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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.

Drug card complexity stalls use

Despite the Tuesday start date for Medicare’s new prescription drug discount-card program, area pharmacists say complexity, cost and processing delays seem to be discouraging people from using it.

“The whole program is kind of a bust,” said Jim Reid, a pharmacist at The Medicine Shoppe. “It’s too complicated to start out with. We’ve only had three to five inquiries about what’s available. Anyone with any kind of health insurance is better off using their insurance than the card.”

Actor climbs to new heights as Capt. Clark

David Hommes’ portrayal of Capt. William Clark started with a trial. When the re-enactor for Capt. Meriwether Lewis dared his men to climb a rock with him in 2002, Hommes was the only one who took the challenge.

“It was pretty dangerous,” said Scott Mandrell, who has portrayed Lewis since 1996. The 80-foot high rock was on the edge of the Osage River, Mandrell said, “and you had to take off your shoes and climb with your fingers and toes.”

A matter of choice

When you walk around small town Missouri and see all the buildings that have managed to survive floods, tornadoes, fires and every other cataclysm, it’s easy to get wrapped up in how old everything is.

Truth is, this is a fairly young country. Just ask the Chinese or the Egyptians. Or don’t. Just looking at the people we choose to remember will tell you how we view things.

Heidelberg block sees retail change

When the Old Heidelberg reopens its doors in early August, it will be just one change occurring on the section of Ninth Street between University Avenue and Elm Street.

Lion’s Choice, a roast beef sandwich restaurant, opened May 13 next to the Heidelberg in what used to be Osama’s Coffee Zone. Less than 50 feet away, a realty sign has been posted in MU parking lot WC-14.

School district leaders get new posts

Beginning July 1, Sally Lyon will be the focal point of student achievement for Columbia Public Schools. Lyon was recently named director of research, assessment and accountability by Superintendent Phyllis Chase.

In the newly created position, Lyon — currently assistant principal at Gentry Middle School — will coordinate the district-wide efforts in student progress and achievement, providing support for district faculty in improving student performance in all aspects.

Hickman, Rock Bridge to honor graduates

Hearnes Center at MU will fill with caps, gowns and emotional families Saturday as Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools say goodbye to another senior class.

Hickman will graduate 630 seniors at the 2 p.m. ceremony, and Rock Bridge will graduate 436 seniors at 7 p.m.

St. Louis airport gets funds for expansion

ST. LOUIS — The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday announced $48.8 million in funding for expansion project and noise abatement at Lambert Airport.

The grants will help fund the $1.1 billion expansion project at Lambert, a project aimed at allowing the airport to handle more traffic and reduce flight delays. Part of the money will also buy out homes near the expansion project and help reduce the impact of noise on homes that remain.

Twilight fest starts tonight

No one can say there’s nothing to do in Columbia on Thursday evenings in June.

Downtown’s Twilight Festival begins at 6 this evening, and there will be some added attractions to go along with the usual mix of local artists, musicians and family activities.

The Discovery Expedition of St. Charles: Lewis and Clark Re-enactment

Lewis and Clark in Flat Branch Park: Music, dancing, exhibits and hands-on activities related to the Lewis and Clark expedition in conjunction with the downtown Twilight Festival.

Details: 7 p.m. today, Flat Branch Park, 101 S. Fourth St., contact 442-6816

City groups assess foreign-trade zone

If everything falls into place, Columbia might have it’s own foreign-trade zone by mid-2005.

“We’re in exploratory stages at this time,” said Bernie Andrews, president of Regional Economic Development, Inc. “If survey and evaluation results come back positive we could file an application as early as this fall.”

Re-enactor takes the helm as Capt. Lewis

The modern-day Capt. Meriwether Lewis lives in Alton, Ill., works as a teacher in St. Louis and is a staff sergeant in the Montana Army National Guard.

Scott Mandrell won the role as Meriwether Lewis in 1996 because of his background in the Army, history and drama, said Larry McClain, executive director of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles.

Jobs give small hope to sluggish economy

The creation of 20,000 additional jobs throughout Missouri in April appears promising for the state’s economy. But job creation is only one indicator of economic growth — one that some economists find misleading.

Missouri was third in the nation in job growth, the U.S. Department of Labor announced May 26. While the labor statistics are encouraging, they tend to fluctuate quickly and are not necessarily a true sign of economic development, said Ken Troske, MU associate professor of economics.

Cabin remodeling under way

Columbia’s historic Pop Collins Cabin is getting a face-lift and a new home, and it is doing a bit of traveling in the process.

As part of the Department of Parks and Recreation’s master plan for the Stephens Lake Park area, the cabin has been dismantled. It is in the process of being restored before being moved to Nifong Park.

City gives out computers

Sharon Pearl’s children began yelling with excitement when they learned their family was getting a computer.

“I had both of my kids jumping up and down saying, ‘We’re getting a new computer, we’re getting a new computer,’” she said.

Unveiling working-class struggles

Barbara Ehrenreich put aside her status as an acclaimed essayist featured in such diverse publications as Time magazine and The Guardian. She put aside her Ph.D. in biology from Rockefeller University. She put aside everything except for a car, a laptop and $1,300 to immerse herself in the lives of the working poor.

Going on the road to get low-paying jobs and attempting to survive based solely on the income was something Ehrenreich said she never would have considered for herself. That is until Lewis Lapham, her editor at Harper’s Magazine, cornered her into taking the assignment.

A bit of history for all

Jim Goodrich has always loved to engage people in the history of Missouri. As director of the State Historical Society of Missouri and director of its Western Historical Manuscript Collection at MU, he has delighted in making that history as real today as the day it was made.

Goodrich retired in April at age 64 for medical reasons after almost 19 years leading the society. He was the fifth director in the society’s 106 years.

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