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Blunt in federally funded voting ads

Secretary of State Matt Blunt spent almost $48,000 in public money on statewide newspaper advertising that includes his name and picture, urging voters to turn out for Tuesday’s primary.

The ad is to make a return appearance in Missouri’s daily newspapers on Monday — the day before Blunt faces five little-known opponents in the Republican primary for governor. Blunt used federal funds to pay $47,984 to the Missouri Press Association to place the ads twice through Tuesday’s primary in 295 daily and weekly newspapers across the state, said Mike Sell, MPA’s advertising director.

Wish no longer: Wienermobile comes to games

This year at MU football and basketball games, you will hear the high-pitched toot-toot of a Wienerwhistle: Oscar Mayer is now the official hot dog of MU athletics.

John Felver, senior account executive with Mizzou Sports Properties, a private company that contracts with the university, said the company was looking to make more money for MU. The arrangement is part of a larger consumer promotion deal with Kraft Foods, which owns Oscar Mayer.

Sheriff hopefuls focus on meth, policing

During public debates and in personal statements, the four candidates for Boone County Sheriff say that reducing methamphetamine use and increasing the presence of deputies in communities will be priorities, if they are elected.

Combating methamphetamine production in Boone County is a major issue say Democrat Ken Kreigh, a former sheriff’s detective, and Republican Mick Covington, a former captain at the Columbia Police Department. Both Kreigh and Covington have a background fighting drugs. Before he resigned from the department this year, Kreigh was a supervisor of the drug enforcement unit. Covington was an undercover narcotics agent for two years.

Allegations against Carey dismissed

In the end, it was not a question of whether Boone County sheriff candidate Dwayne Carey lied. It was whether it mattered.

Allegations that Carey, a captain with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, lied under oath to cover an affair with a former subordinate were dismissed Thursday. Investigators from the Missouri State Highway Patrol concluded Carey’s testimony was not relevant to the dismissal of a discrimination lawsuit filed in 1999.

Energy costs rise in 2005 city budget

Temporary utility rate increases, which cost Columbia residents an average of $5.90 per month, may become permanent in the next fiscal year as a result of sewer, water and electric revenue adjustments in the proposed 2005 city budget.

With Columbia’s power costs on the rise, the city anticipates the need for a 9 percent overall increase in electric revenue, City Manager Raymond Beck said at a press conference Thursday morning. The increase will replace a temporary 9.5 percent increase that will be effective until Oct. 1.

Bible basics

Dressed in shades of yellow, four groups of children and adult volunteers at First Presbyterian Church attempt to pop up in unison when it’s their turn to sing, “Hallelujah! Praise ye the Lord!”

The result is less than unified — they look almost like popcorn, bursting up with energetic randomness — but that just adds to the fun. Off-tempo shouts and giggles punctuate the familiar Sunday school song, adding to the excitement.

City area working to plan its future

The North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association is working with an independent planning consultant to create a compatible and consistent master plan for its challenging blend of business and housing.

Linda Rootes, the neighborhood association’s founder, said the planning project will explain the area’s vanishing investments and fading residential development.

West Nile discovered in Boone County

West Nile virus has been found in three different mosquito pools in Boone County, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The mosquito-borne disease has yet to appear in birds or humans in the area. One human case of West Nile has been confirmed in St. Charles.

Boone County is one of three Missouri counties with West Nile-positive mosquitoes, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Tuesday, St. Louis County had 72 infected pools and St. Charles County had two.

Columbians cheer for focus on unity

About 160 Columbia-area Democrats were on their feet, clapping and cheering for more than a minute at Boone County Democratic Headquarters on Thursday night as Sen. John Kerry was introduced for his nomination acceptance speech.

In a large room filled with red and blue balloons — and, more important to this crowd, a pair of televisions — supporters laughed at Kerry’s jokes, cheered when he accepted the nomination and burst into applause on points of policy.

MU officials reassure council, say response to NCAA valid

MU athletic department officials reassured the Faculty Council on Thursday that the school’s response to allegations of rules violations by the National Collegiate Athletics Association was “thorough and valid.”

“We feel good about our responses,” said Sarah Reesman, associate director of athletics services. “We went ahead and admitted that we made some mistakes.”

Tests: Seaman died of natural causes

No definitive cause of death was identified in the case of Seaman, the dog of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, Waverly Police Chief Jesse Coslet said. According to the final report, Seaman probably died of either diaphragmatic hernia or acute heat stress, Coslet said.

The final diagnosis comes after a necropsy and a pesticides test, performed in the MU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and toxicology tests for poisons and amphetamines, carried out in an out-of-state diagnostic lab.

Saving the sturgeon

If you’re familiar with the terrain of local riverside conservation sites, you may notice some changes next time you pay a visit to the banks of the Missouri River. The bank areas have been dug out and trees have been uprooted in hopes of reviving an endangered fish and at least temporarily resolving a long-debated issue on managing the longest river in North America.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finished construction of 1,200 acres of shallow-water habitat along the Missouri River from Ponca State Park in Nebraska to the Osage River in Missouri. Boone County is home to two of the project’s sites — Diana Bend and Eagle Bluffs conservation areas. Marion Bottoms and Franklin Island, two other areas managed by the state Department of Conservation, are also sites in mid-Missouri targeted for the habitat restoration.

Sheriff hopefuls discuss jail occupancy

The Boone County Jail, completed in 1991, was built to house 188 inmates. Most of the time, it’s filled to capacity, and then some.

All of the candidates for Boone County Sheriff — the three Democrats in next week’s primary and one Republican — agree that figuring out how to cut back on the jail population or increase the bed space will be a major challenge.

County election workers needed

The Boone County Clerk’s Office is looking for election judges to help at the polls for Tuesday’s primary.

Cathy Cross of the clerk’s office said she does not know the exact number of election workers needed but is looking for anyone from any political party who is interested.

Predatory lending scrutinized

Predatory lending has become a national issue, with attorneys general and legislatures around the country taking action to protect consumers. Missouri is no different.

Predatory lending includes the legal and illegal practices of loaning money to high-risk consumers. By using their greater knowledge of loans, lenders do not make the loans in the best interest of the consumer. In the worst cases, consumers lose all their assets, including their homes.

New musical to debut in Columbia

The scene is set for Brantley, Kan., with a tailor shop on one side of the street and a general store on the other. Townspeople mill about visiting, shopping, singing and dancing — all on stage at the Columbia Entertainment Co.

The company, known as CEC, will end its 25th season with the world premiere of “The Klemperers’ New Clothes.” The production is based on the fairy tale of a similar name by Hans Christian Andersen.

Fest brings consumers downtown

Occupancy rates at the Regency Premier Hotel Downtown in Columbia increased to about 85 percent during June’s Twilight Festival, which was an increase of about 15 percent from other Thursdays, hotel owner Mike Ebert said.

“My guests were very impressed about how we can bring 8,000 to 11,000 people together each Thursday in the month of June,” Ebert said. The Twilight Festival continued to lure record crowds and revenues to downtown in June. Estimated attendance of June festivals was a record 42,000, with some nights exceeding 11,000 visitors. In 2003, the estimated average attendance was 7,000 each night, according to a report from the Central Columbia Association.

Holden’s Columbia speech targets seniors, education

Rose Corgan had a busy day scheduled Wednesday, but she found time to attend Gov. Bob Holden’s speech at the Tiger Columns retirement community. She went to listen to his speech that focused on issues close to her heart as a retired teacher: care for older Americans and education.

Holden stressed the importance of fighting for the needs of children and older citizens. He said it is important to adequately fund Medicare, prescription drug coverage and housing for seniors and education.

Some MKT phones found faulty

Shortly after 6 a.m. on July 2, Ben McCloskey was biking on the MKT Trail when he came across a jogger who had collapsed on the path. McCloskey quickly biked to the nearest emergency phone, at the Stadium Boulevard entrance to the trail, only to find that the device wasn’t working.

McCloskey then turned around and biked back down the path, passing the still unconscious jogger, to a second phone, which he told police was also out of order. McCloskey continued on to the Forum Boulevard access to the trail, where he finally found an emergency phone that worked.

Sports mailer worries parent

When the Kids Sports News arrived in Larry Fredette’s mailbox earlier this month, the first thing he noticed was the address label. It read: “Alex Fredette,” specifically indicating that the newspaper was for his 8-year-old son.

Fredette, a youth baseball and basketball coach, said he likes the new monthly newspaper, which features young athletes’ pictures and coverage of their games, and isn’t concerned that his son is receiving it. However, he hopes youth sports leagues are cautious when deciding to release the names and addresses of players to businesses. He said it’s the first time he’s seen anything in the mail addressed only to Alex.

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