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More than spiritual growth

Although you might not have noticed, for the past 20 years two small brick buildings in a five-acre field of grass at 301 W. Green Meadows Road have been Rock Bridge Christian Church. Now, the congregation has decided to build a sanctuary that’s sure to be noticed.

The congregation intended to build the sanctuary 20 years ago, but generosity held it back.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events

Learn tolerance from life of MLK

It’s hard to dwell on life’s more serious aspects with your cat at your feet, spread out on his back, sound asleep with all four of his paws pointed skyward. It does remind you, however, about the necessity of keeping things in their proper perspective. Simply put, the earth will not stop turning because you forgot to put out the garbage, and the sky will not fall because you forgot your aunt’s 90th birthday. But dire consequences could result if you don’t remember to check the oil in your car.

Keeping things in perspective is important, and even when you have a cooperative cat, it’s not always easy to achieve. And to be honest, I’m sometimes not even in the mood to try. That’s one purpose the observation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday serves in my life. When I’m reminded of the example this man set before us in his brief lifetime, it’s embarrassing to examine some of my attitudes and behaviors in the areas of generating peace and understanding.

Bus safety concerns renewed

When a school bus overturned outside St. Louis last Monday, seriously injuring one student and the bus driver, Marla Wilcox reacted like many local parents.

“It caused fear, of course,” she said. “I have a kid that rides the school bus.”

Mad cow far from only food-borne health risk

The risk of contracting the human form of mad cow disease is minute, but Americans face other food-borne risks from bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

More people die each year in the United States from these bacterial infections than have died from variant Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease — thought to be caused by mad cow disease — thus far around the world.

Tigers’ victory bucks recent trend

NORMAN, Okla. – Coming in, the Missouri men’s basketball team knew winning at Oklahoma’s Lloyd Noble Center would not be easy and would probably be decided in the final moments.

It wasn’t easy and was decided in overtime, and that’s what made Saturday’s 79-75 victory against the Sooners all the more special.

The search for affordable housing

For nine years, Jean Cribb lived in an apartment at the end of a cul-de-sac in a busy area of northeast Columbia, near Interstate 70. The nighttime traffic noise was tough to take, so Cribb, a single parent of two children, asked a real estate agent to help her find a three-bedroom home in the $300-a-month range.

A year passed, during which the agent showed Cribb just one house she could afford to buy. The house, in the Lake of the Woods area, was a “major fixer-upper,” said Cribb, who has an in-store marketing job with Sears in the Columbia Mall. “It was disappointing to see what my money would really get me.”

Renters may be surprised by approval

Deciding whether to buy a home is like asking someone to dance, said Rob Weagley, chairman of the consumer and family economics department at MU. It can be particularly intimidating for people with low or moderate incomes, who, assuming they won’t qualify, are sometimes reluctant to ask financial professionals about mortgages.

But with the availability of low-interest mortgages and special homeownership programs, families of modest means can stop paying rent and put their money into owning a house.

City water treatment unit could be leaking

Groundwater studies in the vicinity of wells that draw drinking water for Columbia indicate that one of the city’s wetlands units used to treat waste water could be leaking contaminants into the underground system.

Joseph Richards of the U.S. Geological Survey, which has been studying groundwater in the Missouri River bottoms south of Columbia since 1992, said increased levels of chloride, sulfate and sodium have been detected in monitoring wells since 1995. The highest levels of chloride were detected in a monitoring well 50 to 100 feet from a city wetlands treatment unit.

Discovering POWs’ lives

Today the Sigma Phi Epsilon house on Kentucky Boulevard at UM is full of students. Sixty years ago it was full of prisoners of war.

During World War II, 15,000 Italian and German POWs were held in 30 camps in Missouri. Today, many people know nothing of this local lore.

A neighborhood makeover

When Square Circle resident Tasha Loggins orders a pizza, she’s often asked if her address is a joke.

Square Circle is a cul-de-sac off of Hoedown Drive where Loggins has lived in a rented, ranch-style duplex for nine years. The 21-year-old said she’s never been fond of the street name. She’s even more put off by the disrepair of the private street, which she said is hard on her car.

Fire station to aid southeast

Residents who live on the southeast side of Columbia near U.S. 63 soon will have a neighborhood fire station.

The Boone County Fire Protection District has bought 2.4 acres and a building from Simon Steel, 5881 S. U.S. 63, for $700,000. The money comes from a 1998 fire district bond issue.

Blunt kicks off tour, outlines goals at MU

Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt spread the news of his candidacy for governor in a tour starting in Columbia on Saturday. He also visited Camdenton, Joplin and Branson to outline his goals and ask for support.

About 70 people, among them Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane and Boone County Presiding Commissioner Keith Schnarre, gathered in MU’s Memorial Union to show their support.

Democrats join race for 24th District, treasurer

Travis Ballenger, a fourth-generation Boone County native, is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for the 24th District seat in the Missouri House. It would be his first legislative position.

Ballenger, along with Mark Powell, a candidate for state treasurer, asked for support from local Democrats on Friday after the Boone County Muleskinners luncheon at Stephens College.

Senate panel to scrutinize Muslim funds

WASHINGTON — The Senate Finance committee has asked the Internal Revenue Service to turn over confidential tax and financial records, including donor lists, for dozens of Muslim charities and foundations as part of a widening congressional investigation into alleged ties between tax-exempt organizations and terrorist groups, according to documents and officials.

The request marks a rare and unusually broad use of the Finance Committee’s power to obtain private financial records held by the government, and raises the possibility that individual contributors to the Holy Land Foundation or the activities of the Muslim Student Association could be subjected to Senate scrutiny.

Agency has denied ties to terrorists

The Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency has faced government scrutiny in the past.

In 1999, the U.S. Agency for International Development revoked most of a $4.2 million grant to the agency after the State Department asserted that the group had ties to Sudan’s government — which had been identified by the U.S. government as friendly to terrorist organizations.

Fostering the future

Jasmine Coleman is a popular honors student in her sophomore year at Hickman High School. She has a boyfriend and a part-time job that funds outings to the mall with her friends. She’s active in student government and well-liked by her teachers. She sees college in her future, followed by a career in medicine. No one close to her doubts that she will achieve whatever she sets out to do.

What you might not guess about Jasmine is that she is one of 4,769 teens in Missouri who are in foster care.

Not exactly free rent

Andrew Cobb and Carl Giacchi watch TV as they wait for emergency calls at Station 14 of the Boone County Fire Protection District.

Cobb, an MU political science major, has been living at the station free for a year and a half. Although Giacchi no longer lives at a station, he’s lived at stations for a total of five years. He is now the lieutenant of Station 14.

Jeep fire no accident

The Columbia woman who was badly burned Monday in a vehicle fire survived her second round of surgeries Thursday. Meanwhile, investigators have ruled that the fire was intentionally set using an accelerant.

“We eliminated unintentional causes such as mechanical failure,” said Steven Sapp, battalion chief with the Columbia Fire Department. “So we drew the conclusion that it was an intentionally set fire.”

Missouri MAP test standards reviewed

JEFFERSON CITY — Some Missouri legislators proposed a plan Thursday to stop penalizing Missouri schools for being too tough in testing students.

A House and Senate bill to rework various components of Missouri’s MAP testing regimen will help allow schools to meet a federal standard that is actually lower than the goal than Missouri educators set for themselves.

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