New laws target underage drinkers

On a back porch in the East Campus neighborhood, eight partiers under 21 spent Friday night sipping Bud Lights and smoking cigarettes. None of them seemed to mind that if caught, they could lose $1,000, their driver’s licenses and one year of their lives. The partiers were drinking in a neighborhood known as a safe haven for underage drinkers. New minor-in-possesion laws coupled with standard beginning-of-the-school-year law enforcement efforts, though, may undermine the minors’ sense of safety. State Alcohol and Tobacco Control agents — known as “liquor patrol” to college students — and Columbia police arrested 61 suspects on 81 charges Aug. 26. More than half of the charges were for minors in possesion of alcohol.

Taking on dorm life

New to MU, Carolyn Herrington has spent her first weeks at the university striking up dining hall conversations, navigating the town without a car and missing her family. But Herrington, a resident of Mark Twain Hall, is no freshman. She’s the dean of MU’s College of Education. A mother of four, Herrington left her husband and youngest son, who is finishing high school this year in Tallahassee, Fla. Tallahassee is home to Florida State University, where Herrington served as a professor and associate dean in the education department. Her husband will move to Columbia after the school year closes, and they plan to buy a house then.

A new community emerges as refugees unite in grief

JACKSON, Miss. — Nine members of the extended Flores family, unsure of the fate of their New Orleans home and worried about an uncle they left behind, gathered in a drab cinderblock room in the Mississippi state fairgrounds coliseum to hear a message of hope. Like many other buildings across the South, the coliseum is housing the flood of people made homeless by Hurricane Katrina — people who are creating small moments of comfort in the midst of chaos. And for many, on this first Sunday following Katrina’s wrath, that meant going to church.

Leader of TVbyGirls to speak at Stephens

Stephens College explores the portrayal of women in Hollywood with the Citizen Jane Women in Film Speaker Series. Barbara Wiener, founder of TVbyGirls, will kick off the series Wednesday. Ken LaZebnik, dean of Stephens’ School of Performing Arts, said he thinks Wiener will be an inspiration for women in the media and offer a perspective of succeeding not only professionally, but creatively.

Unheeded warnings compound devastation

NEW ORLEANS — Most everyone in town knew right away that the worst had happened. The cops heard about it even before Hurricane Katrina itself arrived.

The grim task ahead

NEW ORLEANS — With much of central New Orleans finally cleared of hurricane refugees, search teams widened operations Sunday to outlying streets, moving house to house with orders to evacuate all remaining residents from the city. Mortuary teams also began the gruesome task of collecting corpses still floating in floodwaters, trapped inside buildings or abandoned on highways after the devastating storm that deluged the city seven days ago. Officials warned that the death count — which Louisiana officials put at 59 on Sunday — is sure to rise exponentially.

Storm brings new friends together

A former Columbia resident and a Mississippi native arrived in town early Saturday morning and are calling Calvary Baptist Church home — at least for now. Dayrel G. Crowl, a former Columbia resident, and James Belt, a Mississipian, met by chance and bonded at a Red Cross shelter in Natchez, Miss.

Impoverished were hit hardest

People living in the path of Hurricane Katrina’s worst devastation were twice as likely as most Americans to be poor and without a car — factors that might help explain why so many failed to evacuate as the storm approached. An Associated Press analysis of Census data shows that the residents in the three dozen hardest-hit neighborhoods in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama also were disproportionately minority and had incomes $10,000 below the national average.

Seeing and sharing the pain of Katrina firsthand

It’s a quiet Friday night in Hayti, Mo., and two farmers are discussing the news. The aged men are nearly 500 miles and an eight-hour drive from New Orleans, but as they fondle their coffee cups, they can speak of nothing but Hurricane Katrina. “I hear they’ve got a family of refugees housed at a hotel just down the road,” says Jim Curtis Jr., as he motions out the window of the Hayti McDonald’s.

Red tape keeps some doctors out

BATON ROUGE, La. — Volunteer physicians are pouring in to care for the sick, but red tape is keeping hundreds of others from caring for Hurricane Katrina survivors while health problems escalate. Among the doctors prevented from helping are 100 surgeons and paramedics in a state-of-the-art mobile hospital marooned in rural Mississippi.

Ham radio aids recovery effort

In the small basement of a nondescript building on West Worley Street, two men sit at a long workbench covered in radios, wires and small black boxes, all interconnected and adorned with an array of knobs, switches and buttons. A sharp static hiss permeates the room as one of the men delicately adjusts the frequency of the radio stationed in front of him, searching for other operators across the country. The two men, Dewey Bennett and Bob Jett, are amateur radio operators and members of the Central Missouri Radio Association. While their hobby usually consists of conversing with other radio operators from around the country and around the world, once in a while their purpose becomes much greater.

In flood zone, a new sense of what’s valuable

NEW ORLEANS — The waters raced into Denise Mitchell’s home so quickly that she fled with nothing but what she was wearing. After Mitchell and 10 members of her extended family took refuge in the convention center downtown, she realized they had another problem: Aid workers were giving out water and food, but there wasn’t anything for her infant niece. The only thing Mitchell had that she thought might be of value was the silver necklace she was wearing around her neck, so she wandered around the convention center for hours trying to trade it for milk.

Pastors seek divine meaning in the wake of Gulf tragedy

Although his sermon for Labor Day weekend was supposed to focus on work, Keith Simon of The Crossing knew he had a more important message to deliver on Sunday. “We needed to switch course to help all of us think about this biblically,” Simon said of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. With a sermon that featured a slide show of disaster photos and headlines, Simon said suffering and evil should not undermine faith.

French Quarter survivors create order amid chaos

NEW ORLEANS — In the absence of information and outside assistance, groups of rich and poor banded together in the French Quarter, forming “tribes” and dividing up the labor. While mold and contagion grew in the muck that engulfed most of the city, something else sprouted in this most decadent of American neighborhoods — humanity.

Residents plead for quick aid; strain on officials shows

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans turned much of its attention on Sunday to gathering and counting the dead across a landscape that could contain thousands of corpses. “It is going to be about as ugly of a scene as I think you can imagine,” said Michael Chertoff, the nation’s homeland security secretary.

Psychological trauma expected for survivors

Hurricane Katrina has undoubtedly caused billions of dollars in property damage, but that says nothing of the psychological trauma many survivors will face. While psychological stress is not an immediate priority, it will be something emergency response workers eventually encounter. Symptoms such as hyper-alertness, sleeplessness and nightmares may haunt survivors long after the hurricane.

Rice: Race was not a factor in sluggish federal response

BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday defended President Bush against charges that the government’s sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina showed racial insensitivity. “Nobody, especially the president, would have left people unattended on the basis of race,” the administration’s highest-ranking black official said as she toured her native Alabama.

Multi-faith vigil takes place at Columbia’s Peace Park

A multi-faith prayer vigil for the victims and refugees of Hurricane Katrina brought 20 to 30 people to Peace Park on Sunday night. Johann Holt, a Columbia resident, felt that, in the wake of the disaster, there was an opportunity for unity among the local faith community. Holt began organizing the vigil Wednesday night. Members of the Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Pagan and Hindu communities gathered in prayer before everyone lit candles for a moment of silence. Holt ended the vigil by urging the attendees to call the Red Cross to help support the hurricane victims.

MU graduate student starts group to help refugees relocate

Just a few days ago, Raina Cepel was focusing on her pursuit of a master’s degree in electrical engineering at MU. Hurricane Katrina changed that. Cepel has started Mid-Missouri Homes for Katrina Victims after hearing about others using the Internet to help find housing for refugees. She’s already heard from about 45 people who want to pitch in.

Missouri Task Force I moves into suburban area

With 95 percent of the primary search of New Orleans completed, Missouri Task Force I moved into the suburb of Challmette on Sunday, according to Fire Chief Steve Paulsell. Task Force 1, alongside Tennessee’s Task Force and a swift-water rescue team from California, used Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters to rescue victims. Assistant Chief Doug Westhoff of the Boone County Fire Protection District was the division commander and coordinated land, sea and air operations, Paulsell said. Reports from the area said that on average five helicopters were landing and unloading victims every five minutes at the base of operations.