Collegetown, U.S.A.: Getting to know MU

You stand on the north end of Francis Quadrangle and take it all in. This is MU.

The white dome of Jesse Hall reflects the sun. Two red squirrels rest on the bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson. A couple sits on the base of one of the MU Columns, books open. On the surrounding grass, a group of students tosses a Frisbee.

State seen as bellwether

With the failure of the Federal Marriage Amendment in the U.S. Senate, which had attempted to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman and restrict the ability of courts to force the recognition of same-sex marriages, Missouri voters will be the ones who write the next chapter on who is granted access to the institution of marriage in America.

Since Missouri is a key battleground state in the national election and the first state to vote on this type of amendment, many think the voters’ decision on Aug. 3 might influence similar votes across the country.

Common Ground

The lunch rush has hit Brady Commons and with it a sense of mildly contained chaos. People are everywhere: sitting, standing, calling to friends and laughing. The tables are full, a few overloaded with extra chairs so that large groups can sit together. Strangers share tables just to get a place to sit and eat.

Long lines snake through the food court — past Pizza Hut, Burger King, Chick-fil-A and Sunshine Sushi — as people wait for their turn to pay, hands full of foods ranging from California rolls to cheeseburgers. The aroma of fries and pizza wafts into the main dining area.

Young voters earn spots as delegates

WASHINGTON — When it’s your first presidential election, it’s not enough that you can vote. Not when you want in on the process. Not when you want your voice heard.

Three young Missourians jumped into politics last February, setting out on a daunting path to becoming delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Residential Life helps students develop

With four new halls opening this fall and a 15-year master plan to renovate or rebuild the existing halls, residential life at MU is undergoing rapid change. However, the blending of student affairs and academics — which has made MU’s program a model for other institutions — will continue to remain the focus of the department.

“Residence Halls exist to help students succeed academically and personally ... we’re very much a part of the educational experience for students,” said Frankie Minor, director of Residential Life at MU.

Local Kerry off to Boston to back Kerry

Her last name attracts attention. Columbia resident Elizabeth Kerry said everyone, right down to the cashier at her grocery store checkout line, wants to know if she’s related to Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic Party’s presumed candidate for president.

She’s not. So, Elizabeth Kerry, a lifelong Democrat, has coined an answer for the curious.

We the people need new political party

If what I keep hearing proves to be true, there are going to be lots of people who refuse to vote for either presidential candidate. They are saying there is no appreciable difference between the two political parties. While I agree with them, I doubt if failure to participate will make any impression on the party leaders. I think what they really care about is the electoral votes that will earn one of them the office. And frankly, I don’t know what it will take to break the stronghold the Democrats and Republicans have on our political process short of forming other political parties.

It will obviously take strong will and a true sense of purpose to start another political party. I think that a real grass-roots movement would work, if anyone can remember how to organize such an endeavor. I believe people are tired of money ruling everything. They see the results when monied interests are allowed to control government. I think what they want are sincere people who have nothing personal to gain, who go out on a limb and begin to build a political party that is truly concerned with the welfare of the people.

Something for everyone at MU

Referred to by MU students as “the Quad,” the grassy area surrounding the Columns has become a popular, multifunctional location on campus to read, sunbathe, play football or simply relax.

Although posted signs discourage students from cutting across Francis Quadrangle on the way to class, recreational activity is perfectly acceptable.

Fugitive Ferrets

Ferrets have whiskers, tails and long slender bodies. They can wriggle their way in and out of holes and tight places. They are also illegal in Boone County.

But according to a veterinarian, they’re also pets to at least 80 Columbia and Boone County residents.

Weather clouds fair’s attendance

First, the brightly colored tent came down. Then, the metal fencing that surrounds it. Frederick Barton, a carnival employee put on his hard hat, splashed through the muddy grass and headed toward his tool box. The horses of the carousel were unmounted on the bottom and swaying gently with the breeze.

“I have been doing this for 10 years. Another fair is done,” Barton said as he adjusted his hard hat with the words “Old Man” written on the top.

MU traditions: old and new

It’s not an X that marks the spot at MU — it’s an array of landmarks and traditions, treasured by students and faculty members, that distinguish the campus from others across the nation.

MU legends have been passed on since the school originated in 1839. Now that August marks the start of college for another freshman class, it is time to pass on the traditions that have made MU a one-of-a-kind place.

Lieutenant governor hopefuls split on role

The Republican and Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor say that a prescription drug plan is high on their agenda and are divided on what they see as the role of the lieutenant governor.

Democrats Bekki Cook and Ken Jacob, and Republican Peter Kinder all cited Senate Bill 1160, which establishes the Prescription Drug Repository Program, as legislation they hope to see passed in the next session. The bill, co-sponsored by Kinder and Jacob, describes the program as designed to “accept and dispense donated prescription drugs to eligible Missouri residents.”

Petition deadline arrives for Nader

Professional signature collector Melva Lewis was standing in the parking lot of the Boone County Fair on Wednesday evening. Wearing short shorts to show off the writing on her legs, she tried to persuade fair attendees to approach her.

On her right thigh she had the words “Sign my petition” written in pen. On her left thigh, she had “Boone Ct. Got Nader?”

Collegetown, U.S.A.: Getting to know Columbia

Columbia’s new logo says the city is “too dynamic to fit into a short tagline.” Columbia is, in fact, more diverse, artsy, green and young than other cities its size. While much smaller than big brothers St. Louis and Kansas City, Columbia still offers enough sizzle to keep big-city lovers satisfied.

Columbia boasts 23 baseball fields, 27 soccer fields — who says Americans are ignorant about soccer? — 35 tennis courts, 22 volleyball courts and 40 parks. Not the outdoors type? Then explore the 24 movie screens, 21 museums and art galleries, more than 100 churches, 372 restaurants and 15 shopping centers.

Candidates hope to make MO$T of college savings

Despite accolades for Missouri Saving for Tuition, or MO$T, some state treasurer candidates aren’t satisfied with the 5-year-old program’s performance and want to make changes. MO$T is a state program that manages savings accounts for college education.

“Most funds under MO$T are rated with four stars,” said Will Pundmann, who is running for the Republican nomination and is a former employee of TIAA-CREF, a financial service provider. “I intend to get five-star ratings and improve returns while lowering financial risk by evaluating all the management alternatives.”

Highways bring change to city

Transportation and location weigh heavily on the layout and growth of Columbia.

Being halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis and situated on Interstate 70, the location of Columbia has shaped its growth and development.

McCaskill shifts message to promote Kerry victory

JEFFERSON CITY — Challenging an incumbent Democratic governor in a key presidential swing state, Democrat Claire McCaskill thinks she has hit upon a winning message: If Democrats dump Gov. Bob Holden, she can help carry them to victory in the fall.

With Missouri’s Aug. 3 party primaries drawing near, public opinion polls show McCaskill in a dead heat with Holden, and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in a similarly close race against Republican President Bush.

Renovating downtown

A walk in Columbia’s historical Downtown District reveals buildings with styles ranging from art-deco to classic brick facades, pre-Civil War to modern glass simplicity. While each building has its own history, together they create Columbia’s Downtown District.

“It’s literally the heart of Columbia,” says Arnie Fagan of the buildings that create downtown.

What they think


Recreation: a sensation in Columbia

There is an opening in the trees at the corner of Providence and Stewart roads with a small sign designating the entrance to the MKT Nature/Fitness Trail. Down the trail, amid the trees, the sound of the cars traveling by is drowned out by the leaves blowing in the wind and birds chirping. It’s hard to believe that you are in the middle of Columbia.

The MKT Trail is just one of the many recreation opportunities in Columbia. The city park system consists of 2,300 acres, more than 20 miles of trails and an Activity and Recreation Center that opened in December 2002.