Democrats lose voters in rural areas

Members of both major political parties agree Democrats have lost ground in rural Missouri over the past few years due to wedge issues such as guns, abortion and gay marriage, and Republicans are poised to strengthen their majority grip in the state Senate in the Nov. 2 election after regaining control two years ago.

The backlash against Democrats surrounding wedge issues was a contributing factor in Republicans’ ability to win control of the Senate two years ago. It was the first time Republicans had control of the Senate since 1948.

Farmer pledges to aid small businesses

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Nancy Farmer chose a tiny hair salon called Unlimited Editions at the Parkade Center on Wednesday to talk about her vision for small businesses.

The candidate said she chose Unlimited Editions, owned by Debra and Alvin Harris, because their business was “such a success story.”

Inspector: No proof Iraq had stockpiles

WASHINGTON — Contradicting the main argument for a war that has cost more than 1,000 American lives, the top U.S. arms inspector said Wednesday he found no evidence Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991. He also concluded Saddam Hussein’s ability to develop such weapons had dimmed — not grown — during a dozen years of sanctions before last year’s U.S.-led invasion.

Contrary to prewar statements by President Bush, Saddam did not have chemical and biological stockpiles when the war began and his nuclear capabilities were deteriorating, not advancing, said Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group.

Newly registered voters often don’t show up

It’s hard enough to register a new voter, but now that Missouri’s registration deadline has passed, getting that person to vote is a whole other challenge.

“Everyone should vote,” said Paul Sloca, spokesman for the Missouri Republican Party. “We have soldiers in Iraq and others who have fought in world wars to protect our right to vote. It’s one of the cornerstones in our democracy. … Voting is a very important responsibility.”

Iraqis, activists differ on war

Two groups visiting Columbia on Wednesday presented opposing perspectives on the war in Iraq. While two activists criticized the war, two Iraqi citizens told reporters U.S. involvement improved living conditions in their country.

Michael Birmingham, an Irish peace activist, and Tom Sager, a retired University of Missouri-Rolla professor, gave speeches as part of the Wheels of Justice Bus Tour.

GOP looks to claim wins in Boone County

The Missouri Republican Party is enjoying the first majority it has held in the General Assembly in more than 50 years, but victory in Boone County has remained elusive. The GOP, however, has high hopes that will change in November.

Although Republican optimism suffered a blow last month with the withdrawal of GOP candidate Joel Jeffries from the 25th District House race, the party remains hopeful in the 24th District, where Republican Ed Robb is taking on Democrat Travis Ballenger. And in the 19th District state Senate race, Republican Mike Ditmore is mounting a challenge to Democrat Chuck Graham, who seeks a promotion after eight years in the House.

Candidates share eco-friendly ideas

State House and Senate candidates wrestled with how to encourage environment-friendly growth in Columbia at a forum sponsored by the Boone County Smart Growth Coalition on Wednesday night at the Boone County Government Center.

Five candidates for state representative in the 23rd, 24th and 25th district races and Chuck Graham, Democratic candidate in the 19th District state Senate race, took questions from audience members and moderator Keith Brekhus, a Smart Growth Coalition representative.

A jazzy afternoon

On Sunday afternoon, music lovers in the courtyard of Senior Hall at Stephens College will be treated to wine, cheese and “Jazz on the Lawn.” The college’s a cappella jazz choir, the Velvetones, will perform with renowned jazz harpist and pianist Corky Hale.

The all-female octet will open for Hale in the benefit performance to help the Velvetones raise money for a trip to New York’s Carnegie Hall, where they have been invited to sing at a jazz extravaganza in the spring.

Archbishop’s letter urges voters

JEFFERSON CITY — Representatives of Missouri’s gubernatorial candidates offered differing thoughts about the latest political pronouncement from one of the top Roman Catholic leaders in Missouri.

In an Oct. 1 letter, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke wrote that it would be a sin for a Catholic to vote for a politician who supports abortion rights unless that candidate is aligned with the overall views of the archdiocese.

Campus in Brief

MU waiting to hear from Tiger Hostess

Marvin “Bunky” Wright, MU’s general counsel, has not heard from a former Tiger Hostess who said in a national magazine that MU coaches ignored her claims of sexual harassment by student-athlete recruits.

Stephens’ alumnae will headline benefit performance

Corky Hale said she began studying classical piano in Chicago when she was 7. That summer, Hale was playing piano in the lobby of a Florida hotel when Horace Heidt invited her to play with his orchestra.

It was her first job; from then on, she knew what she wanted to do with her life.

Chancellor promises faculty involvement

Retain and recruit the best faculty. Expand global outreach. Support public policy funding. These are a few items MU Chancellor Brady Deaton outlined Wednesday in his new 10-point action plan for the future of the university. Deaton presented his plan during the fall general faculty meeting in Memorial Union on the MU campus. He addressed faculty retention first and emphasized his commitment to involving faculty in his decisions as chancellor.

“Right after his appointment, Dr. Deaton called me and pledged his support to the Faculty Council and the faculty during his chancellorship,” said Gordon Christensen, chairman of MU’s Faculty Council, at the beginning of the meeting.

Faces: Harriett Green-Sappington

Harriett Green-Sappington is one of the people who made the new residence halls at MU a reality.

“In August we opened four new residence halls and the new pedestrian bridge across College Avenue,” Green-Sappington said. “Being part of the team that made these things happen was very special.”

Columbia College names alumni director

William Sheehan Jr. recently traded MU for Columbia College, becoming the executive director of development and alumni services.

“As the executive, I plan to help people maintain their relationship with college regardless whether they are alumni from Christian College, alumni from Columbia College, from the online program or from the extended campuses nation wide,” Sheehan said. “I want to keep everyone connected.”

Off the diamond

As she slowly makes her way across the outfield grass of Cosmopolitan Park’s Red Field, the expression on Courtney Haskell’s face says it all.

Moments earlier, her Hickman softball team lost its fifth straight game, an 8-1 romp at the hands of Parkway South, and as the coach walks towards the dozen teenage girls waiting for her in left field, she is noticeably upset.

Mast’s passion leads Rock Bridge

It didn’t take Jennifer Mast long to realize her life ambition.

By the time she was playing as a sophomore first baseman for the Rock Bridge softball team in 1991, she had all but decided on a career.

Coffey meets expectations

When Sean Coffey switched his jersey number to 12 before last season, he was immediately compared to Justin Gage, who wore that number during his time at Missouri.

They were a similar height and physical build and had similar potential to break a game open with a deep pass.