State senator tapped to head DNR

JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Matt Blunt on Tuesday named veteran Republican lawmaker Doyle Childers to head the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Childers was a moderate voice during his 22-year career in the General Assembly, with a record of supporting clean-water efforts, especially in the southwestern part of the state.

Public welcome to view Saturn

No one is getting married, but rings will be the main topic of conversation tonight at Laws Observatory. Saturn’s rings, that is.

MU student accused of exposing self

An MU student suspected of exposing himself to children was arrested at his home Monday night, police said.

Jason T. Scott, 22, was arrested on suspicion of exposing himself to children ages 8, 9, 11 and 14 from a car. One of the incidents occurred at the corner of Westwood Avenue and Maupin Road, but police think Scott repeated the crime in at least one other location, said Sgt. John White of the Columbia Police Department.

Talent touted at Hickman High School

With bands like The Tipper Gores and Ralph Vader taking the stage, the audience Monday evening at the 2005 Hickman High School Talent Night might have expected a forum for mundane political discussion.

Instead, the audience got to see a showcase of the talents of 57 students who had been itching to perform for more than three weeks.

Catholics’ property holds many options

The new property of the Jefferson City Catholic Diocese has lots of possibilities.

The diocese signed a contract with Bristol Lake LLC for the sale of 22.6 acres within the former Philips farm, now known as the Bristol Lake Development. Although the diocese has expressed the need for a church, school and church office buildings, The Rev. Greg Higley said a precise plan for the property’s use has yet to be determined.

Blunt deputizes overhaul leaders

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Matt Blunt introduced Monday the two men he has charged with leading his promised overhaul of Missouri government.

Warren Erdman of Kansas City and Stephen Bradford of Cape Girardeau will head a commission that Blunt has created to analyze the structure of state government and to recommend changes to improve efficiency.

Prisons lose video games

JEFFERSON CITY — It’s game over for Missouri inmates.

Gov. Matt Blunt passed down an executive order Monday pulling the plug on video games in all state prisons.

Bowden shows improvement, can’t speak yet

After two weeks in University Hospital, Columbia police Officer Molly Bowden continues to improve and rest comfortably, family members said in an answering machine message Monday.

Bowden’s father, David Thomas, said in the message that Bowden was sitting upright for a short time Sunday. Her responsiveness was also improving, and Bowden was able to follow movement with her eyes, according to Thomas.

Rios moved

Murder suspect and former Columbia police officer Steven Rios has been moved to the Boone County Jail, where he is being held in isolated custody.

Rios had been held at the Biggs Forensic Unit at Fulton State Hospital since he was charged with murder July 1 in the slaying of MU student Jesse Valencia.

Three robberies under investigation

Columbia police are investigating three armed robberies that occurred over the weekend.

The first robbery occurred at 12:07 a.m. on Saturday in the 1500 block of Hinkson Avenue. The victim, a 46-year-old Columbia man, was approached in his apartment building’s parking lot, according to a Columbia Police Department media release. The robber then showed a handgun and demanded that the man empty his pockets.

Rock Bridge to honor five new alumni this fall

Rock Bridge High School is going beyond recognizing its current students by accepting nominations for the Rock Bridge Alumni Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame was started in 2003 to honor alumni who have “made exceptional accomplishments in their personal and professional careers,” said Assistant Principal Kathy Ritter.

Missouri: The bullfrog state?

JEFFERSON CITY — The croak of the bullfrog might soon become the new call of the wild here in Missouri.

A bill proposed by Rep. Susan Phillips, R-Kansas City, would make the North American bullfrog the official state amphibian.

The new year gives time for reflection

January has never been one of my favorite months.

  It’s not just because it’s usually cold and blustery and lurks right in the heart of winter, which is certainly reason enough for my distaste, but it is also a month which has few redeeming qualities. It has been spared total obsolescence, because it was lucky enough to have Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. born in the middle of it.

Call center back in Mo.

JEFFERSON CITY — A toll-free call center for Missouri welfare recipients will soon be staffed in Missouri, costing taxpayers $1 million more annually than if it had been kept in India.

Ash ignites garage blaze

Hot embers stored in a paper bag caused a fire at a private residence in the Hinkson Creek Valley neighborhood early Monday morning, according to Columbia Fire Department officials.

Plans call for green housing

A new, environmentally safe development is being planned in an area south of Northland Drive on the north side of Columbia. The planned development, which would be on 17 acres that have remained untouched since they were annexed in 1969, is called Bear Creek Village, taking its name from a creek on the southwest corner of the property.

More than 16 acres would be used for housing, condensed to about eight homes per acre to prevent sprawl. These dwellings would include single-family cottages, town homes, lofts and small flats with town homes above them.

Field vandal sought

Columbia police have requested a warrant for the arrest of a man believed to be responsible for vandalizing the Hickman High School athletic field this month.

The Jan. 7 vandalism, caused by someone doing doughnuts with a sport utility vehicle, caused an estimated $900 to $1,500 in damage to the turf, police Capt. Brad Nelson said Friday. He said police are not pursuing warrants for two adult male passengers who were with the driver.

Stopping secondhand smoke

Ellen Brooke, a second-year law student at MU, sits in the Stumpy Joe Pete’s Sports Pub part of the Colosseum Bistro on Friday night, smoking her cigarette. She recalls being in Lexington, Ky., on New Year’s Eve and being forbidden to smoke in bars because of the strict no-smoking ordinance recently enacted there.

“We left early because we

$1 million given to MU in grad student’s name

When Lynn Boorady defended her dissertation at MU on Tuesday afternoon, there was more to the story than her receiving a doctorate in textile and apparel management.

Only several hours later, Boorady announced that a private organization would donate a

Family, Marine talk via video

Danette and David Branon had matching Marine Corps T-shirts and hopes of seeing their son to keep them warm during the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Columbia through rough Saturday morning winds.

Seven family members and friends joined the Branons on the ride from St. Louis — all hoping to catch a glimpse of Cpl. Christopher Branon, a 22-year-old Marine combat engineer serving in Fallujah, Iraq.