The Rape Solution: How crucial are nurse examiners?

When trying to understand why Columbia’s reported number of sexual assaults is lower than peer communities, one question local experts are asking is whether it matters if sexual assault nurse examiners, or SANEs, are in emergency rooms as part of a cooperative community response.

After the city’s Sexual Trauma/Assault Response Team, or START, ended in 2000, Boone Hospital Center continued many of the protocols it had during the START years. Victims were taken to private areas away from the waiting room, a doctor or nurse would call The Shelter and ask for a rape advocate, and trained doctors would use rape kits to collect forensic evidence.

Fight against cancer drives bracelet trend

While Lance Armstrong was winning his sixth Tour de France title in July, he was also winning over supporters in the fight against cancer and creating a fashion trend at the same time.

The simple yellow bracelets bearing Armstrong’s mantra, “Live Strong,” have been seen on the wrists of politicians and celebrities, including President Bush and John Kerry.

Columbus’ heritage put under scrutiny

Few people question the traditional history lesson: In 1492, Christopher Columbus, an Italian from Genoa, set out to sail the ocean blue. He began a voyage for India with the support of Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella — and, in the process, stumbled upon America.

Yet, Charles Merrill, a 1968 Hickman High School graduate, doesn’t accept the traditional story. His research has been incorporated into a prime-time documentary that ran this past week on the Discovery Channel.

From the quilters’ guild with love

The last in line for a show-and-tell, Cindy Bryan waited at a quilters meeting this month to show off six quilts handmade for a special purpose: They will be given to Rainbow House, an emergency shelter for children in Columbia.

Bryan is service project coordinator for the Booneslick Trail Quilters’ Guild, which has made quilts for Rainbow House for six years. The guild’s Starlight and Daylight chapters donate more than 40 quilts a year to the shelter, Bryan said.

Tiger Textbooks to open on Elm Street

Cold Stone Creamery is about to get some company at its Elm Street location. Fred De Marco, owner of the new building, said Tiger Textbooks plans to open there soon, and he’s in discussions with several other businesses.

“Four or five more business leases are being negotiated within the next couple of weeks,” De Marco said.

Bond says early voting lawsuit not necessary

WASHINGTON — Missouri doesn’t need early voting, GOP Sen. Kit Bond said Monday, criticizing a lawsuit filed by St. Louis leaders and Democratic lawmakers.

“I know there’s been some talk about it; I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Bond said.

Best Friends Reunited

When Army Specialist E-4 Jeremiah Smith of Fulton stepped off the bus on July 21 in Fort Leonard Wood after nearly a year in Iraq, he was met by his family, as well as a now-famous friend.

Niki, the black and white Iraqi refugee puppy, has been in the United States since April, a couple months after Smith and members of his Baghdad-stationed unit, the 2175th Military Police Co., befriended the mixed-breed dog. With the help of Military Mascots, Smith shipped Niki back to Fulton, via St. Louis.

Columbia lacks rape response team

The scenario has tragically replayed itself perhaps hundreds of times. A woman is raped, whether by an acquaintance after a party or by a stranger in some unpredictable circumstance. Distraught and disoriented, she wonders what to do.

Should she go to the hospital? Tell the police? Call a sexual assault hot line?

Shooters take aim in competition

At the sound of a buzzer, shooting competitor J.J. Racaza dropped his 007 “martini glass” and attempted to draw his pistol. But as the glass — a slightly modified plastic bottle — bounced at his feet, the weapon held firm in his holster. The holster was still locked, costing him time. Racaza freed his pistol and shells flew from his weapon in two shot bursts. Steel targets fell and he rushed on to finish the stage.

Racaza and other pistol shooters from across the county competed in this and similar contests over the weekend during the United States Practical Shooting Association Area 3 Championship at the Chapman Academy in Hallsville. Match director Emmanuel Bragg said that eight of the top 10 pistol shooters in the world were on hand for the competition, which had a James Bond theme.

Family values different from family influence

Some people seem to think that family values are a set of regulations carved on a stone tablet, handed down through the generations like the Ten Commandments. I think of them as a set of principles passed on, out of which certain behavioral patterns emerge. This subject came up last Sunday when I was visiting with a family member. She suggested that it would be difficult for us to explain to our parents why we were not in church on Sunday morning. Our mothers, after all, attended every Sunday without fail. I disagreed. I replied that I felt like the same set of principles that led my mother to do what she did also leads me to do as I do. My cousin merely looked at me strangely.

When I was growing up, the majority of the children in my neighborhood went to Sunday School. I loved being in Sunday School the same way I once loved being in church. It was one of the few places where I felt at home, as if I belonged there. I think I can truthfully say I have been in churches of virtually every denomination. It has been an experience that has been extremely valuable in helping me shape my own personal theology.

Saying goodbye

Hearts for Valentine’s Day, ducks and bunnies for Easter, angels and trees for Christmas and pumpkins and cats for Halloween. Each holiday, Cheryl Brown and her friend Chelsea would make sugar cookies for family members. Chelsea cut out and baked the cookies with her mom and asked Brown to decorate the first one. Then Chelsea did the rest.

But on Saturday, it was bouquets of pink, red and purple flowers arranged at the front of a room full of mourners and a doll perched on the rim of a small casket.

MU seeks answers from magazine

As MU officials push for more details from a report published in Seventeen magazine, they continue to release more specific plans for the future of the Tiger Hostess program.

The article, published in the September issue of the magazine geared toward female, teenage readers, reports that MU’s athletic department ignored a Tiger Hostess’ claims of sexual harassment. The woman, who is cited anonymously in the article, claims recruits sexually harassed her and coaches joked about her complaints. The article did not say when the alleged incidents occurred.

Kennedy, volunteer fire captain, dies

For 15 years, Mike Kennedy served Boone County as a volunteer with the Boone County Fire Protection District, where he rose to the rank of captain. He was a member of the bomb squad and commander of the fire investigation team.

Fire Chief Steve Paulsell described Mr. Kennedy as “very dedicated to the organization and to fire protection.”

Boundary lines block Pierpont proposal

Boone County Commissioners Skip Elkin and Karen Miller both applauded the initiative of Pierpont residents to incorporate their small piece of land and become a village. But after all the petitions, proposals and attorneys, the residents of Pierpont still have a ways to go — half a mile to be exact.

According to state law, the boundaries of a village must be two miles outside a city’s limit to incorporate. However, the boundaries drawn up in a petition presented by Pierpont’s residents, come within 11/2 miles of Columbia’s newly annexed Phillips Tract. The survey to measure the distance was done by the city after prompting by Fifth Ward Councilman John John.

Cooper’s Landing liquor license hearing ends

It could be weeks or months before Mike Cooper will know if he will be able to sell beer again at Cooper’s Landing, the convenience store he owns on the banks of the Missouri River, south of Columbia. Friday was the final day of Cooper’s hearing before the Administrative Hearing Commission.

A decision will follow a review of the hearing by Commissioner John J. Kopp.

Class reunion rivalry

In the quiet Saturday morning, a sudden burst of drumbeats and rap music awoke the neighbors of Douglass High School as a colorful procession of cars, floats, horses and even a llama paraded around their district.

More than 300 Douglass graduates arrived in Columbia from across the country for the Black and White parade and ball.

Dems seek unity

Democratic winners of Tuesday’s local primary elections carried the national party’s message of unity to the weekly luncheon of the Boone County Muleskinners on Friday.

About 50 people attended, listening to nominees and their representatives talk political strategy while grabbing a plate of fettuccini alfredo.

Search continues for woman

Boone County Sheriff’s Department detectives continue their statewide search for a Columbia woman kidnapped from her residence Thursday morning. The stolen car, however, has been found in Kansas City.

The roommate of Sara Riebold, 25, called detectives to their home in the 11000 block of Old Highway 63 N. Thursday to report Riebold’s disappearance. The roommate said he’d been struck over the head and bound, according to a news release. The release said he reported Riebold and his teal 1994 Mazda Protege missing. The roommate was hospitalized Thursday and released later that day.

Justice put him in prison, now justice is his mission

Flowers adorn the wooden kitchen table. Silverware flanks neatly arranged dishes. A baby’s high chair sits next to the window. As the father prepares to bite into the roast and green beans supper he has prepared, he looks mournfully at his wife, who has put them both on a low-carb diet.

This is a moment in Michael Lenza’s life. It’s a different moment from those that made up his past. Lenza spent 15 years in prison on a murder conviction. He claims he was “very young” then. Now, he is known locally for his research on the death penalty and for his community involvement. He has an insider view of the criminal justice system and uses it to advance his research.

Night out includes piercings

Every summer I reserve two nights back-to-back for boys’ and girls’ nights out with the grandchildren. Boys are the easiest and, quite frankly, the most boring. Give them burgers and a go-cart and they’re good for the night.

Girls are another story. The two oldest co-chairs concocted elaborate plans for the night with Grammy and Papa. Although all seven of my granddaughters were invited, two sisters tested positive for strep throat and had to stay home. We began in late afternoon with a craft. Each girl was given a pair of flip-flops to decorate. They had the table loaded with tubes of paint, silk flowers and an assortment of beads. An hour and several mishaps later, we put the one-of-a-kind footwear on some newspaper to dry.