Meadows and Providence roads. No one was hurt, but the police then chased the suspects on foot.

Actor Marlon Brando dies at age 80

LOS ANGELES — The words are pretty simple: “Stella!” and “I coulda been a contender ...” or even “The horror ... the horror ... .”

But these lines, when spoken by Marlon Brando, revolutionized the way actors behaved onscreen and ignited a generation of performers to unleash their inner passion before the cameras.

Science education is in a quiet crisis, some teachers say

WASHINGTON — Many educators and employers liken the state of science education to a chemistry project gone awry: A bad mix of factors has come together and it spells trouble.

By law, making students better at reading and math is the nation’s priority. When it comes to science, however, a quiet crisis is engulfing schools, say scientists, educators, business leaders and entrepreneurs.

'W.' Double Take

John Dunn didn’t feel the usual stares as he drank his coffee at the Cherry Street Artisan a few months ago. It’s the hair, combed into a perfect presidential coif, that usually elicits looks. Oh, and the eyes. His small eyes make people turn their heads, too. But then a brave employee came up to Dunn’s table.

“You know you look a lot like George Bush,” she said.

He laughed. “Yeah, I get that."

Colleagues: Rios good law officer

Steve Rios wanted to be a cop so badly he was willing to sue for it.

The former Columbia Police Officer began working at the Dixon Police Department at age 20. But in Missouri, a person must be 21 to carry a handgun. So Rios sued Pulaski County Sheriff J.T. Roberts to be able to carry a gun while on duty.

And he won.

Sociable sociologist inspires

Several evenings a week — as he has for the past 29 years — Jim Metscher stands at the front of his classroom at Columbia College, wearing his signature vest and rolled-up jeans, while he leads his students in discussions about sociology.

Having been with the school’s evening program since it began in 1975, Metscher seeks to make connections with his students’ interests in an effort to let their natural curiosity direct the activities of the class, a method he calls “engaging education.”

Other side of the law

A few weeks ago, Steven Rios was employed to protect and serve Columbia. On Thursday, he was led into police department headquarters as a murder suspect.

Investigators arrested Rios, a former officer, at 8:55 a.m. Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the slaying of MU student Jesse Valencia.

Fire in the Sky mates music, math

Stars and Stripes Forever will be echoing from Memorial Stadium as 1,000 firework shells are launched Sunday evening when the Fire in the Sky display will celebrate its first year in Memorial Stadium in more than two decades.

The fireworks will begin at 9:30 and will be synchronized with patriotic music played by the 40- member chamber orchestra of the Missouri Symphony – in its third year of performing live with the display. People watching the fireworks from outside the stadium can also enjoy the pyromusical presentation by tuning in to the live broadcast on KFRU 1400 AM.

Neighbors open fireworks tent

It’s not exactly a family business — but it’s a neighborly one.

Helmi Sheely explained that two families — hers and her friend’s, Nancy Palmer — run Family Fireworks together. The women also work together at Palmer’s contracting company, Coastal Electric, and they live next door to each other.

Ready, aim, 4-H fires for competition

Standing in a shelter set up in a clearing in the woods, Brandon Huskey shoves the ramrod down the barrel of his muzzleloader, removes it and awaits the signal to step to the firing line. When it’s given, he steps forward and takes aim at a bull’s-eye 50 yards away.

Huskey is participating in the 4-H Shooting Sports National Match, which is being held in Columbia this year for the first time. He said he has participated in shooting sports for the past nine years while a member of the Sturgeon Goalseekers 4-H Club.

Fifty years later, soldier returns home

HANNIBAL — It took more than half a century, but a soldier killed during the Korean War is finally coming home to Missouri.

Hannibal native Sgt. 1st Class Carl Brewington was killed Dec. 2, 1950, during a battle at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Brewington’s son, Bob Brewington of Smithfield, N.C., recently was notified that after three years of lab tests, his father’s remains have been positively identified.

Bottles banned on state waterways

In less than two months, a new state law will answer a question considered by many Missouri kayakers, canoers and float tubers: cans or bottles?

Legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Bob Holden will prohibit glass bottles on all Missouri waterways in watercraft that are susceptible to tipping. The law becomes effective Aug. 28.

Truck hits ambulance, overturns on U.S. 63

A truck traveling south on U.S. 63 overturned around 8 p.m. Thursday after it collided with the back of an ambulance.

The driver of the truck, who identified himself as Kelly Ripley, said the ambulance was merging onto U.S. 63 from the Stadium Boulevard entrance ramp. The cars ahead and behind him moved into the left lane to give the ambulance the right of way, he said, but the ambulance merged into the left lane also. A driver in the car ahead of the ambulance braked, Ripley said, causing the ambulance to do so as well.

Saddam rejects charges of war crimes

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Saddam Hussein scoffed at charges of war crimes and mass killings Thursday, making a defiant first public appearance since being hunted down seven months ago. The deposed dictator fixed the judge with a penetrating stare and declared: “This is all a theater by Bush, the criminal.”

Dressed in a charcoal-colored suit jacket, Saddam — whose day in court was shown on TV in the Arab world and beyond — looked thinner and better groomed than on Dec. 13, the day U.S. troops pulled him from a hole near Tikrit.

Valencia’s family awaits trial

After almost a month of waiting and wondering, Jesse Valencia’s family met news of Steven Rios’ arrest Thursday with a mix of relief, sadness and grim determination.

Valencia’s mother, Linda Valencia of Perryville, Ky., said she was relieved that an arrest had finally been made.

Health center debuts today

For 12 years, the Family Health Center — tight on budget and tight on space — has provided care to medically underserved Missourians. The walls of the old center’s waiting room were lined with handmade posters advocating proper health management. Steel chairs filled the small space, leaving little room for people or wheelchairs to maneuver. A partitioned room in the corner served as a children’s play area with mats on the floor and toys stacked high.

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