Judge rules against early voting

The state’s early voting law merely requires local officials to plan for, not implement, the practice, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan heard arguments on the lawsuit filed by the city of St. Louis and some Democratic lawmakers last week. They sued Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt, seeking a court order allowing an early voting period before the Nov. 2 general election.

Marathon expands audience

With the ninth annual MU Dance Marathon less than a month away, juniors Joe Gauer and Danny Collins have spent the week standing in Speaker’s Circle to rally people for a good cause.

The marathon, which raises money for the MU Children’s Hospital through the Children’s Miracle Network, will be Sept. 24-25 at the Midway Expo Center .

Deaton details department restructuring

MU Interim Chancellor Brady Deaton hopes a change in command will help the university attract more students and faculty from a wider range of racial and ethnic backgrounds.

At a press conference in Jesse Hall on Wednesday, Deaton detailed changes in the way diversity issues will be handled from now on. MU Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton will take over as head of minority affairs, which includes the black studies program, women’s and gender studies and academic retention services.

Scammed hunters to be repaid

JEFFERSON CITY — Hunters responding to an online advertisement promising prime deer hunting on private land in Clinton County received a surprise when they arrived, authorities said.

The advertised 18,000 to 20,000-acre wildlife refuge turned out to be only a few thousand acres of less than prime hunting land, and the hunting lodge they had been promised was a modest house that couldn’t hold all the hunters, according to the Missouri Attorney General’s office. Several of the hunters paid to stay in motels, said Beth Hammock, a spokesman for office.

Voter registration swelling

There is the sign that some November candidates realize Missouri's voting power: numerous visits across the state and incessant radio and TV ads. Then there is the sign that Missourians appreciate their own power: mounting stacks of white paper in Wendy Noren’s office.

“Every indication is that we’re going to have a record registration year,” Noren, the Boone County clerk, said. During the first half of the year, Noren received 15,441 new voter registration and change of address forms, more than twice the 6,074 forms she received during the same time period in the 2000 presidential elections.

Aboard the trolley

Move over city buses. Downtown may get a blast from the past.

The possibility of starting a downtown trolley service has Mayor Darwin Hindman excited. Hindman said he would like to see the issue before the City Council “as soon as possible.”

College leader bars same-sex benefits

Columbia College President Gerald Brouder said Wednesday he opposes a faculty proposal to provide benefits to same-sex partners of college employees.

“The college is not at a point in its history, certainly not with me as president, to entertain further the notion that we might one day offer such benefits,” Brouder said.

UMR head to retire after school year

Gary Thomas, chancellor of the University of Missouri-Rolla, announced Wednesday he will retire after this school year. Thomas’ announcement follows MU chancellor Richard Wallace’s retirement two days ago.

“I thought it would take me about five years to make an impact, and I’m now in my fifth year,” Thomas said.

Gartner evaluates year in The District

It’s been one year since the marketing campaign was launched that turned downtown Columbia into “The District.” While Carrie Gartner, director of the Columbia Special Business District and the Central Columbia Association, has some qualitative impressions of how downtown is doing, it’s today’s Twilight Festival that provides downtown merchants and her office with the only hard numbers by which they can measure progress.

Gartner talked to The Missourian earlier this week about the next steps in The District’s marketing, what businesses themselves are doing and the importance of the festival to The District.

Delegating GOP authority

As the Republican National Convention nears its final measure tonight, three Boone County delegates are hoping President George W. Bush will strike a particular chord in his speech accepting the party’s nomination.

The local delegates say the president must convince voters that the United States is more secure and prosperous under his leadership.

Deaton moves minority affairs

On his first day as interim chancellor, Brady Deaton is reorganizing some of MU’s most controversial departments.

“The area of minority affairs will report to Mike Middleton, deputy chancellor” effective today, said MU spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken. Minority affairs, which includes black studies, women’s studies and programs to recruit and retain minority students, previously reported to Vice Provost Handy Williamson.

Generating buzz for MU

Partnership in a more than $400 million contract to operate a nuclear laboratory would further boost MU’s nationally recognized nuclear science program, campus leaders say.

The Columbia and Rolla campuses of the UM system, along with the Shaw Group, a Louisiana-based management company, have formed Shaw Missouri Idaho LLC with the intent of managine and operating a federally owned nuclear laboratory in Idaho for 10 years.

Bankruptcy filings on the rise in Missouri

“Financial stress,” breathes a female voice in the radio ad. “It starts out as an irritation, and over time it grows larger, scarier and uglier.”

“You’re paralyzed because it’s sitting on your chest, its weight pressing down,” the voice continues, building to a nervous, high-pitched climax.

Twilight Festival to debut DNA kits

It became a household term during the O.J. Simpson trial, and it’s a constant theme in popular forensics dramas like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

Now, DNA sampling will be a feature at Columbia’s Twilight Festival. A new program, sponsored by the Columbia Police Department and U.S. Cellular, will allow parents attending the festival to obtain samples of their children’s DNA.

County Commission allows new stables

Columbia horse enthusiasts should prepare for a little equine diversity in the area.

Tuesday night, the Boone County Commission granted permission to Knipp Farms LLC to open a 305-acre equine boarding facility at 10600 Hardwick Lane.

Reactor big asset for research at MU

The 10-megawatt MU Research Reactor off south Providence Road, which began operations in 1966, is the largest university-operated research reactor in the United States.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology comes in second with a reactor half the size of MU’s. Rolla’s reactor is 0.2 megawatts.

Popularity of online classes grows

This semester, Columbia College junior Amanda Burfield is taking all of her classes online.

“I used to take evening classes, but it got to be too much,” said Burfield, who works full time at a bank. “Sometimes I would not get out of class until 10 p.m. and then I would have homework. I just got tired.”

Deaton in chancellor job today

Brady Deaton has spent 15 years teaching and leading at MU. Today, he’ll start learning something new — how to be chancellor.

Deaton will assume the job of MU chancellor following the official retirement of Richard Wallace on Tuesday. Deaton, the former provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, will serve as interim chancellor of the university during MU’s search for a new chancellor.

Downtown streets to lighten up

The sun is setting earlier every day in Columbia, but downtown, things are just getting brighter. The Columbia Special Business District, along with the city of Columbia, is putting the finishing touches on the lighting plans outlined in its downtown beautification project.

On Ninth Street, new streetlights are being installed this week as part of a district-wide change out. Additional streetlights are being installed to increase lighting in the area, and existing lamps are undergoing a transformation to create a new, more unified look. All the streetlight poles will be black, and about half of them will have a decorative light fixture attached. The streetlight project is part of phases one and two of the Special Business District plan.

Missouri RAIN chapter wins federal grant

The Regional AIDS Interfaith Network of Central Missouri, known as RAIN, was awarded a federal grant of nearly $85,000 to expand primary-care services for people living with or at risk for HIV.

The money was granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Title III of the Ryan White CARE Act.