Gasoline leak poses hazard

A tractor-trailer carrying explosives sprung a fuel leak Thursday morning on Interstate 70, forcing an emergency crew to drain the remaining fuel. The tractor-trailer was traveling east en route to Alabama when some debris from the road punctured the right fuel tank.

MU breaks ground on journalism institute

Shoveling dirt is rarely a cause for celebration. Yet Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremonies for the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute brought prominent members of Columbia and MU together to begin construction by doing a bit of shoveling. The shovel was in fact the one used in 1919 to break ground for nearby Neff Hall.

UM System considering separate tuition rates

Members of the MU tuition task force anticipate that in the next few years each campus in the University of Missouri System will have its own tuition rate. Called “decoupling,” the idea is being discussed at the same time as Elson Floyd, president of the UM System, is seeking input on guaranteeing tuition rates.

Roomy Reactor lot sees little use

While two MU commuter lots are filling up, a new lot at Reactor Field that cost $1.2 million isn’t getting much use. On Monday morning, about 55 cars occupied the 980-space lot near the Research Reactor Center on Providence Road south of Memorial Stadium.

Finding humor among ruins left by Katrina

SLIDELL, La. — The comedy/tragedy mask tattoo on Mike Durand’s right biceps couldn’t be a more appropriate symbol for how he rode out Hurricane Katrina. The tragedy is everywhere in Slidell, particularly along U.S. 11, a route that parallels the shattered Interstate 10 into New Orleans. At first, it’s just downed trees. Then, it’s downed trees that have chrushed cars crashed into buildings. Speedboats sit on restaurant porches and are suspended above the ground, caught between the wall of a pawn shop and some concrete stumps.

Looters’ shots halt Task Force relief work

The rescue efforts of Task Force I came to an abrupt halt Thursday when armed looters shot at Federal Emergency Management Agency workers. However, the looters did not directly target the Task Force I workers.

From class to chaos

A few days ago, Anthony “Tony” Kovall was sitting in class at Columbia College. Today he is being deployed to Louisiana, where he and other members of the Missouri National Guard will assist with Hurricane Katrina disaster relief. Kovall, 19, graduated from Rock Bridge High School in 2004. He and his family lived in Columbia for about 10 years but moved to Madison, Wis., a year ago. Kovall joined the National Guard the summer after his junior year of high school. He graduated in January from six months of training to be a combat medic.

Gas, oil supply chains strained

Supplies ran dry at a small, but growing, number of gas stations across the United States on Thursday as Gulf Coast refiners and pipelines remained hobbled by Hurricane Katrina and motorists nervous about tightening supplies lined up to top off their tanks. Most of the stations with “out of gas” signs and yellow caution tape draped across their pumps were concentrated along the East Coast and in Midwest states. Station owners said many of the shortages were temporary, exacerbated by panic buying and delayed deliveries.

Uncertainty shrouds deployment

Uncertain of their final destination or when they might return, approximately 50 members of the 128th Field Artillery Battalion were making preparations at the National Guard Armory north of Columbia on Thursday to leave for the area devastated by Hurricane Katrina. “I don’t know exactly where we are going or when we are leaving,” 1st Lt. Farron Fitzpatrick said on Thursday afternoon. “The mission is changing by the hour.”

Displaced La. students enroll in Missouri schools

Students from three New Orleans universities have begun taking classes at MU and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. At least seven other institutions across Missouri are gearing up for additional enrollment as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Ann Korschgen, vice president for enrollment management at MU, said 10 students have already enrolled as undergraduates. The university has received at least 35 undergraduate inquiries as well as inquiries from students considering the university’s professional schools, she said.

Church awaits Katrina refugees

Frantically filling out paperwork Thursday evening, Pat Chavez of the American Red Cross directed church members where to put snacks in anticipation of scores of refugees fleeing Hurricane Katrina. “I’d be a nervous wreck if I had to stay in a shelter,” she said.

Nursery worker accused of abuse

A Columbia boy just shy of his second birthday was backhanded by a day care worker after being dropped off at Community Nursery School early Wednesday morning, police said. Lilly Davis, 65, was arrested by the Columbia Police Department and charged with endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree. She was released from Boone County Jail after posting $500 bond.

Former Olympics stage manager speaks at Stephens' opening convocation

Stephens College students listened and laughed as 1982 Stephens alumna Anne-Louise Wallace recounted the day she realized she was not going to be like her quiet, perfect older sister, whom she idolized. The sisters were walking to school when 7-year-old Wallace had her feelings hurt by a boy, and while her sister encouraged her to walk away, Wallace instead decided that hitting the boy over the head with her lunch box was a better idea.

Fueling Fears / Red Cross Shelter

Going North... and wondering why.

Team 2 on its way

Cleanup of Big Easy to take months

NEW ORLEANS — With thousands feared drowned in what could be America’s deadliest natural disaster in a century, New Orleans’ leaders all but surrendered the streets to floodwaters and lawlessness Wednesday and began turning out the lights on the ruined city — perhaps for months. “We know there is a significant number of dead bodies in the water,” and other people dead in attics, Mayor Ray Nagin said in calling for an all-out evacuation of the city’s remaining residents. Asked how many died, he said: “Minimum, hundreds. Most likely, thousands.”

Emotions run high en route to New Orleans

Editor’s note: On Tuesday, three Missourian staff members set off for the Mississippi Delta to report on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Erin Richards will be filing regular dispatches for the Missourian, with photos by Meghan Lyden. Online reporter Stefanie Zimmerman will be posting to the Missourian’s Katrina blog, which can be found at

Picking up the pieces (video)

Boone County’s rescue team saves hundreds from flooding

On its second day of search and rescue operations in northwestern New Orleans on Wednesday, the Boone County Fire Protection District’s Task Force I was going house to house in boats and cutting open roofs to find trapped survivors, Fire Chief Steve Paulsell said. “Things are going well,” Paulsell said at a news conference Wednesday. As of Tuesday night, “operations had produced 332 rescues, many of whom were invalids and handicapped people who were essentially homebound,” he said.