Colleagues: Rios good law officer

Steve Rios wanted to be a cop so badly he was willing to sue for it.

The former Columbia Police Officer began working at the Dixon Police Department at age 20. But in Missouri, a person must be 21 to carry a handgun. So Rios sued Pulaski County Sheriff J.T. Roberts to be able to carry a gun while on duty.

And he won.

Sociable sociologist inspires

Several evenings a week — as he has for the past 29 years — Jim Metscher stands at the front of his classroom at Columbia College, wearing his signature vest and rolled-up jeans, while he leads his students in discussions about sociology.

Having been with the school’s evening program since it began in 1975, Metscher seeks to make connections with his students’ interests in an effort to let their natural curiosity direct the activities of the class, a method he calls “engaging education.”

Other side of the law

A few weeks ago, Steven Rios was employed to protect and serve Columbia. On Thursday, he was led into police department headquarters as a murder suspect.

Investigators arrested Rios, a former officer, at 8:55 a.m. Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the slaying of MU student Jesse Valencia.

Fire in the Sky mates music, math

Stars and Stripes Forever will be echoing from Memorial Stadium as 1,000 firework shells are launched Sunday evening when the Fire in the Sky display will celebrate its first year in Memorial Stadium in more than two decades.

The fireworks will begin at 9:30 and will be synchronized with patriotic music played by the 40- member chamber orchestra of the Missouri Symphony – in its third year of performing live with the display. People watching the fireworks from outside the stadium can also enjoy the pyromusical presentation by tuning in to the live broadcast on KFRU 1400 AM.

Neighbors open fireworks tent

It’s not exactly a family business — but it’s a neighborly one.

Helmi Sheely explained that two families — hers and her friend’s, Nancy Palmer — run Family Fireworks together. The women also work together at Palmer’s contracting company, Coastal Electric, and they live next door to each other.

Ready, aim, 4-H fires for competition

Standing in a shelter set up in a clearing in the woods, Brandon Huskey shoves the ramrod down the barrel of his muzzleloader, removes it and awaits the signal to step to the firing line. When it’s given, he steps forward and takes aim at a bull’s-eye 50 yards away.

Huskey is participating in the 4-H Shooting Sports National Match, which is being held in Columbia this year for the first time. He said he has participated in shooting sports for the past nine years while a member of the Sturgeon Goalseekers 4-H Club.

Fifty years later, soldier returns home

HANNIBAL — It took more than half a century, but a soldier killed during the Korean War is finally coming home to Missouri.

Hannibal native Sgt. 1st Class Carl Brewington was killed Dec. 2, 1950, during a battle at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Brewington’s son, Bob Brewington of Smithfield, N.C., recently was notified that after three years of lab tests, his father’s remains have been positively identified.

Bottles banned on state waterways

In less than two months, a new state law will answer a question considered by many Missouri kayakers, canoers and float tubers: cans or bottles?

Legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Bob Holden will prohibit glass bottles on all Missouri waterways in watercraft that are susceptible to tipping. The law becomes effective Aug. 28.

Truck hits ambulance, overturns on U.S. 63

A truck traveling south on U.S. 63 overturned around 8 p.m. Thursday after it collided with the back of an ambulance.

The driver of the truck, who identified himself as Kelly Ripley, said the ambulance was merging onto U.S. 63 from the Stadium Boulevard entrance ramp. The cars ahead and behind him moved into the left lane to give the ambulance the right of way, he said, but the ambulance merged into the left lane also. A driver in the car ahead of the ambulance braked, Ripley said, causing the ambulance to do so as well.

Kicking cares away

As Larry Gamache walks toward home plate, his once placid dress shoes are covered with a thin veil of dust, and a white Carfax T-shirt with the No. 5 on the back is tucked into a pair of unwrinkled khakis.

He is smiling, but inside the pressure is building. He hasn’t done this is almost 28 years, and his colleagues are watching.

Saddam rejects charges of war crimes

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Saddam Hussein scoffed at charges of war crimes and mass killings Thursday, making a defiant first public appearance since being hunted down seven months ago. The deposed dictator fixed the judge with a penetrating stare and declared: “This is all a theater by Bush, the criminal.”

Dressed in a charcoal-colored suit jacket, Saddam — whose day in court was shown on TV in the Arab world and beyond — looked thinner and better groomed than on Dec. 13, the day U.S. troops pulled him from a hole near Tikrit.

K.C. owner not ready to change leadership

By KANSAS CITY — The owner of the American League’s worst team remains fully confident in his manager and general manager.

That’s certain to put David Glass at odds with a growing contingent of Kansas City fans watching the Royals’ once-promising season fall apart.

Armstrong fit for beginning of Tour

LIEGE, Belgium — Lance Armstrong knows what stands between him and a record sixth Tour de France title: three weeks of pain and pitfalls.

Two days before beginning his quest, Armstrong said he was feeling stronger than he did last year when he won his fifth straight Tour.

Valencia’s family awaits trial

After almost a month of waiting and wondering, Jesse Valencia’s family met news of Steven Rios’ arrest Thursday with a mix of relief, sadness and grim determination.

Valencia’s mother, Linda Valencia of Perryville, Ky., said she was relieved that an arrest had finally been made.

Royals shut down

KANSAS CITY — Rafael Palmeiro hit a home run, and David Newhan drove in the go-ahead run in a three-run seventh inning, leading the Baltimore Orioles to a 3-2 victory against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.

Rodrigo Lopez (6-4) survived a rough two-run first inning and retired the last 15 batters he faced to lead Baltimore to its third win in four games against Kansas City. It is the Orioles’ first series win since late May.

MU officials respond to NCAA allegations

University officials responded today to NCAA allegations of infractions committed by MU's men's basketball program, saying the violations are "isolated or inadvertent" and "do not result in more than a limited competitive or recruiting advantage."