Physician gives birth to his first novel

Neighborhood Roundup took some time off last week to spend time with family, but apparently the holiday season did little to slow down some intrepid Columbians heading into the new year.

Below are some happenings and announcements from around the city.

Robert McDavid, a local gynecologist, has announced that his first novel has been published.

The book follows Dr. Eleanor Rawlings as her husband disappears and he is indicted by a federal grand jury for fraud. The lead character in "Only Daughters" also finds she is pregnant and later miscarries - all while searching for her missing husband.

"A first-time novelist, McDavid does an outstanding job detailing the intricacies of family relationships and the intertwining connectedness of small-town life," writer Suzanne Monger said in a review.

McDavid, who also is a Boone Hospital Center trustee, practiced obstetrics and gynecology here for 28 years.

Interested in the good doctor’s literary work? You can find more information at Readers can submit alternate endings on the site, where they will be posted and judged by readers.

● Art enthusiasts working to turn old buildings downtown into studios for area artists also have been busy.

Orr Street Studios, 104 Orr St., now has a Web site with news, pictures and updates on construction progress. The page is still under construction, but studio director Chris Teeter writes that he is optimistic the studios are on their way to becoming a significant part of the arts community.

"I think Orr Street Studios may be the shift in critical mass that the art scene in Columbia has been waiting for," Teeter said on

Across the street, Stephanie Lyons reports that progress on The Warehouse Studios also is moving forward. Her Web site,, asks donors to contribute or help with a planned benefit concert tentatively slated for March.

Robert Ross, the city’s public information officer, has decided to retire.

A fixture at the Daniel Boone Building since 1993, Ross, 55, was hired by former City Manager Ray Beck to "help inform the public and media about city policies and programs." He was the city’s first spokesman.

His last day at city hall will be some time this month, and Ross will be missed, City Manager Bill Watkins said.

"I hate to see him go," Watkins said. He has "a lot of institutional memory."

Before coming to Columbia, Ross worked in public relations for the city of Kansas City, Kan. Before that, he worked in various public relations positions in the Marine Corps.

Reach Matthew LeBlanc at (573) 815-1720 or




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