Rios jury instructions

After four days of testimony, the jury in the Steven Rios murder trial began their deliberations at 2:15 on Friday afternoon with instructions from Boone County Circuit Judge Ellen Roper. Roper’s instructions will serve as rubric for the deliberations and included these requirements.

It’s official: Health center to be YouZeum

The tangerine tubes that embrace the columns of the old Federal Building in downtown Columbia don’t remove asbestos but instead signal new life for an old landmark.

In a ceremony Saturday, former Olympian Bruce Jenner unveiled the new name — the YouZeum — and logo for the interactive health center that will occupy the building at 608 E. Cherry St. in the fall of 2006.

Sapp project wins zoning OK

The fractious relationship between community growth and natural preservation eased a bit Thursday night as the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the first development plan for a portion of the recently annexed Philips farm.

The proposed 74-acre Bristol Lake development would include 51 single-family and 44 two-family lots on property north of Gans Road and east of Bearfield Road in the southwest portion of the 489-acre property owned by Elvin Sapp.

Rios convicted

After nine hours of deliberation over two days, a jury found former Columbia police officer Steven Rios guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action Saturday morning in connection with the June 2004 slaying of 23-year-old MU student Jesse Valencia.

Prosecutor enters

Special prosecutor Morley Swingle said he expects murder defendant Steven Rios to testify today, but public defender Stephen Richey said that decision has not yet been made.

“It’s (Rios’) decision to make,” Richey said after court adjourned Thursday.

MU faculty bans nongrade grades

Embarrassed by the frequency of blank grades administered to students, MU’s Faculty Council voted to prohibit faculty from not recording a grade when they do not want to give an F.

“It seems to me, with an NG (nongrade), it’s sort of a chicken grade — it’s watering down the standards,” council member Dean Yarwood said.


A story Tuesday about variable annuities included several inaccuracies.

Missouri investors are in line to receive a portion of $11 million in restitution in a national settlement against the investment firm Waddell & Reed.

Farm home to rare ponies

NEW FRANKLIN — About 8:30 p.m. on May 9, a rare event occurred at KimberLake Farm.

May, an endangered Fell pony, gave birth to the first Fell pony born in Missouri.

Pit bulls killed in drug bust

Columbia police shot and killed two pit bulls Tuesday evening while serving a narcotics search warrant at 911 N. Eighth St., police said. No one else was injured in the search.

Officers arrived at the home of Douglas Smith, 24, and Shawana Dietzel, 25, at 6:40 p.m. to conduct a search, according to a news release. When officers approached the house, a dog became aggressive and was shot in the front yard. The second dog was shot inside the house. Smith and Dietzel were then taken into custody while officers searched the residence, according to the release.

Jury hears closing arguments in Rios trial

Steven Rios told jurors Friday morning that he never owned the clip knife special prosecutor Morley Swingle said he used to kill a 23-year-old college student last June.

Judge OKs tuition suit settlement

The families of as many as 104,000 former UM System students would be eligible for a piece of a $10 million scholarship fund under a tentative settlement agreement between the system and three former students.

In 1998, the students — Douglas A. Sharp, Sandra K. Lynn and Frederick J. Eccher — sued the university, claiming educational fees the university charged in-state students were illegal. An 1872 state law requires the University of Missouri System to provide education to Missouri students “without payment of tuition.” The law was repealed in 2001, in the wake of what became a class-action lawsuit.

Funding city projects likely a ballot issue

Street, fire department and parks projects dominated a wide-ranging list of goals for the coming fiscal year that City Manager Ray Beck outlined in his annual State of the City speech Wednesday morning.

In a question-and-answer session afterward, Beck made it clear that voters are likely to see tax issues that would pay for those projects on the November ballot.

DNA evidence

An expert with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said Wednesday that three hair samples collected from the body of MU student Jesse Valencia matched the DNA profile of Steven Rios.

Jason Wyckoff, a DNA criminalist, also testified that DNA samples pulled from fingernail clippings on Valencia’s right hand were consistent with the DNA profiles of Valencia, Rios and Edward McDevitt, a man Valencia had sex with shortly before he was killed.

As Anakin turns...

The line started forming early and the tickets sold quickly Wednesday as Columbia sci-fi fans prepared to experience “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.”

Matt McGlasson arrived at Forum 8 at 6 p.m. for the first screening, scheduled for midnight. He planned to wait for the theater to open while watching “Star Wars” movies on his portable DVD player.

No troubles as housing chief retires

When Doris Chiles came to work as the executive director of the Columbia Housing Authority in 1996, there were 157 vacant low-income apartments. The staff needed reorganization and the authority had a poor reputation. During Chiles’ first four years on the job, the authority’s administrative offices were located in seven public housing units. Chiles’ office was on the second floor of a two-bedroom housing unit.

“Troubled status is a designation by HUD as one that receives significant oversight,” Chiles said.

Skala is replaced on zoning board

After serving six years on the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission, Karl Skala has been replaced by a Columbia resident interested in neighborhood issues.

The Columbia City Council on Monday night voted to renew the five-year term of commissioner Neil Cady, but after several votes, it replaced Skala with Glenn Rice, a 20-year resident of the city.

City priorities

Columbia City Manager Ray Beck outlined city government’s priorities Wednesday for fiscal 2006 during his annual State of the City address. Here are the highlights.

A day of graphic detail

The murder trial of Steven Rios began Tuesday with prosecutors showing photos of the dead body of 23-year-old Jesse Valencia and concluded with lingering questions about the lack of a weapon and the possible misuse of a police restraint technique.

In his opening statement at the Boone County Courthouse, special prosecutor Morley Swingle of Cape Girardeau portrayed Valencia as a fun-loving college student with aspirations of attending law school. He described Valencia’s last hours, as he went from party to party, and Swingle then gave a graphic account of Valencia’s death.

Missouri consumer advocate is fired

JEFFERSON CITY — The state’s official consumer advocate has been fired by Republican Gov. Matt Blunt’s administration after a legislative session in which he criticized “the anti-consumer initiatives” backed by Blunt and Republican lawmakers.

Floyd, UM curators object to UMKC split

KANSAS CITY — The University of Missouri will not support any effort to separate its Kansas City campus from the university system, President Elson Floyd said last week.

Two high-profile consultants serving on a task force evaluating the relationship between the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the community suggested at recent forums that the Kansas City campus could increase local fundraising ability if it were on its own.