Man, 42, found dead behind Supercenter

A 42-year-old man was found dead behind the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Monday after police received a call at 9:56 a.m. from a Wal-Mart employee who reported that an unresponsive man was lying in an icy area behind the south end of the store, the Columbia Police Department said.

The man, identified as David J. Willingham of Columbia, was found lying near a fence wearing blue jeans, a gray hooded sweatshirt, a blue flannel shirt and one glove. Police described him not as homeless but as a “transient” and said he owned a car.

Council OKs development on north side

After almost an hour of debate, the Columbia City Council approved Forest Ridge’s site plan, stating that development should come before infrastructure.

Many residents living along Brown School Road, the site of the planned-unit development, expressed concerns about traffic, flooding and storm water conditions in the area.

Meth’s growth outstrips prevention efforts

The Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force fills two rooms of the senior citizens center in the town of Fortuna, 50 miles south of Columbia. The center is in an old schoolhouse with creaking floors and dark hallways. The stalls in the bathrooms are fitted with painted wooden doors.

In the main task force office, tallies and flow charts cover the green chalkboards. Lines are drawn diagonally from J.P. who makes meth to A.R. who sells, and vertically from A.R. to T.R. and D.P. — all of whom use. Across the hall is the meeting room of the Fortuna Ladies’ Knitting Club.

Horse owners arraigned on felony animal abuse charges

The Hallsville couple charged last week with felony animal abuse in connection with the death of a horse appeared in Boone County Circuit Court for the first time Monday.

Brandi and Thomas Phillips said nothing as Associate Circuit Judge Jodie Asel informed the couple, who are free on bond from the Boone County Jail, that they face two counts each of felony animal abuse. Each count carries a maximum punishment of four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Mischief and politics

John Ballard likes to stir up trouble.

If you can’t tell that by the mischievous glint in his eye, he’ll tell you so.

Big 12 season calls for top play

Almost every coach in the Big 12 Conference is hoping for one aspect of his team’s play to improve during league competition: consistency.

“I think we could be a more consistent team,” Nebraska coach Barry Collier said. “Obviously it’s still relatively early in the season, and we’re very respectful of the great competition that’s coming our way.”

Seductive destruction

The meth capital of the United States. That’s the reputation rural

Missouri has earned. Statewide, 2,743 meth labs were busted in 2002. The drug lures users in. Leslie Roettgen knows all about it. Meth makes her feel brilliant and powerful.

All safe in emergency jet landing

Forty-two passengers and two crew-members are safe after their plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Columbia Regional Airport around 10:45 a.m. Sunday, according to airline officials.

United Express flight 5452, operated by the Appleton, Wisc.-based company Air Wisconsin, was en route to Washington-Dulles International Airport from Kansas City International Airport. While airport officials originally cited a failure in the plane's left engine, Air Wisconsin spokes-woman Kelly Lanpheer said the problem was actually in the warning light for the engine.

Tigers scramble to beat Billikens

ST. LOUIS – It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.

Missouri defeated St. Louis University 65-62 on Sunday at Bauman-Eberhardt Center.

MU hopes struggles in the past

If Missouri coach Quin Snyder could rid Tigers history of its struggles in 2003, he probably would.

Starting 2004 with a 76-56 win against Iowa on Saturday at Hearnes Center was a good start.

Shot won’t fall in frustrating finish for Kewps

Taylor Florence’s jump shot had fallen for most of the fourth quarter, but when it counted most, he came up short.

Hickman lost 71-69 to Poplar Bluff on Sunday at the MFA Oil Break Time Shootout at Hearnes Center. Florence’s 8-foot jumper from just inside the lane at the buzzer hit the rim but bounced away to the left, dropping Hickman to 4-7.

Final flourish saves Tigers

ST. LOUIS — In what was supposed to be an easy final tune-up before heading into the Big 12 Conference season, but Missouri had to play hard until the end against the struggling St. Louis Billikens.

The Tigers escaped with a 65-62 victory to extend their winning-streak to four despite playing their ugliest game of the year before 1,050 fans at Bauman-Eberhardt Center.

Challenge to school funds awaits filing

JEFFERSON CITY — On Tuesday, an attorney representing 229 Missouri school districts plans to file a long-expected lawsuit challenging the way the state funds public schools.

His plaintiffs include school officials, students, parents and taxpayers. And his claim is twofold — that Missouri fails to provide enough money to schools, and that the money it does provide is handed out unfairly.

Time to stock up for another year

Well, it’s a brand-new year and time to get on the good foot, as the old folks used to say. Most of my friends who traveled by air during the holidays seem to have accepted that extensive security checks and long waiting periods are rapidly becoming a way of life. They consider a few inconveniences a small price to pay for the peace of mind of safe air travel. Some have expressed their belief that high levels of security alerts will be with us for years.

Many of us have adjusted to the reality that we have entered a new phase of global existence. People of different economic, political and social levels have divergent views as to what our future role will be in the new world order. For some, it is a time of great confidence and self-assurance; for others, discomfort and uncertainty weigh heavily on the mind.

Unrau not only Tiger to shine

Evan Unrau is undoubtedly the centerpiece of the Missouri women’s basketball team, but this season she is getting help from her teammates.

Whether it’s forward Stretch James dominating the post, point guard LaToya Bond creating off the dribble or shooting guard Tracy Lozier making 3-pointers, Unrau can expect someone to step up today when Missouri plays at St. Louis at 2 p.m. at the Bauman-Eberhardt Center.

Intensity returns

A statistic that won’t show up in too many box scores but will make Missouri coach Quin Snyder smile reads: Travon Bryant, two 5-second violations forced.

It was that type of effort and energy that propelled Bryant and the Tigers to a 76-56 win against Iowa on Saturday at Hearnes Center. The win stops the Tigers’ three-game losing streak, a stretch filled with inconsistent efforts.

Different lineup lifts Missouri

When Missouri set up for Saturday’s tip-off against Iowa, 13,611 fans did a doubletake.

Rickey Paulding, Travon Bryant and Jimmy McKinney started for the ninth straight game. Sophomore Kevin Young and freshman Thomas Gardner were the Tigers drawing befuddled stares.

Guard play keys victory

Finding a consistent point guard has been a focus of the Missouri coaching staff early this season. Lacking a steady performer there, the offense had been inconsistent and often relied on one player to take control of the game.

The Tigers are beginning to find what they had been missing: Jimmy McKinney and Randy Pulley combined for six assists and no turnovers in Missouri’s 76-56 win against Iowa on Saturday.

Career scoring high helps Saxon earn MVP

In a game with few fouls, it’s hard to imagine someone nicknamed “Slinky” dominating, but that’s exactly what Nahowan Saxon did on Saturday night.

Saxon was named the Coaches vs. Cancer Holiday Classic men’s Most Valuable Player after Columbia College’s 61-50 win against Brescia (Ky.) at the Arena of Southwell Complex. Saxon scored a career-high 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting. He also made all five of his field goals in Friday’s 75-47 victory against St. Mary (Kan.).

Shots fall for Bruins vs. Tigers

Rock Bridge’s used accurate 3-point shooting to overcome a larger Oakville team Saturday in the first game of the 2004 MFA Oil Break Time Shootout.

The Bruins gained the early lead on a Demond Thorpe 3-pointer about a minute in and held onto it for another 31 minutes to defeat the Tigers 57-53 at Hearnes Center.