FROM READERS: A slithery discovery in the shed

Joe Dillard discovered a Black Rat Snake in the shed and snapped some pictorial evidence.

Senators reportedly reach deal on student loans

Under the deal, all undergraduates this fall would borrow at 3.85 percent interest rates. Graduate students would have access to loans at 5.4 percent and parents would be able to borrow at 6.4 percent.

Johnny Football draws a crowd at SEC Media Days

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel said he largely enjoys the spotlight that comes with winning the Heisman Trophy, even if it sometimes includes unsavory headlines.

Ashland mayor steps down, moving to Texas

Mayor Michael Jackson previously said he planned to leave the city after he retired from Kraft Foods.

WORLD BRIEFLY: Lawmakers object to NSA phone-call surveillance

Members of Congress said they never intended the NSA to build a database of every phone call. In other news, House Republicans have scheduled votes to delay requirements of President Barack Obama's health care law.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels denies trying to quash academic freedom

Conservative free speech advocates rose to the defense of Mitch Daniels, saying it was appropriate for him to express concern when he was governor of Indiana about what was taught in public institutions.

Heat blankets much of U.S. as summer sizzles

Most states in the U.S. were expected to have some areas where the temperature would hit 90 degrees or more, according to the National Weather Service. Humid air just made it all feel worse.

Missouri mandates licensure for insurance counselors

The counselors must be trained by Oct. 1, but the state has no regulatory framework to license the insurance navigators.

Five things to know about the U.S. heat wave

Texas and Oklahoma recorded their all-time lowest temperatures for July 15, but in parts of Alaska, the readings were warmer Monday than parts of Texas.

Memory decline may be earliest sign of dementia

Small, common memory slips are no cause for worry, although more pervasive memory loss, in which information doesn't come back to you later, could be an early sign of Alzheimer's or or dementia.

Gay marriage: Britain, France in surprise contrast

Despite a traditional reputation as a nation enamored with love, France found itself deeply divided over the legalization of gay marriage.

Mandela makes 'dramatic' progress, says daughter

The news of the improvement in Mandela's health will boost his supporters in South Africa and around the world who are preparing to celebrate his 95th birthday on Thursday.

Missouri authorized $94M in historic tax credit in 2013

The program provides tax credits to developers to help offset the cost of refurbishing historic buildings.

Driving somewhere? There's a government record of that

Networks of plate scanners allow police effectively to track a driver's location, sometimes several times every day, with few legal restrictions.

Kirksville pays fine for water treatment problems

The EPA said the city should have been inspecting A.T. Still University, Kraft Foods and Northeast Regional Medical Center.

Death investigated at prison in Jefferson City

An inmate at the Jefferson City Correction Center was found dead in his cell Tuesday. A unidentified suspect is being held at the prison.

Hundreds gather for candlelight vigil to honor fatally shot teen

Friends and family of Tre'Veon Marshall gathered at McKee Park for the second consecutive night to honor the slain teen and call for a stop to violence in the community.

Columbia man pleads guilty to assault at MU, stalking charges

A judge ordered Timothy Anderson to serve 10 days in jail and two years on probation. He also may not have contact with the victims in the case and must stay away from MU and Stephens College.

Missouri's Pinkel names Franklin starting quarterback at SEC Media Days

Coach Gary Pinkel said James Franklin, who suffered through some injuries last season, will head into fall camp as the No. 1 quarterback ahead of Corbin Berkstresser and Maty Mauk.

Columbia to test Google Hangouts to show City Council meetings

The city hopes to start broadcasting council meetings on Google Hangouts on Aug. 5.