Turning the tables

There was Meggie Smith, a Rock Bridge High School student who plans to be president of the United States in 2028.

“You’ll laugh at me … (but) I’m not kidding,” she said.

The gate to Hog heaven

They’d been awake for almost 49 hours. Their eyes were glazed over, their bodies were aching, but Michael Jenkins and Mike Hart had dug in for the long haul.

At stake: a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, worth $18,000.

Democrats roll out plans to beat meth

Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign on Monday unveiled a nationwide plan to fight methamphetamine use and production, which has plagued Missouri since at least 2001, when the state became the national leader in labs seized.

The plan, announced by Kerry’s running mate, Sen. John Edwards, in a nationwide conference call with reporters, calls for $30 million per year in additional spending on law enforcement, education, lab clean-up and measures to prevent common methamphetamine ingredients from falling into the hands of potential “cooks.”

MU’s blood drive gets personal

At first glance, Lindsey Meglio doesn’t appear unlike the other college volunteers at MU’s annual Homecoming blood drive.

That is, until the 46-foot tractor trailer adorned with her face and four others pulls into the Hearnes Center parking lot. Inside the trailer is an array of high-tech equipment, including a virtual tour and an inside look at Meglio’s life.

School receives mentors grant

West Boulevard Elementary School has received a $525,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Elementary Education, a school official announced.

The grant will fund a mentor program for students at West Boulevard titled “Stand By Me: Sharing the Journey,” said Phyllis Chase, superintendent of Columbia Schools, at a Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Art, history live on in ragtime musician

Sometimes the good guys do finish first. And that’s exactly what happened a couple of weeks ago when the young, black, ragtime composer, Reginald Robinson of Chicago won a $500,000 MacArthur “genius award.”

Columbians who attended last June’s ragtime festivities had an opportunity to see and hear Robinson perform. The 31-year-old composer and pianist first heard ragtime at school when he was 13 and began trying to play the syncopated music. He has been devoted to ragtime, to researching, writing and performing it ever since.

Voters evaluate river, health care, education issues

As the Nov. 2 general election nears, voters who live in Boone County’s 24th House District are evaluating the issues they want the state government to address.

While many of their concerns mirror the top issues advanced by candidates Travis Ballenger and Ed Robb, the voters also have some extra challenges for prospective legislators to consider.

Bruins shaving heads for AIDS

At Rock Bridge High School, students are trying to create awareness of global issues by shaving a teacher’s head.

In its first year at Rock Bridge, the Global Issues Club is trying to raise $5,000 for organizations fighting the AIDS epidemic.

Lectures to examine Bingham’s Missouri life

George Caleb Bingham, the realist painter famous for his portrayals of Missouri frontier life, will be the subject of a lecture series in April by Paul C. Nagel, a former University of Missouri administrator.

The Missouri Folklore Society received a $2,500 grant from the Missouri Humanities Council for the program. “George Caleb Bingham and His Missouri” is a biographical study of the artist’s life, artwork and politics and will feature reproductions of his work from museums in Missouri, New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

Mizzou sticks it to campaigns using its name

Democrats and Republicans attempting to rally support for their presidential picks last week found themselves in a sticky situation.

MU’s licensing office said bumper stickers reading “Mizzou is Bush Country” and lapel stickers that read “Mizzou for Kerry” distributed on campus and at university events violated trademark laws. The licensing office ordered the end of their production and distribution.

Aiming to thin city’s herd

Mary Nirmaier has seen the nuisance deer can pose to road safety if allowed to run amok. She lives off Rock Quarry Road in Columbia, a meandering stretch of asphalt notorious for its hairpin curves and plentiful deer.

“Not long ago, a driver struck a deer, flipped over and ended up in my yard,” she said. “These deer have gotten out of hand. That wreck was the third of its kind in the last two years. I’ve warned the City Council that if something isn’t done soon I’m afraid that one of these accidents will result in someone being killed.”

The brainy bunch

What do an avid reader, a sailor, a drummer and a runner have in common?

They are just four of sixteen Columbia students who were recently named semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Missouri’s electors get ready to vote

Bruce Bredeman received so many messages urging him to switch his vote during the last presidential election that his e-mail service practically shut down.

“I was getting about 1,400 e-mails a day for several weeks asking me to switch my vote from George W. Bush to Al Gore until I had to call my e-mail service provider to filter them out,” Bredeman said.

Electoral College Trivia

1) How much are Missouri's electors paid per day?

a) $5

Farmer, editor face rematch over state rep seat

When people ask Jeff Hedberg why he decided to get into politics, he gives them three reasons: Rachael, Greg and Suzanne.

“Those are my children,” said Hedberg, who is the Republican candidate for 9th District state representative. He is also managing editor of the Centralia Fireside Guard newspaper. “I want to make Missouri a better place to raise our children, our grandchildren and our families.”

Family on the field

Jamie Varvaro has two sets of children. One set is his own. The other is his soccer team. Varvaro’s youngest child, 12-year-old Elayne, is on his team. So are 17 other girls.

“You really get to bond with these young ladies,” he says. “Pretty soon you look at them as all your daughters.”

Research and reprieves

New mother Kim Kremer added some unexpected medical terms to her vocabulary during her pregnancy: lymph node, biopsy and malignant.

The 30-year-old arrived at her obstetrician’s office with a swollen belly, but to her surprise, the doctor focused on a different, less visible growth in her breast.

Unmasking paganism

Masks usually conceal identity. Those who wear them portray an image of something they’re not, keeping the truth hidden.

But those who attended the third annual Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride Festival on Sept. 19 wore masks for a different reason. The plastic white masks attendees wore over their eyes and around their arms had phrases written on them: “I could lose my kids” and “I could get beaten up.”

Community Sketchbook

Title: Contemporary Works of Kevin Ritchie, an exhibit at A La Campagne, 918 E. Broadway

About the artist: Kevin Ritchie is a full-time artist who has won multiple awards at the annual Boone County Art Show, including first place in professional drawing and the Popular Choice Award.

Like babies, baby showers need a change

I never liked going to baby showers, even when I was in the childbirthing years.

  Back then, it was a women-only party usually held on a Sunday afternoon. The hostess (the term is now host) would expend way too much energy, in my opinion, decorating the room in pastel pink and blue crepe paper and balloons. The party was always right smack in the middle of the afternoon, so it shot the whole day. All of us women would arrive wearing our Sunday best (we hadn’t changed from church) and we would sit around and “chat” about inane topics until the party planner declared we were going to play some games.