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Bush wins race as Kerry concedes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush won a second term from a divided and anxious nation, his promise of steady, strong wartime leadership trumping John Kerry's fresh-start approach to Iraq and joblessness. After a long, tense night of vote counting, the Democrat called Bush Wednesday to concede Ohio and the presidency, The Associated Press learned.

Kerry ended his quest, concluding one of the most expensive and bitterly contested races on record, with a call to the president shortly after 11 a.m. EST, according to two officials familiar with the conversation.

The victory gave Bush four more years to pursue the war on terror and a conservative, tax-cutting agenda - and probably the opportunity to name one or more justices to an aging Supreme Court.

He also will preside over expanded Republican majorities in Congress.

"Congratulations, Mr. President," Kerry said in the conversation described by sources as lasting less than five minutes. One of the sources was Republican, the other a Democrat.

The Democratic source said Bush called Kerry a worthy, tough and honorable opponent. Kerry told Bush the country was too divided, the source said, and Bush agreed. "We really have to do something about it," Kerry said according to the Democratic official.

Kerry placed his call after weighing unattractive options overnight. With Bush holding fast to a six-figure lead in make-or-break Ohio, Kerry could give up or trigger a struggle that would have stirred memories of the bitter recount in Florida that propelled Bush to the White House in 2000.

© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ties to Columbia Islamic agency denied

The Islamic African Relief Agency, based in Khartoum, Sudan, denied Saturday any ties to the Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency.

The Islamic American Relief Agency was raided by an FBI–led task force on Oct. 13. On the same day, the assets of both agencies were frozen and the agencies were listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists by the U.S. Treasury Department. They also were accused of supporting al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, and Hamas.

A trick for these treats: They’re off to Iraq

Two former hippies and a retired little devil dutifully unloaded 10 pounds of Halloween candy on the scale at Dr. Scott Robinson’s orthodontics office. Kelsey and Grady Harrington had braved the rain on Sunday evening sporting Afros, sunglasses and tie-dyed shirts while their younger brother Lucas donned a devil costume to collect hordes of Kit Kats, Reese’s Pieces and Laffy Taffy. The trio — Kelsey, 10, Grady, 11, and Lucas, 8 — decided on Monday to share their bounty with children halfway around the world in Iraq.

“I did it because of where it was going and because I got some money,” Grady Harrington said.

63 percent turnout expected in Mo.

JEFFERSON CITY — The forecast for Election Day: strong voter turnout expected, with chances of lines at some polling places, periods of impatience and prospects for victory too close to call in some races.

Today, Election Day 2004, is upon us at last.

Election Day sees anxious electorate

The last time the people of Anthony, Kan., chose a president, Memorial Park was a patch of grass with picnic tables and elm trees but no memorial to speak of. Rising from the earth now is a tribute to the turning point of the past four years — parts of steel beams from the World Trade Center, a block of limestone from the Pentagon, some dirt from a field near Shanksville, Pa.

Osama bin Laden is as common a household name as John Deere. The postal carrier’s son spent eight months in Iraq and might have to return. Wheat farmers at the co-op feel the pinch of soaring diesel costs. And business at the Pride of the Prairie Quilt Shoppe has collapsed as manufacturing layoffs have left customers cutting back.

A Day at the Polls

Counting ballots hours before voting even started: That’s what got four longtime election judges up at 3 this morning.

Retirees Isabell Cochran, Marjorie Koenig, Bette Faddis and Norma Falloon headed to the Harrisburg Christian Church to begin checking the number of ballots against the voter rolls before voters started arriving at 6 a.m. They are four of more than 700 judges in Boone County this year and have among them over 80 years of experience working at the polls.

Lawyers, watchers to prowl Missouri’s polls

JEFFERSON CITY— As part of an effort to protect their ticket in Missouri’s race for governor, representatives from both major parties said they have a staff of lawyers and poll watchers ready and on the lookout for dirty tricks this Election Day.

Paul Sloca, spokesman for the Missouri Republican Party, said the GOP has assembled a “rapid-response legal team” of hundreds of party workers, but declined to go into detail about his party’s legal preparations.

Reeling in the trout season

Mike Hanauer of Ashland has loved fishing his entire life, but he took up trout fishing just last year after he retired from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in Jefferson City.

Instead of traveling to the trout streams of southern Missouri, Hanauer only had to drive to Cosmo-Bethel Park in south Columbia.

Complete election results take time, manpower

JEFFERSON CITY — From the ballot box to the election returns on the evening news, the responsibility of counting each Missourian’s vote will fall upon the state’s 114 county clerks and the office of the secre-tary of state.

Individual votes are counted at the county level, where ballots are collected from each polling place and taken to a central location, usually the courthouse or a county government center.

Politics takes toll on civility, unity

One outcome of this election season for me is that I’ve learned a lot about people in my community. As most everyone knows, I take a lot of pride in being a Missourian. I love being around folks who have grown up close to the soil. I’ve always felt I could find a way to get along with the kind of people who make a creed of common sense.

Somehow, something has sneaked into some people’s thinking that I can’t recognize. We are the kind of people who grew up going to Sunday school. Every year at every church, we did the Christmas pageants, where we dressed up like the wise men and Mary and Joseph and talked a lot about peace on Earth and good will toward men. We learned at home how to say “thank you” and “please” and, in kindergarten, how to play together in harmony. Since then, we’ve worked together, had meals together and shared the same goals for our community.

Two historic buildings up for renovation

More than $2 million will be spent to renovate two city buildings to make them compliant with fire and building codes.

The Columbia City Council unanimously approved a $2.3 million renovation plan on Monday for the Howard and Gentry buildings downtown. They also asked the architects to work on detailed specifications for the project.

A discount on a jolt for your vote

With 30 cents and an 18-year-old’s idealism, Timothy Kiefer turned Election Day into more than just his first opportunity to participate in democracy; he turned it into a test of his capitalist mettle.

Kiefer has worked for Lakota Coffee Co. for all of a month. He came up with a business idea early Tuesday morning that would result in skyrocketing sales and increased recognition for the coffee kiosk he runs at the Columbia Public Li-brary, which served as a polling place Tuesday.

Volunteers provide rides to the polls

Sitting behind the wheel of a large, empty bus with five vacant green seats, Daryll Watkins’ wide-eyed reflection shines through a rearview mirror with a small American flag appropriately hung next to it. For Watkins, the drive is work as usual. But today, his destination could help decide the course of a nation.

“I can go to these places and I show up with my mind and body, and I’m pretty good at it,” said Watkins, transportation coordinator for Services for Independent Living. “But I like going to places that my mind, body and heart is into.”

Drivers share opinions via bumper banter

From foreign policy to flip-flopping, Columbia drivers are adopting personal spins on the campaign season’s political debates.

Boonville resolution keeps up hope of saving bridge

Efforts to save the historic railroad bridge that spans the Missouri River at Boonville have new life.

The Boonville City Council has passed a resolution to preserve the bridge that Union Pacific plans to demolish as early as December.

Volunteers in small, big towns face different campaign challenges

In the final days before Tuesday’s highly anticipated election, campaign volunteers have been fighting to bring the last few undecided voters to their side.

The challenges vary, however, for volunteers in small towns such as Moberly and those in bigger cities such as Columbia.

KC seeks bigger slice of travel pie

As far as the airport’s administration is concerned, all that stands between Kansas City International Airport and domination of mid-Missouri’s air travel market is 30 minutes.

According to mapquest.com, that’s how much longer it takes to drive the 145 miles from the intersection of Providence and Broadway in Columbia to Kansas City Airport versus the 122 miles to Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

Crime neutralized as campaign issue

Between the mid-1980s and early 1990s, according to the FBI, the number of violent crimes in the United States increased 34 percent. In response to public fears, Congress, in 1994, passed several major anti-crime bills that, among other things, put more police officers on the street and encouraged greater cooperation between law enforcement agencies and communities.

During the last decade, however, crime has steadily decreased, reaching a 30-year low in 2003. As a result, crime as a political issue has almost disappeared. The war in Iraq, the economy, jobs, health care and perhaps even stem cell research will have greater influence on the decisions of voters in Tuesday’s election than crime.

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.

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