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Many folks rely on cards to do their talking

Rhiana Scibilia is digging for the right words.

“Sometimes I get frustrated, and I’m just like, ‘Never mind, I’m not gonna pick out a card’ because there’s not one that I think really describes how I’m feeling or how I want something to be said,” Scibilia said while searching the Nifong Boulevard Hallmark store for a Christmas card for her boyfriend. “But most of the time I do find one that’s pretty dead on.”

Traffic deaths hit all-time high

Four fatal crashes in the last month have brought the total number of traffic deaths in Columbia this year to 17 — 10 more than last year and an all-time high.

Another 10 people have died on Boone County’s state highways so far this year — one more than in 2002, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

A day of pride

Brent Scrivner completed his transition from welder to college graduate on Saturday when he walked across the stage in Columbia College’s Southwell Complex.

The 38-year-old Jefferson City man, who started his career as a welder after high school, finished about six years of evening classes to earn his bachelor’s degree in business. While going to school, he worked as a sales engineer at ABB Power T&D Co. in Jefferson City. He graduated cum laude.

Photos of family are awful trial

Last month I had to endure two photo sessions in one week. I have written before that I hate having my picture taken and have gone to great lengths to stay away from the eye of the camera. But I sat for these two photo shoots for two very different reasons, with two different outcomes.

The first was actually my idea. I decided I wanted a portrait of my husband and me surrounded by our 14 grandchildren. Gathering the masses is quite a feat, but after several long-distance phone conversations with my son in Springfield and my daughter in Arkansas, we came up with a date that worked for everyone’s schedule. I told the parents that I wanted all of us to wear black turtlenecks. Being a control freak, I bought seven turtlenecks just in case.

Plans to develop Philips resisted

Developer Elvin Sapp’s lawyers want Columbia residents to know that rezoning is only the first step in a long process for determining the future of the Philips farm — site of the largest and one of the most controversial development proposals in Boone County history.

Sapp wants to put a mix of homes, apartments, businesses and office buildings on the 489 acres outside the southeast border of Columbia.

EPA lists creek as ‘impaired’

Swiftly running snowmelt made Hinkson Creek so cloudy on Thursday that the creek bottom was invisible to Randy Crawford as he made his group’s weekly check on the stream.

Crawford, chief of water quality monitoring for the state Department of Natural Resources, was surveying the creek near Stephens Lake Park to look for changes such as odd colors or odors.

City embraces Famous’ lifestyle

Amy Lewis loves to shop. So when the new 140,000-square-foot Famous Barr in Columbia opened in October, it was “like Christmas coming two months early” for the 25-year-old physical therapist.

“Being from St. Louis, I’m a die-hard Famous Barr customer,” said Lewis. “It’s what I do.”

Paying property taxes made easier, if not painless

Boone County residents should soon be able to pay their property taxes online using electronic checks or credit cards.

Discover cards have been accepted for property taxes since 1996, and the county is adding Visa, MasterCard and American Express. The system also will let taxpayers meet their obligations with electronic checks.

A sense of belonging

Olivia Johnson joins a group of friends in the back yard of the Boys and Girls Club after school. Nearly every day, the group tries to complete the same task. Johnson and four or five other children try to jump in unison with one long rope while two adult mentors swing the ends.

“One ... two ... three ... go!”

Finding a need

In 1987, Donald Van Dyne designed a home specifically for a handicapped couple. Little did he know that 15 years later he would need the wider doors and hallways, lower light switches and a stair-less home for himself.

On March 23, 2002, Van Dyne had a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body.

Signs of speech

Marcus Leech is learning to break free from the isolated world of autism.

Every day is a challenge for 8-year-old Marcus as he struggles to communicate when he’s hungry or tired, said his mother, Kaori Leech.

P&Z OKs two-thirds of Philips proposal

After public hearings and debate that lasted into early this morning, the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission decided to recommend two-thirds of the controversial Philips farm development proposal for approval by the Columbia City Council.

The 489-acre plot southwest of Columbia was divided into nine tracts for zoning purposes, three of which were rejected. The commission did not approve tracts three and nine because members were uncertain whether the city would buy the land and convert it into a park. Members also narrowly rejected tract eight because project developer Elvin Sapp had proposed it have open zoning rather than more constraining planned zoning.

Finding a blessing

Seventy-five-year-old Janet Barnes accomplishes more in a day than some people half her age. That’s pretty good for someone who was not expected to live past her 14th birthday.

Barnes was informally diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 11, and for most of her life she has been dependent on crutches or her wheelchair for mobility. Yet she sees her circumstance as a blessing rather than a hindrance.

Eastward expansion

As the past several years brought an explosion of growth to north, south and west Columbia, the urban fringe east of the city quietly awaited its turn.

That wait is coming to an end. Government officials, landowners, developers and residents say the east side is bound to boom next, given its proximity to central Columbia, the extension of city sewer lines and transportation planners’ renewed push for an extension of Stadium Boulevard. Other features of the area — namely the access provided by Route WW and the existence of large tracts of land that are easier than small lots to buy, plan and develop — also make it appealing.

Floyd: ‘Oh yes, I’ve learned’

Last week, Elson Floyd said that he had no contact with Ricky Clemons after the former MU basketball player was hospitalized for injuries suffered during an accident July 4 at the UM system president’s house.

Floyd also said in a statement issued after recorded telephone conversations between his wife, Carmento, and Clemons became public that he did not encourage his wife’s relationship with Clemons and had advised her against it.

Columbia school officials seek outside help for summer classes

When the Independence School District turned to a private company to operate its summer school, enrollment in summer classes for elementary and middle school students doubled in the first year.

The Raytown School District near Kansas City saw summer school enrollments go up for three consecutive years under the management of the same firm, Newton Learning.

A centering influence

Once the bell rings on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at Blue Ridge Elementary School, the Ocampo brothers race outside and climb into a gray 15-passenger van.

The brothers, 10-year-old Freddy, 9-year-old Cristian and 5-year-old Ivan, are among 40 Latino children who participate in the after-school program at Centro Latino. The resource center has served the Columbia Latino community for three years. Children are picked up from school and receive help on homework from bilingual volunteers.

The custodian of Texas Avenue

Clutching a white plastic grocery bag in one hand, Betty Rose Northup bends down gingerly to scoop up a soggy newspaper with the other. Droplets from the steady November drizzle meander down the wisps of matted golden hair poking out from under her white hat.

“It’s a throw-away society,” Northup says as she fills the bag, her dog, Shadow, in tow. “People throw away dogs; they throw away babies.”

Support among loved ones

Clad in a dark green flight suit just like his dad’s, 4-year-old Jarod Farnham waved a miniature American flag and sang “I’m Proud to Be an American.”

According to his mother, Jarod wants to be a pilot when he grows up. But right now, he just wants to be near his father, Bruce Farnham, a pilot with the National Guard’s recently deployed C Company 1-106th Aviation Battalion.

MU fans finding no room at inns

Even with 3,600 tickets to the game still to be sold, Shreveport, La., has run out of room — literally.

Although Shreveport, a town of more than 200,000, has designated only 26 hotels for fans hoping to attend the Independence Bowl, all of the city’s 68 hotels are booked for the New Year’s Eve game.

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