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Politics creep into the world of gaming

Somewhere in America, people with user names such as “little whip,” “Dr. Guy,” “Draginol” and “Darviathar” are making posts online. Their entry titles include “Why No Matter Who Wins, We’re Going to Be Alright” and “10,000 Lawyers Mass to Attack 2004 Election.”

These are the participants in online forums for “The Political Machine.”

Mo. lawyers ready for Election Day

KANSAS CITY — Squads of lawyers will be positioned at polling places across Missouri on Tuesday as part of a national effort to protect the integrity of the elections.

And no matter whose side they’re on, they’re ready to go to court if they have evidence that voters’ rights have been abridged.

A boost for literacy

To improve their reading and writing, West Boulevard Elementary students are turning to some new arithmetic:

Literacy instruction times two equals language arts proficiency.

Hearnes gets into Halloween spirit

As the “Ghostbusters” theme song mingles with the laughter of an overstuffed pumpkin, a red, life-sized M&M rummages through her bag. Nearby, Spider-Man waits in line with his mother.

On Sunday night, the ninth annual Tiger Night of Fun at Hearnes Center Fieldhouse was under way. The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department sponsors the event each year.

Life in the ER

Even though it’s practically in her job description, Judy Heidlage refuses to be called a hero.

Heidlage is one nurse on a staff of 35 in the emergency center of University Hospital. At 51, she is one of the oldest employees in the ER. It might not be intentional, but Heidlage certainly appears to be the “mother hen” at the center.

Personal Healing

Skidding face first across the road, bicyclist Carmain Dutton felt his body go into shock.

His collarbone was broken. So was a thumb. Road rash covered his body.

Finding the perfect card

Greeting cards might give us that warm and fuzzy feeling, but the greeting card industry is a fiercely competitive industry that generates nearly $7.5 billion annually.

In the United States, about 3,000 greeting card publishers vie for a share of the market, or what’s left of it. Two companies, Hallmark and American Greetings, generate more than 80 percent of card sales each year.

Bargain hunters’ paradise

‘Oh! That is cute!” Shawna Clark, 28, says to her friend, Amber Boone, 24, as she points to a faded blue Old Navy long-sleeve shirt. Amber grabs both shoulders of the shirt and holds it against her body. It’s too large, so she quietly folds it and puts it back in a stack of shirts.

Shawna and Amber rifle through the next pile of shirts on a brown folding table, looking quickly at the tags for the magic size.

Community Sketchbook

It takes courage to vote against family’s choice

It was like the old E.F. Hutton commercial where one word spoken by an individual quieted the entire room.

Last night, I had my bi-monthly dinner for the family. After clearing the table, the grandkids played in the yard while the adults sat around discussing politics.

Tooth decay

Traveling to serve

At 23, Stevi Davis has not only seen the wider world, she has worked in it. She has taught English in Chile, put on puppet shows for children in Jamaica and repaired buildings in Venezuela.

Since her first trip to Jamaica in high school, Davis has been on at least 10 mission trips to several countries including Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Venezuela.

"Quotable greeting"

Don’t even think about playing a game of “he said, she said” with Ken Logsdon. He’ll win every time.

Logsdon collects quotes like some people collect seashells or marbles, in the thousands. He loves quotes so much that 14 years ago he started his own greeting card company, Post-A-Quote. Logsdon’s handmade cards pair vintage photos, portraits and postage stamps with quotations from well-known and respected literary figures, political leaders and personalities.

Seeing through foreign eyes

As a newcomer, my desire to preserve and share my first impressions of a new place made me assemble this series of photographs of sites around Columbia. In an attempt to portray the nature of town, I wandered between the real and surreal, objective and subjective, architectural and imaginative. I wanted to capture the angles, shadows and colors that might go unnoticed by those more familiar with the sites.

Association of church and state

With the election just days away, more than 100 Columbia College students and faculty and community members gathered at the college’s Dorsey Chapel to discuss a topic that has permeated this election season: religion and its role in politics.

At the forum Monday, the Rev. John Yonker of First Christian Church gave a brief history of religion in American politics, and Rabbi Yossi Feintuch of Congregation Beth Shalom outlined current political issues and their relation to religion.

The cellular divide

For Kate Swearengen, 22, the political debate over embryonic stem cells is no mere theoretical exercise.

Swearengen, a Columbia native who is studying at Cambridge University in England, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 7. Her immune system killed the insulin-producing cells in her pancreas after mistaking them as foreign.

More than health at stake in stem-cell research

With life sciences a target industry for economic development in Missouri, the stem-cell debate could have implications far beyond human health.

On one hand, legislators want to reap the economic benefits; on the other hand, they want to ban research that is a core component of development.

Facing the Politics

Dressed in a Playboy bunny outfit, toy gun slung over one shoulder, Aaro Froese, owner of Gotcha! costume shop in Columbia, doesn’t look the part of a political pundit.

But wait! According to BuyCostumes.com’s Presidential Mask Election Predictor, costume shop owners such as Froese should be able to predict the outcome of the election based on the number of George W. Bush or John Kerry masks sold. If more Bush masks are sold, he’s likely to win.

Activists draft marijuana regulations

Even if Proposition 1 passes Nov. 2, medical marijuana patients will have to continue relying on street dealers to obtain the drug.

Dan Viets, a member of the Columbia Alliance for Patients and Education, or CAPE, one group behind Tuesday's referendum, said including a ballot provision that would allow patients to legally obtain marijuana would be “asking for too much.”

Parties gear up for voter ‘ground war’

Candidates, political parties and get-out-the vote activists are in the final stages of a “knock-and-drag,” door-to-door campaign to get voters to the polls.

Democrats kicked off the weekend with a Thursday rally at MoJo’s, where former Gov. Roger Wilson, urged them on with religious-like fervor.

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