Karen Baxter: practical nurse, “Grandma Karen” and earnest candidate

Sunday, March 23, 2008 | 3:31 p.m. CDT; updated 3:11 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — The clutter in Karen Baxter’s house is a testament to the myriad projects competing for her time. Dozens of random items — including an Elmo lunchbox, spatulas and a wrought-iron basket — cover the kitchen table. Newspaper clippings about taxes and other city government issues are spread out on a footstool. Her grandchildren’s huge play dome — constructed entirely of recycled newspaper — dominates the room.