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Highway funding measure approved

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A state constitutional amendment to direct all vehicle sales taxes and some gas taxes to improving roads and bridges was overwhelmingly approved Tuesday by Missouri voters.

With 52 percent of the vote counted, the amendment won 79 percent to 21 percent, according to unofficial results.

Graham wins state Senate race

Democrat Chuck Graham was the winner Tuesday night in the fight for 19th District state Senator, but not before Republican Mike Ditmore made him sweat.

Both candidates were wary of declaring triumph early, but by midnight, with 70 percent of the Boone and Randolph county precincts reporting, Graham had more than 53 percent of the vote to Ditmore’s 46.8 percent.

Robb wrangles 24th House seat

Republican Ed Robb wrestled from Democrats the 24th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives on Tuesday, winning the election over Democratic opponent Travis Ballenger.

“It starts early tomorrow morning,” Robb said as he gathered with other party faithful at the Holiday Inn Executive Center to monitor election returns. “We have to be in Jefferson City at 11.”

Incumbents beat opponents in Mo. House races

Incumbent state representatives in Boone County swept their bids for re-election Tuesday, while political newcomer Judy Baker, a Democrat, dominated her late-arriving Republican opponent, Bob Northup, to win the 25th District seat in the Missouri House.

Baker defeated Northup with 68 percent of the vote with 78 percent of the precincts reporting. She will replace state Rep. Vicky Riback Wilson, also a Democrat, who was prevented by term limits from seeking the office again.

Dwayne Carey elected as Boone County sheriff

Ted Boehm’s 20-year career as Boone County sheriff will come to an end in January with the swearing in of his preferred successor, Dwayne Carey.

With more than half of the votes counted by press time, Carey, the Democrat, had nearly 62 percent of the vote. Republican candidate Mick Covington had about 38 percent.

Democrats keep commission seats

Boone County Commissioners Skip Elkin and Karen Miller, both Democrats, will serve four more years after defeating their Republican opponents in Tuesday’s election.

Elkin, the Northern District commissioner, cruised to victory.

Boone treasurer, public administrator re-elected

Two seasoned politicians beat out two political newcomers to retain their positions as Boone County treasurer and public administrator.

Democratic incumbent Kay Murray beat Republican challenger Fred Evermon in the treasurer’s race by a margin of nearly 2 to 1.

Both pot propositions pass by a large margin

With the passage of two marijuana-related initiatives Tuesday, Columbia voters have placed the city on the progressive edge of drug-law reform in the United States.

With more than half the ballots tallied, voters were approving Proposition 1 69 percent to 31 percent as of press time. The measure makes it legal for chronically ill patients to possess and use marijuana with a doctor’s consent. Physicians who prescribe marijuana to patients will no longer face arrest and prosecution.

Renewable energy measure approved

Columbians conveyed their support for limiting the city’s dependence on fossil fuels, joining a growing number of cities across the nation including Chicago; Fort Collins, Colo.; and Austin, Texas — by passing a renewable energy standard for the local power supply.

The measure, with well more than half the ballots counted by press time, was passing with an impressive 78 percent of the vote.

Boone County voting observed

David MacDonald was surprised by how smoothly the election process ran its course at the Boone County polling places he visited Tuesday.

MacDonald, a Canadian election expert, and Norman Du Plessis of South Africa came to Columbia as international election observers representing Global Exchange, a human rights organization based in San Francisco. The organization also observed polling places in St. Louis, Ohio and Florida.

It’s time for Columbia

No matter how the election swings, life in Columbia, and thousands of other small towns across America, will go on.

Over the past year, the election, branded with “choose or lose” or “vote or die” sucked the energy from our souls. We drank morning cups of news, speculation and suggestion. But the polls are closed now and we should take a breather from relentless partisanship.

Bush wins race as Kerry concedes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush won a second term from a divided and anxious nation, his promise of steady, strong wartime leadership trumping John Kerry's fresh-start approach to Iraq and joblessness. After a long, tense night of vote counting, the Democrat called Bush Wednesday to concede Ohio and the presidency, The Associated Press learned.

Kerry ended his quest, concluding one of the most expensive and bitterly contested races on record, with a call to the president shortly after 11 a.m. EST, according to two officials familiar with the conversation.

The victory gave Bush four more years to pursue the war on terror and a conservative, tax-cutting agenda - and probably the opportunity to name one or more justices to an aging Supreme Court.

He also will preside over expanded Republican majorities in Congress.

"Congratulations, Mr. President," Kerry said in the conversation described by sources as lasting less than five minutes. One of the sources was Republican, the other a Democrat.

The Democratic source said Bush called Kerry a worthy, tough and honorable opponent. Kerry told Bush the country was too divided, the source said, and Bush agreed. "We really have to do something about it," Kerry said according to the Democratic official.

Kerry placed his call after weighing unattractive options overnight. With Bush holding fast to a six-figure lead in make-or-break Ohio, Kerry could give up or trigger a struggle that would have stirred memories of the bitter recount in Florida that propelled Bush to the White House in 2000.

© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ties to Columbia Islamic agency denied

The Islamic African Relief Agency, based in Khartoum, Sudan, denied Saturday any ties to the Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency.

The Islamic American Relief Agency was raided by an FBI–led task force on Oct. 13. On the same day, the assets of both agencies were frozen and the agencies were listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists by the U.S. Treasury Department. They also were accused of supporting al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, and Hamas.

A trick for these treats: They’re off to Iraq

Two former hippies and a retired little devil dutifully unloaded 10 pounds of Halloween candy on the scale at Dr. Scott Robinson’s orthodontics office. Kelsey and Grady Harrington had braved the rain on Sunday evening sporting Afros, sunglasses and tie-dyed shirts while their younger brother Lucas donned a devil costume to collect hordes of Kit Kats, Reese’s Pieces and Laffy Taffy. The trio — Kelsey, 10, Grady, 11, and Lucas, 8 — decided on Monday to share their bounty with children halfway around the world in Iraq.

“I did it because of where it was going and because I got some money,” Grady Harrington said.

63 percent turnout expected in Mo.

JEFFERSON CITY — The forecast for Election Day: strong voter turnout expected, with chances of lines at some polling places, periods of impatience and prospects for victory too close to call in some races.

Today, Election Day 2004, is upon us at last.

Election Day sees anxious electorate

The last time the people of Anthony, Kan., chose a president, Memorial Park was a patch of grass with picnic tables and elm trees but no memorial to speak of. Rising from the earth now is a tribute to the turning point of the past four years — parts of steel beams from the World Trade Center, a block of limestone from the Pentagon, some dirt from a field near Shanksville, Pa.

Osama bin Laden is as common a household name as John Deere. The postal carrier’s son spent eight months in Iraq and might have to return. Wheat farmers at the co-op feel the pinch of soaring diesel costs. And business at the Pride of the Prairie Quilt Shoppe has collapsed as manufacturing layoffs have left customers cutting back.

A Day at the Polls

Counting ballots hours before voting even started: That’s what got four longtime election judges up at 3 this morning.

Retirees Isabell Cochran, Marjorie Koenig, Bette Faddis and Norma Falloon headed to the Harrisburg Christian Church to begin checking the number of ballots against the voter rolls before voters started arriving at 6 a.m. They are four of more than 700 judges in Boone County this year and have among them over 80 years of experience working at the polls.

Lawyers, watchers to prowl Missouri’s polls

JEFFERSON CITY— As part of an effort to protect their ticket in Missouri’s race for governor, representatives from both major parties said they have a staff of lawyers and poll watchers ready and on the lookout for dirty tricks this Election Day.

Paul Sloca, spokesman for the Missouri Republican Party, said the GOP has assembled a “rapid-response legal team” of hundreds of party workers, but declined to go into detail about his party’s legal preparations.

Reeling in the trout season

Mike Hanauer of Ashland has loved fishing his entire life, but he took up trout fishing just last year after he retired from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in Jefferson City.

Instead of traveling to the trout streams of southern Missouri, Hanauer only had to drive to Cosmo-Bethel Park in south Columbia.

Complete election results take time, manpower

JEFFERSON CITY — From the ballot box to the election returns on the evening news, the responsibility of counting each Missourian’s vote will fall upon the state’s 114 county clerks and the office of the secre-tary of state.

Individual votes are counted at the county level, where ballots are collected from each polling place and taken to a central location, usually the courthouse or a county government center.

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