Voting 101: A guide for the polling place

Timely advice for voters in Missouri’s primary elections today:

Double-check where you are supposed to vote.

Bring proper identification.

City Council rejects two marijuana initiatives

The City Council voted against two proposed ordinances Monday — one regarding medical marijuana and the other lowering penalties for those possessing small amounts of marijuana — but decided unanimously to send the initiatives to a special election on Nov. 2.

The vote came after petitions were filed by the Columbia Alliance for Patients and Education. The two petitions were certified by City Clerk Sheela Amin in mid-July.

Study: Ideology is no measure of compassion

As election season heats up, voters have not only begun looking at the candidates’ stances on the issues, but their moral beliefs as well. While it is sometimes held that liberals are more compassionate than conservatives, some Republicans — including President Bush — have tried to combat this perception in their political campaigns.

Three researchers, including an MU professor, put the perceived differences between liberals and conservatives to the test. Using two types of experimental games, the researchers concluded that liberals and conservatives are equally trustworthy and just as likely to act outside of their immediate self-interest.

Ferguson trial to get Lincoln County jurors

A jury from another county will be brought in to hear the case against murder suspect Ryan Ferguson, now scheduled for trial in late January.

Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane and defense attorney Scott McBride agreed on Lincoln County as the source for potential jurors for the trial. Ferguson, 19, has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in connection with the 2001 death of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.

Emergency crews praised

When they were deployed during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Missouri Task Force One’s trained volunteers became one of the New York Fire Department’s most vital resources, former department Commissioner Thomas Von Essen said Monday. But similar task forces can grow even stronger, he said, by mobilizing more ordinary individuals to join.

“The experience, the discipline and the training of the task force truly did a remarkable job for us,” Von Essen told a small audience at the Boone County Fire Protection District headquarters in Columbia as part of a campaign event for President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. “To have 20 to 25 men come in and not have to worry about training them, that experience is a great resource.”

UM info systems boss to retire in 2005

The first and only vice president for information systems of the University of Missouri system has announced his retirement.

Ralph Caruso became the UM system’s first chief information officer and vice president for information systems in 1992, when then-president George Russell decided the position was necessary because of the increasing role information technology was playing in higher education. Caruso announced Monday that he plans to retire on March 31, 2005.

Camp teaches students forensic science basics

When Ellie Palomino, along with her horse and cat, turned up missing Monday, students attending a forensics camp at Stephens College were on the case.

They did blood, fingerprint, handwriting and saliva testing on the evidence, just as any crime-scene investigator would, to search for the missing college student.

Jefferson Landing rich with history

The area now known as Jefferson Landing State Historic Site was a hub for activity in mid-1800s Jefferson City.

The city that sprung up along the waterway only had about 30 houses when it was chosen as the capital of the state. At the heart of this early city were the Lohman building and the Union Hotel building, which now make up the historic landing. Hotels and restaurants near the dock and train station flourished during a time when all visitors and goods arriving to the city came in by rail or boat.

Mo. lags in use of seat belts

The statistics speak for themselves.

Vehicle occupants who buckle up are injured in just one of seven crashes and their chance of being killed is only one in 1,108. When motorists don’t wear seat belts, their risk of injury is one in three and the risk of being killed increases to one in 39.

Lending a hand

Not many parents allow their children to have snowball fights in the house.

But last winter, when her twin 10-year-old girls couldn’t leave the warmth of their living room, Cheryl Carrier of Hallsville scooped buckets of snow and brought them inside to Chelsea and Lindsay.

Group aims to aid new mothers

Child or infant abuse can sometimes stem from postpartum depression — mothers feeling sadness or anxiety after giving birth. But in Columbia, a support group called Mother Helpers is organizing to assist first-time mothers in need of emotional and physical support.

The time right after a woman gives birth is the most stressful. The mother is going through emotional changes and a hormonal withdrawal that can cause sudden depression, said Dr. Robert Harris, a pediatrician at Columbia Regional Hospital. In addition to the physical side effects of giving birth, the mother must devote all her time to the baby. Harris said many women do not have time to sleep, eat or shower because the baby takes so much of their time.

Fate of country lies outside of parties

I was thrilled to get feedback by way of e-mail about last week’s column about forming more political parties. I know that some folks think that the two-party system is the only way this democracy can function. But just as I suspected, some people are clearly fed up with the two-party system. I understand the party loyalists, and believe me, if I knew any other way to get the politician’s attention I would certainly try it. But you can see that Ralph Nader has their attention, even if it’s in a negative way. He’s being called “the spoiler” because people are afraid he will draw votes away from the other candidates.

I read a comprehensive report on the 9/11 Commission’s findings, and it was pretty sobering. We are told over and over again that we have the most effective and efficient government in the world and that is the story that we want to believe. The fact that 3,000 people lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy certainly presents a compelling case for overhauling our intelligence-gathering agencies, but beyond that I don’t have any great expectations that anyone will be held accountable.

Democrats battle while Blunt cruises

JEFFERSON CITY — The winner of Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary is likely to emerge from the fight with little money and a lot of campaign bruises.

The likely reward for the victor: A well-funded Republican opponent whose familiar name has yet to be scarred by a single negative campaign ad.

Council to consider marijuana initiatives

Two proposals for changing the way Columbia deals with misdemeanor marijuana cases will be considered by the Columbia City Council tonight.

The proposals are the result of initiative petitions from the Columbia Alliance for Patients and Education. One calls for dismissing charges against people caught with marijuana if they have a doctor’s approval to use the drug. The other calls for handling misdemeanor possession cases in Municipal Court and prohibiting jail time. Rejection of the initiatives would require that the council place the initiatives on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

From politics to cow-patty bingo

Stump-speaking at Midway on Saturday took a back seat to socializing. In the parking lot of a gas station, people wearing silly T-shirts, campaign stickers and cowboy hats gathered to raise money for the Central Missouri Food Bank.

The annual fund-raiser features local politicians who want to make that last-minute impression on voters. But policy talk doesn't fit the pace of an event that features "cow-patty bingo," so most speakers try to be funny.

How to use the potential money generated by gambling at Rockaway Beach clouds issue of education funding

For some Amendment 1 opponents, the main issue isn't gambling, it's what they say is poor educational policy.

State revenues from the estimated $39.9 to $49 million generated by the amendment would be directed toward teacher salaries and capital improvements in Missouri's "priority schools."

In the market for votes

Art Gelder’s T-shirt flashed no name but his own and endorsed nothing but his farm and beekeeping business.

Although Missouri’s primary election was three days away, the first thing on Gelder’s mind was his honey. The election, however, wasn’t too much farther down the list.

Residents bet it all on casino

Heading south on U.S. 65 toward Branson, huge billboards tout the headline acts on stage at the live show capital of the world: Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. Andy Williams. Presley’s Country Jubilee.

There are no billboards after the exit for Rockaway Beach. But nine curving miles east of the highway, as the two-lane blacktop enters the dried-up resort town on the White River, visitors are greeted by an assembly of signs with a singular message: “Yes on Amendment 1.”

Churches examine Amendment 2 vote

The Rev. Bill Smart of Evangelical Free Church in Columbia said he intends to deliver a sermon this morning about gay marriage but will not tell congregants how to vote on the issue.

“I’m going to remind them that while we should all be involved citizens who vote with godly wisdom, that it’s more important that we show love to homosexuals,” he said Friday.

Amendment 2 likely to be challenged if passed

On Tuesday, Missouri voters will be asked the following question, in the form of constitutional Amendment 2:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman?