British media torn over hostage coverage

LONDON — In a country where anti-war sentiment is rapidly growing, the British press is facing a daily dilemma: how to cover a British hostage crisis in Iraq amid a torrent of criticism over the country’s role in the global war on terror.

British engineer Ken Bigley was kidnapped on Sept. 16 along with Americans Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong. Four days later, members of the Tawhid and Jihad militant group beheaded Armstrong. Hensley, too, was killed within days.

Citizens to participate in debate

ST. LOUIS — After choosing between flank steak and chicken with prosciutto, the citizen questioners will take their seats on the risers surrounding the stage and the tall swivel chairs that President Bush and Sen. John Kerry will occupy. The questioners will have a chance to practice speaking into a microphone, but only the moderator will know what they will ask if given the chance.

Secrecy about the questions is one essential rule among many for what is expected to be the least predictable of the three presidential debates. Rather than a journalist designing questions, Friday night’s town hall session will be turned over to the worries and musings of prospective voters.

Catching hold of history

Representatives from Union Pacific and Osage Construction Co., along with three Boonville residents, took a tour of the Boonville Railroad Bridge on Tuesday. The group toured the aging bridge, slated for demolition later this fall, to find out what parts could be salvaged as historical memorabilia.

Candle fires a growing hazard

Retailers sell almost $2 billion worth of candles each year in the United States, according to the National Fire Prevention Association, but the growing popularity of candles has an expensive and sometimes deadly downside.

In 2001, candles were to blame for an estimated 18,000 fires, 190 deaths and $265 million in property damage in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Alumna: ‘Race does matter’

MU alumna Velma McBride Murry had a clear message when she spoke Thursday afternoon in MU’s Jesse Wrench Auditorium.

“Race does matter,” she said.

Homecoming parade canceled

After 32 years of doing an annual parade together, Hickman and Rock Bridge high schools are headed for a homecoming break-up.

Scheduling conflicts forced Rock Bridge and Hickman to forgo their joint homecoming parade this year.

City Council OKs annexation, residential zoning off Route K

Despite opposition, the Columbia City Council unanimously approved R-1 residential zoning and annexation for an 88-acre plot south of Route K.

The land, owned by John Sam and Susan Williamson, came before the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission in late August. At that meeting, the commission voted 6-3 to oppose giving the land an R-1 designation. The commission favored a designation of planned-unit development.

Democrats lose voters in rural areas

Members of both major political parties agree Democrats have lost ground in rural Missouri over the past few years due to wedge issues such as guns, abortion and gay marriage, and Republicans are poised to strengthen their majority grip in the state Senate in the Nov. 2 election after regaining control two years ago.

The backlash against Democrats surrounding wedge issues was a contributing factor in Republicans’ ability to win control of the Senate two years ago. It was the first time Republicans had control of the Senate since 1948.

Farmer pledges to aid small businesses

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Nancy Farmer chose a tiny hair salon called Unlimited Editions at the Parkade Center on Wednesday to talk about her vision for small businesses.

The candidate said she chose Unlimited Editions, owned by Debra and Alvin Harris, because their business was “such a success story.”

Inspector: No proof Iraq had stockpiles

WASHINGTON — Contradicting the main argument for a war that has cost more than 1,000 American lives, the top U.S. arms inspector said Wednesday he found no evidence Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991. He also concluded Saddam Hussein’s ability to develop such weapons had dimmed — not grown — during a dozen years of sanctions before last year’s U.S.-led invasion.

Contrary to prewar statements by President Bush, Saddam did not have chemical and biological stockpiles when the war began and his nuclear capabilities were deteriorating, not advancing, said Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group.

Newly registered voters often don’t show up

It’s hard enough to register a new voter, but now that Missouri’s registration deadline has passed, getting that person to vote is a whole other challenge.

“Everyone should vote,” said Paul Sloca, spokesman for the Missouri Republican Party. “We have soldiers in Iraq and others who have fought in world wars to protect our right to vote. It’s one of the cornerstones in our democracy. … Voting is a very important responsibility.”

Iraqis, activists differ on war

Two groups visiting Columbia on Wednesday presented opposing perspectives on the war in Iraq. While two activists criticized the war, two Iraqi citizens told reporters U.S. involvement improved living conditions in their country.

Michael Birmingham, an Irish peace activist, and Tom Sager, a retired University of Missouri-Rolla professor, gave speeches as part of the Wheels of Justice Bus Tour.

GOP looks to claim wins in Boone County

The Missouri Republican Party is enjoying the first majority it has held in the General Assembly in more than 50 years, but victory in Boone County has remained elusive. The GOP, however, has high hopes that will change in November.

Although Republican optimism suffered a blow last month with the withdrawal of GOP candidate Joel Jeffries from the 25th District House race, the party remains hopeful in the 24th District, where Republican Ed Robb is taking on Democrat Travis Ballenger. And in the 19th District state Senate race, Republican Mike Ditmore is mounting a challenge to Democrat Chuck Graham, who seeks a promotion after eight years in the House.

Candidates share eco-friendly ideas

State House and Senate candidates wrestled with how to encourage environment-friendly growth in Columbia at a forum sponsored by the Boone County Smart Growth Coalition on Wednesday night at the Boone County Government Center.

Five candidates for state representative in the 23rd, 24th and 25th district races and Chuck Graham, Democratic candidate in the 19th District state Senate race, took questions from audience members and moderator Keith Brekhus, a Smart Growth Coalition representative.

Archbishop’s letter urges voters

JEFFERSON CITY — Representatives of Missouri’s gubernatorial candidates offered differing thoughts about the latest political pronouncement from one of the top Roman Catholic leaders in Missouri.

In an Oct. 1 letter, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke wrote that it would be a sin for a Catholic to vote for a politician who supports abortion rights unless that candidate is aligned with the overall views of the archdiocese.

Chancellor promises faculty involvement

Retain and recruit the best faculty. Expand global outreach. Support public policy funding. These are a few items MU Chancellor Brady Deaton outlined Wednesday in his new 10-point action plan for the future of the university. Deaton presented his plan during the fall general faculty meeting in Memorial Union on the MU campus. He addressed faculty retention first and emphasized his commitment to involving faculty in his decisions as chancellor.

“Right after his appointment, Dr. Deaton called me and pledged his support to the Faculty Council and the faculty during his chancellorship,” said Gordon Christensen, chairman of MU’s Faculty Council, at the beginning of the meeting.

Clerk anticipates record registration

Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren expects the number of new registered voters in the county to reach an all-time high today, the deadline for voter registration.

Noren said Tuesday that her office has processed close to 17,000 new voter registration applications this year. She said the highest number of new voters registered in 1992, when 18,380 names were added to the voting rolls.

Activists protest Osco Drug closure

Across the empty lot next to Osco Drug, a well-worn footpath in the grass marks the shortest route from the safest place to cross Providence Road to the store’s parking lot. But only a walker — someone from the neighborhood — would ever notice it.

Some of the people who’ve walked that path have signed a petition registering their displeasure over the plan to close the store Oct. 28.

Media panel discusses Mo. terrorist threat

The head of Missouri’s homeland security effort came to Columbia Tuesday to sound an alarm about potential threats to the state’s food and water supply.

Tim Daniel, a retired Army colonel and Columbia native, told a group of rural journalists, MU professors and other professional communicators that the government and the media must work together to “increase the psychological capability of Americans to cope” with a terrorist attack.

Second new tax area gets go-ahead

With the approval of another special tax district along Stadium Boulevard, it appears shoppers in that area will soon have to open their pocketbooks a bit wider.

The new district, which has the power to levy an additional sales tax of up to one cent on the dollar, was approved by the Boone County Circuit Court on Monday. It will envelop five properties on Stadium Boulevard, all owned by local developer Raul Walters. These properties include Best Buy, Taco Bell, Circuit City and Ruby Tuesday.