For some, fear rose with crime in January

Columbia started the new year with the stabbing of two men — one fatally — at a convenience store, the slaying of an MU microbiologist and the shooting of two police officers. Four home invasions, several muggings and incidents of gunshots fired into homes added to January’s flurry of crimes.

Behind the headlines and ongoing investigations are hard numbers that prove Columbia has never had so many homicides this early in the year. Within one month, Columbia’s homicide rate already surpassed the total homicides reported each year from 2002 to 2004, according to Missouri Uniform Crime Report data.

Farmers’ Market faces deadline

With its 25th anniversary approaching, the clock is ticking for the Columbia Farmers’ Market to find a permanent home.

The nonprofit group that oversees the market has until April 1 to begin construction or site preparations on such a project. Failure to begin by that date would violate the group’s 30-year lease with the city of Columbia, in which case the city could reclaim control of the land. The City Council must approve alterations to the lease.

Students learn ins, outs on energy

Ninth-graders at Columbia’s three junior high schools are learning an important lesson about energy.

The Energy Challenge program, a collaborative effort between the Water and Light Advisory Board and Boone Electric Cooperative, takes place each year as part of the schools’ science curriculum. The program is in its 11th year.

MU vet finds new way to treat horse’s tumor

In 2000, Rose Pasch noticed that her American saddle horse, Dixie, was keeping her right eye closed and ooze was coming out of it. At once, Pasch called her local veterinarian, who found Dixie’s eyelid tumor.

“He took the growth off four or five times, but it just kept coming back,” Pasch said.

New technology presented to farmers

Missouri farmers took a sneak peak at the future of precision agriculture Friday at MU as part of Ag Sciences Week.

“Harnessing the Power of Technology” was the theme for the conference that highlighted experiences and outcomes for precision agriculture in Missouri.

Medicaid cuts would hurt Mo. economy, study says

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Matt Blunt talks a lot about economic development. He also talks a lot about making government more efficient through cuts and cost-saving initiatives.

But a new study suggests those two priorities may conflict.

Columbia man killed in Sunday crash

A Columbia man died in a one-vehicle crash early Sunday morning.

Roy T. Gallemore IV was driving on Creasy Springs Road around 2:20 a.m. Sunday when he attempted a curve at an unsafe speed, according to a news release from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

Man hospitalized after I-70 accident

A car spun off the road early Sunday morning after hitting the embankment on westbound I-70 and Stadium Boulevard. The driver was hospitalized, according to a news release by the Columbia Police Department.

Police reports indicate that after successfully passing a commercial bus, Brandon S. Bruce continued his return to the driving lane to the point of hitting the embankment. After impact, Bruce’s vehicle rolled one time, returning to its wheels. Police found Bruce unresponsive. He was transported by ambulance to University Hospital and Clinics, where as of Sunday afternoon Bruce, he was listed in critical condition by hospital staff.

Multiple fires keep firefighters busy

A string of five separate natural cover fires kept Boone County Fire Protection District firefighters busy Saturday. No one was injured.

According to a news release, firefighters’ first natural cover fire call came around 11 a.m. for about an acre of land at 4026 N. Creasy Springs Road. They brought the fire under control in less than 30 minutes.

Uniting voices

On a January evening, a small group gathered behind a nearly translucent curtain in MU’s Corner Playhouse. From a nearby fluorescent-lit hallway, passers-by could hear the echo of a chant-like verse: “These are my words, powerful and unwavering. This is my voice. This is the story I tell.”

The scene was part of a rehearsal for “Voices Made Flesh,” a new collection of monologues written and adapted for the stage by a group of current and former MU students. The production is directed by Heather Carver, an assistant professor of playwriting and performance studies in the MU theater department.

Hickman grad returns with storied band

Elizabeth Virkler felt at home playing trombone in the Hickman High School auditorium Saturday. A Hickman alumna, Virkler is ajunior at St. Olaf College inNorthfield, Minn. She is in her second year as a member of the St. Olaf College band.

In its 112-year history, the band packed concert halls all over North America and Europe. Band parents like Carol Virkler,who lives in Columbia, are used to traveling long distances to see their children perform.

UM System tuition increase lowest in three years

The University of MissouriBoard of Curators approved the lowest tuition increase in three years Friday morning.

“We’re all in support of the initiative,” MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said of the 3.5 percent increase. “We’ve had extensive discussion about the challenges on campus because of growth of the number of students and research, and a relative competitiveness for faculty salaries.”

Citizens back Katy bridge

BOONVILLE — The MKT Bridge, a historic and engineering feat, stood strong Friday night as citizens gathered at a town meeting to discuss future of the bridge.

The meeting, held by the Save the Katy Bridge organization at Turner Hall, brought 54 people to what economic developer Sarah Gallagher referred to as a “gauge for citizen support.”

Trip on plane causes more pain than gain

Our recent jaunt to the West was a stark reminder of why I love traveling in our motor home. When I pack for a trip in our motor home, I can choose to include anything I want — within reason. I don’t have to spend hours putting outfits together. I have plenty of room to put half my closet in the rig (of course, my husband would have to pack lightly). I can bring stacks of catalogs and several books, my laptop computer and even my crocheting — just in case I decide I want to knit a new scarf.

But because we flew to our destination this time, I had to limit what I brought for the journey. I thought I’d play it smart, so I packed one gigantic suitcase. Since our destination was Arizona, I went to the attic and found my summer clothes. Instead of packing my usual 10 pairs of shoes, I decided on three pairs. I brought enough clothing for the seven days we would be away, plus one extra outfit in case — in case one of the outfits didn’t fit, in case one of the outfits made me look fat, in case one of the outfits had a stain … well, you get the picture.

Sisterhood of support

Judy Purtell was driving to the Center for Women’s Ministries recently when she saw the dog.

She had seen it before, looking lost, near her home in Rothwell Heights. But this time Purtell leaned over, opened the door and watched the dog — not much larger than most cats, really — bound directly into her vehicle.

Wave of relief

It’s been six weeks since the images of death and destruction, unlike anything we’d seen before, washed across our television screens. The massive undersea earthquake off the coast of Sri Lanka on Dec. 26 unleashed tidal waves that killed as many as 178,000 people in 11 countries and caused an estimated $7 billion in damages.

The staggering loss of life and property was quick to capture the attention of the world community. International relief organizations are still trying to address needs as immediate as food, water, shelter and medical care. Long-term reconstruction is only beginning.

Initiative offers discount drugs to uninsured

While elected leaders and policymakers in Jefferson City and Washington continue to grapple with the spiraling costs of prescription drugs, at least some of the uninsured will soon be able to participate in a new nationwide discount-drug program.

Together Rx Access, set to begin Saturday, is a collaboration of 10 of the nation’s biggest drug companies. The program is an extension of Together Rx, which launched two years ago to help people older than 65 obtain cheaper drugs.

Finding a place for hope

In the midst of excited chatter, warm embraces and aggressive bidding, Glen Sapp stands front and center at the Ashland Optimist Complex to orchestrate a live auction held to benefit an area family that has experienced hardship and tragedy.

Across the room, John Humpf moves from person to person to thank the hundreds who came to support his family. He and his wife, Crystal, were set to leave for California on Saturday. There, Crystal’s rare form of cancer can be treated by one of a handful of doctors in the United States who are qualified to treat the disease.

Little helpers give with big hearts

Jutta Hopkins won’t soon forget the proud dad who walked into the Red Cross office with a blue Reebok shoebox wrapped with duct tape. Inside was $30 in change and a few single bills.

The man’s son and a friend had gone house-to-house in their neighborhood, asking people to help with tsunami relief.

Comedy program benefits Bowden

Columbia Police Officer Corey Bowden and his father-in-law David Thomas laughed out loud Thursday night — not an unusual occurrence at the Déjà Vu Comedy Club But for injured Officer Molly Bowden’s husband and father, it was a significant moment.

The two haven’t had much to laugh about, lately. Bowden remained in a drug-induced coma at University Hospital in serious condition after being shot by Richard Evans during a traffic stop the evening of Jan. 10. As of Friday, she was recovering from a serious infection, though a family spokesman said she was continuing to improve.