JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House Republican Caucus appointed Rod Jetton, 37, as the next speaker of the house Wednesday. Jetton with Governor-elect Matt Blunt, 33, have begun a youth movement in state government leadership.
Jetton and Blunt will be the second youngest people to hold their respective positions in at least 40 years. The youngest governor and speaker of the house were Kit Bond and Dick Rabbitt respectively, who also began their terms in the same year.
Boone County residents broke the voter-turnout record on Election Day, with a full 86 percent of qualified voters packing the polls.
“I will be honest, it was 20 percent above my highest expectations,” Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren said Wednesday.
Two witnesses testified Wednesday at the Boone County Courthouse that they saw 21-year–old Kansas City, Kan., man Taron Crawford, pull out a handgun and shoot MU sophomore Charles Blondis three times at a party last November. Blondis died on the scene.
Sam Hileman and Peter Lassiter pointed at Crawford when asked by the prosecution who shot Blondis.
A week before the election, Lisa Smith, 39, was sitting on her porch with family and friends, watching their children play in their yard on Eighth Street.
When Stacy Small, an organizer with MoveOn.org, came door-to-door making sure people were going to vote, Smith told her she wouldn’t miss the opportunity. It would be Smith’s first time voting, which was cause for excitement among the neighbors, some of whom were also planning to cast ballots for the first time.
When MU student Charles Blondis was shot and killed in the early hours of Nov. 16, police quickly came to the conclusion that the shooter was a 20-year-old man from Kansas City, Kan. Officers arrested Taron Crawford later that morning at an apartment on West Worley Street.
But when Crawford’s trial begins today, his attorney could present some surprising testimony. Court records suggest that defense attorney Roderick Smith will call two witnesses who allegedly heard another man claim to be the one who fired the fatal shot. That man is also one of the five potential defense witnesses in the case.
POPLAR BLUFF — A new policy at Poplar Bluff High School requiring students to wear identification badges has prompted one parent to withdraw his children and some students to put stickers on their badges protesting the policy.
The badges are identical to the IDs students were previously required to carry and use to check out library books. Students and faculty must now wear the photo IDs on campus from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. as a safety measure. School officials say the badges allow them to identify people quickly and make sure visitors have checked in.
Prize-winning Australian author Peter Carey, known for “Oscar and Lucinda” and “True History of the Kelly Gang” as well as other books, will speak Thursday evening at MU.
A reception, book sale and book signing sponsored by the University Bookstore will follow Carey’s speech.
Centralia R-I school district student Aaron Schwennesen started a petition because he says he isn’t getting enough food in his school lunch and often has to buy more food to get his fill.
Aaron, 14, and some of his friends in the eighth grade at Chester Boren Middle School started the petition — which reads “Please sign here if you would like bigger lunches” — a few weeks after school began. He says the portions are smaller this year.
This morning began the way many people feared and predicted: without an answer on who the next president of the United States will be. At 1 a.m., President Bush was close to the magic number of electoral votes, 270, required for a victory. Ohio and Iowa hung in the balance. Even if answers evolved overnight, questions will linger as to whether challenges could prolong our national angst.
Days until inauguration: 79
JEFFERSON CITY — Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt won Missouri’s hard-fought gubernatorial race early today, riding an overwhelming rural vote to a narrow victory over Democratic State Auditor Claire McCaskill.
Blunt, the son of third-ranking GOP Rep. Roy Blunt, will become Missouri’s second youngest governor when sworn into office in January. His victory also will give Republicans full control of the Capitol for the first time in 82 years.
JEFFERSON CITY — Twenty years after Margaret Kelly became the first woman to hold statewide office in Missouri, female candidates were elected to two of Missouri’s top offices Tuesday.
Voters filled three of the state’s executive positions with new officers and re-elected their head prosecutor to a fourth term.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.