Rock Bridge, Hickman graduate seniors

Winning volleyball games. Parking tickets. Sold-out musicals. And, of course, friendships forged in class — and out.

In her speech to the graduating class of Hickman High School, Wen Xi “ShiShi” Wang talked about her Hickman High School memories and her hopes for the future.

Forum nets candidates, not Holden

LAKE OZARK — Accusations continued to fly Saturday between Missouri gubernatorial candidates State Auditor Claire McCaskill and incumbent Gov. Bob Holden.

McCaskill discussed issues with Democratic candidate Jim LePage at an event sponsored by the Missouri Press Association. The event was an opportunity for both Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates to discuss issues in an open forum.

State rep hopefuls talk taxes, education

At the weekly meeting of the Boone County Muleskinners Friday, the Democratic candidates for the 25th District state representative seat met for a panel debate in the spirit of communication and collaboration.

Candidates Judy Baker, Mike Blum, Russel P. Breyfogle Jr., D. Duane Dimmitt and Lara Underwood were each given three minutes for opening remarks.

Ragtime festival draws talent worldwide

With Missouri as the center of the ragtime world, the John William “Blind” Boone Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival is drawing in musical talent from around the globe.

Columbia will host the 10th annual festival today through Tuesday, and headlines performers such as Morten Gunnar Larsen and the Odeon Jazz Quartet of Norway, the St. Louis Ragtimers and Englishman Carl Sonny Leyland.

Nine jailed after shooting at mall

Nine people landed in jail Friday night after two apparently shot at the other seven in the Columbia Mall parking lot in retaliation for an armed robbery at Douglass Park the day before, according to Columbia police.

Police responded to a report of shots being fired on the south side of the Sears store shortly after 8:30 p.m. Friday. Witnesses told officers the occupants of a maroon Chevrolet Caprice were firing at a black Suburban, Sgt. Stephen Monticelli said.

Brother Jed’s mission

With piercing hazel eyes, black greased-back hair and an intimidating scowl, George “Jed” Smock preaches from a chair in the middle of Speakers Circle at MU to about 30 students sitting around him.

The discussion is about the role of men and women in society. Smock believes a woman’s role is to obey her God-fearing husband.

Newman Center pledge to help community

Would you rather sit courtside or in the nosebleed seats at a basketball game?

Longtime Thomas More Newman Center parishioner Dick Otto often uses this analogy to describe church involvement.

To dump or to sell? Do both

It’s been more than a decade since I had a garage sale. So when my daughter-in-law called and asked if I would help with theirs, I readily agreed, thinking I would include the bags of stuff that had been accumulating in the garage for two years.

On Friday, right after noon, I threw my bags in the back of my car. I hadn’t marked any of my items. I figured I’d have time after we had priced all of the things she wanted to sell.

Harry Potter's magical glossary

Here is a list of important people, creatures and places in the magical world of Harry Potter for all the muggles, or ordinary humans with no magical powers.

Under Harry’s spell

Attention muggles: Don’t be alarmed at the sight of witches or wizards this weekend.

Mid-Missouri’s Harry Potter fans are out in full force, and full costume, for the opening weekend of “Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban” in local theaters.

Festival embodies diverse community

Seventeen-month-old Hayden Christiansen bounced and swayed to the twang of a fiddle and the beating of drums in Flat Branch Park on Thursday, kicking off the beginning of the Twilight Festival in Columbia.

“He loves any music or dancing,” Hayden’s mother, Jessie Christiansen, said.

Court calls for August vote on gay marriage ban

JEFFERSON CITY — In a victory for Democrats, Missourians will vote in August — not in November — on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

In a 6-1 decision Thursday, the Missouri Supreme Court said Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt should place the issue on the August ballot but did not directly order him to do so. A Blunt spokesman said he would follow the court’s wishes.

Cable task force OKs fee increase

Cable television subscribers will see their monthly bills rise to pay for a public-access cable channel if the Columbia City Council follows through on a Thursday night recommendation from a city task force.

Meanwhile, a nonprofit board, Columbia Access Television Corp., has been set up to oversee development of the public-access outlet, which will be broadcast on Channel 8 for Mediacom cable subscribers and Channel 21 for Charter Communications subscribers. The board includes members of the Columbia Media Resource Alliance, representatives of Stephens College and other interested stakeholders.

Teenager recreates ancestor’s adventures

When Josh Loftis went to a Lewis and Clark re-enactment with his grandfather, all the family legends suddenly came to life.

“They didn’t really make sense until I was 12 and went out and I saw the boats and I saw everything that was happening,” Loftis said.

Graduation kickoff

Senior members of the Hickman High School girls’ soccer team were all smiles Thursday — and not just because they will compete in the state finals this weekend.

The team’s eight seniors received their diplomas two days early at a special ceremony held in Hickman’s auditorium.

Methodist conference to draw 1,600

The Holiday Inn Executive Center will nearly burst at the seams this weekend as ministers and laypeople from more than 900 churches convene for the Missouri Annual Conference Session of the United Methodist Church.

“Basically, the conference is where we do our year’s business,” said Karen Gordy-Panhorst, communications director for the Methodists.

Missouri Methodists petition to thank Gibson for filming ‘Passion’

Mel Gibson might be hearing from Missouri United Methodists soon.

The Jefferson Avenue United Methodist Church in Moberly sent a petition to the 2004 Missouri Annual Conference Session of the United Methodist Church that suggests thanking Gibson for making “The Passion of The Christ.” The Rev. Bob Seaman suggested the idea to the men’s group at his church.

Fox broadcasting extends its signal in region

The majority of mid-Missouri television viewers without a cable television hookup can now watch the local Fox affiliate without having to “stand on their heads” to get a signal, said Michelle Linn, KQFX director of promotions and public relations.

JW Broadcasting has completed the construction of a transmission tower in Ashland, more than doubling the number of mid-Missouri households that can receive KQFX/Fox 38.

Explorers’ voyage set to new tunes

Some of the most important artifacts to come from Lewis and Clark’s expedition are the journals kept by members of the Corps of Discovery. They describe everything from the speed of the river to the jerking of deer meat. But one thing is noticeably absent from the journal entries: music.

“Nowhere in the journals does it say what music was played,” local folk musician Paul Grace said. “No one knows.”

Everlasting shelter

After serving 22 years in Moberly Correctional Center for theft, Matthew Hobbs came to the St. Francis House in Columbia to live out the final six weeks of his life in 1990. He was dying of brain cancer, and the prison asked that he be medically cared for. But Hobbs was estranged from his family and technically homeless.

Hobbs had been in solitary confinement for the last nine years of his sentence. He required about $200 a month to pay for morphine to ease his pain, and he weighed about 106 pounds.