Voters to define marriage

After the passage of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Missouri was one of 39 states that passed similar laws that banned same-sex marriages in the state and refused to acknowledge gay marriages performed in other states. Four states — Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska and Nevada — took the additional step to add such provisions into their constitutions.

National attempts to clarify the issue have failed so far. A Marriage Amendment bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives and was sent on to the U.S. Senate. It is not expected to pass because an earlier version failed in the Senate to break cloture — a parliamentary procedure by which debate is ended and an immediate vote is taken on the matter under discussion.

Lot of green for that ham

At the Boone County Fair ham auction Saturday morning, 6-year-old Wyatt Burnett stood on a chair and held his grand champion 14-pound ham in his small arms.

The buzz of friendly chatter filled the room. Wyatt turned his head to smile at his mother, Michelle, and his older sister, reserve champion Shelby Burnett, 11, both seated on the raised stage. The auctioneer stepped up to the microphone and the bidding began.

Web site offers job help for homeless

Ray Green sat near a coffee shop on Ninth Street, watching people come and go. He didn’t ask for money, but pedestrians would occasionally give him spare change.

Green, 40 years old and homeless, said he wasn’t aware of the new government Web site launched Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Labor designed to help homeless people find jobs, but laughed at the idea.

Volunteers share civic responsibility at games

Laura McKean and Taylor Kelly were part of the 2004 Show-Me State Games on Friday, but not as athletes. They checked out the track and field event first-hand by supporting the Missouri athletes, keeping score, timing races and helping with concessions.

“A whole bunch of other people come from different states, and it’s really fun to see everyone here,” Laura said.

UM board looks for increase in budget

University of Missouri system will request more than an $81 million increase in its core operating budget for the 2006 fiscal year.

At its meeting Friday, the University of Missouri Board of Curators supported the system’s plan to request $481,057,147 in state appropriations, up from the $400 million granted to the system for the 2005 fiscal year. The increase would cover costs of operating new buildings and expenditures for new scholarship and MU Health Care programs.

Square roots

Fairgoers young and old square-danced along to the fiddle as the caller gave the next step. Fast and slow, the caller and fiddler worked in harmony. Both are essential for a good square dance, and both captivated audiences at this year’s Boone County Fair.

Robotics team goes national with idea

It sits right off the entryway of the Dunwoody residence — a 4-by-8 table covered with yellow and blue plastic cups, foam balls and robots made of LEGOs and thousands of dollars of electronic components. The Columbia Robotics Team runs trials, watching the robots pick up foam balls and knock over cups.

“We’re just going to keep making changes and minor adjustments,” said Mark Dunwoody, head coach. “We may have these things completely redone by the end of the night.”

Sibling rivalry

Cole Riley was too much for the Super Siblings.

Riley’s hat trick helped The Big Green of Columbia defeat the Super Siblings of Moberly 7-5 in the mixed adult division of the Show-Me State Games’ soccer competition Saturday at Cosmopolitan Park.

Armstrong close to clinching Tour

BESANCON, France — Lance Armstrong capped his most dominant Tour de France with a victory in the final time trial Saturday, all but guaranteeing a place in history as the first six-time winner of the 101-year-old race.

Pedaling furiously for a victory he didn’t even need to secure his sixth crown, Armstrong again overpowered his rivals, building a gaping lead that he carried past cheering crowds to the finish in Besancon.

Cardinals stop Bonds but not teammates

ST. LOUIS — Barry Bonds got to celebrate on his 40th birthday, even if the St. Louis Cardinals wouldn’t allow him to contribute.

A day after Bonds hit a three-run, seventh-inning home run in the Giants’ victory against St. Louis, he drew his major league-leading 79th intentional walk at a key spot in San Francisco’s 5-3, 10-inning win.

Clemons seeks admission to N.C. college

ST. LOUIS — Ricky Clemons, a former Missouri basketball player, has not joined the men’s basketball team at Livingstone College in North Carolina, Livingstone’s coach said.

Coach James Stinson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in Saturday’s edition that reports in other publications that Clemons had joined the team were incorrect.

Granny’s ministry

Granny Pam Ingram sits in a neon-orange child-sized chair in the middle of a lawn strewn with jump ropes, four-square balls and bubble dispensers. She listens as 8-year-old Keiondre Johnson tells about a near-death experience involving his big toe. Children and volunteers jump, run, twirl and shout all over the lawn of Granny’s House, a nondenominational Christian after-school program.

But at this moment Granny Pam focuses solely on Keiondre, and she reacts to his story as if it’s the most important thing she’s ever heard.

Goals melt as summer sneaks by

I’m not a “glass is half empty” kind of person, but I figure summer is 50 percent over after the Fourth of July even though the rational side of me knows we still have two months to go. I think most of the retail stores agree with me because anything light weight is on sale. Now they’re stocking coats and turtlenecks, and I start itching just walking by.

At the beginning of the summer I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish before fall. Now that it’s midpoint, I like to take stock of where I am with my goals.

The perfect shot

The entire room is trying to get Distany to smile for the camera. Four adults, including her parents, Marlana and Adam Smith, whoop and clap their hands in hope of eliciting a moment worth remembering.

However, the 7-month-old baby, clad in a fuschia jumper and frilly headband, seems more interested in chewing on a set of fat building blocks than she is in posing under the studio lights. She unassumingly gums a green block until her attention is captured by a small Barney doll being shaken above the camera. Distany looks up, head slightly turned and a smile gleaming in her blue eyes.

Singer's style inspired by folk and jazz music.

Jolie Holland's voice is an anachronism. Possessing a melancholic strain common in Appalachia and traditional American folk music prone to dirges and murder ballads, her voice lolls gorgeously in a cadence tinged with jazz rhythms.

At times, it seems steeped in the very opiate of which she sings in the narcotically dark, bluesy "Old Fashion Morphine" on her latest release, "Escondida" - issuing repeated invocations to two infamous junkies, nomadic '30s writer Isabelle Eberhardt and beat writer William S. Burroughs.

Rascals beat Mavs

The River City Rascals shut out the Mid-Missouri Mavericks Friday night at Taylor Stadium.

The Mavericks went down 5-0 with four hits, all singles, and three errors striking out 10 times. Eric Darjean was the only Maverick to advance pass second base the entire game.

Candidates revive bygone tradition of stump speaking at Boone County Fair

Amidst the roar of roller coasters and the lingering smell of funnel cakes stood a stump with a plaque engraved with "Presented by the grand order of Pachyderms. To: Bob Smith. August, 1971." This was the site of 26 stump speeches by candidates for the 9th, 21st, 24th and 25th district House seats, the 19th district state Senate seat and Boone County treasurer, sheriff, administrator and commissioner on Friday at the Boone County Fairground.

Owner Charlie Christy recalled the days of stump speaking's highest popularity when candidates would speak on the courthouse lawn the week before the primaries. "In those days, there were no Republicans in Boone County," he said. "And the primary election was the general election. That was back in the early 1800s."