Edwards takes winning spin

HAMPTON, Ga. — Lap after lap, Carl Edwards flirted with the outside walls on his way to another victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway. While just about everyone else in the 43-car field for Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race tried to run well below those unforgiving walls, Edwards purposely hugged the concrete at speeds approaching 200 mph.

Learning to dive

Small children sometimes hold their noses when leaping off the edge of a diving board and into the waters of a pool. NCAA National-qualifying divers do not.

Loss to KU doesn’t ruin Tigers’ division title hopes

It might seem like the same old Missouri football team. For the third straight year, the Tigers fell to that “basketball school” from Lawrence, Kan. Quarterback Brad Smith and the Missouri offense couldn’t elude the Jayhawks defenders who must have looked like deadly birds of prey to the Tigers in their 13-3 loss. So it’s time to put away that Brad Smith jersey for the winter and head over to Mizzou Arena to see if the basketball team can fair any better, right?

Untroubled Watters

When Missouri diver Evan Watters confidently hoists himself up the slick, wet, ladder to the 1-meter springboard, he is not thinking about how he was a 2001 Nationals qualifier as a senior in high school. When he walks to the end of the sky blue springboard, feels the wet sandpaper-like surface under his wrinkled bare feet, and balances himself precariously on the balls of his feet, he is not thinking about how he was a two-time Big 12 Diver of the Month as a Missouri freshman.

WANTED: Male teachers

Like most elementary school classrooms in Columbia, the environment in Clint Darr’s room at Cedar Ridge Elementary School caters to children. The air smells of glue and markers. A border of red and yellow apples runs the length of each wall. A reading corner has a couch and beanbag chairs. As the school day winds down, children clean up their desks in preparation for the final bell. Darr stands at the door as his fourth-graders file out, hunched slightly under their book bags.

Housing prices drive ballot debate

Carol Van Gorp worries about the future of affordable housing in Columbia. As chief executive officer of the Columbia Board of Realtors, Van Gorp thinks approval of Proposition 6 on the Nov. 8 ballot will price some people out of the housing market. Proposition 6 asks voters to authorize the Columbia City Council to increase development charges by 400 percent, from 10 cents per square foot to 50 cents per square foot, over the next five years. The increase would happen gradually, producing an estimated $19 million for major street projects.

Fire board approves gas voucher increase

For the first time since the 1980s, the Boone County Fire Protection District board voted unanimously to increase the value of gas vouchers given to volunteer first responders. Board member John Gordon said gas vouchers have been a part of the fire district since the early 1970s. The purpose of the vouchers is to reimburse first responders — such as volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians — who often arrive on the scene of an incident in their personal vehicles.

A fitting match

As customers search department store aisles for the right manufactured Halloween costume, Savannah Baltazar fastens the buttons of her old Hollywood ballgown in her dorm room. With careful application of makeup, appropriate accessories and an extravagant hairdo, Baltazar transforms into Vivien Leigh. She helps Jessica Perreault, her suite-mate, step into her Princess Leia attire and adds more bobby pins to secure the girl’s hair into side buns. Halloween costumes come easy to Baltazar — just don’t mention the words “store bought” in her presence.

School bus drivers in high demand

At a time when the Columbia Public School District has hit a new high in its enrollment — up 431 students, or 3 percent, over last year — there are fewer bus drivers to get students to school. It’s more a struggle than a shortage. Blake Tekotte, the district’s coordinator of transportation, said it’s always a challenge to obtain and retain a full staff of qualified bus drivers.

Americans dole out billions of dollars for Halloween

Hollow pumpkins bearing toothless grins guard front porches, and the candy section at the local supermarket has grown from one aisle to three. This can only mean one thing: Halloween is at the door. Consumers are expected to spend $3.29 billion on the ghostly holiday, up 5.4 percent from $3.12 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2005 Halloween survey.

Legislators consider options for covering uninsured

JEFFERSON CITY — Social advocates say health care for the uninsured is a major problem, one that’s only getting worse in Missouri after the state knocked thousands off Medicaid this year and increased requirements for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But there’s no easy solution to the issue. A panel of lawmakers working to overhaul the Medicaid health insurance system for the poor says they must also deal with the uninsured but haven’t yet figured out the course to take.

Advocate: Racism behind health gap

ST. LOUIS — An advocate for the state’s uninsured and underinsured said racism is partly to blame for blacks’ relatively poor health in St. Louis. James Kimmey, president and chairman of the Missouri Foundation for Health, said Saturday that “the built-in racism and discrimination in our health care system” treats some people as less deserving of quality health care.

Woman robbed at gunpoint, police say

A woman was robbed on the 900 block of Spencer Avenue at 7 p.m. Saturday, according to Columbia police. The woman told police that, after entering her car, she was approached by three men. According to the Police Department, the men pointed a handgun at the woman and stole her purse, then fled on foot. No injuries were reported.

Police: Man robbed while working on car

A 47-year-old Columbia man was robbed at gunpoint Sunday afternoon while working on his car on Claudell Lane, police said. The man, who was not injured, told police the suspect approached him and demanded money. The suspect was last seen fleeing the scene, headed north.