A town apart

Gathered around a table early Tuesday, members of the Pierpont Store Coffee Club discuss playoff baseball and lawn care. The possible incorporation of Pierpont, a small settlement nuzzled up against Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in unincorporated Boone County, is absent from the conversation.

Some members of the coffee club might not care about Pierpont’s political future because they live outside the settlement. But in Columbia, officials are paying attention to Pierpont and once again have expressed misgivings about the incorporation of small communities.

Lawsuit challenges Missouri voting laws

In 2000, Steven Prye was a successful attorney and law professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A year later, after the deaths of his mother and brother, Prye was living on the streets of Memphis, Tenn.

Eventually, Prye, 52, was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which depletes his concentration and makes it difficult for him to remember to take a bath or comb his hair.

Pitt boosts turn-out for Kerry film

Actor Brad Pitt and Director George Butler II were in attendance for the screening of the film “Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry” on the MU campus. The screening took place in front of a full house at Jesse Auditorium Wednesday evening. Reasons for attending the event were diverse, including wanting to watch the film, to support Democrats and to see Brad Pitt. Shari Korthuis and her daughter, Alaina Boyett, are both John Kerry supporters but admit that Pitt’s appearance persuaded them to come to the event.

“I’m a John Kerry supporter. I wanted to see the film and Brad Pitt,” Korthuis said. “She’s loved him since he was five,” Korthuis said of her daughter. “Alaina has seen all of his movies.”

New ballots inspire voter education tour

The rules governing provisional ballots are as confusing as they are dynamic. In five different battleground states, lawsuits over how to count provisional ballots have resulted in five different methods.

Provisional ballots, which enable voters whose names are not on voter rolls to cast conditional ballots, are one of several major federal reforms passed in the wake of the last presidential election. They are supposed to make voting easier — helping those left off voter rolls in error — but election officials worry they may instead turn this November into another fiasco.

Deaton: Research and global outreach are key

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton has a top 10 list, and he’s not laughing when he reads it. But sometimes he does grin with excitement when he talks about his priorities for MU.

“We are all part of a global knowledge base,” he said in a meeting with reporters Wednesday, commenting on MU’s focus on research and global outreach. Deaton has added two priorities to his list: increasing outside research investment and expanding global outreach.

Candidates juggle personal and political lives

Though U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Columbia, was in New York to watch President Bush’s speech at the Republican National Convention, the event kindled fond memories of his hometown.

“It was a great feeling,” he said. “All the protesters were out there, and everyone inside was on the same side. It’s like when you go to Faurot Field and you know that yes, you are in a hometown, partisan crowd. You know you’re a Mizzou Tiger.”

Some might get turned away Nov. 2

In spite of massive efforts that resulted in a record year for new voter registration in Boone County, many residents might arrive at polling places on Election Day unable to vote.

Some independent voter-registration groups came through town, registered people and left — returning registration cards too late, if at all.

Farming mystique

Angela Hemwall always wanted a little place in the country to grow food for her family.

In 2003, she and her husband, Rob, bought a house on 33 acres of land. Rather than returning to work and forfeiting time spent with her two daughters, Hemwall, 37, decided to start her own at-home business last spring.

Flamboyance comes naturally for Libertarian

According to the 2000 Census, 97.6 percent of Americans have telephone access at home.

John Swenson, the Libertarian candidate for governor, is not one of them.

Literature notes make for easy reading

To study or not to study.

That’s the Shakespearean question that is facing students today because of the widespread availability of study guides that can replace the need to read a book altogether.

Carrington, Elkin vie again for seat on commission

Jerry Carrington wants a rematch.

After losing a race for Boone County Northern District Commissioner in 2000, Carrington, a Columbia Republican, is running against the same opponent for the same job four years later.

Task force demonstrated in raid

Dozens of law enforcement agencies protect Mid-Missouri, but for many years, these organizations worked largely independent of one another.

The raid of the Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency last week demonstrated how things have changed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force has brought officers from these agencies together to form a unified front in preventing terrorism.

Drive aims to get fresh food

Columbia residents have until Friday to donate to a drive at MU that’s raising money to purchase food for the Central Missouri Food Bank. The five MU organizations involved hope to raise $1,000 for fresh foods this week and will have canisters set up around campus next week so people can donate canned foods as well.

The goal of the food drive is three-fold: to make fresh food available for people seeking assistance, to purchase food from local farmers and to cut down on the environmental effects of shipping in food from other places. Don Moore, food solicitor for the food bank, said it provides food to 91,000 people living at or below the poverty level and rarely receives donations of fresh meat, eggs and cheese. Fruits and vegetables only represent a small portion of what is donated.

Pitt draws students to Kerry film

The prospect of seeing movie star Brad Pitt drew a crowd Tuesday to MU’s Brady Commons — and the MU College Democrats are hoping to turn this enthusiasm into more votes for presidential candidate John Kerry.

Pitt, a former MU student, will be on campus tonight to endorse Kerry at a showing of the film “Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry” at Jesse Auditorium. A line in front of the Missouri Students Association box office wound around Brady Commons for most of the day as students waited to get free tickets to see to the film and the popular MU icon.

Some inmates will get flu shots despite shortages

Norman Cooper has been unable to find a flu shot for his wife, who takes daily oxygen treatments for asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.

So he was incensed to learn that some inmates in the state prison 30 miles down the road were getting flu shots.

Third parties keep hope alive despite lack of cash

Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik’s campaign had raised $555,000 nationwide as of Oct. 1, less than half the $1.3 million raised by John Kerry and less than one-seventh the $3.6 million raised by President Bush — in Missouri alone.

Steve Sternberg, a Libertarian and MU student, said lack of money ruins all chances for a major third-party victory.

AmerenUE seeks increase in heating price this winter

Most Missouri residents would see an increase in their natural gas bills this winter if the Missouri Public Service Commission approves AmerenUE’s request to raise the Purchase Gas Adjustment.

Mike Cleary, spokesman for AmerenUE, said he expects the change to be approved. The new prices would take effect Nov. 1.

Space to grow

Officials from the Columbia/Boone County Health Department and the Family Health Center on Monday celebrated the opening of a new building that has enough room to allow both organizations to serve the community better.

The new Sanford-Kimpton building, on West Worley at the site of the old Nowell’s grocery store, has been home to the health department and the center since this summer. Inside, patients are greeted with open ceilings, natural colors on the walls and more space.

Rios to get Clay County jury

A jury from Clay County is likely to decide the fate of former Columbia police officer Steven Rios, but his trial will still take place in Boone County.

Judge Ellen Roper made the decision at a hearing Monday. She also agreed to delay the trial until next May.

Sheriff candidates spar over meth, jail

Methamphetamine labs, community policing and crowding at the Boone County Jail were among the top issues discussed by the two candidates for Boone County Sheriff at a forum Monday night.

While both candidates have similar concerns about these topics, they differed about the extent of change needed in the sheriff’s department.