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Jury selected for Rios murder trial

LIBERTY — While sitting at a conference table alongside his defense attorneys Monday, Stephen Rios saw for the first time the potential jurors who will determine his guilt or innocence.

Rios, a former Columbia police officer, is accused of killing Jesse Valencia, a 23-year-old MU student who was found dead near his Wilson Avenue apartment June 5, 2004, with his throat cut.

Land on south side annexed, rezoned

Columbia grew by 97 acres Monday night when the City Council unanimously approved the annexation and rezoning of wooded land on the southern edge of the city.

More than 200 single-family homes are being planned for the site along the south side of Old Plank Road. Robert Hollis, an attorney for the site’s owners, Charles and Barbara Roberts, said he expects the houses to sell for $180,000 to $1.2 million. They will be situated on plots ranging from a quarter of an acre to three acres.

New dean named for College of Education

Carolyn Herrington enthusiastically sought the top job at MU’s College of Education.

“With relish,” she said.

Missourians to get $1 million in restitution

A repayment of $1 million will reach 250 Missourians who invested in variable annuities exchanged by Waddell & Reed, a broker-dealer firm based in Kansas.

The company reached an agreement with the National Association of Securities Dealers on April 29 and said it would make a total of $11 million in restitution to 5,000 customers across the nation.

It’s time to recall our friendly past

One of the things I’ve learned from living in a politically charged environment is that it is not differences in political philosophy that divide people as much as differences in attitudes.

Remember when it was considered bad manners to bring up politics or religion at social gatherings? In those days, we valued good relationships with our neighbors and friends more than putting forth our positions on political or religious issues. For the sake of maintaining a pleasant environment, we were all willing to forgo the opportunity to express our opinions, saving them for expression at the proper time and in the proper place. As a result, regardless of which party has been in power, I have always been impressed with the friendliness, helpfulness and warm hospitality Missourians extend to visitors.

Mo. officials challenge base closures

WASHINGTON — Missouri’s congressional delegation has begun its long-shot fight to save a few thousand jobs targeted in the latest round of military closures and realignments.

Sen. Kit Bond met late Monday afternoon with Anthony Principi, chairman of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, to complain about the Pentagon’s plan to move the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Fighter Wing out of Lambert Airport in St. Louis. The shift would cost about 250 military and civilian jobs and $135 million in economic impact to the region.

A ‘Ronald McDonald’ house for the four-legged

Marilyn Gaffney’s quest to help her ailing dog Ricci took her halfway across the state, from her home in St. Louis to treatment facilities in Columbia. For a month, she would make that trip twice a week.

Ricci’s veterinarians in St. Louis weren’t sure what was wrong with her, so they referred Gaffney to MU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Ay, Chihuahua!

Angela Henson does not leave home without her dog. From class to work to an occasional party, she takes her

10-pound Chihuahua, George, almost everywhere she goes.

St. Louis killer to be executed tonight

ST. LOUIS — Lawyers and death penalty opponents fought Monday to halt the execution of a St. Louis man twice sentenced to die.

Barring a court ruling or clemency from Gov. Matt Blunt, Vernon Brown, 51, is scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at the Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre. It would be the third execution in Missouri this year.

Meeting expectations

Those affiliated with the Hickman baseball team will say their goal is a district championship, but when you’re ranked No. 1 in Missouri, the probability of a state championship run looms.

So, can Hickman (22-2) win it all? The Kewpies chances involve many elements.

Royals’ situation hard to manage

ST. LOUIS — Hands down, Hal McRae would rather be the batting coach on a exceptional team, the St. Louis Cardinals, than the manager of a downtrodden team like their cross-state rivals.

McRae has had his shot at running the Kansas City Royals, a team where he starred as the game’s first successful designated hitter, and doesn’t want another. He would be shocked if they called about their opening in the wake of Tony Pena’s resignation last week, but not shocked enough that he wouldn’t know how to respond with a polite, no thank you.

Extra Points

The Hickman boy’s golf team is in first place at the MSHSAA state tournament after the first round of play Monday at Silo Ridge Golf Course in Bolivar.

The Kewpies shot a 300 to lead the nine-team field. Popular Bluff had 303, Rockhurst 309 and Franklin 311. Defending champion Chaminade shot a 320.

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