KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com Top Stories Top Stories en-us Copyright 2018, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Mon, 19 Feb 2018 HH:02:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ 144 25 Columbia's sewage system to receive $2.7 million upgrade http://www.komu.com/news/columbia-s-sewage-system-to-receive-2-7-million-upgrade/ http://www.komu.com/news/columbia-s-sewage-system-to-receive-2-7-million-upgrade/ Top Stories Mon, 19 Feb 2018 7:08:06 AM Bryce Marlin, KOMU 8 Reporter Columbia's sewage system to receive $2.7 million upgrade

COLUMBIA - A $2.7 million project to the Columbia sewage system will be introduced to city council Monday night.

The project will focus on upgrading sewer pipes, manholes, and lateral connections to the main. Around 15,000 linear feet of sewer main will be rehabilitated throughout Columbia.

Areas along Broadway, Rollins, Providence and Stadium will all be affected by the pending upgrades.

Patricia Weisenfelder, Columbia Utilities community relations specialist, said these locations are due for repair.

“These areas were notified by staff as needing more maintenance than normal. So, by rehabilitating them we can reduce the amount of maintenance and upkeep it takes,” Weisenfelder said.  

Weisenfelder said the pipes in the downtown are out of date.

“A lot of infrastructure downtown, especially in the downtown area is old, sometimes 80 to 100 years old. So, we’re replacing these pipes, they definitely need it,” Weisenfelder said.

The goal of the project is to reduce inflow and infiltration, or I and I, from entering the sewage system in the downtown area.

“Ultimately having newer lines will reduce I and I, and will reduce the instances of overflows, and wet water backups into homes,” Weisenfelder said.                                                  

The $2.7 million proposal will be entirely funded by Sanitary Sewer Utility bonds approved in the 2013 ballot.

Weisenfelder said construction will begin this summer. She said there won’t be any type of excavation, so roads would not close, but lane closure is possible.

 


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No one hurt in fire just off I-70 in Boone County http://www.komu.com/news/no-one-hurt-in-fire-just-off-i-70-in-boone-county/ http://www.komu.com/news/no-one-hurt-in-fire-just-off-i-70-in-boone-county/ Top Stories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 9:04:54 PM Danielle Katz, KOMU 8 Digital Producer No one hurt in fire just off I-70 in Boone County

BOONE COUNTY - A 10-acre fire threatened several homes just outside of Columbia Sunday.

The fire was near the Route Z exit off Interstate 70. Boone County Fire Protection District said no one was hurt and reported no building damage.

Boone County Fire Chief Scott Olsen said the fire burned through a part of the woods only accessible through private properties and backyards. He said he believes the fire started from a burn pile, but the cause was still under investigation.

"We'd like to caution everybody at this point and time to watch their outdoor burning," Olsen said.

He said burn piles are dangerous at this time of the year because of dry and windy weather.


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Columbia to create new task force to prevent housing discrimination http://www.komu.com/news/columbia-to-create-new-task-force-to-prevent-housing-discrimination/ http://www.komu.com/news/columbia-to-create-new-task-force-to-prevent-housing-discrimination/ Top Stories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 5:58:02 PM Eva Cheng, KOMU 8 Reporter Columbia to create new task force to prevent housing discrimination

COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia plans to pull together a group of professionals from diverse backgrounds to work on eliminating discrimination in its housing market. 

Columbia’s Housing Programs Supervisor, Randy Cole, said the city has been eyeing the creation of a Fair Housing Task Force for a while. He said every five years, the city does an analysis of the its fair housing issues, such as economic and racial segregation, access to opportunities, affordable housing, etc. 

“This task force is an opportunity to involve the community in that process to make sure that we are promoting fair housing in our community,” Cole said.  

According to the National Fair Housing Alliance, there were 28,181 reported complaints of housing discrimination in 2016 nationwide, and 55 percent of the complaints involved discrimination on the basis of disability, followed by 19.6 percent for racial discrimination, and 8.5 percent for discrimination against families with kids.

Wayne Crawford is the executive director of the Missouri Inclusive Housing Development Corporation. The corporation is a state-funded nonprofit based in Marshall that provides free housing services to Missouri residents with disabilities.

Crawford said individuals with disabilities usually need more help when trying to work their way out of poverty, and it’s especially true in Columbia. 

“Ladies and gentlemen on social security income in Columbia average around $733 a month in salary. The average rental for an affordable apartment in your community is $733 month,” Crawford said. “So, you can see the two numbers don’t come together very well.”

Crawford said just like in any other college towns, it’s common to see properties rented out by the bedroom in Columbia.

“Students could pay as much as $500 a month just for a bedroom,” he said. “When we look at our ladies and gentlemen in need who are making $733 a month—they can’t compete.”

Crawford said compared to other Missouri cities, Columbia is actually in an advantageous position, as the government has been “working very hard” to develop a good housing environment for people in need, and there are a multitude of social service organizations in town.

He said the more urgent thing to do is to bring the government and the organizations together. 

“So that the support agencies can explain what they want in the way of housing, where they need housing, who the housing will be for…” Crawford said. 

According to the proposed resolution, the task force will consist of 15 members from these groups: Community Development Commission, Community Land Trust Organization Board, the city's planning and zoning commission, human services commission, disabilities commission, housing authority, Columbia Board of Realtors, Columbia Apartment Association, Columbia Home Builders Association, Columbia NAACP, social service providers, the local faith community and the Central City Neighborhood in Census Tracts 7, 9 or 21. 

City council members appointed by the council will serve as co-chairs.

“The information received from this task force will shape how we allocate funds in the future,” Cole said.

If the council approves the resolution to create the task force Monday, its first meeting would be in April. Cole said he is confident the council will support the resolution.


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Moniteau County man taken into custody for alleged meth delivery http://www.komu.com/news/moniteau-county-man-taken-into-custody-for-alleged-meth-delivery/ http://www.komu.com/news/moniteau-county-man-taken-into-custody-for-alleged-meth-delivery/ Top Stories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 7:20:06 PM Danielle Katz, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Moniteau County man taken into custody for alleged meth delivery

MONITEAU COUNTY - A California man was taken into custody after deputies reported finding a "substantial amount" of meth inside his car.

Deputies arrested Zacharey Martin, 27, after a K-9 officer alerted them to what they said they later found.

Moniteau County Sheriff Tony Wheatley said deputies stopped the car just outside of California on Highway 87 and requested a K-9 officer after they talked to Martin.

Wheatley said in a statement the flow of drugs in and out of Moniteau County has "slowed considerably."

"We will continue to take an aggressive approach to stop these individuals. My job is to protect our citizens and shield them and our children from this type of crime," Wheatley said.

Martin's bond was set at $50,000, according to the Moniteau County Sheriff's Office.


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UPDATE: Homeowners not injured as fire guts Boone County home http://www.komu.com/news/update-homeowners-not-injured-as-fire-guts-boone-county-home/ http://www.komu.com/news/update-homeowners-not-injured-as-fire-guts-boone-county-home/ Top Stories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 9:53:46 AM Rob Veno, KOMU 8 Reporter, Blake Sammann, KOMU 8 Digital Producer UPDATE: Homeowners not injured as fire guts Boone County home

BOONE COUNTY - A fire destroyed a home on East Mount Hope Road early Sunday morning.

Boone County Fire Protection District captain Martina Pounds said crews arrived at 6861 E. Mount Hope Road around 6:13 a.m. to find fire coming though the roof.

Crews were at the scene for over five hours, but Pounds said the fire caused around $250,000 worth of damage. Pounds said crews declared the home a "total loss".

According to Boone County Fire District chief Scott Olsen, "The fire was so involved, it was difficult to put out."

Firefighters also faced a variety of difficulties combating the fire: remote location, narrow roads and lack of nearby hydrants.

"This isn't anything we haven't trained for, but it was definitely challenging," Olsen said.

While the homeowners escaped without injury, two of their pets died, one cat and one dog.

Olsen said the likely cause of the fire was a space heater the homeowners used to warm their pets at night.

"We suspect that the fire started on the back deck with a heat lamp that caught the deck on fire and ultimately broke through a window and into the house," Olsen said.

Olsen said if you are going to use a heating device, make sure to keep it at least three feet away from all flammable material.

Their smoke detectors alerted the homeowners to the fire. Olsen said having good smoke detectors is very important.

"Having working smoke detectors is critical to saving lives," Olsen said.


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Free online training for officers could free up time for Columbia police http://www.komu.com/news/free-online-training-for-officers-could-free-up-time-for-columbia-police/ http://www.komu.com/news/free-online-training-for-officers-could-free-up-time-for-columbia-police/ Top Stories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 10:14:15 AM Anthony Holtschlag, KOMU 8 Reporter Free online training for officers could free up time for Columbia police

COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department will soon be supplementing classroom training with online courses, according to Public Information Officer Bryana Larimer.

Virtual Academy, a professional police training program, will be free to Columbia police for the first year thanks to support from the Missouri Police Chief's Association.

The Academy hosts a variety of topics branching from its core units of leadership, general patrol, investigations, school safety, criminal law, corrections, administrative, and telecommunications. The courses range from personal duties such as time management to heavier subjects like the psychological effects of killing in the field.

Columbia Police Officers Association Executive Director Dale Roberts told KOMU 8 he thinks the courses are a step in the right direction.

"It allows them to do training that doesn't involve any physical involvement online, and to some extent at their own convenience," Roberts said. "Certainly, technology has gotten so much better, in the last decade, that the provider is able to do a really interactive training session for the officers, that I think is really going to work well."

Roberts said this kind of training can be instrumental in saving time for officers, especially for those in Columbia who have more duties because of a smaller staff.

"Having access to that virtual training really eliminates that lost time, and makes them able to be more efficient and cover more of their duties with the department and still get some of that training done," Roberts said.

Virtual Academy's website boasts content featuring the most up-to-date information, developed from the "nation's top training experts" in the field. Roberts said this modernization of training could even help bring more jobs to the department.

"It does clearly indicate that this is a progressive department," Roberts said. "That tends to appeal more to millennials, the younger generation that's coming into police training right now."

Another foreseeable benefit of the training is to free up more time for officers to focus on community oriented policing, which the Columbia City Council will publicly support on Monday. Ward 4 Councilman Ian Thomas said the extra time officers will have could contribute to its success.

"One of the reasons why the Columbia Police Department has struggled to implement a widespread community oriented policing program, is because we are short staffed," Thomas said. "And so this suggestion to move some of the training online, I think is an interesting one."

The courses are mostly used for the ongoing training of current officers, for when new techniques or laws are introduced. They are not intended for the training of new officers. 


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Mobility-impaired hunters, children come together for annual pheasant hunt http://www.komu.com/news/mobility-impaired-hunters-children-come-together-for-annual-pheasant-hunt/ http://www.komu.com/news/mobility-impaired-hunters-children-come-together-for-annual-pheasant-hunt/ Top Stories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 2:07:11 PM Daniel Litwin, KOMU 8 Reporter Mobility-impaired hunters, children come together for annual pheasant hunt

CENTERTOWN - A warm, but blustery Sunday morning carried the smell of gunpowder over Rock Creek Road in Centertown, a smell not unfamiliar to the families and friends gathered. Dozens of orange-clad volunteers, children and disabled hunters were preparing for a full day of shooting at the annual Batchel/Henry Mobility-Impaired and Youth Pheasant Hunt.

The free event, put together by the non-profit organization Missouri Disabled Sportsmen, aims to give hunters who struggle with maneuvering the outdoors a chance to get back to what they know best.

For James Piland, a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Missouri Disabled Sportsmen provides more than just an exciting weekend.

"The organization makes a big difference in my ability to hunt. I enjoy hunting a lot, but some of the aspects of hunting are a little harder for me due to my disabilities," Piland said. "These people really go out of their way to see that I'm able to get out in the field and do what I want to do with my disabilities."

Pete Eisentrager, a board member for Missouri Disabled Sportsmen and the organizer of Sunday's event, found a certain "selfish" take away from planning the event for newcomers and seasoned hunters.

"My motivation behind it honestly is being able to give back to a sport and a heritage that I've cherished so much my entire life," Eisentrager said.

Eisentrager said this year there were seven or eight first-time hunters.

"One of the big things we really focus on is new recruitment, whether it's mobility-impaired or kids, and getting them those opportunities in the outdoors," Eisentrager said.

Putting on the event still has its roadblocks. 15 businesses and organizations like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, River Region Credit Union and the Missouri Department of Conservation helped fund Sunday's hunt, but getting the necessary funds takes time and manpower.

"The biggest challenge we have, and I think it's the same with any organization is the volunteer effort and the raising of funds to be able to provide these kinds of opportunities," Eisentrager said.

The event was made to accommodate 27 hunters, and almost every spot was filled. Each hunter brought their own gun and ammunition, as well as an orange safety vest and any necessary gear.

Wheel chairs with tank-like treads rolled out onto the muddy fields and children held their shotguns with experience as small groups trekked to different vantage points. The pheasant coop was dead center; everyone would have a clear shot.

Hunters waited in anticipation for the sound of an air horn, signaling the continental pheasant shoot would start. As soon as the first bird flapped its wings, the shots began to ring across the field. Any bird hit was met with hollers, cheers and high fives.

"When the pheasants really started going, there's a lot of action, and it's kind of hard to decide which bird you want to try and shoot," Piland said.

After a few rotations and dozens of pheasants hunted, children and disabled participants alike seemed content with the days haul.

"Based on the amount of smiles, the interactions we see, it's an amazing day, it always is," Eisentrager said.

Whether or not the hunters shot any birds was an afterthought; everyone came for the camaraderie and love of the sport.

"It's always good to come back and visit friends that you've seen and know," Piland said.


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Eric Hosmer leaves Kansas City Royals http://www.komu.com/news/eric-hosmer-leaves-kansas-city-royals/ http://www.komu.com/news/eric-hosmer-leaves-kansas-city-royals/ Top Stories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 12:04:42 AM Monica Dunn KOMU 8 Digital Producer Eric Hosmer leaves Kansas City Royals

Eric Hosmer is leaving the Royals.

Hosmer signed an eight-year contract with the San Diego Padres for
for around $144 million, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The contract comes with an opt-out cause after five years, according to the Kansas City Star.

Hosmer led the Royals to two World Series appearances and the second world championship in Royal history in 2015.

He hit .284 with 127 home runs and 566 RBI over seven Royal seasons.

Hosmer is bilingual and has strong leadership skills, which the Padres found valuable, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Hosmer will push Padres' first baseman Wil Myers to the outfield. Myers said he would be willing to move for Hosmer to join the team, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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Columbia students build skills and friendships at local chess tournament http://www.komu.com/news/columbia-students-build-skills-and-friendships-at-local-chess-tournament/ http://www.komu.com/news/columbia-students-build-skills-and-friendships-at-local-chess-tournament/ Top Stories Sat, 17 Feb 2018 5:22:40 PM Jordan Smith, KOMU 8 Reporter Columbia students build skills and friendships at local chess tournament

COLUMBIA - More than 100 students gathered to compete in the 2018 Columbia Elementary & Middle School Scholastic Chess Tournament at Lange Middle School Saturday.

It's an event that's been held since the late 1990s and has amassed a large group of dedicated participants throughout the years.

It started as a competition only for elementary students, but more and more older students wanted to participate. 

"It slowly kept building and building. We got more interest from kids who had graduated out of the tournament," said event coordinator Tim Campbell. "So to increase and encourage middle school play, we went ahead and added middle school."

Now, any student in Columbia in kindergarten through 8th grade can participate. They are given four guaranteed rounds of chess, and are even guided by older chess players along the way.

Teo Soria, who played among the kindergarten and first grade groups, said he liked learning the strategies as he played each round.

"When you get one of your pawns to the other end, you get to swap your pawn for any other piece," Teo said. 

And Teo's older brother, Joaquin Soria, said he started out with chess when his father introduced him to it, but he still enjoys it to this day.

"I get to go to clubs and attend tournaments," Joaquin said. 

Campbell believes the annual tournament gives the students who attend a chance to branch out.

"Students have fun. That's our goal," he said. "I'd love for Columbia to become the next Brownsville, Texas, where a kid can play from elementary school to college."

Columbia is no stranger to chess tournaments. As the host school district for statewide scholastic chess competitions, students travel from all over Missouri to compete at Battle High School.

The next state tournament at Battle is March 17.


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Ashland Police are creating a stronger presence in Southern Boone schools http://www.komu.com/news/ashland-police-are-creating-a-stronger-presence-in-southern-boone-schools/ http://www.komu.com/news/ashland-police-are-creating-a-stronger-presence-in-southern-boone-schools/ Top Stories Sat, 17 Feb 2018 4:36:06 PM Amber Raub, KOMU 8 Reporter Ashland Police are creating a stronger presence in Southern Boone schools

ASHLAND – The Ashland Police Department is taking precautionary measures after a school shooting at a Florida high school. The shooting in Florida left 17 people dead. 

The department said it will be placing an officer in school buildings at various times during school hours at the Southern Boone County School District. The police department made the announcement on it's Facebook page Friday. The post received over 500 shares. 

“So if your children ask you why we were there, you can tell them we are there for them,” Ashland police said in the post.

The department said it wants students, staff members and parents to feel safe. 

“We are doing this because we want children, staff members, and parents to have a greater feeling of safety when their children are at school,” Ashland police wrote in a Facebook post. “No child should ever feel at risk when they are at school, and we are committed to doing all we can to keep them as safe as possible.”

Parents in Ashland heard the news via Facebook. 

Raymond Kuntz, a Southern Boone parent, thinks the police presence is a great addition but said it's up to the students and parents to report unusual behavior if they they see it. 

"Those in authority need to take it seriously and check it out instead of just ignoring it," Kuntz said. "You have to check it out." 

Jill Dickneite, a Southern Boone parent, said she is "really happy" the police department is taking action.  

“I think they are actually trying to be proactive with it and make a presence there so that the teachers, the families, the people of Ashland know that they care and they are trying to do something."

The department said the change will be in place "for the remainder of the school year and beyond."


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Driver flees fatal hit-and-run on I-70 http://www.komu.com/news/driver-flees-fatal-hit-and-run-on-i-70/ http://www.komu.com/news/driver-flees-fatal-hit-and-run-on-i-70/ Top Stories Sat, 17 Feb 2018 2:34:41 PM Jacob Cavaiani, KOMU 8 Digital Producer Driver flees fatal hit-and-run on I-70

COLUMBIA - Columbia police were unsure Saturday who drove a vehicle they believe hit and killed a man on I-70. 

In a news release, police said 35-year-old Jerry Martin, of Florissant, was walking on I-70 westbound at mile marker 129.6 when the vehicle hit him.

Police said they believe the vehicle is a silver passenger car. The driver left the scene, according to a news release from the department.

Columbia police said Saturday it was unclear when the crash occurred.

An alert from Boone County Joint Communications at 7:36 a.m. said the passing lane of I-70 westbound at mile marker 129.6 was closed because of a police incident. It is the same mile marker where police said the crash occurred.

Police asked anyone with information about the crash to call the department at 573-874-7652.


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Junior chefs compete in cooking competition http://www.komu.com/news/junior-chefs-compete-in-cooking-competition/ http://www.komu.com/news/junior-chefs-compete-in-cooking-competition/ Top Stories Sat, 17 Feb 2018 3:40:41 PM Olivia Gerling, KOMU 8 Reporter Junior chefs compete in cooking competition

OSAGE BEACH – Elementary students displayed their creativity on Saturday.

Hy-Vee hosted a Junior Chefs Energy Bite competition.

Three junior chefs competed in the event. Each one of them submitted a homemade energy bite recipe before the competition and then were judged based on their recipe in round one.

“I believe in starting kids young with cooking and getting them involved in the kitchen and teaching them and teaching them about different ingredients,” said Hy-Vee registered dietitian Amy Tillotson.

Tillotson planned a junior chef smoothie competition last spring and she said she wants to do more junior chef competitions in the future. She said the kids learn “eating healthy and cooking things can be fun.”

After round one, the chefs competed in a “secret round.” This round involved a few ingredients each chef had to use.

“I had more fruits,” Chef Dani Davis said about the second round.

Davis decided to compete in the competition because she likes cooking at home. She said she had fun making her energy bites.

“I did turkey jerky bits in it with coconut,” she said. “And then I decided to do a little fruit. At the end, when the balls were done, I put them in extra rice cereal and I covered it with a little cinnamon and sea salt.”

After both rounds ended, a panel of judges tasted each junior chef’s energy bites. Chef Lauren Adkins won the grand prize. 

“It felt really good, but I didn’t think that I would win because everyone else had really good energy bites too,” she said.

Adkins’ energy bites will be sold at the Osage Beach Hy-Vee for a limited time.


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JCPS breaks ground, reveals name of second high school http://www.komu.com/news/jcps-breaks-ground-reveals-name-of-second-high-school/ http://www.komu.com/news/jcps-breaks-ground-reveals-name-of-second-high-school/ Top Stories Sat, 17 Feb 2018 1:09:04 PM Nnamdi Egwuonwu, KOMU 8 Reporter JCPS breaks ground, reveals name of second high school

JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Public Schools will have two high schools by August 2019.

The district held a groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday and revealed the name of its newest addition: Capital City High School.

"Throughout the entire campaign we felt we were out of space," said District Superintendent Larry Linthicum. "We wanted to give students more opportunity to meet their potential through having two high schools instead of one."

The district has addressed overcrowding issues in the past. It's current high school, Jefferson City High School, has two trailers with students in them.

A naming committee worked alongside community members to determine the school's new name. Choices included Mission High School and Stoneridge High School.

"The committee narrowed it to three names and then we took those three to our board of education," he said. "From there we asked the community and they voted on it -- and Capital City [won] overwhelmingly."

The next step in the process is choosing the school's mascot and colors.

"That will be a community, team effort as well," Linthicum said.

Linthicum said working with the community is crucial -- especially since they're paying for the new building.

"It's funded through community tax dollars," he said. "It just makes sense that we're going to do this together."

Brock Schofield will be among the first class of students to graduate from the school.

"I can't wait for the brand new facility that we get to go in," he said. "It's just going to be a great opportunity."

The construction area has already been cleared. According to Linthicum, construction will begin in "the next couple of months."


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Local Boys and Girls Club hosts 13th annual chili cook off http://www.komu.com/news/local-boys-and-girls-club-hosts-13th-annual-chili-cook-off/ http://www.komu.com/news/local-boys-and-girls-club-hosts-13th-annual-chili-cook-off/ Top Stories Fri, 16 Feb 2018 7:35:49 PM Joshua Tyler, KOMU 8 Reporter Local Boys and Girls Club hosts 13th annual chili cook off

COLUMBIA - The Boys & Girls Club of Columbia kicks off its 13th annual MFA Oil Rootin' Tootin' Chili Cook-off Saturday afternoon.

The money raised will help the Boys and Girls Club's after school and summer program.

"This, in essence, raises over $100,000 for our local Boys & Girls Club to help us serve 800 youth this year," said Boys & Girls Club executive director Valorie Livingston.

There are more than 40 teams competing for several different awards. They will begin cooking at 8 a.m. Prizes will include Best Chili, People's Choice Best Chili and Best Decorations. Judges for the best chili are chefs from the Columbia area.

"It's a really fun interactive way to spend a couple hours on you Saturday," Livingston said. "But for a really great cause." 

Volunteer groups assisted with hours of prep work on Friday evening in order to set up stands. Themes ranged from the 1920s to early western and "Jumanji."

One volunteer said he always looks forward to chipping in for the Boys & Girls Club.

"It's really fun volunteering at events with the Boys & Girls Club," volunteer Luke Bumgarner said. "People are super nice and everyone was very thankful for everything that we did for them."

The cook-off begins at 2 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. Tickets are $18 per person and free for children 10 and under. Organizers expect more than 1,000 visitors.


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Holts Summit commission proposes city zoning changes http://www.komu.com/news/holts-summit-commission-proposes-city-zoning-changes/ http://www.komu.com/news/holts-summit-commission-proposes-city-zoning-changes/ Top Stories Sat, 17 Feb 2018 12:55:19 AM Joe Rossetti, KOMU 8 Reporter Holts Summit commission proposes city zoning changes

HOLTS SUMMIT- Leonard Stephenson has lived in his mobile home, on the same street, for over 20 years.

"I like this community," Stephenson said. "I've got good friends and good neighbors. My son lives two doors down with his four children, and it's a good area."

Earlier this week, the Holts Summit Planning and Zoning Commission proposed changes to the zoning code that would specifically affect mobile homes and mobile home parks. 

Stephenson said he's against any changes. 

"I represented this mobile home park, concerning the rezoning of this park, and was quite vocal in its opposing rezoning," Stephenson said. "At that time they wanted to rezone it to RM-1, I believe."

City Administrator Rick Hess said many zones in the city were outdated and should've been changed years ago.

"We've got some areas in the city that needed to be rezoned," Hess said. "While we were doing that, we thought it would probably be a good idea to update our zoning codes."

Hess said all zones have been updated except for two mobile home parks. One of which, is home to Stephenson. 

"I'm a little dismayed at the alderman, surreptitiously doing this if it's to create problems for us that live here," Stephenson said. "But, no I wasn't aware of any. They did not notify me of any changes in the zoning here."

One of the biggest areas in need of rezoning was the Light Industrial District, where many mobile home owners like Stephenson live. Hess said because this zoning is the least restrictive, it presents a number of problems for homeowners.

"This puts them at some risk," he said. "A business could've come in, bought up some vacant land adjacent to the homes and put in, say, a manufacturing plant of some sort that would create noise and dirt and things of that nature."

Stephenson, however, disagrees. Aside from there not being enough space for prospective businesses, he said this argument doesn't make sense.

"As a matter of fact, the Casey's down at the corner there, at the other street, it's relocating up by the bank and such up there," Stephenson said. "So, you know, if the businesses are moving out of here, why would they move back in?"

If approved, the proposed changes would place additional restrictions and requirements on new mobile home parks in the city.

"From the time that this is put into effect, single wide mobile homes will only be allowed in mobile home parks," Hess said. "Currently, they can locate pretty much anywhere in the city, just like you could do with single family homes or duplexes."

Additionally, each new mobile home park would need 25 acres of land (instead of the 10 acres currently required), two paved street-parking spaces per home and each home must be within a five-minute walk of a FEMA certified storm shelter.

"Because mobile homes are prone to destruction in tornadoes and large wind events, we decided it would make sense to have the park, when we constructed it, to construct FEMA rated storm structures," Hess said. 

While Hess said he's happy with the future plans, he said it would be impossible to update existing mobile home parks. Because of this, these areas are grandfathered in and will not experience any future changes.

"It would be virtually impossible and probably fiscally unmanageable," Hess said. "Reconstruction of that magnitude would be horribly expensive, not to mention probably physically impossible to widen the streets, curbs and sidewalks. FEMA shelters would not be able to be put in because there's currently no vacant places where they could put them."

But these plans still need to be approved. The Board of Alderman will hold a public hearing during its meeting in March to further discuss the changes. 

At this time, Hess said the only real change is in where people may build homes. 

"We've eliminated the ability for people to build houses anywhere in the city, in any zoning district," Hess said.

Prospective home owners are now limited to single family and two family zoning districts. 

While Hess said there are currently no plans to build any new mobile home parks, he said he still sees the value in these changes.

"We don't expect any to come in," he said. "We have no indication that any are going to come in, but everything will be in place so that if somebody does come in, then they will know what they have to do."


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UPDATE: Gun in Centralia student's backpack believed to be stolen http://www.komu.com/news/update-gun-in-centralia-student-s-backpack-believed-to-be-stolen/ http://www.komu.com/news/update-gun-in-centralia-student-s-backpack-believed-to-be-stolen/ Top Stories Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:16:10 AM Steve Lambson, News Content Manager and Mackenzie Huck, KOMU 8 Reporter UPDATE: Gun in Centralia student's backpack believed to be stolen

CENTRALIA - Police took a student into custody Friday morning after staff at Centralia High School found a handgun in the student's backpack.

Other students alerted administrators Thursday night about the possible presence of the gun and ammunition.

At 8:15 a.m. Friday, Centralia police officers were waiting at the bus stop for a 15-year-old student who brought a 380 hi-point semi-automatic handgun and 21 rounds of ammunition with him on the bus.

The student is now in custody at a juvenile detention center.

"Some high school students saw something and said something," Centralia Police Chief Larry Dudgeon said. "They called the principal and assistant principal last night, so we were there waiting for him this morning."

In light of the school shooting in Florida that killed 17, Dudgeon said he is glad this situation had a different outcome.

"We train extensively for this, we plan for it," Dudgeon said. "I obsess over it, but if you had asked me a few days ago, I would say it could happen anywhere. Anywhere but Centralia. But here we are talking about it."

Centralia police said the gun had been reported stolen from a home in Audrain County. They believe the student stole the gun from the home of his "on-again, off-again" girlfriend's parents. The Audrain County Sheriff's Office is investigating the theft.

Superintendent Darin Ford said in a news release, "The safety and security of our students and staff is the top priority. We are keenly focused on our mission to provide a quality education in a safe environment for all our students and staff."

Dudgeon said the most important thing to him is student safety.

"School was not disrupted. And for the 1400 students of Centralia schools, nothing is more important to me than each one of those kids getting to school, doing their work and going home safely,” Dudgeon said.

Dudgeon said he wants to thank the school administration for their quick action.

"I know they took the kids' tip seriously because the events in Florida happened, but they would have taken these statements seriously two weeks before Florida happened," Dudgeon said. 

Classes proceeded as normal on Friday.

[Editor's note: this story has been updated with the latest information.]


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Missouri mental health department admits mailing error http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-mental-health-department-admits-mailing-error/ http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-mental-health-department-admits-mailing-error/ Top Stories Fri, 16 Feb 2018 5:16:09 PM The Associated Press Missouri mental health department admits mailing error

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Department of Mental Health is notifying 1,000 people that some personal information might have been mailed to an incorrect address.

The department said in a statement Friday that the information released included only the participants' names, not medical or financial information.

The incorrect mailing was caused by a clerical error in printing mailing labels.

The error involved mailing labels on survey questionnaires mailed on Jan. 16. The department says it has corrected the error.

People who are notified by the department may email privacyofficer@dmh.mo.gov or call toll-free 1-800-207-9329 to address any concerns.


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JCPS superintendent discusses Florida shooting, school safety in letter http://www.komu.com/news/jcps-superintendent-discusses-florida-shooting-school-safety-in-letter/ http://www.komu.com/news/jcps-superintendent-discusses-florida-shooting-school-safety-in-letter/ Top Stories Fri, 16 Feb 2018 1:46:50 PM Steve Lambson, News Content Manager JCPS superintendent discusses Florida shooting, school safety in letter

JEFFERSON CITY - Following the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, the superintendent of Jefferson City Public Schools sent a letter to parents and staff.

In the letter, posted on the district's website and Facebook page, Superintendent Larry Linthacum discussed the matter of safety at Jefferson City schools.

Read the full letter below:

"Dear JCPS Parents and Staff,

"As a parent of children in our school district, the recent school shooting in Florida has been gut wrenching. The sadness of the reality of an event that happened 1300 miles away becomes real with the media coverage that brings it into our homes.

"As your school superintendent, I want you to know the safety of our children is the most important part of our jobs. I would like to thank our teachers, support staff and school administrators who play not only an important role in student safety, but also in helping students reach their potential every single day.

"As a school district, we are raising the bar in everything we do to become a premier school district in Missouri. This includes working together to ensure student safety. As a district, we are assessing and evaluating opportunities we have to ensure a safe learning environment for all students.

"For those students who are struggling with the recent events, we will offer support throughout the district. Our teachers, counselors and administration will seek age-appropriate opportunities to discuss school safety.

"I want to assure you that Jefferson City Public Schools has the safety and best interests of your child in mind at all times. As we work in conjunction with the Jefferson City Police Department, we will continue to work “Stronger Together” and we appreciate your partnership! Please keep the Broward County community, students, teachers, staff and parents in your thoughts and prayers.

"Thank you, as we are #StrongerTogether!

"Sincerely,
Larry Linthacum, Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools"


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Illegal swag sold online of Michael Porter Jr. violates NCAA rules http://www.komu.com/news/illegal-swag-sold-online-of-michael-porter-jr-violates-ncaa-rules/ http://www.komu.com/news/illegal-swag-sold-online-of-michael-porter-jr-violates-ncaa-rules/ Top Stories Fri, 16 Feb 2018 2:57:24 PM Sarah Trott, KOMU 8 Reporter Illegal swag sold online of Michael Porter Jr. violates NCAA rules

COLUMBIA - Mizzou basketball player Michael Porter Jr. may be on the bench this season but that hasn’t kept him out of the spotlight off the court and now -- online.

Third-party retailers have been illegally selling sweatshirts, t-shirts and iPhone cases that depict the likeness of Michael Porter Jr. - which violates National Collegiate Athletic Association rule 12.5.2.2.

Sites like Redbubble and eBay are currently advertising the apparel - ranging from $19.50 for a tank and up to $45 for a hoodie. Buyers can even get express shipping despite the fact it’s totally illegal.

Mizzou Athletics abides the NCAA’s strict policy which bans “amateur” student athletes from using their image for commercial profit. Mizzou basketball currently doesn’t sell jerseys with the last name of players, only the athlete’s generic number.

Executive Associate Athletics Director Nick Joos said when fraud retailers try to sell Mizzou gear depicting athletes, the NCAA requires Mizzou Athletic’s compliance office to get involved. The department is required to reach out to the seller to shut them down.

“I’ve seen this with high visible student athletes at numerous institutions,” said Joos. “At lot of times the people that are doing it don’t know that they can’t.”

Joos said many times these retailers aren’t intentionally being “spiteful” but “don’t know the rules or how it could impact somebody’s eligibility.”

Joos would not speak about the Michael Porter Jr. apparel currently online, but said players will not be penalized for third-party retailers if they have no involvement.

“The only time they would get in trouble is if they’re actively out there selling things,” said Joos. “You can’t be an athlete and vendor.”

However the issue of compensation for athletes remains as unfinished business for collegiate sports nationwide.

MU law professor Sandy Davidson weighed in on the legal history of compensation for athletes. The 2015 Ninth Circuit court ruling of O’Bannon v. NCAA left many “unanswered questions” for the college sports industry according to Davidson.  

The NCAA is subject to antitrust laws, meaning it has limits on what it can control for student athletes.

“Travel and personal incidentals can be covered,” she said. However, “cash sums untethered to educational expenses” such as gear or associated with the likeness of a student athlete can be banned.

Joos said all recruited basketball players have fully-paid academic scholarships and can receive up to $5,600 in a yearly personal stipend.

In total, Mizzou Athletics earned more than $97 million in revenue in the 2015-2016 season, according to USA Today.

The Supreme Court rejected to hear the O'Bannon v. NCAA case in 2016 but may bring up the issue down the line.


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CDC says flu vaccine more effective in children http://www.komu.com/news/cdc-says-flu-vaccine-more-effective-in-children/ http://www.komu.com/news/cdc-says-flu-vaccine-more-effective-in-children/ Top Stories Fri, 16 Feb 2018 3:54:36 PM Jalyn Johnson, KOMU 8 Reporter CDC says flu vaccine more effective in children

COLUMBIA - Amid complaints about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control said the vaccine is actually more effective than some might think. That said, it is still under 50 percent effective among adults. 

The United States vaccine's effectiveness rate is 36 percent among adults.The percentage is higher than both Canada and Australia that marked their effectiveness at around 10 percent.

However, CDC estimated the effectiveness of the vaccine to be 59 percent for children.

Younger children are more susceptible to the more severe systems of the flu virus because of their undeveloped immune systems.  Those symptoms could get as severe as pneumonia and, in very severe cases, death.

Pharmacists and pediatricians in Columbia say the large difference in the effectiveness of the vaccine could come from the difference in strands of the virus as well as children's immune system.

A representative from the Department of Health and Senior Services says because the effectiveness estimates are averages for large populations of people, it is important to understand that everyone's bodies and immune systems will react differently.

"Some people will react better and some people will react worst to the same flu virus and it really has to do with their individual immune systems, underlying health conditions and sometimes just bad luck for that particular infection," Rachel Han, Chief of the Bureau of Communicable Disease and Prevention, said. 

There are several weeks until flu season will officially be over and the Department of Health and Senior Services says it's not too late to get vaccinated.

"Even though the effectiveness estimate of 36 percent for influenza overall might seem low, that's better than no protection at all," Hahn said. 


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