Gas leak prompts evacuation of 36 residents

A private contractor's trencher struck a gas line early Friday afternoon, and gas levels showed there was danger of an explosion. Residents were expected to return to their homes shortly after they were evacuated.

BENTON STEPHENS: Windsor Street Montessori will hold annual Scholastic Book Sale

The Windsor Street Montessori School is holding its Scholastic Book Sale Monday, Oct. 3, through Friday, Oct. 7, to raise funds for the school. The funds will be used to purchase more books for the school.

BENTON STEPHENS: Harvest Hootenanny fundraiser to support local farmers

The fundraiser will feature free food and drink, live music and games.

Rock Bridge volleyball freshman smiles her way to success

Freshman Sophie Cunningham's upbeat personality and athletic skill have helped the Rock Bridge Bruins to an 18-5 start to their season.

Voluntary Action Center honors Cindy Mustard with open house

Columbia residents honored Cindy Mustard, retiring executive director of the Voluntary Action Center, with an open house on Thursday.

Rock Bridge cross country brothers: talented, but totally different

Brothers Jordan and Zach Cook run for the Bruins boys varsity cross-country team, which currently ranked first in the state. Although they're both talented runners, they bring very different personalities to the team.

Jury finds Darris Peal guilty of second-degree murder

The grandfather of Aaron Hobson said he wished Darris Peal had showed some remorse for killing his grandson, who was 22 when he was murdered last October after a party. Hobson had come to town to see his cousin play in a football game.

PHOTO GALLERY: Preschoolers spend day learning about Rock Bridge State Park

Preschool students from Field Elementary School spent Thursday exploring Rock Bridge State Park. The students explored Devil's Icebox Cave and captured insects.

McCaskill among Congress members identified as top social media users

Advocacy groups have pointed to four members of Congress, including Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who effectively use social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr to reach constituents. McCaskill is in the top 10 for the highest number of Twitter followers.

Massachusetts man charged with Pentagon, Capitol terror plot

Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, was charged with plotting to blow up the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol using remote controlled airplanes packed with explosives. He was also charged with supporting al-Qaida.

Pfizer, pharmacy group warn against counterfeit drugs

Worldwide sales of counterfeit medicines totaled more than $75 billion last year. The company behind the pill Viagra is teaming up with a pharmacy standards group to educate people about the dangers of counterfeit drugs. 

Hickman softball team defeats New Franklin

The Hickman softball team defeated New Franklin 13-2 Thursday.

Missouri Republicans consider caucuses to avoid loss of delegates

Missouri Republicans were to discuss the Feb. 7, 2012, presidential primary elections. The early primary could cost Missouri Republicans half of their national convention delegates.

UPDATE: Temporary repairs on Birds Point levee nearly finished

Interim repairs at three breached spots should be finished by Nov. 30, but officials are pushing for a full restoration of the levee, which would cost an additional $21 million.

500 species of plants and animals could receive new protections

The list of species protected under the Endangered Species Act is getting longer. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has until Friday to take action on more than 700 pending cases of potential wildlife protection. 

Missouri using weevils to consume roadside weeds

The long-snouted bugs have been deployed to eat the flowers and seeds of spotted knapweed. The weed produces an herbicide that kills plants growing nearby. 

Grand jury indicts three Macon residents on bank robbery charges

Jeffrey Heckman, Jacob Norris and Alexia Baker, all of Macon, were indicted Thursday on charges in the July 8 robbery of Merchants & Farmers Bank in Columbia. The three were indicted earlier in Texas on charges stemming from a credit union robbery.

Two more illnesses reported in Missouri from tainted cantaloupe

An outbreak of listeria has sickened people across the country and caused more than a dozen deaths in 18 states.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: It's time to admit failure with No Child Left Behind

Local solutions, not a federal mandate, are the best way to achieve educational excellence for the nation's students.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Learn from the mistakes of No Child Left Behind

The philosophy behind the failed act is sound, but its unrealistic standards can't be met and only hurt students in the process.