LOCALLY GROWN: Sealing the gaps for sustainability

In this slideshow, Columbia's sustainability manager shows how to seal air leaks in your house.

TODAY’S QUESTION: Is Walmart right to fire employee for medical marijuana use?

Walmart has been sued for the termination of an employee who is also a legal medical marijuana user.

LETTER: Agriculture could play key role in energy issues

Legislation ought to be passed that provides incentives for farmers and ranchers to produce and use renewable energy.

LETTER: Sweetheart deals leave swaths of economic disaster

The Manufacturing Jobs Act (HCS HB 2) was passed as a desperate act to retain 4,000 jobs at the Claycomo Ford plant near Kansas City. Legislators should stop pandering to companies' threats of moving jobs out of the state if their wishes are not met.

COLUMN: Handgun use hinges on interpretation of 'self-defense'

This week's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a ban on handguns has fueled debate on the Founding Fathers' intentions in protecting the right to bear arms.

COLUMN: Playing the blame game in the BP oil spill

The race to label someone as culpable in the Gulf oil spill has led to fingers pointed not only at BP, but also at former President George W. Bush, Big Oil, greed, capitalism, anti-environmentalists and the American driver.

Tanning tax rolls out Thursday

The first step of federal health care reform imposes a tax on tanning salons, which will cover $2.7 billion of the total $940 billion cost of the health care bill. Dermatologists support the increase, but tanning salon owners claim it is an unfair burden.

Art center founder promotes community, fun, work ethic

Erica and Chris Leach are renovating an old church in preparation for a craft center at Sixth Street and Hickman Avenue.

USS Ringness crew member among Honor Flight veterans

World War II veteran Dabney Doty joined the Navy in 1944, and his ship rescued survivors from the USS Indianapolis.

Missouri veterans connect future, past through Honor Flight

The 10th Honor Flight flew almost 90 veterans to Washington, D.C., including World War II veteran James Shipley, who was one of the first black airmen.

Vandals damage more than 80 tombstones at Hartsburg cemetery

Vandals caused $2,000 worth of damage to tombstones at Goshen Primitive Baptist Church's cemetery in Hartsburg last weekend. The Boone County Sheriff's Department had no suspects Wednesday. Members of Goshen Primitive Baptist Church have started to repair some of the tombstones.

Finger Lakes swimming area closed because of elevated E. coli levels

E. coli levels almost five times higher than the acceptable limit set by the Department of Natural Resources were found in Finger Lakes State Park's public swimming beach. The beach will be closed until at least next week.

Fireworks set to fire up mid-Missouri

Check out the schedule of Independence Day celebrations in Columbia, Ashland, Arrow Rock, Jefferson City, Centralia, Lake of the Ozarks, Rocheport and Fulton. Most events are free.

UPDATE: Tuesday shootings could be related to Sunday incidents

Police investigated several reports of shots fired Tuesday night, which they think are related to similar reports from Sunday, according to a Columbia Police Department news release.

Woman plans to petition Health Department for custody of cats kept in motel

Susan Kohler, who kept 32 cats in a Motel 6, 28 alive and four dead, plans to petition the Columbia/Boone County Public Heath and Human Services Department to remove her cats from the Central Missouri Humane Society.

New Water and Light director aims for community involvement

Tad Johnsen was appointed to head the Water and Light Department. He has worked within the department for 16 years, and he is scheduled to start as director on July 11.

PHOTO GALLERY: Ragtag Cinema celebrates 12th anniversary

Wednesday was the 12th anniversary of the Ragtag Cinema. Ragtag celebrated its 12th anniversary by holding a birthday bash with food and beverages supplied by the Uprise Bakery.

UPDATE: Faulty dental sterilization reported at St. Louis veterans hospital

A St. Louis VA Medical Center has urged nearly 2,000 veterans to return for blood tests because inadequately sterilized equipment may have exposed them to viral infections such as hepatitis C and HIV during dental procedures.

Couple takes on responsibility of local Salvation Army church programs

Marquis and Twyla Brookins from Arnold were appointed to lead Salvation Army Church programs in Columbia. They started their duties Wednesday.

'Gigantic' tanker latest Gulf oil spill cleanup tool

Officials hope the 10-story tall oil-skimming vessel will skim and filter as much as 21 million gallons of tainted water a day.