McCaskill seeks to unite Democrats

KANSAS CITY — Operating on barely two hours of sleep after a stunning primary victory, State Auditor Claire McCaskill quickly set out Wednesday to unite the Democratic Party behind her gubernatorial candidacy — reaching out to defeated Gov. Bob Holden for his supporters’ cash and commitment.

Her new rival, the well-funded Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt, immediately went on the offensive with TV advertising and a cross-state campaign tour.

Transition game

A thin layer of dust and the penetrating smell of paint fills 325,000 feet of encased concrete and steel. Bright yellow insulation peeks out from behind steel rods in the 30-foot-wide main concourse while mustard yellow tiles line the walls of the south concourse. With just under two months before its planned Oct. 1 completion date, the Paige Sports Arena is on schedule.

“We are on time, on budget, and besides a few inevitable last minutes things, it’s looking good,” said Chad Moller, MU athletic department spokesman.

Hostess program revised by MU

Top MU officials decided Wednesday to revamp the Tiger Hostess program, following allegations of sexual harassment and other illicit behavior made in a national magazine by a former hostess.

Effective the start of the fall semester, volunteers who assist with welcoming student athletes will be under the direction of the more general welcome service for all prospective students.

Kerry coming to mid-Mo.

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and running mate John Edwards will stop this afternoon in Jefferson City for a rally at the Capitol as part of a statewide tour that includes stops in Hannibal and St. Louis.

“Democrats are fired up. This is historic for Jeff City. I can’t remember the last time the president and vice president candidates both showed up at the same time,” said Jim Gardner, communications director for the Missouri Democratic Party.

Gay marriage issue can still go to court

Missouri voters showed overwhelming support to ban gay marriage Tuesday, but the issue may yet face challenges in the courts. Same-sex couples in Missouri have legal recourse to challenge Amendment 2, which says “a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman.”

MU law professor Carl Esbeck outlined several potential scenarios that could play out in the courts. If a same-sex couple tried to obtain a marriage license from the state, they would be denied. They could then argue in court that the state constitution violates the 14th amendment of the federal constitution, which guarantees equal protection of the law to all citizens.

Free help makes free lunches

When 10-year-old Katie Paul was told she was too young to volunteer at a Columbia food bank, her determination to lend a hand wasn’t squelched.

“My mom just kept looking for places I could help out, and we found this,” she said.

Dunscombe named REDI chairwoman

Regional Economic Development Inc. announced its new officers at a Tuesday meeting.

Outgoing board Chairman Joe Moseley announced the new officers. Taking over as chairwoman is Vicki Dunscombe, vice president and COO of Boone County National Bank.

Win streak bolsters Post 202

Columbia Post 202 doesn’t want to overanalyze. That would take the fun out of its 10-game winning streak.

“It’s been a great wave so far,” coach Jim Dapkus said. “We just want to keep the wave going as far as we can and not try to figure out what’s happening.”

Pujols powers Cards

ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols hit a home run leading off the ninth inning, and John Mabry was 4-for-4 with four RBIs to lead the St. Louis Cardinals against the Montreal Expos 5-4 on Wednesday night.

Pujols hit his 31st home run of the season, a drive off Chad Cordero (3-2), that capped the Cardinals’ comeback from a 3-0 deficit.