Mastering martial arts

The serene atmosphere of Peace Park was a fitting setting for the focused movements of Japanese swordsmanship on an early Sunday morning. Joseph Bowes, 54, led a private lesson with an accomplished student in the ancient traditions of Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu.

Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu are rooted in warrior traditions and have been around for more than 650 years with little alteration. Kenjutsu uses wooden weapons and features full speed and contact. Steel blades are the combat tool in Iaijutsu. The traditions require mastery of a variety of weapons, including long and short swords, a 6-foot staff, a 9-foot pole and the naginata, a long pole with a hooked end.

AmerenUE seeks to raise non-gas charges

Columbia residents have been hearing for months that they can expect higher natural gas bills this winter. Those bills could be even higher in December if the Missouri Public Service Commission approves a proposed 78 percent increase in the non-gas portion of AmerenUE bills.

Doug Micheel of the Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers on utility issues, said he has fielded several calls from residents who are worried about the proposed increase, many of them from Columbia.

Radio revitalized

In 1975, David Owens left his home and family on his grandparents’ farm to join a fledgling community radio station in Columbia. He wanted to make a difference in people’s lives by fostering communication through diverse voices. Owens spent the next 18 years at KOPN/89.5 FM, watching it blossom in the late 1970s and then suffer through harder times in the 1980s.

After nine years at Lincoln University in Jefferson City as program director of KJLU, Owens returned to KOPN on Monday as the new station manager.

Husker faces assault charge

The University of Nebraska football player who was videotaped punching an MU fan Saturday night was suspended Tuesday for one game.

The suspension comes the same day that 21-year-old Matthew Scott of Lee’s Summit contacted the MU Police Department to press charges against Kellen Huston, the Nebraska football player who was videotaped punching him on Faurot Field after MU’s 41-24 victory Saturday night.

Bill adds perks for biodiesel users

Every day, tanker trucks fill up their tanks with gasoline or diesel at the Williams Pipe Line Co. south of Columbia. Next door, at the Piasa Bulk Terminal, trucks can top off with ethanol or biodiesel before getting back on U.S. 63.

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof held a news conference at the Piasa terminal to promote a bill he introduced in Congress to provide tax credits to users of biodiesel and continue tax credits already in place for ethanol.

Road work frustrates residents

Kurt Armstrong has lived on Barber Road in northern Boone County for almost 25 years. Tree branches used to hang down over the dirt road, and the ditches were dangerous. Cars and trucks would rumble down the lane, leaving Armstrong and his neighbors in a dust storm.

The Boone County Public Works Department this summer began preparing Barber Road for a chip-and-seal surface, and Armstrong couldn’t have been happier.

Increase in utility rates up for vote

Columbia and Boone County residents will pay a few dollars more for water and sewer service during the next decade if voters pass three bond issues on Nov. 4.

City voters will see three bond issues on the ballot, while county voters will see only a proposal from the Boone County Regional Sewer District. All three measures call for increases in monthly water and sewer bills.

Police force seeks counsel from clergy

Ashland police are looking to the clergy for a helping hand.

The town in southern Boone County, which starts its city council meetings with a prayer, plans to provide officers with chaplains to counsel them on difficulties encountered in their personal lives or on the job.

Chamber endorses Nov. bond issues

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is encouraging residents to vote “yes” in November.

The group announced its support Monday for three water and sewer bond issues on the Nov. 4 ballot. Together, the bonds would pay for more than $50 million worth of projects in Columbia and Boone County.

Dealers: Gun sales don’t reflect interest in new permits

Conventional wisdom suggests that Missouri’s new conceal-and-carry law would be a bonanza for gun dealers, sending gun sales through the roof.

But so far, the evidence proves otherwise, according to several area gun shop owners.

Ready to rebuild

Two ceramic tigers and four German beer steins are the only relics that survived the early-morning blaze back in August. Even the well-known red-brick façade must now be torn down.

“Everything else was charred or not worth saving,” said Rusty Walls, whose family has owned The Olde Heidelberg for 40 years. “That’s all I’ve got left from it.”

MU Health Care out of the red

It’s a step in the right direction, but by no means a final solution.

That was the message from University of Missouri Health Care officials Monday as they announced an $8 million profit in the fiscal year that ended June 30. The surplus is the health care system’s first in four years, and it comes after suffering more than $30 million in losses between June 1999 and June 2002.

In the wake of a win

For the MU football team, the aftermath of its first win over Nebraska in 25 years was unsurprisingly good. The Tigers moved back into the Associated Press Top 25 poll at No. 24.

Tiger fans did not fare as well.

Event to advise disabled on jobs

Part of Pam Morrison’s job at MU’s Department of Physical Therapy is running errands. But because she travels by wheelchair, things like heavy doors and stairs can stand in the way.

Morrison has been steadily employed in the Columbia area since 1980, so she has learned how to get and keep her job through trial and error.

Orientation may be part of anti-bias rule

Nondiscrimination policies at the University of Missouri could include a new classification — sexual orientation — if the Board of Curators approves the change this week.

The proposed change, subject to a vote Thursday when the governing board meets in St. Louis, was recommended most recently by UM system president Elson Floyd.

Outdoor school

By opening its new outdoor classroom Monday, Mill Creek Elementary School hopes to offer students a hands-on learning experience unlike any other Columbia Public School. The facility, behind the school, features a butterfly garden, a shelter house, and a walk path that winds through wetlands and a prairie.

Rob Myer, chairman of the outdoor classroom committee, said other schools have outdoor classrooms, but none offers as much as the new facility, located on the school’s 20-acre property.

Movie to document MU Antler antics

When R. Scott Murphy attended MU as a naive freshman, a group of clever student pranksters caught his eye. Two decades later, Murphy is a successful advertising executive in Austin, Texas, but he is still captivated by MU’s ornery Antlers.

Murphy, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MU’s journalism school in the late 1980s, wrote a screenplay after being prodded by friends and colleagues to turn his fascination with the Antlers into a movie.

School board plans more free lunches

There might be such things as free lunches for the Columbia Public School District in the coming years. The Columbia Board of Education adopted a resolution Monday that supports gradually raising federal eligibility guidelines for free and reduced lunches.

More families would be eligible for free lunches under the proposed guidelines, and families currently on the reduced lunch program would get free lunches.

Couple enjoys specialty publishing business

If you have lived in Columbia for a while, or even if you are thinking of moving here, you are likely to have seen a book with a yellow oval heading in racks around town. The publication is called The Real Estate Book of Columbia & Surrounding Communities, and it is compiled by Maximum Media Inc.

More than eight years ago, husband-and-wife team Anthony Holmes and Lesha Hageman founded Maximum Media. The Real Estate Book, which comes out every two weeks, was their first project. The book is a franchise, but Hageman and Holmes decided to purchase the rights to the local territory in 1995. Hageman, who was a real estate agent, was advertising in The Real Estate Book at that time. When the owners decided to sell, Hageman and Holmes jumped on the opportunity.

One crabby pet

A hermit crab peers out of its shell and, having decided the path is clear, scurries across the sand to a small pond of water. Using its claws, the crab begins to scoop water into its mouth. As a handful of onlookers watches in amazement, Hasan Zubair steps forward and makes his sales pitch.

“Crabs do a lot of neat things like that,” he says.