Internet sting leads to arrest

Detectives from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department arrested a Gladstone man Saturday in Columbia on suspicion of attempting to entice what he thought was a 13-year-old girl for sexual favors. In reality, the “girl” was a fictitious character created by the Sheriff’s Department as part of an ongoing Internet sting, according to Detective Andy Anderson.

Gas main blamed in Boonville fires

A surge in gas pressure caused two house fires in Boonville on Monday and left about 500 homes without gas. No one was injured, and officials from Ameren UE expected to restore gas to the homes by early today. An imbalance of pressure in a gas main caused high-pressure gas to enter a low-pressure system that runs to homes and businesses, which left lines unable to contain the stress, said Mike Holman, an Ameren UE spokesman. The increased pressure was not high enough to trigger a full shutdown of the gas main’s regulators.

Jury selected for Mexico murder trial

TROY — An all-white jury of nine women and five men was empaneled Monday in Lincoln County for the murder trial of Lance Berry, 18, one of two men charged in the shooting death of Mexico, Mo., restaurateur Komninos “Gus” Karellas. Defense attorney Raymond Legg told potential jurors he doesn’t anticipate calling any witnesses to testify during the trial, which begins today in Warren County.

City continues beautification along Grindstone Parkway

By the end of this week, a section of the median in Grindstone Parkway should be sporting a new look. The landscaping will feature a variety of low-growing native plants but no trees. Because of safety issues raised by the Missouri Department of Transportation, low-growth perennials will be used to complete landscaping.

Politics getting in way of real issues

Most of us have been affected in one way or another by the tragic events which occurred recently along the Gulf Coast. Even if we don’t have friends or relatives who were victims of the hurricanes, our hearts and minds have been touched by their troubles. I suppose that’s why it’s so difficult to believe that so many individuals I’ve talked to recently are caught up in labeling every occurrence having to do with the tragedy, no matter how trivial, as either pro- or-anti their political persuasion. Of course, we expect the national news media to fan the flames of political partisanship. Sadly, enough, this attitude seems to have taken hold of some everyday people. Some of these people seem to thrive on politics as if it is the only reason for human beings to exist. Apparently your politics these days can be determined by whether you blame the victims, the local or state officials or the federal government for compounding the tragedy. It’s only a matter of time before someone accuses Mother Nature of having a political agenda. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of people could care less about Democrats and Republicans and are primarily concerned with just getting through each day with a minimum of difficulty. Perhaps when you have a lot of money things are different. You don’t have to worry about getting to work or getting the bills paid. You don’t have to worry about whether health insurance will pay the medical bills.

Author of West Bank book bringing her story to Columbia

Like many children, young Ellen O’Grady loved the story of Noah’s Ark and fantasized about having her own floating zoo. Her dream was short-lived, however. One day at Sunday school, a boy raised his hand and asked a question that would forever color O’Grady’s view of the world. “What about the bodies?” he asked about the animals and people that weren’t lucky enough to board the ark.

No impact so far from insurance secrecy law

JEFFERSON CITY — The enactment of a new law includes, as one of its most basic elements, the assumption of change. Yet there is one new Missouri law that — while it enacted change — seems, according to a preliminary statistical analysis, to have merely reinforced what the public may already have perceived as the status quo.

Sights set on deer

It’s morning, but it doesn’t feel like it. The sun has yet to edge up on the horizon, and stars still dot the sky as the clock reads 5:45 a.m. The only light comes from the piercing beams of truck headlights pulling into the small gravel parking lots. The nearby forest is largely silent, save for the crunch of underbrush as hunters journey into the woods. This was the scene Saturday at Three Creeks National Forest near Columbia, which experienced its first rifle shots of the hunting season. An urban deer hunting session took place Friday through today in Kansas City, Columbia, St. Louis and Springfield. The session aims to reduce the overpopulation of deer outside large urban centers.

Bicycle ride raises money for YouZeum

A snake of blinking bicycle lights wove through downtown Columbia, around Jesse Hall, over pedestrian bridges, inside Memorial Stadium and around much of the city Saturday night before returning to rest at 608 Cherry St., home of the future YouZeum. The Starlight Bike Ramble was a fundraiser for the YouZeum, an interactive health education center scheduled to open in fall 2006. Organizers estimated that as many as 50 bicyclists participated in the ride at a cost of $20 each for adults and $10 for children. Though the group hoped for as many as 200 participants, YouZeum board member John Ott said the turnout was not a disappointment.

Grass Roots Organizing group celebrates fifth birthday

From an idea originally conceived over dinner at a Pizza Hut, Grass Roots Organizing has grown into a group with hundreds of members and a $300,000 annual budget in its five years. Saturday at Ramada Inn in Columbia, the group celebrated its fifth anniversary, an event that attracted about 130 guests and raised $1,000 from new members.

The gift of mobility

The building is not much to look at from the outside. Tucked away behind Mid City Lumber, the small warehouse is barely distinguishable from any other building along the industrial strip just off Paris Road. But inside, past the dirty windows and vines that cover the peeling white paint, is a workshop filled with band saws, drill presses, lumber and steel. The walls are covered with photographs and letters from around the world. Maps tracking financial donations from families and churches hang above a desk littered with international shipping orders and a Bible.

Euthanasia law changes considered

As new Chief Justice John Roberts and his Supreme Court colleagues clash over an Oregon law that allows doctors to assist terminally ill patients end their lives, the debate is under way in Missouri as legislators and end-of-life groups review the state’s position on doctor-assisted suicide. The Missouri End of Life Coalition held a summit in Jefferson City last Thursday and will begin compiling a report for next year’s Missouri General Assembly.

Credit card payment to cost more at Mizzou

MU students who plan to pay next semester’s tuition with a credit card had better act fast. Starting Jan. 1, MU will no longer accept credit cards for payments in the cashiers office.

Migrating butterflies linger on way to Mexico

Monarch butterflies are flapping their way through Missouri this fall, heading south for the winter. But while scientists say Missouri has probably seen the peak migration for this season, the little voyagers seem to be sticking around a bit longer. “Most of the migration is over in this area by the fourth of October, but there are unusually large numbers of late monarchs this year due to the warm weather and the strong winds from the southwest,” said Chip Taylor, an entomologist with the University of Kansas research program Monarch Watch.

UM curators approve $350M in bonds

ST. LOUIS — The University of Missouri Board of Curators spent part of their meeting Friday talking about how to pay for future construction of new academic buildings. The discussion sprang from a proposal to add onto MU’s Schweitzer Hall.

UMSL institute criticized for Democratic bias

ST. LOUIS ­— Misperceptions and complaints about an institute promoting the involvement of women in public life came out as accusations during a meeting Friday of the University of Missouri Board of Curators. The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life was scrutinized over whether its current association with the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the taxpayer funding it receives conflict with what some say is bias toward Democrats and the exclusion of men.

Columbia School Board to discuss real estate in closed session

The Columbia School Board will meet in closed executive session Monday afternoon to consider the leasing, purchasing or sale of real estate, according to its agenda. Afterward, at its regular evening meeting, the board will hear from the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee. Lynn Barnett, assistant superintendent for student support services, said the committee will provide an update on existing school buildings.

Hartsburg expects 45,000 to celebrate pumpkin pride

If you think a town the size of Hartsburg — population 108 — cannot handle an influx of thousands of festival-goers, think again. The town’s 14th Annual Pumpkin Festival takes place this weekend, complete with treats such as apple butter cooking demonstrations, homemade arts and crafts, and of course, sizable pumpkins ready for Halloween carving or pumpkin pie.

5 ideas

[1] Elusive killer MU police released a photo this week of the knife they say was used to kill Jeong H. Im, a retired research professor at MU. Im was found dead of multiple stab wounds Jan. 7 in the trunk of his burning Honda in the Maryland Avenue parking garage.

Hurricane Katrina creates an unlikely marriage between Connecticut doctors and mid-Missouri EMTs

In the days immediately after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, Keith Schaefer said he called every relief organization he could think of to volunteer his help. Most told him they just wanted money. When the Red Cross expressed interest, Schaefer cleared his work schedule for three weeks but never heard back. He was frustrated and about to give up when his father, Mark Schaefer, had a wild idea: Take an ambulance and go.