Children get an early visit with Santa at annual Christmas in July

The Voluntary Action Center held a Christmas in July event at Missouri United Methodist Church on Thursday in downtown Columbia. Visitors received a free meal, spent time with Santa and could get their hands painted.

Christmas in July is an annual dinner for low-income families put on by the Voluntary Action Center. Families come to the Missouri United Methodist Church for a free meal, and children receive presents from Santa.

Groundbreaking ceremony held for activist Christy Welliver memorial

The ceremony was open to friends and family who were interested in or involved with the project. The date of the groundbreaking is significant in itself, as Thursday was the 96th birthday of Ruth Welliver, Christy Welliver's mother, who attended the event.

Gender-neutral bathrooms encouraged in Columbia

Following cities such as Philadelphia and Portland, Columbia is taking steps to encourage businesses with one-toilet bathrooms to make them gender-neutral.

19-year-old woman falls out of window

She was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries. Police said the woman was intoxicated at the time of the fall. 

Pistons release Missouri's English

Former Missouri basketball player Kim English was released by the Detroit Pistons on Thursday.

Local artist donates 'Big Band' painting to Columbia Public Library

The large painting by Columbia College's Ben Cameron, installed Wednesday, hangs in the first floor lobby of the library.

GENE ROBERTSON: Gap between franchised and disenfranchised remains wide

Prejudice and discrimination profiteering is still occurring on the backs of the poor and other disenfranchised groups.

Grindstone Creek Trail public meeting to discuss bridge locations

Columbia Parks and Recreation staff and engineers from Allstate Consultants will be able to discuss possible bridge locations at a July 17 meeting.

Blue Thunder Track Club set to host track meet

More than 300 athletes between the ages of 7 and 18 are expected to compete Saturday at Rock Bridge High School.

Missouri's business incentives to get a makeover

Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation Thursday that consolidates four of the state's current incentives into a new program dubbed "Missouri Works" that, in some cases, will have easier qualifications for businesses.

Perlow-Stevens Gallery reaches $40,000 in private contributions

Joel Sager, who is taking over the downtown gallery from Jennifer Perlow and Chris Stevens, will next focus on corporate contributors.

Terry Dean Dyson, Aug. 16, 1948 — July 11, 2013

Terry Dean Dyson, 64, loved cars and trucks and the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing.

Business groups launch campaign for income tax cut

The newly formed Grow Missouri coalition plans an election-style media blitz to encourage Missouri's Republican-led legislature to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of the tax-cut legislation.

City and school officials discuss bus Wi-Fi, roads around Battle High

They also talked about expanding a pilot program that allowed certain high school students to use city buses for free.

Report: Climate change causing energy disruptions

The report, released Thursday by the Energy Department, says blackouts and other problems caused by Superstorm Sandy and other extreme weather events are likely to be repeated across the country as an aging energy infrastructure struggles to adapt to rising seas, higher storm surges and increased flooding.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Out of touch Congress puts college out of reach for many

Rates on subsidized loans doubled on July 1, leaving many families unable to consider the cost. What's worse, state support for higher education in Missouri could reach zero by 2036, experts say.

Randy Travis recovering from brain surgery

Travis remained in critical condition after surgery Wednesday night to relieve pressure on his brain.

GOP rejects comprehensive approach to immigration

Republicans won't talk about specifics nor a timetable — nor any mention of possible citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country unlawfully.

Matheny fumes at umpire after Cardinals' loss to Cubs

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny got into a heated argument with plate umpire Dan Bellino and had to be restrained after the Cardinals lost 3-0 to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.

Jon Hamm enters sports world as ESPYs host

The 42-year-old actor best known as Don Draper on AMC's "Mad Men" is a 1993 graduate of MU.