Finding your own tree

Each year, in the days after Thanksgiving, families flock to the Christmas tree lots to buy the perfect tree.

For the past 14 years, Ann and Wayne Harmon have provided Boone County with a hands-on Christmas tree experience.

Don’t forget to stuff those stockings

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care … empty and cold with nothing to share.

Kind of puts a damper on the Christmas spirit, doesn’t it? Don’t let your stockings hang lifelessly from the fireplace this Christmas. With a wide assortment of great stocking stuffers available, there is no reason that those giant socks shouldn’t be stuffed to the fullest.

Local art a quirky alternative to prepackaged gifts

The day after Thanksgiving avid shoppers rushed to malls and department stores to find the perfect gift for the perfect price.

Vendors in downtown Columbia suggest there is an alternate route for these holiday shoppers.

Holiday Recycling

Bad gifts are as much a tradition of the holidays as mistletoe and menorahs.

Every year, as you eagerly rip open the brightly wrapped gifts in anticipation of the watch you wanted, you are met with an awful sweater, a pair of too-tight pants or a hideous homemade gift.

Blue-collar Past,White-collar Future

For almost 100 years, an aging 3½ -story building has towered above the corner at Wilkes Boulevard and Fay Street. In faded letters painted over its yellow brick, the words “Hamilton Brown Columbia Factory” label the structure’s place in Columbia history since 1907.

Soon, thanks to a federal grant and the optimism of its owners, the building will be remodeled so it can be useful to the community for another hundred years.

... Or consider donating them

Not every gift is the perfect gift.

If Katie Scott, 23, were to be given a pedicure set, she would wonder whether she was being told her feet were “stinky.”

Add a personal touch to your gift basket

There are an overwhelming number of choices involved when choosing the perfect wine for a gift and accompanying it with the correct cheese, sausage and crackers.

Many take the easy way out and buy a prepacked gifts basket, but for the more adventurous, there are some key elements involved to create the perfect basket.

Tenants have mixed feelings about renovation work

Tenants of the Atkins building have mixed feelings about plans to renovate the old factory. Most are excited about the pending changes, but one company feels it has been wronged.

The Atkins building, formerly the Hamilton-Brown shoe factory, has been used for years as an office and commercial building. Recent tenants include an eclectic mix, from a mandolin manufacturer and a recording studio to a janitorial supply company and a church.

Indicted coach helped Clemons

Just when the drama surrounding Ricky Clemons seemed to be finished, another twist in the story has emerged.

Ryan Wolf, a former coach at Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kan., has been indicted by a federal grand jury on suspicion of providing illegal financial help and false academic credentials to athletes. The list of athletes includes former Missouri point guard Clemons and Randy Pulley, who was brought in to replace Clemons.

What not to give

Everyone has been subjected to a bad holiday gift.

Curtis Wieberg, a student at Moberly Area Community College, knows what to expect from his grandmother.

Sapp plan to cost millions, group says

Residents opposed to a 1,000-acre development in their neighborhood east of Columbia presented estimates Tuesday of what they think the development would cost the city if it decides to annex the property.

Overall, the residents estimate that infrastructure improvements necessary to support the development of homes, stores, condominiums and a golf course will cost the city between $6 million and $7 million.

Giving on the cheap

Christmas is all about giving … giving away your precious, hard-earned money.

From the girlfriend who whines about getting a Tiffany necklace to the people in the red Salvation Army vest repeatedly ringing their bells, people everywhere want your money.

Homemade gifts can be quick and easy

If you’re the type who made a Christmas list and checked it twice all before Thanksgiving rolled around, read no further.

If, like the other 99 percent of the population, you have made a mad, last-minute shopping dash, you might want to keep reading.

Background checks on school employees expanded

Next year, parents of Columbia students may feel a bit more at ease about their children’s safety while at school.

Starting Jan. 1, state law will require all newly hired school employees who have contact with children to undergo a criminal background check and fingerprinting.

Solutions exist for students on a tight budget

The end of the fall semester means the end of class, finals and a lot of stress.

For some, the stress comes from what to give friends and family for the holidays. Although a lucky few students have worked hard at jobs and thus have extra cash to spend, most college students must be more creative when it comes to buying gifts for the ones they love.

Blunt to grudgingly publish union fee rule

JEFFERSON CITY — After three years and a court order, Secretary of State Matt Blunt will publish a rule today requiring new state employees to pay union fees.

The rule will take effect Jan. 30, by which time Blunt will have been inaugurated governor. That means Blunt will have authority to rescind the order, which he said he will do on his first day in the state’s top job.

Perfect thank-you notes

The holiday season is busy with gift-giving and entertaining, but those notes of thanks shouldn’t be forgotten.

Everyone has received gifts since his or her birth and sending a thank-you note is a great way to show appreciation for those presents and parties attended. People enjoy getting mail that isn’t a bill

Teen killed on I-70 implicated in burglary

Police said the teen who died Saturday night while attempting to cross Interstate 70 was leaving the scene of a burglary.

Abraham M. Schulz, 18, died when he was struck by a vehicle on I-70 near the Providence Road exit. The driver told police he swerved to miss Jason T. Funk, 20, but did not see Schulz. Schulz was pronounced dead at the scene.

Convenience stores a solution for last-minute shoppers

The corks are popped, the cookies are in the oven and a collection of wrapping paper sprawls across the floor.

The Christmas spirit fills the air along with the fear that accompanies the realization that you forgot to buy that special someone a gift. No worries; run to the closest convenience store.

Entertain without spending the entire day in the kitchen

Friends just arrived on your doorstep, and you don’t have any food prepared to serve them.

Before you start making those apologies, check out what is in your kitchen. Most people keep things in their cabinets that could be thrown together to make an appetizer or some small snack.