High schools show generosity

After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Rock Bridge High School junior Nick Evans knew he wanted to help, so he decided to put on a piano concert at Rock Bridge to raise money for relief. Another Rock Bridge junior, Jessica Roark, played as well, and the two raised just over $500.

Author to speak on conflict, pluralism

Martin E. Marty sees conflict everywhere — in schools, business, government, public affairs, arts and entertainment. The author of more than 50 books and a pastor and professor emeritus of religious history at the University of Chicago, Marty traces the constant friction in the world to pluralism, or the idea that there are many ways to look at an issue or subject.

Drought’s impact on agriculture sinks in

As David Kottman sold his crops off of a wooden trailer at the Columbia Farmers’ Market, his amiable attitude and aw-shucks smile masked a deep worry that had been building for months. Over the summer, the scorching heat and severe lack of rain in mid-Missouri killed about half of his 200-acre corn crop and damaged his soybeans.

Sound of sirens

It’s getting more difficult to keep Columbia’s old warning sirens work­ing, so city officials want voters to approve a sales tax extension that would include money to replace them. Proposition 3 seeks a three-year extension of the quarter-cent capital improvements sales tax. It would generate a total of $15 million for public safety projects, including $310,000 for the new sirens. The rest would be used for fire stations, fire trucks and equipment and a police training center. The proposition is one of six city proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Sidewalks to schools are goal of proposals

As the children file down the stairs and load their backpacks, Chris and Kelly Hayday fix snacks in the kitchen. One child asks for popcorn, but without enough time to fix it, Kelly digs through the cupboards in search of granola bars. Fenway, one of the family dogs, anticipates his owners’ departure and paws and licks the children sitting on the sofa to put their shoes on. The Haydays and their two daughters, Megan and Maddie, are joined each morning by their neighbors and friends Kristian and Paige Rathbun, to whom Fenway offers no less affection.

As execution date nears, inmate claims innocence

Every day when Marlin Gray wakes up, he thinks of his mother, who visited him in prison every other week for 12 years until she died earlier this year. “She fought harder than anybody else in the world to prove my innocence,” he said last week during a phone interview. “I have always known the love of my mom. She was everything to me.”

Task force on postgame chaos named

The pandemonium that broke out after the MU football team defeated Nebraska on Saturday prompted 20 arrests and led to the creation Monday of a task force charged with ensuring that kind of chaos never happens again. The task force, which consists of six members of the athletic department, will focus on security and promoting positive fan behavior at football games, said athletic department spokesman Chad Moller. He said the group will begin its work before the next home game — the last at Memorial Stadium this season — against Baylor on Nov. 12. Most of the changes may not become evident until next year.

25 years of Unity in Columbia

It felt like coming home. That is how Nancy Lysen-Kirtley described coming to the Unity church. That is why she and five others started a study group 25 years ago that would eventually grow into the Unity Center of Columbia.

Commissioner Elkin runs for Mo. House

Boone County Commissioner Skip Elkin will announce this morning his candidacy for the 21st District Missouri House seat in the 2006 election. He will be declaring his candidacy at Lange Middle School at 9:30 a.m., Lakeview Bend Assisted Living at 1 p.m. in Mexico, Mo., and Hallsville Middle School at 4:30 p.m., said Scott Cristal, Boone County Democratic Central Committee secretary.

Online drug plan help offered

Jefferson City — Medicare officials have designed a handful of online tools to allow people to search for and compare the first-ever prescription drug plans under the federal insurance program. But despite a promised mid-October unveiling, some are still incomplete. In less than a month, more than 800,000 elderly and disabled Missourians will have the option to enroll in a prescription drug plan under the federal health insurance program. Many are eager to choose a plan, but the decision means wading through a slew of information and waiting for more.

Little actors take tips on big performance

On any other occasion, a kiss on the cheek is huge for seventh-graders, especially in front of their peers. However, a little experience has taught Andy Atkins, a seventh-grader at Smithton Middle School, to see the gesture more professionally. In Andy’s view, a kiss is a mere “scientific” gesture or another “basic term of endearment.” And it is something he is willing to allow for the sake of acting.

Water park will celebrate chamber’s centennial

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce has pledged to donate $50,000 toward the development of a water playground and fountain for Flat Branch Park. The structure will be between Providence Road and Fourth Street, just south of Locust Street. It is part of the final phase of the park’s development and has been in the works for nearly three years.

Grant supports evacuee jobs

JEFFERSON CITY — A state lawmaker wants a $400,000 federal grant intended to provide job assistance to an estimated 15,000 hurricane evacuees in Missouri to include more than four employment advisors. “Four counselors for the whole state borders on the ridiculous, but if that is what we got, we have to make the best use of it,” said Senate Appropriations committee member and Minority Caucus Chair Pat Dougherty, D-St. Louis. “The state needs to be arguing for more. I think that is quite obvious.”

Guard unit bids farewell

With heavy hearts and tear-soaked eyes, members of the Missouri National Guard’s 128th Field Artillery Regiment stood at attention as the regiment’s flag was rolled around its pole and slid into an Army-green case. The action marked the end of the road for the historic regiment, which dates to 1812.

Haunting choices

For the sixth year, Centralia’s First Baptist Church is bringing mid-Missourians face to face with hell. Judgement House, a religious version of a haunted house, is designed to make people aware of the consequences of their actions. More than 1,000 people take in the event every year, which usually runs for several nights around Halloween.

Shifting into a new gear

If all goes as Tom Kardon plans, he and his neighbors from Third Avenue and the surrounding area would come together in the near future to inaugurate his proposed car parts store with a Greek grand opening party. They would certainly have something to celebrate. The theoretical party would mark the end of Kardon’s 10-year quest to build the store on his property at Third Avenue and North Providence Road.

Fire board feud now on Web

Days after a petition was filed to recall Boone County Fire Protection District Board President Willis Smith, county residents created two Web sites to influence Internet users on both sides of a contentious debate that has engulfed the third-largest fire department in the state. Robert Keller started his pro-Smith Web site on Sept. 6. The site,, offers a defense of the 27-year fire board veteran. In addition to documenting the growth of the fire district during Smith’s tenure, the site responds to several of the charges presented in the recall petition.

Woman from Jefferson City accused of attacking police

A Jefferson City woman nearly hit two Columbia police officers Saturday night with a vehicle police say she tried to steal, according to the Columbia Police Department. Police say Katryn A. Jones, 30, brandished a knife and entered an unidentified man’s car before officers responded to the disturbance in the 1600 block of West Worley Street.

Men attacked with rifle, pipe; police seeking arrest warrant

Two men were attacked early Sunday in southwest Columbia with an assault rifle and a metal pipe, according to the Columbia Police Department. Two victims and other witnesses said that the assailant entered a Columbia residence in the 1600 block of Highridge Circle with five other males and that a confrontation ensued when the men refused to leave.

Blunt, Ashcroft policies at odds in abortion case

JEFFERSON CITY — A recent court decision requiring the Missouri Department of Corrections to take an inmate to an abortion clinic was derided by Republican Gov. Matt Blunt as “outrageous” and “highly offensive to traditional Missouri values.” Blunt, who touts his pro-life credentials, said the ruling runs contrary to a state law prohibiting public money from being spent to assist an abortion.