Standard Boutique tour is anything but common

First stop: Columbia, Mo. Vince Flumiani and his business partners, Emily and Matt Baldwin, are bringing fashion at a discount to town. Their store, Standard Style Boutique, operates out of Leawood, Kan., but will begin its first-ever tour on Wednesday. They are taking their clothes to other cities to fill a void in the designer apparel market.

Auditor race is wide open

JEFFERSON CITY — When Claire McCaskill announced last week that she will challenge U.S. Sen. Jim Talent next year, the contest for the auditor’s office suddenly opened up. The list of candidates could take months to sort out, but a few names already have surfaced.

Gazing into the great beyond

A drive down the quaint and winding two-lane farm road and through the newly renovated downtown, located across from a baseball field in the city park, a 17-foot piece of history points toward the sky. The small central-Missouri town of Fayette, 25 miles northwest of Columbia, is the home of a 130-year-old telescope. The telescope, constructed by Alvan Clark and Sons, is on the second floor of Morrison Observatory and used by Central Methodist University.


Gulftport, a short drive from Biloxi

The smell of death

Abortion top issue for special session

Jefferson City — Further restrictions on abortion will be the primary issue for debate in a special legislative session beginning Tuesday. In his procalamation calling the session, Gov. Matt Blunt called the General Assembly’s not passing these and other provisions earlier this year “an immediate danger to the public health, safety and welfare.”

A leaderless high court

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s death created upheaval in Washington on Sunday, as President Bush and the Senate scrambled to deal with two court vacancies and this week’s scheduled confirmation hearings of nominee John Roberts. Funeral arrangements for Rehnquist, who died at home late Saturday after a long battle with cancer, were still being finalized on Sunday. Flags flew at half-staff at the Supreme Court and the Capitol in honor of the chief justice, who was on the Supreme Court for 33 years and its leader for 19.

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.