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THE WEEK'S MOST-READ STORIES: Putting out fires, the Peace Corps and #comovotes

Sunday, April 8, 2012 | 5:33 p.m. CDT; updated 6:43 p.m. CDT, Sunday, April 8, 2012

COLUMBIA — Stories about the municipal elections, a multi-alarm fire on Business Loop 70 and an MU professor's commitment to the Peace Corps were popular with readers last week. These are the 10 most-read stories posted last week on ColumbiaMissourian.com, according to Google Analytics data:

1. A multiple-alarm fire ravaged the O'Reilly Auto Parts at 106 Business Loop 70 W. on April 1. The fire caused several road closings, and, by 3 p.m., had caused an estimated $2.5 million to $4 million of damage. There was no sprinkler system or smoke alarms in the building, according to Assistant Fire Marshal Debbie Sorrell. (2,712 page views)

2. In a preliminary story on the fire, O'Reilly Auto Parts management spoke about the incident as they watched the blaze consume the building. "All of our team members will still be employed," said Chris Meade, district manager for all the O'Reilly stores in the area. (1,874 page views)

3. Missourian staff photographer Megan May photographed the fire. Her photo gallery shows Columbia Fire Department crews hosing the strip mall with water, as smoke billows into the sky. (1,567 page views)

4. After a Columbia teenager was shot and killed in northeast Columbia on Saturday, police arrested a 15-year-old male in connection with the incident, according to a department news release. Police have not recovered a murder weapon, according to Sgt. Jill Schlude. (1,302 page views)

5. Rock Bridge boys basketball will lose a DI-caliber starter next season. Travis Jorgenson, a junior, will transfer to the New Hampton School in New Hampton, N.H., for his senior season. "He was a big part of our team ... we support (his decision) and have to move on with the pieces that we have," said Rock Bridge assistant coach Quentin Mitchell. (1,046 page views)

6. The fire on Business Loop 70 also damaged Hong Kong Restaurant, opened by Jenny Cheng in 1995. "My money and years of effort were all in there," Cheng said. "We will come back," she said. (1,032 page views)

7. As a part of the growing trend of people older than 50 volunteering with the Peace Corps, Martha Patton, an associate professor of English at MU, will leave for training in China this summer, ahead of a two-year service commitment. "Most baby boomers still want to continue contributing ... and Peace Corps is one of those ways they're looking to do that," Patton said. (855 page views)

8. Voters solidified the progressive wing of the City Council by giving election victories to Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe and Second Ward candidate Michael Trapp on Tuesday. "I believe the voters sent a loud and clear message," Hoppe said. (750 page views)

9. Corbin Berkstresser, a redshirt freshman on the Missouri football team, played catch on a Florida beach over spring break. Keeping football in their habits, even during vacation, worked, as coach Gary Pinkel noticed the team practiced well after returning to Columbia.  (681 page views)

10. Pete D'Amour, the Missouri softball pitching and catching coach, took an unusual path to his current position. He dropped out of college after playing infield in Corpus Christi, Texas. But at 22, he ran into an old friend, Ehren Earleywine, who offered him a coaching position at Missouri. "I (went back home) loaded up my truck, and I never left (Missouri softball),” D'Amour said. (616 page views)


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