Class reunion rivalry

In the quiet Saturday morning, a sudden burst of drumbeats and rap music awoke the neighbors of Douglass High School as a colorful procession of cars, floats, horses and even a llama paraded around their district.

More than 300 Douglass graduates arrived in Columbia from across the country for the Black and White parade and ball.

Dems seek unity

Democratic winners of Tuesday’s local primary elections carried the national party’s message of unity to the weekly luncheon of the Boone County Muleskinners on Friday.

About 50 people attended, listening to nominees and their representatives talk political strategy while grabbing a plate of fettuccini alfredo.

Search continues for woman

Boone County Sheriff’s Department detectives continue their statewide search for a Columbia woman kidnapped from her residence Thursday morning. The stolen car, however, has been found in Kansas City.

The roommate of Sara Riebold, 25, called detectives to their home in the 11000 block of Old Highway 63 N. Thursday to report Riebold’s disappearance. The roommate said he’d been struck over the head and bound, according to a news release. The release said he reported Riebold and his teal 1994 Mazda Protege missing. The roommate was hospitalized Thursday and released later that day.

Justice put him in prison, now justice is his mission

Flowers adorn the wooden kitchen table. Silverware flanks neatly arranged dishes. A baby’s high chair sits next to the window. As the father prepares to bite into the roast and green beans supper he has prepared, he looks mournfully at his wife, who has put them both on a low-carb diet.

This is a moment in Michael Lenza’s life. It’s a different moment from those that made up his past. Lenza spent 15 years in prison on a murder conviction. He claims he was “very young” then. Now, he is known locally for his research on the death penalty and for his community involvement. He has an insider view of the criminal justice system and uses it to advance his research.

Night out includes piercings

Every summer I reserve two nights back-to-back for boys’ and girls’ nights out with the grandchildren. Boys are the easiest and, quite frankly, the most boring. Give them burgers and a go-cart and they’re good for the night.

Girls are another story. The two oldest co-chairs concocted elaborate plans for the night with Grammy and Papa. Although all seven of my granddaughters were invited, two sisters tested positive for strep throat and had to stay home. We began in late afternoon with a craft. Each girl was given a pair of flip-flops to decorate. They had the table loaded with tubes of paint, silk flowers and an assortment of beads. An hour and several mishaps later, we put the one-of-a-kind footwear on some newspaper to dry.

Irish games featured at pagan harvest festival

Wearing a kilt, a green T-shirt and sunglasses, Robert Brummel used his hand-carved staff to push a white laundry basket worth two points back into place. At the end of the stone-throwing competition, he received third place after two tie breakers.

Kerry at the Capitol

Using his knowledge of Missourians’ lifestyles — and their struggles — Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry told a Jefferson City audience Thursday that he has the ability to find solutions and “reach for the next horizon.”

A crowd of several thousand rallied to see Kerry and vice presidential nominee John Edwards’ speeches, held outside the state Capitol.

Police look for missing woman

Boone County Sheriff’s detectives searched Thursday night for a man and the Columbia woman they say he kidnapped Thursday morning.

Detectives say Andrew David Viggers may have taken Sara Riebold, his ex-girlfriend, to Kansas City. They have called several law enforcement agencies to help with the hunt, including the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Boone County finds almost 800 missing ballots

The ballots of nearly 800 Boone County voters were not counted until Thursday morning, after election night confusion left them mixed among other materials, County Clerk Wendy Noren said.

“It was a serious breakdown of our procedures,” Noren said, accepting responsibility for the mistake. “Although we have checks to this on election night, it did not pick them up. And that is a serious problem.”

It’s a softer summer

Columbia residents who stepped outside Thursday morning might have felt as if they’d been transported to another time or place.

Sixty-two degrees with a crisp breeze out of the north? In the first week of August? You’ve got to be kidding.

Ehrenreich to speak at MU

Students and community members who included “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” in their summer reading will soon have the chance to see author Barbara Ehrenreich in person.

Ehrenreich is scheduled to visit MU on Sept. 30. She plans to give a lecture followed by a question-and-answer session at 7:30 p.m. in Jesse Auditorium.

Bowling store remains even after lanes close

The end of the line for Oakland Plaza Lanes was not the end for Matt’s Pro Shop.

The store reopened at Parkade Plaza on Sunday, the day after Oakland Plaza Lanes on Vandiver Drive ended an almost 30-year run. On Wednesday, a drop cloth spattered with paint was still on the floor of the relocated business as owner Matt Buxton served customers. He expects the shop to be completely set up by Monday.

Columbia Art League’s party is an opportunity to meet, learn

The Columbia Art League will hold its third artist networking event from 6 to 8 p.m. today.

The event, called “It’s a pARTy!,” will be an informal meeting where artists and art enthusiasts can get information, such as how to make prints from original works of art and how to participate in the league’s Community Exhibits Program as a business or artist.

Hiroshima-Nagasaki attacks to be remembered Saturday

Mid-Missouri Peaceworks will hold its annual commemoration of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki nuclear bombings at 6 p.m. Saturday in Columbia’s Bethel Park.

The organization has been holding a commemorative ceremony to remember the nuclear bombings for the last 18 years.

Columbians are drawn to rally

Thousands of people lined the streets outside the Capitol building on Thursday, waiting for the chance to hear presidential candidate John Kerry speak. Their reasons for coming were as diverse as the parts of Missouri they represented.

“I’m a big supporter of Kerry,” said Lisa Bogdon of Mexico, Mo. “But, I brought my daughter here to hear Teresa because she’s great, and I believe that behind every great man there is a woman.”

Protesters say Kerry flip-flops on issues

A man wearing a giant waffle suit stood across the street as John Kerry spoke in Jefferson City on Thursday, symbolizing the Republican message that the Democratic presidential candidate has been known to change his mind on a variety of issues. The man standing next to him held a sign that read “Waffles are for breakfast — not presidents.”

The men, who identified themselves only as Missouri Republicans, were part of a small protest demonstration as Kerry addressed a crowd of thousands by the steps of the Capitol building. An hour before Kerry was scheduled to speak, about seven protesters had gathered across the street from the campaign event. By the time Kerry took the stage — two hours behind schedule — the number of protesters outside had increased to about 15.

McCaskill seeks to unite Democrats

KANSAS CITY — Operating on barely two hours of sleep after a stunning primary victory, State Auditor Claire McCaskill quickly set out Wednesday to unite the Democratic Party behind her gubernatorial candidacy — reaching out to defeated Gov. Bob Holden for his supporters’ cash and commitment.

Her new rival, the well-funded Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt, immediately went on the offensive with TV advertising and a cross-state campaign tour.

Transition game

A thin layer of dust and the penetrating smell of paint fills 325,000 feet of encased concrete and steel. Bright yellow insulation peeks out from behind steel rods in the 30-foot-wide main concourse while mustard yellow tiles line the walls of the south concourse. With just under two months before its planned Oct. 1 completion date, the Paige Sports Arena is on schedule.

“We are on time, on budget, and besides a few inevitable last minutes things, it’s looking good,” said Chad Moller, MU athletic department spokesman.

Hostess program revised by MU

Top MU officials decided Wednesday to revamp the Tiger Hostess program, following allegations of sexual harassment and other illicit behavior made in a national magazine by a former hostess.

Effective the start of the fall semester, volunteers who assist with welcoming student athletes will be under the direction of the more general welcome service for all prospective students.

Kerry coming to mid-Mo.

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and running mate John Edwards will stop this afternoon in Jefferson City for a rally at the Capitol as part of a statewide tour that includes stops in Hannibal and St. Louis.

“Democrats are fired up. This is historic for Jeff City. I can’t remember the last time the president and vice president candidates both showed up at the same time,” said Jim Gardner, communications director for the Missouri Democratic Party.