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Local voters’ mood shifting right

Common knowledge says Democrats will win more often than they lose in Columbia and Boone County.

Maybe that’s true: Columbia’s government is led by an openly liberal and progressive mayor; the local delegation to the Missouri General Assembly is Democratic; the county government has been dominated by Democrats for years.

Edwards’ wife visits Columbia to rally support

In preparation for Tuesday’s Democratic primary, Elizabeth Edwards came to the Reynolds Alumni Center on behalf of her husband, presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards, to speak with Columbia residents Saturday.

State Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, both introduced Elizabeth Edwards to the crowd of more than 60 people and publicly announced his support for the senator.

Hot, hurt hand

Thomas Gardner is so confident in his shot that having 10 healthy fingers is unnecessary.

After driving to the basket and colliding with Kansas State forward Justin Williams in the first half Saturday, Gardner flipped the ball into the basket and drew the foul. He also jammed the ring finger on his left, nonshooting hand, and dislocated it.

Final days of campaigning

John Kerry was a hit in Kansas City on Saturday when the Massachusetts senator garnered support from union leaders and a crowd of about 700 at a downtown hotel.

Poll numbers look to be paving the way to victory in Missouri for Kerry, who focused his attention during the raucous campaign event on beating Bush in November. “I think they can hear you all the way in (White House adviser) Karl Rove’s office,” Kerry told the cheering crowd.

More ice, snow headed to Columbia, forecasters say

It looks like winter plans to keep its icy hold on mid-Missouri this week.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dale Bechtold said a Winter Storm Watch is in effect for Jefferson City and Columbia for Sunday night and Monday. Columbia could also get freezing rain and sleet with snow accumulation of less than two inches. The chance of precipitation is forecasted at 90 percent Sunday night.

Budget cuts could slow judicial process in Missouri

No court on Fridays. Longer delays for pending cases. Even a "get out of jail free" card for those accused of nonviolent misdemeanors. All these practices have become solutions to the budget woes of state court systems around the country - and some of them might be coming soon to Missouri.

This was the message delivered Friday by Bill Corrigan, president of the Missouri Bar Association, at a breakfast meeting in Columbia. Since 2001, Corrigan said, the Missouri court system has endured $10 million in budget cuts. Meanwhile, traffic tickets aside, caseloads in Missouri courts have increased by 59 percent over the last 20 years. In 2003, courts heard 879,000 cases, involving 15.5 percent of the state's population.

MLK celebrations end with panel discussion on police-community relations

The final event of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, a panel discussion on police and community relations, was held on the second floor of the Reynolds Alumni and Visitors Center on the MU campus Friday afternoon.

Discussion focused on the history of civil rights and the relationship between minority communities and their local police departments.

MU makes point, often 3 at a time

When it comes to 3-point shooting, Missouri won’t let itself get discouraged easily.

The Tigers displayed their 3-point resolve in their 62-53 victory against Kansas State on Saturday at Hearnes Center.

“This team feels, even though we shot badly in the first half, that doesn’t mean we’re going into the second half like ‘Hey, let’s not shoot,’” junior guard Jason Conley said. “We have such good shooters that we’re not going to let that slow us down.”

Representatives tout merits of presidential hopefuls

Representatives from the campaigns of retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry appealed to the Boone County Muleskinners in a final push for support before the Tuesday primary.

Viewers differ in reasons to watch the Super Bowl

Men and women alike will be parked in front of televisions on Super Bowl Sunday, but not all of them will be watching for the same reasons.

A nationwide on-line survey conducted by comScore in January 2003 found that one out of six viewers said they watched the Super Bowl only for ads, and most of the viewers interested in just the ads were women.

Hinkson Creek sites to be inspected

State and local officials plan to visit as soon as possible each of 23 sites within the Hinkson Creek watershed where construction projects are on hold while they await land-disturbance permits.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is sitting on the permits out of fear the projects could further pollute Hinkson Creek, which is on the EPA’s list of impaired water bodies. DNR representatives said Friday they plan to visit each site to determine how construction can begin without damaging the creek. Columbia officials will join in the tour.

City park offer in the works

Columbia officials want to make an offer to buy part of the 489-acre Philips tract for a new city park.

City Manager Ray Beck said Friday that the Columbia City Council has directed city staff to begin negotiations for the purchase of more than 450 acres in southeast Columbia for a new regional park. The targeted land comprises 153 acres of the Philips farm, including the 40-acre Bristol Lake and 320 acres across Gans Road owned by Sue Crane.

Fayette High School teacher quits amid accusations

While returning from the State of the State in Jefferson City, Larry Leech, the superintendent of Fayette Schools, was stunned by a call from the local high school principal.

The principal told him a popular and well-liked teacher and coach at Fayette High School might have inappropriately groped a 15-year-old student. And he said he had evidence to back his accusations.

Columbia man arrested in robbery

A Columbia man remained in Boone County Jail on Saturday afternoon in connection with the Jan. 20 armed robbery of the Ultra Mart on Monroe Street, police said.

Randy Fullerton, 45, was arrested Friday morning on suspicion of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. A Columbia Police officer found evidence in Fullerton’s blue 1991 Mercury Tracer during a traffic stop that police said linked him to the robbery. The Tracer, which had some body damage, matched the image of a car captured on surveillance video during the robbery.

Tigers throw away chance to win

Although defense dominated most of the game between Missouri and Colorado on Saturday, offensive execution was the deciding factor.

Missouri’s seniors committed five costly turnovers in the final minutes, and No. 11 Colorado executed perfectly on its final possession and escaped with a 68-66 Big 12 Conference win in front of 7,154 at Hearnes Center, the fourth-largest MU women’s basketball crowd.

New campaign style used

At least one candidate for Columbia’s upcoming mayoral election is ready to voice his stance on the issues. But Arch Brooks’ campaign style might not be what voters are used to seeing.

Brooks, CEO of Brooks Computing Systems Inc., recently announced the creation of seven public discussion forums made available via the Internet. Columbia residents are able to go online and voice concerns or pose questions to Brooks, who is able to respond to posts as he receives them.

Rocheport man wins trail sign contest

The winning design for the Boone’s Lick Trail sign contest was inspired by an engraving based off of Alonzo Chappel’s 1861 painting of Daniel Boone.

Rocheport resident Gene Baumann found a rendering of the original artwork in a computerized clip art file, altered the image into a line drawing and added the name of the trail in an antique font. His design, one of more than 30 submitted, was chosen as the winner Thursday by a panel of four judges. It is on display at the Walters-Boone County Historical Museum.

In the end, reality TV isn’t so real

Since I became a couch potato a few years back, I consider myself somewhat of an expert TV watcher. I have never liked slapstick sitcoms, but I did enjoy watching “Friends” in its first few seasons. I stopped watching when all of the friends became too friendly and started bed hopping. I don’t know about you, but I never had friends like that! Ditto for “Sex and the City.” I never bothered tuning in when the title said it all. If shows like those reflect our modern-day morals, I think we’re in deep doo-doo.

My favorites are detective-, doctor- and lawyer-type shows. But within the last three years, they have become more like soap operas. The writers spend more ink talking about relationships than resolving the plot. I don’t care that detective Joe is secretly in love with Capt. Brown but she isn’t interested. I just want a good whodunit. I say bring back shows like “Dragnet.”

Fisher’s injury hurts Missouri

Injuries continue to come at inopportune times for Missouri.

For the second time in four days, the MU women’s basketball team tried to beat a ranked opponent, but failed, losing 68-66 to No. 11 Colorado on Saturday at Hearnes Center.

Wrestling for real

Six-year-old Coltan Adkisson roams the bullpen with other wrestlers at a tournament in Hannibal. Some of the young wrestlers cling to their coaches or parents or nervously straighten their singlets. Others congregate according to their hometowns, eyeing the competition, perhaps guessing which one they’ll wrestle.

Not Coltan. On this Saturday in mid-January, he doesn’t need a hand to hold, and he doesn’t need other 6-year-olds to give him moral support — which is a good thing because he’s the youngest wrestler from Centralia at the meet.

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