Ball bounces Tigers’ way

KANSAS CITY — From Jason Conley’s viewpoint, there was no question it was going in. Almost everyone else in Kemper Arena agreed.

“As soon as I looked up it was straight on line and I went, ‘Oh, my God,’” Conley, Missouri’s senior guard, said.

Kleiza too much for ‘Huskers again

KANSAS CITY — Nebraska hasn’t found a way to stop Linas Kleiza.

Kleiza tied his second-best effort of the season to help the Tigers earn a 70-67 victory at Kemper Arena in Kansas City on Thursday. He scored 26 points and had 11 rebounds to propel Missouri into the second round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament.

Residents escape fire that claims pets

Four family pets — three cats and a dog — died in a fire early Thursday morning in the 5400 block of Arrowwood Drive. The fire, which started in the garage, caused an estimated $100,000 in damage, including the total loss of a vehicle inside, fire officials said.

Shortly after midnight, a neighbor noticed fire coming from the garage and called 911, according to a press release from the Columbia Fire Department. The owner of the house and her grandson were both in bed when the fire began. Smoke detectors woke them and they were able to safely evacuate the house before fire crews arrived at scene.

State unemployment declines, but still above national average

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s unemployment rate dropped in February but remained above the national average, the state Department of Economic Development said.

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell last month to 5.7 percent, the same as it was in December. The national rate last month was 5.4 percent.

Fund-raiser to benefit music teacher

Melissa Guillotte is 22 and a first-year teacher. She started teaching music at Grant Elementary School at the beginning of the school year. In August, she married Andrew Guillotte. In December, she graduated from MU. In February, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Next week, she will have surgery to remove the tumor.

This shocking and difficult news has brought together fellow teachers, students and their parents in a cooperative support effort. In two and a half weeks, a committee of parents planned “Dinner for a Song,” a dinner, silent auction and raffle to raise money to help Guillotte with her medical and living expenses.

Art league showcases winning selections

Works by the winners of the Columbia Art League’s first juried Intercollegiate Showcase went on display on Tuesday at the league’s exhibit space on Ninth Street.

It was the first show open to all mid-Missouri colleges.

New home greets state tournament

The best high school basketball teams in Missouri are in Columbia again.

Golf course moves ahead

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted on Thursday night to recommend that the City Council approve an amended version of a rezoning proposal for a 110-acre property on Clark Lane, east of Ballenger Place.

Plans for the property include an 18-hole golf course, swimming pool, fitness center with hot tub and tanning beds as well as 700 apartment units and up to 1,400 parking spaces. The commission’s amendments called for upping the minimum green space requirement from 15 percent to 50 percent and requiring a traffic study.

School grant fuels cornucopia

Six-year-old Dreisha Brown scrunched up her face and wiped her hands on her shirt after touching pig lungs wrapped in plastic wrap. The Eugene Field Elementary School kindergartner said the lungs felt “gooey.”

Once the children had their chance to touch the lungs, their instructor turned the organs around to show them where the heart had been connected. The whole room cried out in unison, “Eeewww.”

Public works director retiring

Columbia Public Works Director Lowell Patterson will retire after serving 19 years as director of the city’s largest department and presiding over a period of tremendous growth.

City Manager Ray Beck announced Patterson’s retirement on Thursday. Patterson will remain in the position until May 11. He turns 62 this month.


Steve Paxton, the head coach of Tiger Wheelchair Basketball, is in the process of building a team.

New home featured on reality show

Sherry Hampton threw open the door of her 884-square-foot Habitat for Humanity home, finding a host of friends and neighbors gathered to congratulate her on the front lawn. She then went back inside and did it again. And again. And again.

Only in the world of reality TV would Hampton have to reenact this scene for cameras, appearing surprised every time. For this shot, the tenth time was the charm.

MU to emphasize grants

MU is looking for ways to help students use resources already on campus to compete for grants, scholarships and awards outside the university.

Former state legislator Vicky Riback-Wilson, recently hired at MU in the Office of Service-Learning, was asked by interim Provost Lori Franz to help students attain more of these scholarships.

Fitting in Fitness

At 19, Jessica Pollard has learned the hard way how important regular exercise is.

In her first semester at MU last year, Pollard gained 15 pounds from all-you-can-eat dorm dining and by not keeping up the exercise she got as a high school athlete growing up on a farm.

Arndt comes through when needed

It’s no secret that Missouri’s offense has been dominant this year.

The Tigers (10-4) have scored more than 10 runs in eight of their 14 games. James Boone, a junior, and freshman Jacob Priday have combined for seven home runs and 42 RBIs in the middle of the lineup. MU has hit 14 home runs as a team, double the total of its opponents.

Proposal aims to relax farm notifications

JEFFERSON CITY — Rural Missourians could be surprised to see chicken or pig barns being built next door under legislation endorsed on Thursday by the Senate. The bill would lessen public notification requirements for all but the largest livestock producers.

The bill also would prohibit counties from enacting local ordinances that surpass the state’s restrictions on animal feeding operations.

Hotel robbery suspect arrested at gas station

A Columbia man suspected of robbing a hotel late Wednesday evening was arrested just minutes later while getting gas. The suspect, Jerry L. Williamson, 57, was charged with first-degree robbery, police said on Thursday in a release.

Williamson was also arrested in 1999 on suspicion of robbing the same Ramada Inn, said Columbia police Capt. Zim Schwartze, the East District commander.

Focus on big prep contest

KANSAS CITY — Sophomore Spencer Laurie and junior Jimmy McKinney will be on the same side when the Tigers take on Oklahoma in the second round of the Big 12 Conference tournament today, but the Missouri guards have divided allegiances.

McKinney’s former team, Vashon, will play Laurie’s former team, Kickapoo, at 6:05 tonight in the Missouri State High School championship semifinals at Mizzou Arena.

Never Satisfied, Always Working

When Lauren Grice began her Missouri soccer career in 2003, Tigers coach Bryan Blitz had a vague idea how Grice might help his team.

“We knew that Lauren would play here one day,” Blitz said. “We didn’t know when. We thought it might be her junior year she started to get a lot of time.”

Cougars double their fun

Monica Mueller found herself in an unfamiliar position Thursday at Cougar Softball Field.

Mueller, a senior All-American pitcher for Columbia College, had a three-run lead in the top of the seventh, but the tying run was stepping to the plate.