Hi Jay, and welcome to Sitepoint
You can fake full length columns by using a repeating background, the technique is called faux columns: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/fauxcolumns/
And you can combine all your background properties into one rule using the shorthand notation:
So if you create an image named sidebar_bg.gif which can be 190px x 10px it will tile down the left side of your layout and make it appear as if the left column reaches the footer.
background:#FFF url(sidebar_bg.gif) repeat-y 0 0;
Hope it helps