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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.

Examining the MAP

The music starts as flashlights flicker in the audience. A spotlight shines on the stage. Kids burst through a paper wall like football players on a Friday night, medals dangling from their necks.

This was the scene at Parkade Elementary School last spring as its leaders sought to encourage students to do well on the Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP.

Cyclists complain of poor conditions

There are times and places in Columbia when riding a bicycle can be like swimming with sharks. Traffic hums along a four-lane thoroughfare. You’re on two wheels. Pedals serve as your motor. There are no sidewalks, no turn lanes. The shoulder is littered with gravel, glass and chunks of broken concrete.

By the end of September, Columbia bicyclists had been involved in 17 accidents this year, compared with 10 in 2002. With an overall average of about 10 traffic accidents a day, and more bicyclists taking to the streets, the likelihood for more cycling-related mishaps is strong.

Roadblock weighed for Rollins Street

A proposal before the Missouri Students Association to close a campus section of Rollins Street might soon force student drivers to rethink their navigation strategies.

On Wednesday, MSA, led by President Brett Ordnung, will review legislation to approve blocking general vehicle traffic on Rollins from Hitt Street to Missouri Avenue between 8:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. on weekdays.

Tenants request more accessible recycling bins

Alia Moore has asked the city to place a recycling bin at her apartment complex, and she isn’t alone.

While the city has made strides in expanding recycling opportunities for apartment dwellers, Moore and others continue to haul their cans and bottles to recycling bins outside grocery stores.

A pizzeria's past painted

It might not qualify as a cultural event, but walking past Shakespeare’s Pizza certainly can be an experience.

It’s always packed with students, professors, office workers and families who appreciate not only the food but also the flying chunks of dough, the comedic staff and shouts of “Pizza time!” erupting over the loudspeaker.

County rescue dog undergoes training for Task Force One

There are dogs who look out for people, and then there’s Cal. Cal, a hard-working Belgian Malinois, is in the process of becoming certified to join Missouri’s Task Force One team in Boone County. Once part of the team, he will risk life and paw to save complete strangers.

Cal, short for Calvary, got his name from Calvary Episcopal Church, which held its 13th annual horse show this weekend at the Midway Exposition Center in Columbia. Money raised from this year’s show will help cover the purchase and training of Cal, who arrived in Columbia in late June.

Cycling for life

Accidents will happen, but Columbia’s bike community has seen more accidents in 2003 than in previous years. With more and more bikes on the road, cyclists and drivers must use more than simple caution to prevent unnecessary wrecks.

Officer Lyn Woolford and his colleagues at the Columbia Police Department aren’t sure why the number of bike accidents has nearly doubled from last year. They’ve talked about what they can do to prevent accidents, but they don’t see a pattern.

Change in season is pleasant distraction

Now that some of the bad news is in — for example, the news about higher winter-heating costs — its time for me to start getting prepared for the winter ahead. Most of my friends would say I stay ready year-round and always have a sweater or jacket handy in case of a chill wind, even in July. Preparedness for me, though, is about more than just warm clothes and heavy blankets. It requires a mental, as well as a physical, adjustment.

When the weather is warm, the sun shining and I’m surrounded by blooming flowers, I can maintain a mellow mood. I can swallow the news stories with a grain of salt, drink a cold glass of water and commune with nature. I can lay down on the bank of a bubbling brook and, with a blink of the eye, make the world go away. I can enjoy a picnic with friends, play badminton and take photographs of the birds and beasts that come to visit.

New gun law delayed by injunction

There was no line outside Hallsville’s police department Saturday morning although the building had planned to open at 9 a.m. for people seeking concealed-weapons permits.

“I’m just going to post some signs on the doors that the issuance of permit applications has been postponed until further notice,” Hallsville Police Chief Pete Herring said Friday. The signs, printed on neon-pink paper taped to the doors, were hard to miss.

Schnucks employees sent to ease strike

While Columbia’s Schnucks has not been affected directly by the

St. Louis strike, mid-Missouri Schnucks managers and supervisors have been asked to travel to St. Louis to alleviate pressure from the strike of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655.” Columbia Schnucks stores will maintain their normal operating hours,” Jeff Zimmerman, Schnucks manager, said.

MU finishes Life Science interviews

The interviews are complete. The final of four candidates for the Life Sciences director position, F. Robert Tabita, spoke at a public forum Friday. He presented his scientific seminar Thursday — a requirement of the two-day interview process.

Tabita is an Ohio Eminent Scholar of industrial and agriculture microbiology as well as a professor in the departments of natural resources and plant biology at Ohio State University. During his time there, he has also served as the director of the Plant Molecular Biology program, Plant Biotechnology Center and the Plant-Microbe Genomics Facility.

Neighborhood captains train to sell safety program

Every time someone moves onto Gary Greenlee’s street in Lakeshore Estates, he stops by to tell them about Neighborhood Watch.

A block captain and board member with the crime prevention organization, Greenlee keeps his finger on the pulse of the neighborhood and fulfills the primary objective of his job. It’s what board president Richard Poelling calls “selling Neighborhood Watch.”

Shops vary in reponse to new law

Few businesses can raise the ire of their customers like a cable-television provider. Service interruptions and sudden disconnections can flood a customer service department with complaints.

Now, Mediacom is just one of many Columbia businesses that will have to decide whether allowing customers and employees to carry firearms is a good idea.

Eateries,bars work on policies

While Missouri’s conceal-and-carry legislation discourages mixing firearms with alcohol, owners of Columbia bars and restaurants are trying to figure out what impact the law —on hold due to an injunction— would have on their businesses if enacted.

The law would prohibit people from carrying a concealed weapon into a business that receives the majority of its income from alcohol sales. However, the law also allows an establishment’s management to essentially waive that provision and grant people the right to carry. The law also allows people to keep weapons in cars parked on the premises of bars and restaurants that sell alcohol.

Schools fortify gun ban

The General Assembly’s approval of a new conceal-and-carry law has leaders of some Boone County school districts examining their gun policies.

While the law — temporarily blocked by a St. Louis judge on Friday — prohibits people from carrying hidden guns into schools without the consent of a school board or school official, it allows guns on school property so long as their owners keep them in vehicles and refrain from brandishing the weapons.

Law would let concealed guns into churches

Before the General Assembly approved Missouri’s new concealed-gun law, the Rev. David Casto of Bethel Church and his wife, the Rev. Bonnie Cassida, rented “Bowling for Columbine,” a film about gun violence in America.

Now Casto jokes that perhaps Cassida should operate a gun-check at the door before their Sunday services.

An American story

I pledge allegiance

to the flag ...

The puck drops, she scores

Three flags fly in a brisk fall breeze at the Hallsville Community Park — an American flag, a Missouri State flag and a Canadian flag.

Below them, 15-year-old Melissa McGhee and the rest of her teammates sit on the corner of a concrete hockey rink, just out of reach of players whizzing by on in-line skates. She straps on her shin pads and pulls her jersey over her head.

Gift-bags? Birthday falls short

It’s my birthday. Well, almost — it’s in three days. I am going to be 56, and I still act like a child when it comes to the day of my birth. But usually my expectations far exceed reality.

In my fantasy, I awaken to a room filled with flowers. My dear husband has taken the day off to be with me and grant my every wish. He is standing by my bed with a tray laden with my favorite foods — eggs Benedict, strawberries and cream, and piping-hot coffee. There’s a single rose in a crystal bud vase. He hands me the morning Missourian with a banner headline that reads, “Sharon Harl is having a birthday.”

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