LETTER: Local merchants key to newspaper industry

Newspapers have a lock on local information, but too many are preoccupied with the Internet to capitalize on it.

ANALYSIS: Deficit spending is tough medicine

The expected growth of the federal government budget deficit to $1.2 trillion this year could swamp future generations with a tidal wave of debt. But failure to spend huge piles of money on stimuli could capsize an already foundering economy.

Smoking bans should be enforced

What is the point of an indoors smoking ban if nonsmokers have to walk through a cloud of it to enter a building?

Police chief candidates down to five

Two of the five candidates currently work in Missouri. The Columbia Police Department's only internal candidate did not make the cut.

Police find skeletal remains in homemade shed

Police found unidentified skeletal remains in a homemade shed Wednesday morning in a wooded area just north of Conley Road, said Capt. Brad Nelson of the Columbia Police Department's Major Crimes Unit.

Forget recovery search resumes Wednesday

The recovery search for 20-year-old John Paul Forget of Chesterfield resumed Wednesday on the Missouri River. An officer with the State Water Patrol performed a surface and sonar search for the man who has been missing since Dec. 16.

Blue Note will host a free presidential inauguration ball

Participants can dress formally or informally for the free party from 6 to 11 p.m. on Jan. 20 at The Blue Note.

General Assembly opens with call for higher education reform, emphasis on economic development

The 95th Missouri General Assembly began Wednesday with a proposal that could endanger the continuing authority of the UM System Board of Curators by bringing all state universities under one board.

Bright minds shine in Columbia's high schools

Columbia's  25 National Merit semifinalists are, by and large, the cream of the academic crop. But to understand them requires consideration of much more than their scores.

A revival for art education at Columbia Art League

The Columbia Art League has received a $20,000 grant from the 3M Foundation. It will be used for arts education programs for youth.  “It's such a tremendous boost for the Columbia Art League at a time when everyone in the arts is feeling the pinch, and a great endorsement for creativity in our community by a national foundation,” said Diana Moxon, the art league's executive director.

Vision commission pushes ahead on progress report at first meeting

The commission is preparing a report, due March 31, on how it will measure its progress over the coming months.

Two early morning attempted burglaries reported

Two attempted burglaries awakened residents early this morning in north Columbia, according to a Columbia Police Department news release.

Gov.-elect Nixon fires 150 workers

Gov.-elect Jay Nixon issued pink slips to about 150 state employees Wednesday, ending their jobs the moment he takes office next week. The termination letters were sent primarily to employees in Cabinet-level, senior staff or policy-making positions, said Nixon spokesman Oren Shur.

D. Kent King, Missouri education commissioner, dies

D. Kent King, a longtime school superintendent who was Missouri's education commissioner for the past eight years, died Wednesday. He was 65. King died at his home in Rolla after deciding to forgo further treatment for a cancerous brain tumor diagnosed in October 2006, said Jim Morris, a spokesman for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Legal tab at $1.5 million in Blunt e-mail lawsuits

The legal spat over Gov. Matt Blunt's e-mails and a fired staff attorney has cost Missouri taxpayers about $1.5 million. Records provided to The Associated Press under the Sunshine Law show the state has spent more than $900,000 to defend Blunt and several past and present administration officials against a lawsuit by former legal counsel Scott Eckersley.

New women's health program begins in Missouri

Jobs on top of agenda as Missouri lawmakers start 2009

Missouri legislators convened their 2009 session Wednesday with an emphasis on job creation in a struggling economy that has created financial concerns not only for individuals but for the state itself.

Moving trends: Heading for Mid-Atlantic

Americans continue to head west — and to the Mid-Atlantic states — while many are leaving the Great Lakes region behind, according to a study released Wednesday.

Nixon picks lawmaker to lead Missouri Health Department

Incoming Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday picked an outgoing state House member to lead the Department of Health and Senior Services. Margaret Donnelly, 54, of Richmond Heights, was picked to join Nixon's Cabinet on Wednesday, just before lawmakers were sworn in and Donnelly officially left the state legislature.