Changing lives, one day at a time

The first time McKenzie Boyd volunteered, she played bingo and ate cookies with the residents of a senior center in Texas.

It was in high school and Boyd was involved with the student government.

Boys night out

ST. ROBERT -- Aerosmith blares on the sound system. Glowing neon miniskirts dot the room. A few guys hang out at the pool tables; others watch basketball on muted TVs. It’s Friday night, “drink and drown” time. All the beer you can drink for $10 or all the liquor for $15. It’s still early, and the girls are segregated at their own tables. No one seems to have heard of the idea that smoking might be hazardous to the health.

Seems like any club scene, any small town, anyplace. But the Rockin’ R is about a mile from Ft. Leonard Wood, where about 7,000 young military men and women train for the combat they may soon see in Iraq. Sometimes, they end up here or at one of the many nearby nightspots – and the stress they come to relieve has built up from the business of war. Clubs so near a military base seem to attract significantly more men. That’s why ladies’ nights – where the women don’t pay a cover charge and their drinks come half price – are frequent. Even the local strip club has a ladies night.

Growth in an orderly fashion

Ready or not, the eastward expansion of Columbia is beginning.

The process will begin with small steps, the first of which will probably be the annexation of 96.6 acres owned by Roger and Mary Bumgarner. The Bumgarners in late April filed for voluntary annexation of their farm and are seeking agricultural zoning.

Diversity leaders urge new strategy

The recent report on MU’s diversity programs and services, or lack thereof, may provide the motivation for MU to launch its long-in-the-works “diversity strategic plan.”

Without one, MU is behind many other institutions in addressing diversity, said Robert Weems, interim vice chancellor for equity.

Most Republican goals remain unfulfilled

JEFFERSON CITY — As the legislative session enters its final week, the priorities presented by the Republican leadership in January remain mostly unachieved.

The governor vetoed the legislature’s liability lawsuit bill, and the Senate abandoned the House’s bill to cut Medicaid enrollments and reduce fraud.

Patriots in the Heartland

The mayor of Waynesville conducts his duties via e-mails from Iraq. Veterans vow that this time around, the troops will be welcomed home with parades, not protests. Letters abroad fly back and forth from the post office.

For those who live in a military town, patriotism is a passion and military life a reality.

WB calls at MU for cast

"Big Man on Campus” was the big event on campus Friday afternoon, as a couple of hundred MU students attended a casting call for an upcoming WB reality show.

MU, along with the University of Arizona and the University of Texas-Austin, is one of three potential campuses for the show. Casting director Luke Conklin describes the show as a college version of “The Bachelor” — without a marriage proposal at the end.

Event spurs residents to get out, get active

PedNet Coalition members believe their vision of a pedestrian-friendly Columbia is getting closer, judging from the record participation and increase in corporate sponsorship for this year’s Bike, Walk and Wheel Week.

The event, part of the third annual Mayor’s Challenge, starts today and continues to May 16. This year’s participation is expected to exceed last year’s, which had 950 participants. Official registration begins today at 1 p.m. at the ARC, corner of Clinkscales and Ash streets.

Graduates focus on Stephens’ Ideals

"I’m a woman, W-O-M-A-N,” sung by the Senior Singers encompassed the celebration of powerful women as a part of Stephens College’s graduation.

As Stephens College held the commencement of its 2004 graduates Saturday, Silverthorne Arena on the campus was overflowing with family, friends, faculty and students. The ceremony recognized about 100 students.

Columbia’s ’04 graduates set record

Quentin Wilson, commissioner of Missouri higher education, addressed an audience of thousands at Columbia College’s commencement Saturday at Southwell Complex.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” Wilson told students, “and you are prepared for that change.”

Mo' better music

APOP Records may be the perfect place for music fans who are sick of tuning in a radio station only to hear the same pop songs over and over.

An eclectic, international mix of vinyl, CDs, books and independent magazines called zines pack the shelves of the small store, which opened April 19 at 807 Locust St.

M is for mothers, memories

Note: I wrote this column four years ago and decided to revise it as I have a few new thoughts.

How many times have you hummed the famous Mother’s Day tune “M is for the many times you…?” Every year I fill in the blank with something different depending on my mood.

X Marks the Spot

It’s a big day in Vicki Braddy’s kindergarten class at Southern Boone County Primary School in Ashland.

Not only is it the Week of the Young Child — which means that today is hat day and everyone is allowed to wear whatever sort of hat they want — but today Mrs. Braddy’s voice, which was stolen last week by allergy monsters, has returned.

Wal-Mart looks north

Representatives of developer Stan Kroenke are scouting locations for a Wal-Mart Supercenter along Range Line Street on the city’s north side.

Attorney Craig Van Matre said Thursday real estate agents are searching for a site for what would be Columbia’s fourth store, in the general area of Range Line Street, Smiley Lane and Brown School Road.

Windfall funds tapped for teachers’ pay

Good news for the state budget may translate into good news for Columbia Public School District teachers.

Teacher base pay raises between $1,000 and $1,200 annually are being recommended by city school district administrators after the state’s latest proposed budget was changed to include $55 million more than expected for elementary and secondary education. The last teacher raise in Columbia was $150 in the 2002-03 school year.

Relationships tense at private school

What started with the December announcement of the resignation of headmaster Dee Corn at Columbia Independent School has evolved into a crisis that some parents believe threatens the future of the fledgling private school.

Parents of students at the school are in an uproar over actions taken by the CIS Board of Directors, which they say is hurting enrollment by making major decisions about the search for a new headmaster, the curriculum and the school’s scholarship program without their input.

Carbon monoxide kills local teacher

The death of Hickman High School math teacher Dennis Dallman has been ruled accidental following a preliminary investigation by the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

An autopsy conducted Thursday found “classic examples of carbon monoxide poisoning during the examination,” said Sgt. Tom Reddin of the sheriff’s department. The investigation won’t be completed until toxicology and other laboratory analysis are completed in a few weeks, Reddin said.

Charges filed in cannon incident

Misdemeanor charges were filed Tuesday against two members of the Kappa Alpha fraternity concerning the explosion of its cannon last week. Charges against a third suspect are still being investigated.

Fraternity President Seth Fagan and Daniel Dunn, another member of Kappa Alpha, have both been charged with reckless exploding and third-degree assault.

Players get kicks in new league

Some come for exercise, some for fun and others for the love of the game. Amy Stuck comes for all these reasons and because she’s bad at softball.

“I couldn’t hit the ball,” Stuck said. “That’s a problem.”

MU vies to host reality TV show

“Big Man on Campus,” a new reality TV show from the producers of “The Bachelor,” is trying to bring back “a sense of storybook romance to college life.” And it could end up using the MU campus as the site for the made-for-TV fairy tale.

MU is one of three finalist universities vying for the opportunity to be featured in the show. For the past week, a team of student production assistants has been helping Hollywood get a feel for the Midwest in preparation for the reality program’s casting.