Candidates bank on rural Missouri

SEDALIA — Kiwi Popyk never paid much attention to politics. But the public-school employee says that all changed when she attended a rally at Sedalia’s old train depot, starring the Democratic national ticket.

With their recent campaign stops in rural areas that went solidly for President Bush as he carried Missouri in 2000, Popyk said, “John Kerry and John Edwards showed they cared about country folks in Missouri.”

FBI agents interview activists

An investigation that led FBI agents to the doors of several Columbia residents has yet to be resolved.

“I believe our investigation is still open,” Jeff Lanza, spokesman for Kansas City’s FBI office, said Friday. “Whether or not we do any more interviews is still undecided.”

A Fair Business

SEDALIA — Some kids threaten it after forced consumption of brussels sprouts, broccoli or a boring lecture about a grade card. Some might even go so far as to disappear for a couple of days, just to make their parents relieved upon their return.

Only a small number, though, carries through with the life-changing pilgrimage into a world turned upside down. It’s a world of late bedtimes, all-day play, cotton candy and funnel cakes. It is the world of the carnival.

Step right up to win a prize

SEDALIA — He walks among the fairgoers, sweeping trash off the grounds from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day to earn money to buy school supplies. At 14, Brent Katzing is working his first summer job as a maintenance worker at the Missouri State Fair.

“It’s just hard, walking a lot,” Katzing said.

Music professor leaves MU

The MU School of Music is one reed short of a full quintet.

Lecolion Washington, assistant professor of bassoon and music appreciation, informed the school last week he is leaving to take a similar position at the University of Memphis.

The road to recovery

Chris Salas, 27, celebrated a victory Thursday when he walked out of Rusk Rehabilitation Center.

He has been working on the AutoAmbulator, a walking machine installed in May, to get to this point.

MU journalism fellow to create digital paper

The Missouri School of Journalism has named the inaugural visiting fellow of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Roger Fidler, an author and former professor at Kent State University, plans to launch the world’s first live digital newspaper edition through the Columbia Missourian, according to a statement from the journalism school.

Rios waives preliminary hearing

Murder suspect Steven Rios waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday while appearing in front of Associate Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter.

The case of the 27-year-old former Columbia police officer, who is charged with the June 5 murder of MU student Jesse Valencia, will proceed to the 13th Judicial Court for arraignment on Sept. 7.

Dreams reach sky-high

At 8 years old, Gregory Kelly is already making tough career decisions.

“I don’t want to be a football player anymore,” Gregory said. “I want to be a pilot. An aerobatic pilot, and I want to fly a fast plane like that one.”

Budding singer makes ‘Idol’ bid

Like her friends, Meghan Sparkes, 17, dreams of becoming a pop singer. The Rock Bridge High School senior took an extra step in pursuing her vision as she auditioned for “American Idol” this month in St. Louis along with more than 5,000 competitors, making it as far as the second cut.

The freckled blonde said she was disappointed but not devastated over not getting to the third round.

Barbecue contest feeds appetites

SEDALIA — The rain and the mist had dampened the atmosphere but not the spirits of the contestants of the Missouri State Fair’s Backyard Chef Barbecue contest Friday. After almost 10 hours of hard work, the 60 contestants held their breath as they waited for the winners to be announced.

Each contestant was allowed to participate in three of the four categories —chicken, pork, lamb and beef brisket — with five prizes in each category. The person with the highest total score was awarded the grand championship.

Kewps’ Tekotte turning heads at QB

Before the beginning of last season, Hickman coach Gregg Nesbitt said he knew he had an outstanding athlete at quarterback. He knew Blake Tekotte was going to be good, he didn’t know when.

A District 6 title and more than 2,000 all purpose yards later, Hickman fans are starting to get a picture of how good Tekotte can be.

Missouri starts play with a bang

The fireworks over Walton Stadium weren’t the only thing that started with a bang Friday night.

Under the display, meant for the Mid-Missouri Mavericks’ fans next-door, the Missouri women’s soccer team opened the season with a win, routing Southwest Missouri State 7-2 in exhibition play.

Making progress

Progress is the key word coach Gary Pinkel wants Missouri’s football team to adopt after a Saturday scrimmage at Memorial Stadium.

The second scrimmage this week featured solid passing by quarterbacks Brad Smith and freshman Chase Patton and overall good play by the defense, but coach Gary Pinkel said the team still has to improve before its first game two weeks from Saturday against Arkansas State.

Ducks’ late spree does in Mavericks

The Mid-Missouri Mavericks couldn’t take advantage.

Despite four errors by the Springfield-Ozark Ducks, the Mavericks lost 10-3 at Taylor Stadium on Saturday.

Returning home

He mostly smiles. His hands move to emphasize syllables, maybe touching his chest when he says the word heart while always talking from it.

It’s how Tracy Cook comes across one-on-one and behind the pulpit, something the congregation at First Assembly of God might say if you ask about him, their senior pastor. He’s genuine, right down to the “God bless you” after a sneeze.