Category Archives: Columbia-Boone County

We want to hear from you as we look at how we cover Columbia neighborhoods

Dear Readers:

We’re taking a break this summer from updating the Missourian Neighborhood News blog, in part to look at whether this is the best way to showcase neighborhood news for Columbia. We’ll be asking a similar question about the monthly newsletters we e-mail to people who sign up for them.

If you have thoughts on this or ideas about how we can improve, please be in touch. As the editor overseeing the Missourian’s neighborhoods coverage, I’d like very much to hear from you. Some of the things on my mind: Should we include the obituaries of people from your neighborhood in newsletters or on the blog? Should we include your submissions to

Send me an e-mail at I’m in and out of the newsroom until June 27, when I’ll be back full time, but I am reachable by e-mail.

Thanks for your help with story ideas and information about your neighborhoods this year.


Elizabeth Brixey

City editor, Columbia Missourian

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia-Boone County

Fairview youth group does Rent-A-Youth month



The Fairview United Methodist Church youth group is at it again.

The group is trying new methods of fund-raising for its summer mission trip to Cincinnati for a Week of Hope volunteer event. Right now, the group is holding Rent-A-Youth month, which will last the entire month of May.

If you rent a youth, you can employ members of the youth group to do tasks such as babysitting, painting and lawn work.The proceeds will go directly to funding the July trip.

To rent a youth, call Linda Adams at  (573) 445-2832.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cherry Hill—Stonecrest—Fairview, Columbia-Boone County

Rock Bridge’s Niyonzima Etienne named Gates Millennium Scholar



Rock Bridge High School senior Niyonzima Etienne was named one of the 1,000 nationwide recipients of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The scholarship will pay for Etienne’s undergraduate education at Missouri State University, where he plans to earn a degree in construction management.

According to the program’s website, the scholarship can be used at the university of the recipient’s choice, and is awarded based on academic achievement, community service and leadership potential.

Niyonzima Etienne

Etienne, who was born in the Congo, was a refugee in Tanzania until he moved to the U.S. with his family in 2007. When he came to Columbia, he spoke no English. But he was a quick learner, and soon wanted to teach English to other African refugees in the area.

In an interview with Etienne earlier this year, he said the three needs of refugees that must be met for them to have successful lives in the U.S. are English language skills, transportation and employment. Etienne began teaching refugees English in his living room every week. He also travels to churches and hospitals with them to act as a translator. In February, he was helping 10 families.

Earlier this year, Etienne was named one of six distinguished finalists in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The program honors middle and high school students for outstanding community service.

Upon receiving a construction management degree, Etienne hopes to employ refugees to help build structures in their communities. Etienne will graduate from Rock Bridge on May 21.

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia-Boone County, Rock Bridge—Green Meadows—Bedford Walk—Cedar Lake, Schools

Meet your neighbor: Connie Leipard



Connie Leipard works daily to give girls the chance to do whatever they want when they grow up — including construction work.

Connie Leipard works in her office at Quality Drywall Construction on May 5. Leipard is a regional director for the National Association of Women in Construction.

Leipard, who owns Quality Drywall Construction, 165 E. Hoedown Drive, with her husband, Michael, is the Region 6 director of the National Association of Women in Construction. The all-female organization supports women in the construction industry, and sponsors youth events to build awareness and interest for construction work in the younger generation.

Region 6 comprises Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, and part of Illinois, and includes seven chapters with about 300 members total. Nationwide, NAWIC has 14 regions and about 4,000 members. The organization also has chapters in Canada, the U.K. and South Africa.

NAWIC sponsors the Block Kids Building Program, which challenges elementary school-age children with the MacGyver-esque task of creating a structure in one hour, using only 100 Lego bricks, a rock, a string, a piece of aluminum foil and a poster board. This year, a second grader from Region 6, Augustus May, won first place at the national Block Kids competition and will be honored this fall at the Construction Innovation Forum NOVA Awards banquet in Orlando, Fla.

Leipard said the most influential youth program NAWIC sponsors is Mother-Daughter Construction Career Day at Linn State Technical College in Linn.

“We try to get out and help the girls think that in real life they can be successful at anything they really want to do,” she said. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia-Boone County, Rock Bridge—Green Meadows—Bedford Walk—Cedar Lake

Meet your neighbor: Harold Helvey

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Harold Helvey graduated from Hickman High School on a Friday in early June of 1993. The following Monday, he started working at Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises, a sheltered workshop in Columbia that employs people with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. Helvey has autism.

If you live near Shepard Boulevard, you have probably seen Helvey in the neighborhood. Growing up there, Helvey used to walk around the neighborhood every day. He comes to back to Shepard every Saturday now to spend time with his parents and ride his bike around the neighborhood. He lives at a Woodhaven house, which helps people with developmental disabilities by providing supervision in their own homes.

Bill and Julia Helvey, Harold’s parents, said they did not have any reservations about him going to work at CMSE immediately after high school. Bruce Young, the director of CMSE, said some parents worry about their child working at a sheltered workshop.

“Some are scared that if they come to the workshop, they’ll be here forever, and that’s just not the case,” Young said. Continue reading


Filed under Bearfield—Grindstone, Columbia-Boone County, Woodridge—Shepard

Hickman senior named 18th Presidential Scholar



Before he goes to college this fall, high school senior Eric Young will get to meet the president.

This year, he was named Hickman High School’s 18th Presidential Scholar. The award recognizes some of the nation’s most accomplished high school seniors and  includes the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C., and meet President Obama.

Young, 18, said he was surprised to even be a semifinalist in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which was established in 1964 by executive order of President John F. Kennedy.

“I was pretty surprised and I think that’s what made it so exciting,” Young said of the award.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Columbia-Boone County

Unity Center of Columbia to host screening of Globalized Soul



The Unity Center of Columbia will host one of the first screenings of “Globalized Soul,” a documentary celebrating the ideas of peace, equality and harmony in the global community, later this month.

The film, which is part of the Unity Center’s Spiritual Cinema series, will be followed by a group discussion with the documentary’s maker, Cynthia Lukas.

“Globalized Soul” took three years to make and includes commentary by religious leaders including the Dalai Lama along with footage from five continents.

The messages the film communicates are universally important, Unity Center Senior Minister Kristin Powell said.

“I think that learning about the diversity of opinions from different religious leaders is important,” Powell said. “The film is about coming together to contribute meaningful solutions to world issues, honoring different religions and their own unique beliefs and finding common ground among different groups so that everybody isn’t working in isolation.”

The screening will be held on Friday, May 20, at 7 p.m. and will cost $10 to attend. It will be held in the Unity Center’s sanctuary, 1600 W. Broadway.

Leave a comment

Filed under College Park—West Boulevard, Columbia-Boone County