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Briefly in the News – May 2023

Land Of Smiles

Delta Dental of Missouri’s Land of Smiles® Show Teaches Students at Shepard Boulevard Elementary School Good Habits for Healthy Teeth

February was National Children’s Dental Health Month and Delta Dental of Missouri’s popular, award-winning Land of Smiles® dental education program was on the road, taking the crusade for healthy teeth to 16,000 youngsters at 75 schools across the state.

The cast of dynamic superhero characters made a stop in Columbia with a performance at Shepard Boulevard Elementary School, teaching good dental health habits to 265 students in kindergarten through third grade. The Land of Smiles® experience follows superhero Captain Super GrinSM, as he defeats his nemesis, Caz CavitySM, with help from his sidekicks Terri Tooth FairySM and ToothpickSM. Students learn the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day, flossing, using mouthwash, eating healthy foods, and visiting the dentist regularly.

The program includes an oral health curriculum that adheres to National Health Education Standards, as well as standards for Missouri. Since its inception in the fall of 2002, the Delta Dental of Missouri’s Land of Smiles® program has taught more than 1.1 million kids how to take care of their growing smiles through more than 4,800 onsite performances at schools in 113 Missouri counties, and through its online version. The Land of Smiles® experience is provided free of charge to schools, courtesy of Delta Dental of Missouri.

Columbia College Global Celebrates 50 Years of Educating Adult and Military Learners

Columbia College is planning a series of celebrations in 2023 to mark its 50th anniversary of educating adult learners and military-related students through the Columbia College Global network.

Columbia College Global is comprised of more than 40 locations across the United States and in Cuba, about half of which are connected to military installations, in addition to the college’s Online Program. Columbia College Global primarily serves non-traditional students, providing a flexible education model to students balancing work, family, and school. More than 8,000 students were enrolled in classes within the network in 2022. The concept of nationwide locations at Columbia College began in March 1973, with evening instruction at Troop Support Command Headquarters in St. Louis.

A separate civilian location in St. Louis opened in October 1973; it remains the college’s longest-running nationwide location. In January 1974, the college began operations at Fort Leonard Wood, CC’s oldest continuing military location. The college established its landmark Evening Program in March 1975, forever changing the trajectory of both the college and the lives of thousands of adult learners. In October 2000, the college became a pioneer as one of the first schools to offer college instruction over the internet.

State Historical Society of Missouri Awarded Federal Grant to Increase Access to Congressional Papers

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission has awarded the State Historical Society of Missouri a grant to organize, describe, and make available four collections of Missouri congressional papers, including U.S. Representatives Dewey Short and Bill Emerson and U.S. Senators John Danforth and Thomas Eagleton.

Archivists will process over 918 cubic feet of papers, electronic records, photographs, and audio-visual materials. The federal grant will allow for the digitization of some portions of the collections.  The grant award of $347,612 requires that the State Historical Society contribute $120,487 to the nearly half-million-dollar project. The papers of Short, Emerson, Danforth, and Eagleton span almost 100 years of Missouri history from 1912-2010 and provide valuable insights into national and regional events and issues, according to Laura Jolley, assistant director of manuscripts, at the State Historical Society.

The grant cycle for the congressional archival project continues through 2025. Once these papers are fully processed, scholars will be able to navigate the collections and better understand the interactions of the state and its people with national political trends and points of view.

Aanya Shetty Wins Spelling Bee
Aanya Shetty wins spelling bee.

Aanya Shetty Wins Regional Spelling Bee Sponsored by the Columbia Missourian

Aanya Shetty is the champion of the Columbia Regional Spelling Bee sponsored by the Columbia Missourian. Her winning word was “fulgent,” meaning “dazzlingly bright, radiant.” The competition involving 35 spellers from 35 local schools lasted five rounds.

“I’m really excited for nationals and have to get ready for studying,” said Aanya. “We have a giant dictionary at home, so I just have to read that over and over again.”

Spellers competed at the Rhynsburger Theatre on March 21. Megan Judy, former KOMU 8 anchor, served as pronouncer for the competition, and the judges — charged with tracking every word and verifying spelling accuracy — were Missourian managing editor Jeanne Abbott and MU senior Sofi Zeman. Spellers studied Words of the Champions, the 4,000-word list provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Aanya now advances to compete in the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee this summer near Washington, D.C. The semifinals on May 31 and the finals on June 1 will be televised on ION and Bounce.

University of Missouri Announces Initiative for NextGen MURR, a New Research Reactor to Improve and Save Lives Through Advanced Nuclear Medicines

The University of Missouri announced an initiative to build a new, larger research reactor that will expand critical cancer-fighting research and medical isotope production at MU.

Medical isotopes are used in cancer treatments and imaging agents to diagnose cancers and heart disease. Because of the targeted nature of the treatment, medical isotopes are effective in eliminating tumors without damaging the surrounding cells. The new project, NextGen MURR, will build on the internationally recognized excellence of the MU Research Reactor (MURR), the highest-powered university research reactor and the only producer in the United States of the critical medical isotopes yttrium-90, used for the treatment of liver cancer; molybdenum-99, for analysis of heart functions; iodine-131, used for the treatment of thyroid cancer; and lutetium-177, used for the treatment of pancreatic and prostate cancers.

“The work that we do at MURR saves and improves thousands of lives each and every day,” said Mun Choi, University of Missouri president. “NextGen MURR will produce advanced cancer medicines for the next 75 years and solidify the University of Missouri’s position as the most important resource for medical isotopes in the United States.”

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