Local leaders look back at a year of fighting COVID-19

"I mean the entire pandemic is unprecedented. Our first positive case of coronavirus in Columbia became the first death in the state 24 hours later...you know. from the stay at home order to the mask order to, you know, everything that we're doing now to roll out vaccines and inoculations. It has been a huge challenge."

KOMU 8's Emily Spain sat down with Columbia Mayor Brian Treece and Columbia/Boone County Health Department Director Stephanie Browning to discuss the past year.

The conversation covered the challenges, the lessons learned, controversy faced and the 83 COVID-19 deaths in Boone County.

MERS Goodwill Excel Center receives grant for students

MERS Goodwill Excel Center in Columbia received an $11,000 grant from Boonville Caterpillar Foundation. 

The Excel Center is a place for adults to go back to school and earn their high school degree. Classes are held either day or night for students and there is a preschool on-site for students with children. The grant is specifically for the Columbia Excel Center branch to use for certifications in digital literacy programs.

"These students can put on their resumes that they have certifications from Google and Microsoft," said Mark Arens, Executive Vice President of Missouri MERS Goodwill. "There [will be] profit when it comes to these multiple platforms." 

The Excel Program ranges from a year to two years for students. Right now 44% end up going to another college after the program or they graduate with a industry recognized certification.

COVID-19 claims first game of NCAA men's basketball tournament

The scheduled first-round game between Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Oregon in the NCAA men's basketball tournament has been declared a no-contest due to COVID-19 cases among the VCU team, the NCAA announced Saturday.

The VCU team won't be participating in the tournament after some COVID-19 tests came back positive recently, Ed McLaughlin, VCU director of athletics, said in a statement.

The Oregon Ducks will advance to the second round of the tournament. They will face the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, which defeated Grand Canyon University Saturday night.

Forecast: More wind and rain ahead this week

Monday will be mostly cloudy and breezy with gusts around 35 mph.

There will be some moisture in the clouds trying to come down but it will fight dry air... and dry air will very likely win and evaporate the rain into the atmosphere.

Therefore, expect a dry, windy Monday with warm above average temps reaching the middle and upper 60s. 

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