Hope Chest for Kids helps foster families during hard times

Tres McCullon cleans the chocolate-chip cookie dough out of the beaters of his aunt, Lori Stoll's, electric mixer, on Monday. McCullon stayed with Lori and Barry Stoll for a summer. The Stolls frequently take in children in need, adding to their family of five. They currently are fostering five Vietnamese-American children.

The number of foster children in Missouri has increased over last year, while the number of foster families has decreased. The state reimbursement rate for foster parents is low, and Hope Chest for Kids helps fill the financial gap by providing foster families with food distributions and scholarships.

Yes, Dear Reader, there is a 'Yes, Virginia' editorial today

The editorial, written in 1897, transcends any particular faith and speaks to all. It describes an aspiration for hope and wonder.

Missouri senators split on health care legislation

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said the bill is not perfect but will "vastly improve the current realities of health care in our country," while Republican Sen. Kit Bond said that the bill fails to lower costs or improve the quality of health care.

COLUMN: Long list of people to thank for 2009

Here is some heartfelt appreciation to those in Columbia who make our community a better place to live.

Winter weather conditions grow hazardous on Christmas Eve

Columbia's homeless find food and shelter from the cold

Jeff Stack, coordinator for the Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation, spoke about homelessness to the City Council on Monday night. Stack said that in an affluent, enlightened college town, no one should tolerate homelessness.

MU fraternity members carol to collect clothes for charity for Christmas

Nineteen members of Alpha Phi Omega spent a day caroling and gathering donated clothes for their efforts to give to Goodwill.

Business hours change on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Many businesses are closing early in Christmas Eve, and others are closed on Christmas Day.

COLUMN: A few things you didn't know about Santa

The jolly man answers questions about his job, requests from children and reindeer.

Shoppers give stores last-minute sales surge

Early readings from Toys R Us, Sears Holdings Corp. and several mall operators show packed stores on Christmas Eve following a busy week fueled by shoppers who delayed buying, waiting for bigger discounts that never came or slowed by last weekend's big East Coast snowstorm.

Man violates Walmart lifetime trespass warning

A man suspected of stealing 11 video games from the Walmart at 415 Conley Road violated a lifetime trespass warning at all Walmarts, police said.

Massive storm disrupts last-minute holiday travel

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for parts of Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Texas. It cautioned that travel would be extremely dangerous in those areas through the weekend and that drivers should pack a winter survival kit including flashlight and water in case of emergency.

In Bethlehem, holiday cheer edges out gloom

Residents of Bethlehem, hemmed in by an Israeli security barrier and still recovering from years of violence, celebrated their town's annual day in the spotlight along with tourists who came from across the globe. Visitors milled around Manger Square, mingling with clergymen, camera crews and locals hawking food and trinkets.

Pro-immigration reform groups growing in influence

Political action committees that support allowing some undocumented immigrants to become citizens are raising more funds than those that favor immigration control. 

Analysts predict Missouri will keep congressional seats

Election Data Services says new data finds Missouri just barely keeping a congressional seat that earlier estimates suggested it would lose.

Missouri could see tighter lead monitoring

EPA tightens air quality rules, leading to more monitoring for lead.

Pets2Vets program matches homeless pets and veterans

Created in October by an Iraq veteran, Pets2Vets hopes to help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder by pairing them with a pet to adopt.

Catholic Charities leader resigns

The Dec. 15 resignation of Monsignor Mark Ullrich is the latest in a series of departures from the organization since fall 2008. The 57-year-old priest asked to return to parish work, the archbishop said.

At 100, Boy Scouts say they're still 'essential'

Membership has declined and controversies have lingered, but millions belong to the modern Boy Scouts of America, and the organization is ensuring it will be relevant for another century.

Donation leaves World War I museum curators up in arms

The Liberty Memorial in Kansas City has been given a nearly comprehensive collection of World War I machine guns, adding to its acclaim as a museum chronicling the Great War.