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How’s that for openers?

Rifle shots shattered the usual silence of the countryside Saturday as firearms deer season officially opened in Boone County. The nice weather meant plenty of deer, and hunters could be found roaming the county or checking their deer at one of four Boone County checking sites.

The Bittings family traveled more than 150 miles from Marshfield to hunt with their friend, Robert Riesenmy, whom they first met 10 years ago on a pow-wow circuit. The Bittings are Cherokee, and Riesenmy is of Osage and French descent.

Wife, 83, charged in killing

The scene at 10 a.m. on Iris Drive was one of tranquillity Saturday morning, contrasting sharply to the bustle of activity nearly 24 hours earlier when a Columbia man was shot to death in his home. Sgt. Stephen Monticelli of the Columbia Police Department said Marjorie F. Leslie, 83, called 9-1-1 at 8:56 a.m. on Friday, stating that she had shot her husband, James R. Leslie, 86, after he tried to attack her with a knife.

When officers arrived at the 1900 block of Iris Drive, they found James Leslie with two gunshot wounds in his upper torso from a .38-caliber revolver, police said. Police recovered the gun from the home and arrested Marjorie Leslie, Monticelli said.

Columbia mall renovations in store

The Columbia Mall is scheduled to have a new look beginning in January, and it’s not just because the holiday decorations will have come down.

General Growth Properties Inc. announced plans Friday morning to update Columbia Mall.

No charges for 6-year-old

JEFFERSON CITY — A 6-year-old boy suspected of fatally shooting his grandfather with a rifle will be made a ward of the court but will not face criminal charges, a court official said Friday.

Winston Rutledge, juvenile court administrator for Cole County, said he decided against certifying the boy to stand trial for several reasons, including the child’s age. Instead, the boy will be turned over to the juvenile court for treatment and supervision, Rutledge said in a statement.

Festival sparks competition for grant

Residents of Huntsdale are determined to hold the first Lewis and Clark River Festival next summer whether or not they receive a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The town hopes to draw 1,500 to 2,000 visitors for the two-day festival next June 5-6. Interpretive signs, exhibits, nature walks and boat tours are planned for the event that seeks to educate festival-goers about the Missouri River and Lewis and Clark’s voyage, said Huntsdale mayor, Debby Lancaster.

Fireworks on agenda for council

Bullets and sparks could fly after Columbia City Council members review a report on Monday outlining options for allowing hunting and fireworks within the city.

After reviewing the report, the council could request that city staff draft an ordinance allowing these activities on recently annexed land. There would be restrictions, however, concerning where hunting and shooting fireworks would be allowed.

Seminar aims to improve gun safety

Mid-Missouri law enforcement officers learned techniques for improving firearms safety and increasing convictions during an all-day seminar Thursday at the Daniel Boone City Building.

The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms division of Kansas City conducted the presentation. The seminar was part of “Project Safe Neighborhoods,” a program set up by the Justice Department to reduce firearm violence, said Jeffrey Fulton, assistant special agent in charge at the ATF’s Kansas City office.

Students awarded for research work

While it is often overlooked, the ability to produce original research is key to a doctor’s ability to care for patients. On Thursday, the MU School of Medicine showcased its students who conduct research long before they become practicing physicians.

A small group of MU medical students displayed their original research projects at the school of medicine’s annual Research Day.

Seat belt campaign returns

As part of an ongoing initiative aimed at achieving higher levels of seat belt use, Missouri law enforcement agencies are to beginning another round of their “Click It or Ticket” campaign Monday.

The campaign, which is part of a national effort to increase the use of safety restraints, will run through Dec. 1. Police will emphasize increased enforcement of all Missouri’s traffic laws and have a “zero-tolerance” stance on safety belt laws. The effort is to increase awareness and compliance with these laws.

Sites move into history

A group of buildings along North Ninth Street and several downtown properties are one step closer to being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the State Historic Preservation Office reviewed and approved the nominations on Friday. Debbie Sheals, a local preservationist, spent several months preparing some of the nominations and documenting the history of downtown Columbia.

Online copyright law effects MU students

The next time MU freshman John Hall wants to watch a movie, he’ll pay to see it.

Recently, Hall downloaded the movie “Freddy vs. Jason” using a peer-to-peer networking software called Kazaa. Not long after that, he was served a copyright infringement notice because he was sharing the movie over the Internet. Because of the violation, Hall was required to attend a class on safe computing, hosted by MU’s Information and Technology Services. “I received a phone call from IATS, and when I called them back, they looked up my name and told me exactly what time I got caught and what movie it was,” Hall said.

Presiding with experience

For years Bob Aulgur spent his days in the courtroom defending and prosecuting local residents, but now he has taken a seat on the other side of the bench.

Aulgur is the new presiding municipal judge for Columbia and brings with him years of experience as a local defense attorney and assistant county prosecutor.

28 people, 112 gifts: 1 headache

It’s that time of year again. I’m up to my eyeballs with lists of things to do so that I can “enjoy” the holidays. And heading the list is shopping for gifts. I try to buy each member of the family four gifts — one nice present and three stocking stuffers. With 28 folks in this family, you do the math.

If you’ve been reading my column, you know I began shopping for presents the week after last Christmas. This worked fairly well when the grandchildren were younger because they were delighted with anything I gave them. And that’s still the case with my two 2-year-olds. I’ve never understood why parents spend more than $10 on babies who couldn’t give a whit about what’s in the package and are quite content tearing paper and eating ribbon.

Bringing in the flock

In a low, clear voice, Arthur Case asks his dog, Kate, to “come bye.” The 6-year-old Border collie bears down and edges her way toward a flock of sheep that waits at the fence line. Case lifts the temporary barrier, and Kate drives the sheep past their owner and along the Missouri River bottom levee where they were grazing.

“She’s the one I have to rely on,” Case says as Kate leads the ewes to a driveway that winds up to his rural Hartsburg home. “She saves me a half-mile walk every day,” he continues, gesturing toward the muted copper hillside that surrounds his property in the distance.

Schools pursue new fund ruling

JEFFERSON CITY— Having lost before a trial judge, some school districts on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to consider their claim that Gov. Bob Holden exceeded his constitutional powers by cutting state school spending to balance the budget.

At issue is Holden’s decision to withhold nearly $200 million from elementary and secondary education this year, claiming the legislature failed to provide sufficient revenue to cover the budgeted expenses.

Her room is waiting

Rosalina smiles out from a photograph above Butch and Debbie Putnam’s desks. Her little-girl pigtails, mischievous-looking dimples and big brown eyes could break the heart of anyone, but none more so than the woman who was so close to calling Rosalina her daughter.

The Putnams have been trying to adopt the 6-year-old from Guatemala for almost two years.

Pizza-man bandit robs late-night deliverers

Five food delivery drivers have been threatened and robbed by a man wielding a wooden club in less than a month, according to Columbia police.

On Wednesday, two food delivery drivers were robbed of cash in separate incidents, the fourth and fifth such robberies since the middle of October, according to Columbia Police.

MU puts deadline on audits

Academic programs under review at MU have two months to justify their existence.

Six departments that include programs targeted for review will be required to submit a detailed report of their operations, which will be evaluated according to four criteria developed by a subcommittee of MU’s Strategic Planning and Resource Advisory Council.

Ashland gets a jump-start

The lights went off in Ashland last week, and when they came back on, they were powered by a temporary transformer on the back of a truck at AmerenUE’s facility at New Bloomfield in Callaway County.

A tap changer, a device that regulates voltage for a power transformer, exploded Nov. 4, Ameren spokesman Mike Cleary said.

Park road plans draw opposition

The Russell property won’t be cut in two if the Parks and Recreation Commission has its way.

At a public hearing Thursday night, the commission voted to recommend a development option for the property that would not extend Cunningham Road through the 90-acre park. The property was donated to the city by the late F. Garland Russell in April 1999.

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