Kmart Closing

Some local retailers think that closing the 33-year-old Kmart store at 2001 W. Worley St. will help revitalize business around the struggling discount store.

While more than 100 workers will lose their jobs when the store closes in February, the move clears the way for two new franchise retailers to move into Columbia. According to KOMU/Channel 8 and the Columbia Tribune, Best Buy, an electronics retailer, and Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts chain, will move into the 103,000-square-foot building next year.

Second-grader wins bike for citizenship

Justise Keith nearly jumped out of his shoes when he heard his name called at West Boulevard Elementary School’s gymnasium. The second-grader beamed as he walked to receive his brand new bicycle.

Justise was one of 26 students receiving citizenship awards at this trimester’s Pride assembly Thursday afternoon. The children received the awards for good behavior, such as being helpful in school.

Commission approves housing proposals

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission approved five different proposals at its meeting Thursday night. Total, the proposals could lead to the building of more than 800 housing units around Columbia.

The recommended proposals will now be considered individually by the City Council.

Church to show off renovations

When Calvary Episcopal Church holds its annual Advent Festival Bazaar on Saturday, it will use the occasion to show off its renovated parish hall as well as sell its popular “church mice.”

The community bazaar will feature gourmet and home-baked goods, a children’s shop and art room, books and crafts. There also will be a traditional ham breakfast. Proceeds from the bazaar will benefit outreach programs in Columbia.

Windows to liven up downtown stores

The windows of downtown Columbia will come alive from 6 to 8 tonight as part of a Christmas tradition.

Sixteen stores will be participating in the Living Windows Festival with themes such as Santa’s Helpers, A Christmas Carol, Nuclear Christmas and Hawaiian Holiday.

Lamb’s Jewelry to close up shop

Lamb’s Jewelry has been part of Columbia landscape for 60 years, but soon the building on Ninth Street between Lakota Coffee Co. and Main Squeeze will be empty. Lamb’s begins its going-out-of-business sale today at 10 a.m.

Dozens of silver watches fill the glass case inside the entrance to Lamb’s Jewelry. Antique clocks line the wall behind the case, and near the door sits a large grandfather clock. In a store where little has changed for 60 years, it is fitting that the hands on most of the clocks stand still. “It’s the end of an era,” said owner Terry Calcote.

Sleepover bandits mimic movie plot

Three men and a woman are in Callaway County Jail, charged with burglary, kidnapping and the robbery of the United Security Bank in Kingdom City.

According to the Callaway County Sheriff’s Department, a bank employee called police around 7 a.m. Wednesday to report that she and her family members had been held hostage overnight by four people dressed in camouflage and dark-colored masks.

Fruitful art

When Joe Lopez watches his family’s old home videos, he notices something special about his son David that he hadn’t considered until recently. “David was always off to the side with a pencil in hand, drawing pictures,” Joe Lopez said.

David Lopez, 12, always has been interested in art, but before this past summer he had never attempted to employ artistic principles. In fact, the Gentry Middle School sixth-grader has never taken an art class.

Mock botulism outbreak hones disaster response

If Thursday’s events had been real, more than 60 Columbians might have been infected with botulism, kept alive by beeping, whizzing ventilators because their bodies did not remember how to breathe.

The FBI would have been on their way. Cars would have clogged roads near local hospitals. The national media would have descended on Columbia in hordes while city officials tried desperately to squelch rumors before the city erupted in panic.

Food supply defense assessed

Citing the ongoing threat of more terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, a group of Missouri politicians and scientists are gathering today on the MU campus to discuss ways to better defend the country’s food supply against agro-terrorism.

The summit is from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Reynolds Alumni Center Ballroom. Missouri senators Kit Bond and Jim Talent are among the event’s keynote speakers.

Forum to focus on MU’s medical school

In a meeting Wednesday, Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia and UM system President Elson Floyd agreed to hold a public forum in mid-January to discuss the future of MU’s medical school.

Columbia bitten by influenza bug early

Flu season took off early in Columbia, with the first reported case coming in to the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health on Nov. 21, Public Health Manager Mary Martin said.

As of Wednesday, 63 cases of influenza had been reported, and Martin said the actual total is probably in the hundreds.

City looks at room for all on walkways

While the debate continues, the Street Standards Planning Group has moved a little closer to resolving its proposal to revamp Columbia’s standards for streets.

The proposal was initiated more than a year ago by the PedNet Coalition, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission and similar groups eager to make Columbia’s streets more accessible to bicycles, pedestrians and wheelchairs.

Missouri legislator introduces bill for highway tollbooths

If Missouri Rep. Jeff Harris has his way, drivers on some state highways will be digging for loose change as part of their daily commute.

Harris, D-Columbia, pre-filed a bill Monday that would amend the Missouri Constitution — subject to voter approval — to allow construction of tollbooths on state highways. Tolls would help pay for improvements to Missouri’s roads, which Harris noted are ranked among the worst in the country.

Talk of the towns

When State Farm Insurance announced last year that it planned to consolidate its Lincoln, Neb., and Woodbury, Minn., operations centers, both cities hoped to save the local jobs at stake by offering financial incentives to the company. Lincoln would eventually come out the winner, due in part to what city officials said was an “aggressive” package of enticements from both public and private sources.

Early next year, State Farm is expected to complete a “top-to-bottom” review of its operations centers in Columbia, Tulsa, Okla., and Monroe, La. In a series of meetings with Columbia business and political leaders in October, the company said that any consolidation resulting from the review would not be influenced by incentives, which according to Bernie Andrews, president of Columbia Regional Economic Development Inc., would likely not be forthcoming.

Carol different tune

In John Worre’s “The Gospel According to Scrooge” — soon to be performed at Christian Chapel in Columbia — Ebenezer Scrooge does not simply become a good person, he comes to accept the Gospel of Christ.

The full-length dramatic production follows the traditional story of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” but it adds a bit more humor and music. Most of the dozen songs were written for the play.

TB testing not routine at shelters

As winter approaches, the homeless must worry about more than finding a vacant bunk in which to pass a cold night. Homeless shelters are breeding grounds for certain diseases, say state health officials, including tuberculosis, a respiratory disease that is contracted through close contact with an infected person.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has called on homeless shelters in the St. Louis area, which have reported 15 new cases of TB among its homeless, to begin screening residents for the disease.

Police close inquiry on Reality House overdose

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department closed its investigation Wednesday into the October death of 26-year-old Reality House resident Erin Bennett, whose autopsy confirmed she died of a heroin overdose.

Investigators determined her overdose was accidental, said Boone County Sgt. Tom Reddin.

Education during vacation

For the first time in more than 10 years, general education classes will be offered at MU between traditional fall and winter semesters. The pilot intersession program stems from student interest, MU officials said.

“Because the time between terms doesn’t seem like enough time to work, it’s hard (for students) to find jobs that fill that niche, but they have the time to do something,” said Brenda Selman, MU registrar. “We checked into their requests and responded with the pilot program.”

Harris to represent U.S. in China

Missouri 25th District Rep. Jeff Harris is headed to China.

Harris, D-Columbia, was chosen by the American Council of Young Political Leaders as one of eight U.S. delegates charged with promoting foreign policy discussions between emerging political leaders around the world.