Residents forced out of home by fire

An apartment fire on Claudell Lane that left residents seeking temporary housing caused between $30,000 and $35,000 damage, said Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steven Sapp in a press release.

Milk from vending machines unpopular in schools

SpongeBob SquarePants has a pet snail named Gary, works at the Krusty Krab as a fry cook and is best friends with Patrick the starfish. But he can't seem to get Columbia middle schoolers to buy his milk in the vending machines, causing some discussion by School Board members Friday.

The board heard a report from Jacque Cowherd, deputy superintendent, on the changes made to vending machines in middle schools. He said the district was able to determine student's opinions of the new products in the vending machines by looking at the machine's drop in profits.

Rios a possible witness in 26 cases

Former Columbia Police officer and murder suspect Steven Rios is a potential prosecution witness for two cases in which his own attorney is serving as defense counsel.

Rios’ attorney Rusty Antel said he had consulted with both clients about the issue and it was “not a conflict (of interest) at the present time.”

Clemons’ credibility doubted

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Ricky Clemons once told a newspaper he saw an eight-foot moose during a basketball trip to Alaska, but he never visited the state.

Clemons denied Jessica Bunge was his girlfriend. Later, though, he acknowledged the relationship in court, as he pleaded guilty to assaulting her.

Preliminary hearing scheduled for Rios

Steven Rios, appearing in court for the first time by video link from the Boone County Jail, heard formal charges against him Friday in connection with the death of MU student Jesse Valencia.

Boone County Associate Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter scheduled Rios’ preliminary hearing for charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action for Aug. 27.

Another side of summer

With just one more week left of the Columbia Public Schools’ five-week summer school program, even morning drop-off has become routine. By 8:30 a.m. Friday, the assembly line at Derby Ridge Elementary School was already in full swing. Cars pulled up to the front doors one by one as children hopped out, some eagerly running into the building, others hugging parents before trotting inside.

A record 6,100 students enrolled in the tuition-free program this summer, and despite a bumpy start, attendance has been averaging about 85 percent for the 24-day session that ends Friday.

Remembering my daring run

The seconds ticked down. I knew that I was sure to remember the following minutes of July 11, 1999, for the rest of my life. Even the ones who had done this before took one last deep breath, and then it got quiet.

I couldn’t recognize the silence. My head was spinning with thoughts.

Family steadfast in search

When Frances Cason visited the graves of her husband’s parents on Memorial Day, she hoped to find flowers placed at the site. When she didn’t, she knew her missing husband, Earl Cason, had not been there.

It has been more than three months since the 84-year-old World War II veteran disappeared after a visit to Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital. His family is grasping to a fleeting hope that someday he’ll be found. Frances Cason said she hoped the visit to the cemetery would at least give her reason to believe her husband of 65 years was still alive.

Bothwell Lodge was ahead of its time

SEDALIA — A spooky feeling pervades the old Bothwell Lodge in northern Pettis County. With its winding staircases, a secret passage and hidden compartments throughout, the centerpiece of Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site seems the perfect place for ghosts to take up residence.

Prominent attorney and legislator John Bothwell began construction of the lodge in 1897, but it wasn’t finished until 1928. What started as a cottage for spring and summer grew to become a blufftop mansion of more than 12,000 square feet as three additions were built to accommodate guests and create space for parties.

Cantwell fouls out

Christian Cantwell entered the men’s shot put final Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento as the No. 1 shot putter in the world.

He left with a fourth-place finish, and without a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Users: Brady too small

Every day during fall and spring semesters, 10,000 people walk through or use Brady Commons. More than 30 different UM student groups call the building home, and 400 student groups get mail delivered at the building’s basement.

Brady Commons is in need of more space, people who use the existing space say, but before the University of Missouri Board of Curators agrees to its expansion, it would like to know whether MU students would support it financially.A master plan for the expansion project was approved in September 2003, Michelle Mazza Froese, public relations manager for student auxiliary services, said, but the project began to take on life three or four years before that. Froese said the project was “student driven in terms of ‘there’s not enough space.’” An architect and design firm were selected in February to begin planning the project.

Dressage harder than it looks

As easy as it looks, dressage tests the best riders and horses.

Reba Bryson, 58, of Rolla, began competing about 28 years ago.

Health care facility gets five years of funding

In 2003 the Family Health Center was in such a state of economic distress that it was forced to let half its staff go. Now, the center has “turned the corner” and received five years of guaranteed funding from the federal government, Executive Director Gloria Crull said.

Funded by the Health Resources Services Administration, Bureau of Primary Health Care, the five-year grant guarantees the center $816,070 annually to support operations. The center’s annual operating budget is $3.3 million.

Giese homeward bound

The Rock Bridge Bruins are bringing Kevin Giese back to Columbia and his family.

Giese, who was hired in May to be the new girls’ basketball coach at Rock Bridge, spent the past year as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville while his wife Beth and his two children, Andrea, 8, and Kenneth, 2, stayed in Columbia.

Candidates debate focus of service

The candidates for Boone County public administrator might spend a lot of their time explaining a somewhat obscure job title, but they say that’s just as important as defining their intentions for the position.

Incumbent Public Administrator Connie Bell Hendren and her Democratic challenger, Larry Fowler, spent a large portion of Friday’s debate before the Boone County Muleskinners Democratic club interpreting terms unfamiliar to many — among them, words such as guardianship and conservator.

He’s retired, she's still working

Shortly after her inauguration, Stephens College President Wendy Libby proudly displayed the inaugural outfit her students made for her. A stunning, colorfully embroidered black silk fabric, it glistens in the light. But even more beaming is husband Richard Libby’s face as he proudly talks about all his wife has accomplished at Stephens.

“It’s almost mind-boggling now to think that Wendy is doing what she’s doing,” says Libby, a retired educator who moved to Columbia with his wife when she took her post at Stephens in 2003.


A Life Story on Page 7A in Friday’s edition listed the incorrect date for memorial services for John C. Tinsley Jr. The correct date for the services is July 24.

Poolside tales from Grammy

I’m very proud of the fact that most of my grandchildren can swim. And the two who can’t are too young. One of my more eager daughters-in-law decided that her firstborn was going to learn how to swim before he could even sit up. She took him to the pool and the instructor threw him into the water. (She didn’t really THROW him in, but it sounds much more dramatic.) Apparently my grandson hadn’t forgotten survival in the womb because he automatically held his breath. I would like to report that he took off like a tadpole, but after holding his breath for a few seconds, he dropped like a rock. I think the experience scarred him because he wouldn’t go near the water again until he was 3.

My other children decided that their kids would learn to swim at a later age. But by the time little boys are 2, they have no fear. I watched my youngest grandson walk right into the pool last weekend — clothes and all. I followed him (also fully clothed) and grabbed him by the collar. He came up sputtering but smiling, thinking this was a great game. I placed him on the step and he proceeded to strip — diaper and all. When he was naked, his older sister started whining that she wanted to be naked, too. Within seconds she was in her birthday suit. I, on the other hand, decided to keep my soaking wet clothes on.