VOSOTS

COLUMBIA - If you take a stroll down Broadway in Columbia, you'll find children's sidewalk chalk artwork stretching down the street. The colorful addition to the sidewalk is from an art event Monday focused on spreading kindness to others.

The event was part of The Children’s Grove annual “Acts of Kindness” week. The organization encourages youth to participate in acts of kindness April 29th through May 3rd.

“You never know when somebody might need a boost on a particular day,” Anna Slusarz said.

Slusarz signed her daughters up for the event before she told them about it. She said the event came in perfect timing with it being the end of the semester.

The Children’s Grove was founded in Columbia after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Since then the organization started an educational program to raise mental health awareness and community volunteer opportunities.

While youth wrote out words of inspiration, people passing by spent their time reading the messages. Jon Sites was on his way home when he noticed the artwork.  

“Well, I think it’s always important to spread the love. Especially coming from like little kids. I think it’s really nice to see all these nice little smiley faces and hearts and it just kind of brightens your day walking by,” Sites said.  

Quotes like, “You are stronger than you think” and “Be Kind” covered the pavement. But one Columbia resident chose to write something close to home.  

Heewon Park used the chalk to write “Peace to the Korean Peninsula.” Park is from Korea and thought this event was the perfect place to share the sentimental message.

“Free and open expression like this is not seen in my country. So, when my girls came home with the flier I wanted them to participate,” Heewon Park said.

The Act of Kindness events include a 5k run/walk and presentations that focus on mental health. Tuesday’s events will include a “kindness tree” dedication at Douglass High school and a reading event at Daniel Boone Regional Library.

To see all of the events scheduled for the week, click here.

BOONE COUNTY - One man died Friday evening on Highway 124 after he hit a mail box and turned upside down, troopers said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said 71-year-old Donald Ross, of Sturgeon, was wearing his seat belt while driving his Ford F250 on the highway near Country Boy Avenue.

The crash, which happened around 8:25 p.m., shut down parts of Highway 124.

"He lost control for some unknown reason and again came across left the right side of the road, said Gale Blomenkamp, assistant chief of the Boone County Fire Department. "He came across the roadway and ended up where he is right now." 

Blomenkamp said there was extensive damage to the roof of the vehicle, but first responders were able to remove Ross from it.

"We were able to pop the driver’s side door, cut the seat belt and fairly easily got him out of there. Unfortunately, he was not viable, Blomenkamp said. 

This is Troop F's eighth fatality for April and 17th fatality for this year. 

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to add information about the victim.)

Sierra Morris