PHOTO GALLERY: Fire destroys O'Reilly Auto Parts, damages other businesses

Firefighters battled a blaze at O'Reilly Auto Parts, a fire that damaged multiple businesses at the Business Loop 70 strip mall. The first call to the Columbia Fire Department came in at 4:45 a.m. Sunday and the fire was not considered under control until 3 p.m. Eleven units and 35 staff members responded to the fire.

Dozens of firefighters responded to an outbreak of flames at O'Reilly Auto Parts early Sunday morning. The fire caused damaged to multiple businesses and kept fire crews on the scene into the afternoon.

UPDATE: Business Loop fire destroys O'Reilly Auto Parts store

O'Reilly Auto Parts, which was in the strip mall on Business Loop, caught fire Sunday morning. The fire completely destroyed the store and caused heavy damage to the rest of the strip mall.

Missouri softball's Nicole Hudson celebrates Baylor sweep, reopening of father's Joplin business

It was a great Sunday for Missouri softball player Nicole Hudson. A 7-0 victory gave the Tigers a three-game sweep of Baylor and just a few hours down the road, her father reopened his Domino's Pizza restaurant in Joplin that was destroyed by last year's tornado.

THE WEEK IN PHOTOS: Missouri softball, Earth Day and a strip mall fire

The best Missourian photos last week included children playing in the warm weather, Columbia establishments observing Earth Hour and a fire at a Columbia strip mall.

Missouri baseball team loses series finale at Texas A&M

After coming back to tie the game, the Tigers let up the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, falling to the Aggies 7-6 on Sunday in College Station, Texas.

PHOTO GALLERY: Palm Sunday observed by Columbia churches

Congregations from across the Columbia area gathered together to observe Palm Sunday, a holy day one week before Easter, that commemorates Jesus Christ's return to Jerusalem.

THE WEEK IN MISSOURI SPORTS: Haith wins award; softball team wins

Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith won the Associated Press Coach of the Year award, the softball team swept Baylor and the baseball team lost a series to Texas A&M.

THE WEEK'S MOST-READ STORIES: Aggressive dogs, a dancing fire chief and a woman's mysterious death

Readers took interest in stories about the designation of some dog breeds as "bullies," the Columbia fire chief's preparation for a dance contest and the mysterious death of a homeless woman in a St. Louis jail.

Mid-Missouri residents adopt new pets at Columbia event

No Kill Columbia held a pet adoption event on Sunday where about 200 cats and dogs from 13 shelters waited for adoption.

Traveling meteorologist prevents further disaster during Midwest tornadoes, weather crises

Kelly Hooper and other traveling weather servicemen try to be on the scene of of a weather crisis within 24 hours of the first call for help with the goal of keeping "an incident from happening within an incident." 

Korean children study abroad — before college — in Columbia, other U.S. towns

The trend of extended study abroad for young students has increased among South Korean families. Many of these students go to school in college towns such as Columbia.

NEWS ANALYSIS: Missouri lawmakers try to avoid primaries with two incumbents

Leery of knocking off a sitting lawmaker and possibly dividing loyalties among fellow lawmakers in Jefferson City, legislative leaders worked to avoid having two previously elected officials from the same party face each other in a primary.

Ticks, mosquitoes already showing up in Missouri after warm winter, spring

Active mosquito larvae and ticks have already been spotted in St. Louis County and because of the warm early spring, they have a better chance of surviving into the summer. 

Tornadoes raise home insurance rates in Missouri

After the Joplin tornado and other ones that caused damage, premiums increased 5 percent between July 2011 and this March, according to Missouri's Department of Insurance.

Missouri gubernatorial candidate tied to troubled bank

With every move Spence makes in Missouri's 2012 governor's race, Democrats have countered by highlighting his connections to Reliance Bancshares Inc., which has yet to repay a penny of its federal bailout money. Spence said he was making an effort, in good faith, to help the financially strapped bank recover.

New, impact-based tornado warnings aim to scare

In a test that starts Monday, five weather service offices in Kansas and Missouri will use words such as "mass devastation," ''unsurvivable" and "catastrophic" in a new kind of warning that's based on the severity of a storm's expected impact.

'Military friendly' college lists prompt concerns, mislead veterans

Websites and magazines claiming to have put together lists of colleges and universities that are military and veteran friendly are misleading the public by not disclosing that they are often paid by the institutions they highlight.


Weighing the costs and benefits of a college education

More than 30 percent of Americans have bachelor's degrees, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. But what is the value of that degree in today's (and tomorrow's) economy?

A love story (and a rant) from Sedalia

Ask Matt LaCasse about the idea of opportunity as the American Dream, and you'll get an earful.

Missouri echoes the nation's religious views

I grew up in southwest Missouri, and was always very aware that I was living in the Bible Belt. So it surprised me to learn that, far from being distinct, Missouri is actually a pretty good representation of the country as far as religion goes.