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.

Social Security group meets with Hulshof

For Missourians United to Protect Social Security, a well-known piece of advice was proven true. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

After six months and three previous attempts, members of the organization comprising various liberal interest groups sat down with U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., Tuesday to discuss concerns about Social Security reform, most notably President Bush’s efforts to privatize America’s oldest social welfare program.

How we celebrate

I love a parade

With a would-be Gen. Douglass MacArthur as grand marshal, the Park Hill neighborhood held its annual Independence Day Parade.

Patrols increase after latest crimes

Courtney Horn was sleeping soundly in her north Columbia home early Sunday when she awoke to a noise.

“I heard a loud commotion and the door opening, and I started yelling out, ‘Who is it? Who is it?,’” she said.

Women’s groups need fresh input

Last week, I spoke to a women’s group that’s been around for more than a hundred years. Because most of the members are middle aged or older, one of the things we talked about was the difficulty such groups as these face in recruiting younger women. Some think those young women are not as interested in serving their communities as previous generations. Others think these clubs are dominated by older women who refuse to change their outdated agendas

One thing is certain, women’s services to the community were never more sorely needed than they are today. The plight of neglected children is only one of many concerns women are uniquely qualified to address. Women’s clubs and organizations play such vital roles that it is difficult to imagine what society would be like without them. Day care centers, facilities devoted to eldercare, hospices, rape counseling centers are just a few of the many areas where women’s talents and skills are essential.

This horse is a course, of course, of course

On a muggy Monday evening, Kelly Deline got on a horse for the first time in 25 years. Her desire to find a new activity connected her with a summer group that helps all types of people get back in the saddle.

Tucked back on the east end of the Stephens College campus on Old 63 is the Stephens Equestrian Center. Even though many Stephens students leave the stables when the school year ends, the center remains active for others.

Church OKs gay marriage

ATLANTA — The United Church of Christ’s rule-making body voted overwhelmingly Monday to approve a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage, making it the largest Christian denomination to do so.

The vote is not binding on individual churches, but could cause some congregations to leave the fold.

MU observatory holds comet viewing

Val Germann had the champagne ready to toast the successful collision between a probe fired from the NASA Deep Impact spacecraft and comet Tempel 1 early Monday.

“This is absolutely unique,” said Germann, president of the Central Missouri Astronomical Association, getting excited about the impact. “This is what science should be.”

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.