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GOP candidates vary campaigns for governor bid

While Secretary of State Matt Blunt has for months been billed as the presumptive Republican nominee for Missouri governor, those who pick up a GOP ballot at the polls on Aug. 3 will have choices.

Here’s a look at the lesser-known candidates.

McCaskill: Debates neglect rural issues

Gubernatorial candidate Claire McCaskill wants to take debates with Gov. Bob Holden out of the big cities and into Missouri’s smaller towns in the days leading up to the Aug. 3 Democratic primary.

In a conference call Thursday, McCaskill said debates in rural Missouri will address issues that were neglected in debates earlier this week, which were held in Kansas City and St. Louis. McCaskill said the debates did not address issues pertinent to outstate Missouri — defined as rural areas in the state — such as agriculture, ethanol, transportation for school districts and Medicaid recipients who have limited options in receiving services.

Stores set for Best Buy’s competition

The big blue building with the giant yellow tag on Stadium Boulevard is expected to create competition with electronics, appliance and music stores in Columbia.

Best Buy will open in the old Kmart building at 2001 W. Worley St. on Aug. 13. Kmart closed in February.

Singer's style inspired by folk and jazz music.

Jolie Holland's voice is an anachronism. Possessing a melancholic strain common in Appalachia and traditional American folk music prone to dirges and murder ballads, her voice lolls gorgeously in a cadence tinged with jazz rhythms.

At times, it seems steeped in the very opiate of which she sings in the narcotically dark, bluesy "Old Fashion Morphine" on her latest release, "Escondida" - issuing repeated invocations to two infamous junkies, nomadic '30s writer Isabelle Eberhardt and beat writer William S. Burroughs.

Alternate jail facility discusses expansion

Board Members of the Reality House discussed plans with the Boone County Commission on Thursday to add a wing to their existing facility of 210 beds. While no specific financial or design plans have been developed, they want to add 50 new beds.

Reality House is a nonprofit community correctional program that offers alternatives to traditional jail or prison sentences. The county owns the facility and charges rent.

Motorcyclists ride for fund-raiser

It’s time for motorcyclists to show their bikes and raise money for kids.

The second Showme Cruise begins today and kicks off the fifth annual Rolla Rally, which raises money for Missouri Special Olympics. For $35 motorcyclists can register at the Mid-Missouri Fairgrounds in Rolla. Registration begins at 5 a.m. and at 7 a.m. bikers begin a 526-mile, five-city ride to raise money for Special Olympics.

Putting them through their paces

Tape marks on the floor outline the boundaries of the stage. Folding chairs stand in for fences, stools and even a butter churn, and the temptation to sit on them is great.

Even without props, scenery and rehearsals on the actual set — until shortly before opening night — the actors for this summer’s Performing Arts in Children’s Education productions have created two distinct shows with nothing but a script, music, choreography, directors’ guidance and their own energy and enthusiasm.

Police seek 3 in two rape cases

The Columbia Police and Boone County Sheriff’s departments are still searching for three men in connection with two separate rapes that occurred within the last week.

The first rape occurred at 10:45 p.m. Sunday in Worley Street Park when a 36-year-old Columbia woman was forced into the park and sexually assaulted by two men, police said in a release.

Racing down the muddy track

Holly Burnett and Ian Diegelman raced down the muddy 125-foot long track, the roaring of their trucks drowning out the cheering of the crowd.

“Blue Angel,” Burnett’s shiny ’87 Chevy ripping through the muck, came in second, right behind Diegelman’s red ’78 Dodge, in the first class of mud races at the Boone County Fair on Thursday night.

Candidates decide to return to stump-speaking at fair.

Candidates at the Boone County Fair are being forced to resort to old-fashioned stump-speaking to reach the public after their planned debate forums failed to generate much interest.

After a poor showing Tuesday night for the congressional and sheriff candidate forums, the decision was made to cancel Thursday night’s event in favor of individual speaking time for each of the candidates, said Vicki Russell, president of the Fair Board.

Fair food defies dietary fashion

In many ways, a county fair’s appeal lies in harkening back to simpler times, before hour-long commutes, color-coded terror levels, and the information scroll at the bottom of your evening newscast.

Strolling through the Boone County Fair this year, it becomes apparent that the fair harkens back to a time before dietary hysteria condemned all the foods that fairgoers wait all year to eat.

Not clowning around

He stood in what little shade he could find. Around him were six children, eagerly watching his every move. His weathered hands worked nimbly, twisting, stretching and squeezing a light-blue balloon.

His face wasn’t painted, he didn’t have a red nose, and he wore New Balance sneakers instead of those goofy, oversized shoes. Yet, to Boone County fairgoers, Gail Bank is known as Whiskers the Clown.

Faithful Connection

The Old Testament’s Job is a virtuous, upstanding man forced to suffer through continual misfortune. Even through his trouble, Job maintains his piety.

The Sunday morning when the Rev. David Casto gave his sermon from the book of Job, he considered himself a living example of the story. That October 2003 day he told his Bethel Baptist Church congregation that he had been diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer, proof, he said, that even the righteous suffer.

Health care, rising costs fuel debate

Democrat Mike Blum didn’t shy away from opportunities to attack Republican Joel Jeffries during a forum Wednesday for candidates in the 25th District House race.

From the remaining four Democratic candidates — Judy Baker, Russell Breyfogle, D. Duane Dimmitt and Lara Underwood, Jeffries got a more cordial welcome during his first formal appearance with them at back-to-back forums at Lenoir Retirement Center and Paquin Towers.

MU audit suggests changing 3 programs

Six MU programs under the magnifying glass for possible alteration or elimination know their likely fates. Changes will be recommended for three programs; the recommendation for the others will be they stay the same.

Provost Brady Deaton will present the recommendations Friday to the UM Board of Curators. According to a statement on the MU News Bureau Web site, the recommendations are:

Reign begins for fair queen

On a hot summer day three years ago, Jessica Wilson was checking on the cured hams she had entered in the ham show at the Boone County Fair when she heard some girls rehearsing for the Fair Queen Pageant. Wilson decided then and there she could do something like that.

“I stumbled upon the pageant,” Wilson said. “I thought, ‘Hey, I could do that,’ and so I tried and tried and now here I am.”

Race for treasurer’s office heats up

The race for state treasurer is not high profile and, not surprisingly, it’s about money.

Last week’s candidate finance disclosures showed that Bob Holden and Claire McCaskill, the main candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for governor, each have more than $2 million in cash to run their campaigns. Sarah Steelman, who leads the treasurer’s candidates in campaign receipts has more than $500,000. That’s a lot of money for a race that, on admission from some of the candidates themselves, Missourians know little about.

Carey endorsed by county official

Boone County Commissioner Skip Elkin on Wednesday endorsed Capt. Dwayne Carey, one of the three Democratic candidates in the race for Boone County sheriff.

“It’s more than being a good cop,” Elkin said about the sheriff’s job. “You have to work with the budget, with personnel and have legislative experience. Sometimes you have to change laws. Sometimes you have to be an administrator.”

Holden reiterates stance on education at conference

Gov. Bob Holden spoke to a crowd of more than 300 cheering teachers and administrators Wednesday at the Missouri National Education Association’s annual leadership conference in Columbia.

The association announced its support for Holden — who faces a primary election Aug. 3 — last fall, said Greg Jung, MNEA president.

Helping seize the day

For the past eight years, Bill Klett, 85, of Columbia has traveled more than 17,000 miles to help 213 people. He drives to pick them up, takes them to a doctor, helps them with grocery shopping and sometimes just visits with them.

He does it, he said, “because I am able. I volunteer to pass along all the good things people did for me during my 85 years,” Klett said.

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