Seeds of summer fun

Cody Tomaw, 13, bounced up and down in his potato sack, waiting for the boys’ sack race to begin.

Broadway business offices looted

The regional headquarters of the Special Olympics and a number of other businesses were burglarized over the weekend. An intruder came in through an unlocked rear door, broke into nearly 40 suites and stole mostly small electronics, Columbia police said.

The Stephens Lake Building at 2100 E. Broadway was burglarized between 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, police said. A physician’s office and a real estate company were among the businesses the intruder burglarized after kicking down doors.

Human error attributed to death

Columbia Fire Battalion Chief Steven Sapp said a 911 dispatcher and the Public Safety Joint Communications office share responsibility in the death of a Columbia man last summer.

The Joint Communications office and 911 dispatchers work with the city and county fire departments to respond to emergencies, but they are separate organizations.

“We had a human error take place,” said Sapp, a co-defendant in the suit brought by Carol and Ray Gilpin in the death of their 21-year-old son, Ray Gilpin Jr. “We had a human error that occurred despite all of our advanced computer technology. We have to have a human interaction. We cannot get rid of that, and sometimes we make a mistake.”

Low-income students in for loan break

A Missouri student loan company is trying to encourage low-income borrowers to stay in college.

The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority has announced a program reducing the amount that low-income borrowers will have to pay back on their student loans. The one-time program will allow eligible borrowers who were freshmen last school year the chance to have their student loan debt reduced by up to $550.

Staying busy helps retain my sanity

A goodly number of my acquaintances have taken up long-range home improvement projects as a way of distancing themselves from the world in which they have come to feel so powerless. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I know for certain that getting involved in a worthwhile project is a proven method of beating off gloom and doom. Furthermore, making one’s own little “piece of the rock” a more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing place to be has a lot of positives in its favor.

Blue Ridge school playground burns

The new playground equipment that students and the Parent Teacher Association at Blue Ridge Elementary school worked for a year to afford was badly damaged in a fire Sunday afternoon that firefighters said was deliberately set.

Firefighters were called to the school at 12:48 p.m. and found a slide and stairs in flames at the school, which is at the corner of Woodland and Leeway drives in northeast Columbia.

MU junior, 20, dies in car accident

An MU junior died Saturday morning near his southeast Missouri home after driving approximately 800 feet off the highway and crashing into a house at more than 100 mph.

Dustin Smoot, 20, was a mile and a half from his house when he apparently ran a stop sign, drove his 2000 Mazda off the road and crashed through a sign at the “T” intersection of Routes UU and D, five miles south of Charleston, said Sergeant Larry Clark of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

City Council tables Clark Lane rezoning

The Columbia City Council met Monday night. Here are some of the topics discussed at the meeting before press time.

Clark Lane Rezoning: The council tabled the rezoning of 16.35 acres on the south side of Clark Lane. The property owners were seeking to rezone the site from residential to planned commercial, but agreed to table the item until there were further discussions between neighbors and developers. The council will consider the rezoning again in September.

’We lost such an amazing person’

Aaron A. O’Neal’s smile radiated joy.

People called it big, wonderful. He always seemed to be smiling, they said.

Frightful planning

It’s a weather-beaten old house set back in the weeds where Interstate 70 meets Highway 40 three miles west of Columbia.

Sheets of plywood cover the windows, and the grass grows tall along the wrought-iron fence.

Rap feud rumors have local players

Looking at a deep hole in the floor near the front door of his quiet suburban house, Miguel “Money Mike” Horn concedes there’s a problem with violence in Columbia. But, he said he hopes what he’s looking at isn’t evidence that a growing feud between rappers in the San Francisco Bay area and Kansas City has spilled onto the streets of mid-Missouri.

Horn, an aspiring Columbia-based rap artist, recorded six songs with Anthony “Fat Tone” Watkins before Watkins was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds near a construction site in Las Vegas on May 23.

InterActing lessons

Jaleesa Carter-Jackmon is tired of excuses. She’s sick of her friends blaming their mistakes on peer pressure and claiming they don’t know any better.

So, she’s going to change it.

McCaskill still silent on future elections

JEFFERSON CITY — Will she or won’t she? Democratic State Auditor Claire McCaskill still won’t say whether she will challenge Republican U.S. Senator Jim Talent in the 2006 elections.

But the longer she waits, the more political flashbacks she generates — and the more pressure she undertakes.

A day for a parade

The lawn chairs were pushed so close together, they were nearly arm to arm in two rows, lining the grass in front of the First Baptist Church downtown.

On the street corners of Broadway, kids perked up as each vehicle went by. Then they slouched back down at the sight of another car: no tractors yet.

Couple sues city, county for wrongful death of son

A Columbia couple has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, Boone County, two fire department chiefs, a dispatcher and the city’s director of public safety, claiming that a confusing number of dispatcher codes, different protocols and human error caused their son’s death last summer.

Carol and Ray Gilpin’s son, Ray Gilpin Jr., died on July 16, 2004, a day after he suffered a seizure while mowing a lawn near his northwest Columbia home.

Driver in I-70 crash indicted

The man thought to be the driver of the van involved in a crash in June on Interstate 70 that killed five people and injured 15 others was indicted Friday on an immigration charge.

A federal grand jury indicted Gelson Omar Mancilla-Santiago, 22, of Guatemala, for illegally re-entering the United States after deportation, according to a statement issued by the U.S. District Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Mancilla-Santiago was allegedly deported on Oct. 25, 2004.

Researchers investigate athlete deaths

Why MU football player Aaron O’Neal died after voluntary conditioning drills Tuesday won’t be known for another six to eight weeks. But researchers have been studying the phenomenon of sudden death among young, seemingly healthy athletes since 1931.

For the past 30 years, that research has been conducted at the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina. Since then, the number of football-related deaths and serious injury has decreased significantly, due in part to improved data collection, which is then passed on to high school and college football programs around the country.

A Prince of a tale

“Five Frogs and a Prince,” a fairy tale set to music, is a play about love, hope and family.

It begins with a king and a fairy who grants him three wishes: for a wife, a daughter and the safety of their son. The story turns when the king’s son falls into a well. He uses his third wish to save his son, who is turned into a frog. Although the royal couple continue to love and care for their son, they remind the fairy that they still wish for a daughter. In the end, the king and queen adopt a girl, whose kiss transforms the frog back into a boy.

Summer classes come to a close

For many students, the end of Newton Summer Adventure means a fat wallet, a trip to the mall and enjoying the last lazy days of summer before school begins again.

But for 8-year-old Courtney Callahan, there will be no new clothes, fancy toys or video games.

Sculpting by Chance

The Artist: David Spears was born and raised in St. Louis but has called Columbia home for seven years. After earning a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Spears flipped a coin to decide whether he should move to Columbia or go to graduate school; Columbia won.

Spears learned his craft while in college but said getting to his level of talent goes beyond taking classes.