Feline show flaunts purr-fect contenders

Larry Swanson has judged more than 10,000 cats.

More than 1,000 paper towels were used to clean cages and display tables.

And celebrate some more

Feel like a kid again

Cassie Acton knows her way around Columbia’s fireworks stands.

Rios sentenced to life in prison

Former Columbia police officer Steven Rios was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the killing of 23-year-old MU student Jesse Valencia.

A Clay County jury convicted Rios, 28, of first-degree murder on May 27 after nearly nine hours of deliberation. Rios received an additional 10 years in prison for armed criminal action.

Intruder fires gun and flees, police say

A north Columbia family awoke to the sound of a gunshot early Sunday after police said an intruder broke into their home, fired at least one shot and left.

Columbia police said two women and two children were asleep at their home in the 3000 block of Haden Drive when the shooting occurred at about 2:30 a.m. One of the four called 911 and gathered the other three into a bedroom until officers arrived.

Union reps praise Beck, await heir

While Columbia City Manager Ray Beck’s retirement won’t take effect until the end of the year, union leaders have high hopes for his successor.

Union representatives have little direct interaction with the city manager, but they do occasionally consult on important personnel issues. During budget preparations each year, union leaders meet with department heads and the assistant city manager for “meet and confer” sessions to negotiate issues such as salaries, insurance and other benefits. The tentative agreements that result from those meetings are forwarded to the city manager, who either approves them or asks for further negotiations.

Look west on school spending

JEFFERSON CITY — With Missouri facing a lawsuit challenging the state’s method of funding public schools, developments in Kansas could provide a glimpse of where this case is headed.

In both states, school officials challenged state spending, saying it did not provide fair and adequate funding for schools as the state constitutions require.

Taking a frank look at frankfurters

Hot dogs, frankfurters, wienies or redhots — no matter their name, they have become a part of the American culture.

When Americans celebrate their nation’s birthday, they eat more hot dogs than any other day of the year — 150 million, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. “Hot dogs have been historically associated as an all-American food,” said Ayoka Blandford, public relations manager for the council.

A bang-up job

Past the pasture-turned parking lot, just inside the gated entrance, a crowd of 20 spectators mills near a concession stand that sells funnel cakes and beer in half-gallon plastic jugs.

Behind the wooden bleachers, three boys wrestle one another for a place in line for the portable toilet. In the pit, a bandana–clad driver with a long blond goatee hunches under the hood of his car, making last-minute adjustments to a vehicle that soon could be headed to the scrap heap.

Late bill eases paddle industry liability

LEASBURG — The members of the extended Hall family had traveled for hours to get to this moment. They were about to board an old yellow bus that would take them to the drop-off point for their family canoe trip on the Meramec River.

As part of his routine, the bus driver asked if they needed life jackets.

Lights in the night

There are the ones with rings and the ones that look like geysers. Beyond that, a lot of us have trouble describing what a firework explosion looks like, much less knowing the differences between them. The Fire in the Sky show tonight at Memorial Stadium in Columbia will make use of 568 different types of fireworks.

22-year-old in serious condition after accident

A two-car collision near Stadium Boulevard and Ash Street on Saturday left one person in serious condition at University Hospital.

Uintah J. Geiger, 22, was listed in serious condition at University Hospital Saturday night after police said the driver’s side of her car was hit by another car.

City Council to vote on annexation

Columbia City Council members will have to decide on Tuesday whether what would be a historic expansion of the city is worth the $5.9 million it will cost taxpayers.

Before they vote on the proposed annexation, council members will consider approving a detailed agreement between developer Billy Sapp and the city. Included in the 17-page agreement are promises by the city to extend a sanitary sewer line through the land Sapp wants annexed and to lengthen Rolling Hills Road, which would run along part of Sapp’s property.

Scanner cuts time to process fingerprints electronically

Missouri businesses and state agencies seeking background information on potential employees will soon have a much shorter time to wait.

Gov. Matt Blunt announced Tuesday a new partnership between the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Identix Identification Services will enable Missouri Applicant Processing Services to process fingerprint information electronically. The program, which begins July 20, is expected to reduce the time to conduct background checks from six to eight weeks to only five days.

City employee saved in a heartbeat

Workers at the city power plant are no strangers to emergencies. Their jobs require quick reactions to problems with machinery, and they’ve dealt with fires and explosions. Monthly safety meetings ensure that employees know where the oxygen tank and automated external defibrillator are kept and how to perform CPR.

“These guys have seen emergencies. … It’s just never involved a human life before,” said Tad Johnsen, superintendent of the power plant.

Fan use not ideal for beating heat

While many Columbians enjoy the cool comfort of air conditioning in their homes, some aren’t as fortunate to have that luxury.

Temperatures soared into the upper 90s last week, and Wednesday’s heat advisory in Boone County issued by the National Weather Service made it almost unbearable for those without air conditioning.

Five Ideas

Rural Missouri is one of the most popular places in the country for methamphetamine production. The state has established guidelines for how a meth-production site should be cleaned but has no enforceable legal standard for determining when a site has been adequately cleaned. Michelle Hartman, of Missouri Department of Health, said there isn’t enough evidence on the adverse health effects on residents of former production sites to merit legal guidelines.

Some researchers believe that even after a meth site has been cleaned, chemicals can be present that could cause pulmonary damage and peripheral nerve compression. Residents may also be at risk for more serious side effects, including cancer and asthma.

Deportation decision splits family

JEFFERSON CITY — With tears in her eyes, Marina Gonzalez watched her 19-year-old daughter, Marie Gonzalez, calmly try to explain to the press why she would be able to stay in the United States while her parents are deported to Costa Rica.

It was something not easily explained.

Blowing their minds

The technical skills required to become a master glass blower were once considered such valuable secrets they were worth killing to protect.

In the 13th century, glass blowers in Venice were forced to settle on the nearby Italian island of Murano, where the region’s most famous export could be closely monitored. Fearful of the competition from other artisans, the Venetian government served cruel sentences on glass blowers who leaked information or left Murano without permission. Hired assassins would reportedly hunt down and kill artists who fled the island.

Religious confusion

David Citrin has an unusual religious background. His father was Jewish. His mother was raised Catholic but converted to Judaism when she married.

The family celebrated Jewish holidays, and Citrin’s mother lit Shabbat candles on Friday nights. She taught her son Jewish prayers although eventually, Citrin says, “she realized it didn’t work without Jesus.”

An eye for perfection

The Artist: Bob Boxley was born and raised in western Kansas and has lived in Columbia since 1965. He worked as an underwriter for Shelter Insurance for 37 years. Ten years ago, Boxley retired and followed in the footsteps of his father and brother and took up wood carving. This challenging art medium keeps him busy and entertained. “Art is the creation of love, and the love of creation,” Boxley said.

The Art: Boxley’s wood carvings range from animals to crematory urns to walking sticks. He works with an assortment of wood, and he paints and finishes all of the work. Boxley is part of the Mid-Missouri Wood Carvers Association, which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Senior Center.