Fair spotlights Columbia artists

The Missouri State Fair draws prize sheep, dairy cattle and swine from across the state to compete for ribbons, but a small building away from the livestock barns and the midway houses paintings, sculptures, and photographs from some of Missouri’s top amateur and professional artists. Few towns are better represented than Columbia.

The Fine Arts Building spotlights artists from Columbia in four competitive divisions, including the Missouri 50 Exhibition, the top 50 pieces submitted to the Fair’s Fine Arts Department.

Chainsaw sculptors keep crowd guessing

Standing side by side, Stacey Robinson and his son, Clint, start their chainsaws. Each approaches a chest-high log and begins carving.

Audience members stare, point and nudge each other.

New teachers anticipate opening day

When the morning bell rings Monday in the Columbia Public Schools, the students might not be the only ones facing first-day jitters.

This year, 119 teachers will work in the district for the first time, and 51 are first-year teachers.

Energy initiative to appear on ballot

Columbia voters will decide on a petition initiative Nov. 2 that would require the city to obtain increasing amounts of its energy from renewable sources. The matter was referred to the ballot after it failed to win City Council approval Monday night.

Sixth Ward Councilman Brian Ash said he doesn’t disagree with the spirit of the law but voted against it because he thought it should be turned over to the voters.

Recruits steam into Naval ROTC life at orientation

Freshman Amanda Heismann could hear the earth crunch beneath her shiny black boots. At 5:30 a.m., little noise punctuated the balmy air in Hinkson Park — except for the screaming.

The cry of 30 voices sliced the dark.

Teens’ campaign vs. Bush goes national

Future Voters Against Bush has come a long way in a short time. Founded in mid-May by two Columbia 13-year-olds, the organization is now sparking the interest of teenagers across the country.

“We were hoping we could make a difference,” said Lucia Bourgeois, one of the group’s co-founders. “We were hoping we could change some minds and hoping we could get the word out.”

Interim head leading Independent School

Students returning to Columbia Independent School will have a new head of school this year. Charles McClain, 72, will act as interim head until the school’s board finds a permanent replacement for Dee Corn.

McClain has over 50 years of experience ranging from teaching grade school to university administration to serving as commissioner of higher education for Missouri. CIS parents are impressed.

Private school to integrate Bible with core curriculum

A new private Christian academy has opened its doors in Columbia.

The Family Worship Center Academy on Bonne Femme Church Road began classes Monday with the goal of combining an individualized curriculum with a Christian education.

Designated-driver program draws few

When MU senior Nichole Radman ordered a bottomless soda at Fat Otter’s Street Pub, she wanted to get her $3 worth. She didn’t realize she could have gotten it for free.

Since its opening in January, Fat Otter’s has participated in Cheers, a statewide program in which designated drivers receive free nonalcoholic beverages upon request. But few students take advantage of the program.

Call it junk if you must, but some students call it lunch

High-calorie foods such as soda, Doritos, Pop Tarts and Snickers line the vending machines at both Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools. And that’s fine with Rock Bridge sophomore Kelsey Thompson.

“Sugary foods keep us awake,” Thompson said.

Modern-day Will Rogers really knows the ropes

It all started with a book — “Will Rogers: His Life and Times” — given to him as a travel gift. From there, a trip to a library in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., led John Hock to check out “Roping,” and he’s been spinning one ever since.

“I read about Will Rogers’ roping capabilities, and I wanted to learn how,” Hock said.

Schools may face No Child penalty

Five of Columbia’s 19 elementary schools — Blue Ridge, Derby Ridge, Eugene Field, Parkade and West Boulevard — face sanctions under the federal No Child Left Behind Act if new state test scores expected out this week do not show improvement from 2003.

Under the act, any school that does not meet yearly state testing goals for two consecutive years in the same subject must offer parents the option of transferring their children to better-performing schools. This will be the first year that school transfers could be required under the act in Missouri.

Number of pool-goers takes a dip

It was a short day at Pirates’ Landing for the Sillyman family on Monday.

“We’re getting ready to go; the kids were freezing in the water,” Mindy Sillyman said as she and her husband, Bryce, corralled their two kids toward the exit.

Walks of life meet at State Fair

SEDALIA — Bobo doesn’t like you. He thinks you have big ears, bad hair and a bubble butt. Even worse, he’ll tell you right to your face.

Name-calling is all part of a day’s work for Bobo the Insult Clown, whose dunk tank is one of the dozens of Midway attractions at the Missouri State Fair.

Band carries on a bluegrass tradition

SEDALIA — In the Women’s Building at the Missouri State Fair, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources displays maps and models that show the location of state parks and reflect the quality of the state’s air and water. Outside, on the front porch, five musicians demonstrate another Missouri natural resource: bluegrass music.

Under a small tent, listeners sit on benches facing a wide porch and tall white columns. The band, in dark pants and light-blue shirts, plays traditional bluegrass and takes requests from the audience while fairgoers peruse attractions in the building.

Power lifting not for the weak of arm

SEDALIA — Demetrius Davis positions his back on the bench and closes his hands around the bar. His spotter lifts the weight from the rack and centers it over Davis’ shoulders. The crowd gasps as he goes through the motions of bench-pressing 450 pounds: lower, press, pause, rack.

Davis, 27, was one of nearly 35 bench-press competitors at the Missouri State Fair on Sunday. He began weightlifting in high school in Huntsville. Now a resident of Columbia, Davis has been competing in power-lifting events for three years.

Columbia College reveals new commons

With its tall glass windows and metal accents, the Atkins-Holman Student Commons at Columbia College looks more like a trendy shopping center than an academic building. But the new structure is about more than form. It brings together several offices that had previously been scattered across the college.

“It’s a lot easier than having to walk all the way to the other end of campus,” sophomore Rachell Ramirez said while shopping for textbooks.

City CVB requests $248,323

The City Council kicked off its annual budget review with the first of three public hearings Monday night.

Recommendations were heard regarding community services, public support for the arts and federal grant money earmarked for community improvement projects.

Up close and personal

When the gates of Memorial Stadium opened Sunday, a mass of black and gold engulfed the turf of Faurot Field. Excited fans bypassed the stadium stairs and raced down the grassy hillside above the end zone to get a closer look at the MU Tigers.

Tiger fans gathered Sunday afternoon to meet their favorite players at MU’s second annual Fan Day. Coach Gary Pinkel and his players signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans who anxiously waited in lines.

City touts proposals to save energy

As Columbia utility customers brace for monthly water and light bills that probably will rise by an estimated average of $6 this fall, city administrators are proposing new and expanded energy conservation measures intended to help consumers — and the city — save money.

“With the cost of power going up, it becomes more advantageous and more economical to conserve,” said Jay Hasheider, energy services supervisor for the city. “We need to get people to conserve, especially during those peak hours.”