TIMELINE: 175 years in review - MU hits major milestones

Over the past 175 years, MU has seen tornadoes and fires, but also grown to more than 35,000 students. Here’s a look back.

TIMELINE: Sam in good company: gay athletes in history

Missouri football player Michael Sam has joined a group of athletes whose sexual orientation has made history in the past five decades.

MAP: Norma Sutherland Smith Park proposal

The Parks and Recreation Department is discussing a proposed plan to improve Norma Sutherland Smith Park. New features include a basketball court, a skate plaza, a playground, a splash park and a fitness trail.

TIMELINE: The century so far in central Missouri LGBT athletes

Former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam’s news was the most recent milestone in the controversial world of LGBT sports, but not the first. In the last decade or so, central Missouri athletes have been creating their own story.

CHART: Snowstorm causes increase in traffic crashes

More than 1,000 traffic crashes occurred statewide during Tuesday and Wednesday’s snowstorm. The crashes led to two fatalities and 96 injuries. The Missouri State Highway Patrol received 3,045 calls for assistance during those two days.

TIMELINE: Dean Mills' time at MU

Dean Mills, dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, on Thursday announced his plans for retirement. Currently the longest-serving dean at MU, Mills has held the position for 25 years. Here are some of the highlights from his time at the university.

CHART: MU winter weather closings

Tuesday and Wednesday’s cancellations marked the eighth time in MU’s 175-year history that it has closed its campus or canceled classes because of winter weather. Not pictured is 1949, when the start of spring semester was delayed for unspecified reasons, according to MU records.

CHART: Star rankings for Missouri football recruits

Among all the players who signed with Missouri on Wednesday, 18 are three-stars, eight are two-stars and two are four-stars, according to recruiting website The website also calculates that the average recruit for the Tigers this year is 2.79 stars, making Missouri’s recruiting class 35th in the nation. This chart shows the breakdown of Missouri’s football recruits for each year on a two-star to five-star scale.

CHART: SEC recruiting class rankings

According to Rivals, 24/7 Sports and ESPN, Missouri’s recruiting class ranks lower than that of most SEC teams.

CHART: Top 5 coldest winters in Columbia

This winter’s average temperature in Columbia has been higher than those of the top five coldest recorded since 1889. The average temperature for winter is measured from December through February.

CHART: Inches of snowfall per year

The top five snowiest winters from 1890 until present are shown here. The winter months include December through February and are measured by the inches of snowfall accumulated during those months. So far this year, Columbia has seen 10.3 inches of snow.

CHART: Share the Harvest donations

Share the Harvest, a Missouri Department of Conservation program, has been distributing donated venison to the needy for more than two decades. It collected fewer donations in 2013 than in the three previous years, a reflection of overall decline in deer harvesting.

CHART: Veterans United employee growth

Veterans United Home Loans, a Columbia-based business, was one of the top 10 VA loan lenders in the U.S. government’s fiscal year 2013. Mortgage Research Center LLC, which operates as Veterans United, ranked just above Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase Bank.

CHART: Veterans United lending

Veterans United Home Loans, a Columbia-based business, was one of the top 10 VA loan lenders in the U.S. government’s fiscal year 2013. Mortgage Research Center LLC, which operates as Veterans United, ranked just above Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase Bank.

TIMELINE: Veterans United Home Loans

Since its founding in 2002, Columbia-based Veterans United Home Loans has grown from a staff of four to about 1,500. In 2012, the company funded $3.3 billion in loans for veterans and their families.

CHART: January weather trends

January in Columbia was colder than average this year, but it felt even colder compared to the warmer January 2013 and January 2012. The month's average temperature was 25.1 degrees.

CHART: MU Libraries’ books damaged by mold

Up to 600,000 books have been damaged by mold in a Subtera storage cavern, and MU Libraries has enough money to save about half. Faculty, staff and community members have offered to donate money to help save more books.

MAP: Snow status in Columbia

The weekend’s snow and freezing rain covered Columbia’s roadways with a sheet of ice. City crews are working to salt roads in residential areas, starting from the center and moving outward. First- and second-priority routes are now passable after the salt treatment, according to the City of Columbia. This map represents road conditions as of 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

CHART: Housing market shows continued improvement

Key indicators of the housing market were up this year, including single-family home sales, newly constructed home sales and the median sales prices.

MAP: Notable historic property locations

Five properties will be recognized Tuesday as notable historic properties by the Historic Preservation Commission.