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Federal grant to benefit bird conservation

The Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative is among the benefactors of more than $1.23 million in federal funds coming to Missouri for conservation projects.

The bird initiative is in line for $100,000 of the federal conservation money. The coalition of 28 organizations — from hunting groups to those who enjoy bird watching — will survey local bird populations and create management conservation plans for Missouri birds.

Your guide to First Night

First Night 2004, Columbia’s downtown celebration of New Year’s is coming up Wednesday. The festivities start at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, and admission buttons cost $7.

Sweet & Sour Shreveport

SHREVEPORT, La. — Playing in its first bowl game in five years, the MU football team is by no means picky. Even so, when the Tigers arrived in Shreveport on Saturday afternoon to prepare for Wednesday’s Independence Bowl, they were surprised with the city that greeted them.

“It was a lot different than we expected — in a good way,” offensive tackle Rob Droege said.

Market for jobs provides Holden cover

JEFFERSON CITY — Nearly a year ago, Missouri’s job situation appeared to be one of Gov. Bob Holden’s greatest liabilities. Now, Holden is trying to turn it into one of his greatest strengths.

What a difference a year can make.

Getting to Shreveport is half the fun

Except for his time-share in Branson, Greg Tyndall has no ties to Missouri. But the resident of Shreveport, La., has taken it upon himself to help out fans planning to attend the Independence Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

Tyndall, who was born and raised in Shreveport, says hearing the city’s name on national news is a pretty big deal. And he likes to help people who haven’t visited his hometown.

A few thoughts to end the year

On the first day of winter, when a lot of folks are doing their final countdown to Christmas, I begin my countdown to the first day of spring. From this account you can see that I’m ending another year, exactly like I began it, with my name stamped in, on the minority opinion side of the ledger. So, I might as well go ahead and confess all of my digressions from popular opinions while I have a few days left on this year’s calendar.

Fight to survive

MOBERLY — Little evidence of the sport of boxing shows in this small, quaint town that was left on the economic ropes after an exodus of jobs in the late 1980s and early 1991.

But boxing equipment manufacturer Everlast is doing its part to beat back more job losses after it consolidated its operations and made its Moberly plant the only place in the United States to produce a range of equipment for professional and amateur boxing.

First Night adds new venues, acts

Eight state champion fiddlers, free cake and four hours of old-time fiddling — all in a church on New Year’s Eve.

The Missouri United Methodist Church at 204 S. Ninth St., along with the Missouri Traditional Fiddle and Dance Network, is hosting a traditional fiddle exhibition as part of Columbia’s First Night 2004. The fiddle music, along with other entertainment and activities, begins at 6 p.m. in the church with a cake walk.

City wants borders to keep expanding

Voters’ rejection of five involuntary annexation proposals in August 2002 hasn’t prevented Columbia from expanding its borders.

In the 17 months since that vote, the city has approved 24 voluntary annexations encompassing nearly 400 acres. Much of that land is within the 8.6 square miles of territory targeted by the ballot issues. The vast majority has been zoned for single- or multi-family homes.

Columbia is ranked high for accessibility

The National Organization on Disability has named Columbia one of 11 finalists in the third annual Accessible America Contest.

“All of the finalists have gone way beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. They have been very creative with their accessibility programs and do a good job at welcoming people with disabilities into their community,” Brewster Thackeray, vice president of the national group, said Saturday.

City plans to donate computers

The city of Columbia used to dispose of its outdated computers at monthly auctions held at MU’s surplus property warehouse. Recent auctions, however, have brought as little as $10 per computer. City Finance Director Lori Fleming said a recent auction of more than 50 monitors brought the city less than $200.

A new Homes for Computers program offers a better way to discard the city’s outdated computers — by giving them away.

Thank children’s teachers

Editor’s note: Sharon Harl shares one of her favorite columns, along with a reminder to thank those who teach.

I never realized how much a teacher could affect the life of a young person until I became a teacher myself. When my kids were young they would come home with statements like “Miss Smith says we should brush our teeth twice a day.” With an in-house dentist who was constantly nagging the kids to brush more often, I was amazed that the “teacher” got through with the message where he had failed.

Nativity interpreted in local clay

Sue Gerard points a slightly shaky finger at the matronly figure of Mary in her Nativity scene.

The girl, made of cream-colored clay, stands behind a manger and cradles a bundle. Gerard explains that her minister told her Mary was probably only 14 when she gave birth to Jesus.

Holiday duty in Iraq is felt at home

This Christmas, Centralia’s Jason Blakemore will not take the presence of his family for granted. Unlike many of his comrades still in Iraq, Blakemore, of the 101st Airborne Division, will get to spend the Christmas holiday with his family, possibly watching the movie “Christmas Vacation.”

According to Blakemore, being away from his family was harder on them than it was on him.

Mo. experts, industry insist beef is safe

Despite the discovery of mad cow disease on a dairy farm in Washington state, Missouri’s beef supply of 4.5 million cattle is safe, veterinary and beef industry experts say.

Missouri’s $1 billion-per-year beef industry ranks second in the nation, behind Texas. There are 40,000 cattle in Boone County alone. Dr. Jeff Tyler, professor of food animal medicine and surgery at the MU School of Veterinary Medicine, who recently co-authored a research paper on mad cow disease, wasn’t surprised to hear about the Washington case. However, he said people should not be concerned about contracting the disease, which is officially known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Beth Shalom serves cookies, thanks

This Christmas Eve, members of the First Baptist Church of Columbia were to have been greeted by smiling faces and large tables adorned with festive Christmas tablecloths and filled with homemade cookies, fudge and pastries. Hot apple cider was to have warmed them before they stepped out into cold December air.

This wasn’t the ladies’ Sunday school class or a youth ministry bake sale at work. This dessert reception after the 11 p.m. service was planned by Congregation Beth Shalom Synagogue in Columbia.

Woman spreads spirit of Kwanzaa

Nia Imani’s name is a testament to the message of Kwanzaa.

More than two decades ago, she changed her first and last name to glorify the Kwanzaa principles that most inspire her.

Applicants sought for city positions

The city of Columbia has made applications for city boards and commissions available. The applications are available from the city clerk’s office or on the Internet at www.gocolumbiamo.com.

There are seven vacancies.

Charity still needs donations

Some of Maj. George Windham’s hopes of reaching his holiday goal lie with the people who have been ringing Salvation Army bells for the past few weeks.

By Jan. 15, Windham, the commanding officer for the Salvation Army in Boone County, wants to have raised $250,000 — $7,000 more than last year. Through bell ringers and private donations, the Salvation Army has raised about $170,000 so far.

Red Cross seeks blood donations

The American Red Cross is predicting that by Jan. 1 its blood supply will be gone.

According to the Red Cross, blood supplies typically decline during the holidays and deplete regional supplies. The Red Cross has already issued a community alert asking for blood donations because patient needs might be compromised.

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