Treasurer faces challenger for first time in 12 years

For the first time since 1992, Boone County Treasurer Kay Murray has an opponent in an election. Republican Fred Evermon has stepped forward to challenge Murray, who has held the office for 28 years.

The Boone County treasurer is responsible for making investment decisions, receiving and disbursing the county’s money, balancing the county checking account with the general ledger and handling all bond issues.

Fishing heats up with cooler weather

Fishing poles are lazily dipped over the sides of boats, painting radiating rings on the surface of the sparkling water.

A gentle breeze stirs the air causing shallow waves to ripple across the still water. This is the tranquil scene found at area lakes.

Orchards provide ‘pick-your-own’ experiences

Will Waterman, 3, rolled over a pumpkin while his brother Wes, 5, pulled on another to break it from the vine.

The brothers, from Columbia, ran back and forth between their parents during a Sunday afternoon picking pumpkins and apples at Huffstutter Orchards in New Franklin.

Trails offer several paths to exercise

On any given day, casual walkers and avid runners trek a highway of dirt and gravel paths through Columbia’s wooded areas.

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department maintains 25 trails. These range from the quarter-mile trail in Westwinds Park to 4.7-mile MKT Nature and Fitness Trail.

Fall ideal time for working on garden

The air is cooling, the nights are getting colder and the plants in the garden are starting to look brown and unattractive.

In other words, it’s time to start winterizing the garden.

West side attracting business

West Columbia is growing, and local businesses want to be a part of it. Broadfield Properties made deals with three more businesses this week that will plan to open in the Broadway Broadfield Shopping Center, next to Hy-Vee, 3120 W. Broadway.

Tuesday, the developer signed leases with Chinese restaurant Mandarin House, Mexican eatery Rio Grande and a new University Hospital MRI center, said Roger Thomas, a partner in Broadfield Properties.

Therapist says trip changed her life

Elisabeth Norton, a massage therapist from Columbia, called the three weeks she spent working at the Paralympic Games “definitely mind-blowing.”

Norton was one of 60 international massage therapists who assisted the athletes during the September games in Athens. The Paralympics, like the summer and winter Olympics that precede them, occur every two years. These games, however, showcase athletes with disabilities.

Senate candidates clash on SMSU name change

Candidates for the 19th District seat in the Missouri Senate are embroiled in a debate about whether it’s a good idea to “trade” MU’s name for a bond issue that would pay for construction of a health-sciences research center and other projects.

Democrat Chuck Graham and Republican Mike Ditmore debated the issue at a forum last month at Broadway Christian Church. Moderator and former state senator Joe Moseley asked whether each would support switching the name of Springfield’s Southwest Missouri State University to Missouri State University in exchange for a life-sciences bond issue.

Spreading Tiger spirit

The spirit of MU’s Homecoming festivities spread to downtown Columbia on Sunday.

Eighteen student organizations participated in Decorate the District, a contest to decorate the storefronts of businesses near the parade route that will weave through downtown Columbia on Saturday.

War journalists criticize media, advise students

Columbians heard a first-hand perspective of the war in Iraq on Sunday from two seasoned journalists.

Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent for The New York Times, and Octavia Nasr, head of Arab affairs for CNN, spoke on campus to a group of journalism students and faculty. The pair also spoke before a showing of “Control Room,” a movie about Al-Jazeera’s war coverage, at the Missouri Theatre.

Eagles come home

ASHLAND - On Friday, the faithful, about 1,000 in all, sat on the stadium’s stainless steel bleachers, and others flowed over to the ones made of rotting wood.

Dressed in school colors for the Southern Boone Eagles’ first football homecoming, many wore black caps, red sweatshirts, black-and-red beads and face paint. A few upperclassmen known around school as “the cowboys” wore no shirts.

Ashland isn’t a town that appreciates change. People like things the way they are. Families who leave Ashland tend to return. Parents send their kids to the school where many of them also went. Some attended college and graduated; others did not; a few never went.

Brad Pitt to visit MU for Kerry film

Actor Brad Pitt will make an MU homecoming of his own this week.

Pitt will attend a showing of “Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry” Wednesday night, hosted by the MU College Democrats.

The ticket master

Jason Heggemeyer has followed his two great loves around the country. Lucky for him, they went to the same place.

Heggemeyer was raised a fan of Detroit sports teams like the Pistons and the Lions and began absorbing sports whenever he could. He graduated from Western Michigan University and was working as a graduate assistant in athletics when he was offered a job at the MU ticket office in 1998.

Community Sketchbook

Conserving history

When he was a boy, Howard Marshall would sit in Latin class and draw pictures of buildings rather than listen to the lecture. After school, he’d play in his grandfather’s barn in Randolph County and listen to his grandparents play fiddle and piano in the parlor of their farmhouse.

Today, Marshall, a professor emeritus of art history and archaeology at MU, is still more interested in studying the vernacular of Missouri than learning a dead language.

Colors of community

Painting a home takes plenty of supplies. In the case of Jo Grady and Mark McGimsey, it meant 12 gallons of paint, 12 paint rollers, seven ladders, hours of hard work and buckets of patience.

Getting the hands and help to do the labor is another story – especially when the going rate for local house painters is about $20 per hour. Plus, Jo is 22-weeks pregnant and has a three-year-old toddler with Mark, who suffers severe back pain.

The painful reality of going under the knife

I’ve been obsessed lately with all of the makeover shows. I love to watch messy rooms magically become havens of calm. I’m enthralled when a team of workers comes to a home that is nearly uninhabitable and in three days puts up walls, lays wood flooring and decorates with tennis balls and bamboo poles.

But it’s the body makeovers that really have me fascinated. Last year my husband and I watched a new show on TV titled “The Swan.” Each week two “ugly” women (called ducklings) were chosen for a makeover. Then one of the two was selected to participate in a “beauty” pageant to become the Swan. These women were suctioned, tucked and lifted. New breasts were implanted. Their faces were lasered, and their teeth were whitened or veneered. My husband was visibly shaken by all of the surgical procedures.

Fighting Youth Depression

A customer pops in to drop off a prescription for the antidepressant Zoloft.

“Do you guys have any?” she asks.

Circles of faith

Dorreen Rardin is deliberately walking in circles. Hands in pockets, she strolls along the winding passages of the labyrinth at Williams and Walnut streets as drivers take an extra moment at the stop sign to observe her path.

The labyrinth constructed at Boone Hospital Center last month looks like a maze engraved into the ground, but it has only one possible route to the center and back. It is 41 feet in diameter and takes about 20 minutes to walk.

Shades of Autumn

It happens every year on the first of October, usually as I cross the street. A breeze overwhelms my senses with a particular combination of crisp scent and temperature.

Then things begin to change. Green leaves give way to gold and red — gradually at first, then all together in a sudden burst. People, too, change colors as they pull on their favorite sweaters.