Fireworks lead to fire, but no damage

Roman candle fireworks started a small fire at 3 p.m. Tuesday outside an apartment in the 700 block of East Demaret Drive, county fire officials said.

The fire started when neighborhood children were shooting off fireworks, and one struck a bag of trash outside the window of the apartment and set the trash on fire, said Boone County Fire Protection District Captain Gale Blomenkamp. A passer-by yelled “fire” and the apartment’s residents extinguished the fire before firefighters arrived.

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Space for sale

Brian Mann of Columbia became a first-time landowner last November. For only $19.95, he bought an acre of gray-dirt desert located on the Crater Campanus.

His property could be considered the ultimate “starter” real estate. Located 240,000 miles from the nearest shopping mall, without electricity, running water or even oxygen, the view of the Earth looming in the jet black sky makes it well worth the money. Or it would be if Mann could actually get to his new homestead on the moon.

Students secure low rates on loans

Things have been busy for student loan agencies around the nation for the last month.

“It’s like a bomb went off,” said Greg Diamond, director of the loan consolidation department at the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority in Chesterfield.

23 counties under drought alert

Lack of rainfall throughout portions of Missouri prompted Gov. Matt Blunt to declare a drought alert Tuesday for 23 counties.

While some parts of the state did receive rain over the holiday weekend, drought-stricken areas did not receive enough moisture needed to compensate for long-term shortages.

Sunny days ahead

The MU SunTiger VI racing team is down to crunch time. After two years of preparation for the 2005 North American Solar Challenge, the team held its final test drive Wednesday before it leaves for Austin, Texas, on Friday.

As the solar car wove through MU’s campus, vans packed with team members closely guarded the vehicle to make sure everything was in working order. Team project manager Dave Barber said the test drive went as expected.

Low-cost physicals still available

Christina Wagner understands the importance of an annual Pap smear.

Since moving to Columbia four years ago, Wagner, who does not have health insurance, has taken advantage of the women’s exams at the Boone County Health Department.

Program educates retailers to combat meth crisis

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department has cooked up a program to make it harder to manufacture methamphetamine.

The program is designed to educate retailers and their employees about the products used in making meth.

Blasts rock London subway

LONDON — Several blasts rocked the London subway and one tore open a packed double-decker bus during the morning rush hour Thursday, sending bloodied victims fleeing after what a shaken Prime Minister Tony Blair called "barbaric" terrorist attacks. Blair said the "terrorist attacks" were clearly designed to coincide with the opening of the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. They also came a day after London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

Robbery attempts result in two arrests

Two attempted robberies in southwest Columbia early Wednesday resulted in the arrests of a 14- and 18-year-old on numerous robbery and weapon possession charges.

A resident in the 4400 block of Germantown Drive told Boone County Sheriff’s deputies that she heard a knock on her door at about 2:40 a.m. Wednesday, deputies said in a news release. When she looked out of her window she saw two men wearing ski masks carrying a shotgun.

Report says court needs space

Boone County officials should ask voters to approve a temporary sales tax to pay for the expansion of the courthouse and to address other government space needs, a committee appointed by county commissioners said in a report delivered Tuesday.

After 10 months of work and a series of 16 meetings, the 19-member Space Needs Committee presented its final report to the commission. Its overriding message: Get moving on it.

Rios is sentenced to life with no parole

Former Columbia police Officer Steven Rios was transported to a prison facility in Fulton on Tuesday after he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of 23-year-old MU student Jesse Valencia.

Circuit Court Judge Ellen Roper sentenced Rios, 28, to life in prison, plus an additional 10 years in prison for armed criminal action. She ordered both sentences to be served consecutively. Prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty.

Officers granted 10 mph cushion

Although the sign reads 60 mph, officers unofficially gave a 10 mph speed cushion to violators in Friday’s special traffic enforcement detail. However, police said the cushion was desperately needed given their resources.

Columbia police officers, along with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Boone County Sheriff’s Department, stopped 141 vehicles between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Illegal fireworks lead to arrest of 12

Twelve people were arrested during the holiday weekend on suspicion of setting off fireworks and other charges that stemmed from firework violations.

A Columbia city ordinance bans fireworks from being set off in the city.

Alumni Association hits member goal

The MU Alumni Association has topped its goal of 37,000 members. Next, the association wants to have more members than the University of Kansas Alumni Association, said David Roloff, director of membership and marketing for the MU group.

The KU group has more than 41,000 members.

ASUM to offer federal internships

Associated Students of the University of Missouri has established a student internship program at the federal level.

The program in Washington, D.C., will begin in January 2006, said ASUM Chairman Craig Kleine.

Mom sentenced for aiding suspects

A Mexico, Mo., woman was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in prison for burning checks and aiding suspects in connection with the killing of a Mexico, Mo. restaurant owner Komninos “Gus” Karellas, 60.

Donna Doyal, 40, was sentenced to serve four concurrent terms of four years for tampering with evidence, and two consecutive terms of four years for hindering prosecution.

U.S. 63 construction slated to end early

Traffic backups on U.S. 63 because of bridge construction will soon be a thing of the past. The southbound lanes on the Hominy Creek bridge were open to motorists during the holiday weekend, though crews aren’t quite finished.

Roger Schwartze, Central District planning engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said the final cleanup, which includes removing temporary crossovers between the north and southbound lanes, began Tuesday. He said both a northbound and southbound lane will be closed at various times during the week so crews can load pavement and leftover debris in trucks and haul it away. Contractors are working to finish the project by the weekend, weather permitting.

Council approves Sapp annexation

It took months of negotiation by developer Billy Sapp, his Harg-area neighbors and city officials. But in the end, the Columbia City Council pushed through the city’s largest-ever voluntary annexation in less than an hour Tuesday night.

After no public opposition and few questions from council members, the council unanimously approved Sapp’s request to add 805 acres to the city.

No deaths in top tornado months breaks record

WASHINGTON — For the first time since record-keeping started in 1950, no one was killed by a tornado in April, May or June.

Normally those are the top months for tornadoes with an average of 52 fatalities, sometimes many more.