County police on Wednesday announced that the overall crime rate is down 12.5 percent for the first six months of 2012, compared with the same period in 2011. Violent crime is down 7.2 percent.
The county had 12 homicides in the first half of 2011, compared to two through June of this year. Forcible rapes are down 25 percent, arson 22.2 percent, burglary 28.1 percent, robbery 11.5 percent and aggravated assault 1.1 percent.
Another fire has been reported at a former city landfill north of Columbia.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that firefighters have been battling another grass fire Wednesday at the former site of the Columbia municipal landfill, which is south of Finger Lakes State Park. The site has burned several times over the past week.
Boone County Fire Protection District Chief Scott Olsen says buried trash at the former landfill has been smoldering and continues to start fires. He says the fires will likely continue until the weather cools.
Farmers suffering from this summer's dry, hot weather could get some help through the state treasurer's office.
Treasurer Clint Zweifel says he is offering emergency 24-hour approvals of low-interest loans through the Missouri Linked Deposit Program because of the drought conditions.
Under the program, the state deposits money at low rates in banks, which in turn can supply low-interest loans to farmers or businesses. Zweifel says it normally takes about 10 days to approve a deposit for a loan, but that can be speeded up in emergencies.
Missouri utility regulators are reviewing the cyber security practices of electric utilities.
The Public Service Commission says it is asking power companies 47 detailed questions about protections to shield the electrical grid against hackers. Regulators say they are not aware of any possible problems.
Requests were sent to Ameren Missouri, Kansas City Power & Light Co., KCP&L-Greater Missouri Operations Co. and The Empire District Electric Co. The commission is seeking responses by the end of August.
Former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is backing Sarah Steelman in Missouri's Republican U.S. Senate primary.
Steelman touted Palin's endorsement as a potential boon in a GOP primary in which all three main candidates have been trying to appeal to conservatives.
Palin's statement praised Steelman as a "commonsense conservative woman" who has stood up to the political establishment "to stop out of control spending and the destructive debt it leaves in its wake."
Officials at the Missouri Lottery have no strategy to generate an additional $35 million that legislative budget writers and Gov. Jay Nixon's administration had hoped would help avoid cuts to government services.