Stephens College Children's School students decorate cookies after petition

Classes at Stephens College Children's School decorated gingerbread men cookies and houses Thursday. The idea was inspired by Natalie James, a fifth-grader at the school, who wrote a persuasive letter and created a petition to have class time to make gingerbread men.

On Thursday, pre-k classes decorated gingerbread houses with frosting and red and green candy, and the kindergarten through fifth-graders decorated gingerbread people.

Title I preschool offers more than ABCs, focuses on wide range of learning skills

The Columbia Title I preschools use what’s called the HighScope curriculum. This system focuses not just on academic, cognitive and language skills but incorporates life skills such as independence, decision-making and problem solving.

Weekend weather: What you need to know

Columbia will see a wet weekend, with snow late Saturday. The snow is expected to taper off Sunday.

TOP 10 SPORTS MOMENTS OF 2013: No. 8 — Missouri's Ron Lykins to coach U.S. paralympic men's wheelchair basketball

Ron Lykins, the men's wheelchair basketball coach at Missouri, will coach the U.S. paralympic men's wheelchair basketball team for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association made the announcement in January.

Missouri women's basketball loses to in-state rival

Missouri State's swarming defense limited Missouri's red-hot offense to just 53 points as the Tigers dropped their second game this season.

New cellphone tower near Providence designed to look like an elm tree

The tower, which is being built along Providence road just south of the MU sports facilities, is replacing a temporary "cow" — a cell tower on wheels — in a location selected "to help off-load demand during MU athletic events," Columbia Development Services Manager Pat Zenner said.

Kelly Wallis is named first director of county's Community Services Department

Kelly Wallis said her vision for the department includes providing services that will prevent children and families from going into crises such as substance abuse problems, mental health issues and domestic issues.

Police determine no crime in I-70 death

Police conducted an administrated review to determine why there was a delay in officers discovering that the accident involved a person. The incident had been assumed to be a driver versus deer case until the victim was found.

GEORGE KENNEDY: Blunt brings attention but not SNAP funding in Food Bank visit

Missouri ranks second in the nation in the percentage of families suffering from what the feds term “very low food security," according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

UPDATE: House fire in northwest Columbia causes significant damage

No one was injured, but there was significant damage to the home, said Josh Creamer, captain with the Boone County Fire Protection District.

MU receives $4.5 million grant for health care research

MU received $4.5 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will go toward research on patient-centered care. 

Target: 40 million card accounts may be breached

The chain said customers who made purchases by swiping their cards at terminals in its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have had their accounts exposed. The stolen data includes customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards.

Holiday shopping season: A disappointment so far

Sales are up 2 percent to $176.7 billion from Nov. 1 through Sunday, according to data from ShopperTrak. That's a slower pace than expected with few days left in the season.

UPDATE: Nixon selects Richard Fordyce as new Missouri agriculture director

Fordyce is a fourth-generation farmer and has been chairman of the Missouri State Soil and Water Districts Commission since 2008. The Agriculture Department has had interim leadership since Nixon abruptly replaced director Jon Hagler on Oct. 11.

Columbia Public Library to offer a new room for public meetings

The library has decided to transform its training center, currently used for its computer training programs, into another public meeting room.

New Mexico attorney general sues to stop horse slaughter

The move by Attorney General Gary King comes after a federal appeals court rolled back a court order that had kept Valley Meat Co. from starting operations earlier this fall.

In diverse U.S., Santa Claus has many faces, races

Santa Claus may be popularly known as a white-bearded benefactor with Dutch-English origins, but multiethnic versions of Santa are making the rounds out there, too — illustrating that in an increasingly diverse United States, Santa takes on whatever color you imagine him to be.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Thank you, City Council, for Medicaid resolution

Columbia resident Ben Edes writes that he hopes Columbia's representatives in Jefferson City are listening.

New Mexico Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage

New Mexico joins 16 states and the District of Columbia in allowing gay marriage.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Rural electrics should support clean energy

Electric consumers need to educate themselves about the true cost of coal, in dollars and in health and environmental effects.