Life-changing routes

Alexander sees his mother only in pictures. Jessica Owen’s warm smile and gentle blue eyes are frozen on a framed piece of photographic paper pressed behind a thin sheet of glass.

With Alexander’s growing vocabulary he says “night-night” at bedtime, “water” when he’s thirsty and “cracker” when he’s hungry. He looks at the photograph of Jessica and says, “Mama.”

Lumber firm set to host Cheney visit

The story line couldn’t be any better for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

A thriving family-owned small business in central Missouri. Politically active co-owners grateful for the business-friendly policies of the current administration. A founder who has given generously through the years to Republican candidates.

Police: Mother talked of killings

A Moberly woman remains in the Randolph County Jail on $1 million bond in connection with the separate deaths of her infant son and daughter. The deaths occurred just more than a year apart.

Carla Clay, 23, was arrested by Moberly police on Thursday morning on suspicion of two counts of first-degree murder. She was arraigned Thursday afternoon before Randolph County Associate Circuit Judge Scott Haynes.

Council to define logging, penalties

More than two years after the Environment and Energy Commission first complained about loopholes in Columbia’s tree-preservation ordinance, the Columbia City Council on Monday night will have the chance to approve or reject recommended amendments.

The first would alter penalty provisions of the law to base fines for violators on a per-acre rather than a per-tree assessment.


A headline on Page 7A in Friday's Missourian incorrectly listed the defendants in a school property-tax lawsuit. Attorneys for the Columbia School District and the Boone County Collector Pat Lensmeyer filed an application to have the case transferred to the Supreme Court.

Democrat Jim LePage stands against abortion

Jim LePage proves the terms “conservative” and “Democrat” are not mutually exclusive.

LePage, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, has views that conflict with those typically held by Democrats. He opposes abortion, and gay marriage. In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, LePage said he will be an option for Democrats the party has abandoned over right-to-life issues.

Jeff Emrick boasts leadership abilities, mass-transit plan

If Jeff Emrick is elected governor, he would fund affordable housing programs for senior citizens, open forums for discussion of a mass-transit rail system and fight the high cost of prescription drugs.

Emrick, a Democrat from Blue Summit, is a full-time candidate for governor. He registered late for the governor’s race because he was moving, he said.

Sheriff candidate, Boehm deny perjury allegations

Last week’s allegations that a candidate for Boone County Sheriff had an affair with a subordinate — then lied about it under oath — originated from court documents a judge sealed from public view three years ago.

Affidavits submitted to county prosecutors by Columbia attorney Dennis Murphy allege that candidate Dwayne Carey, committed perjury in 1999 to hide an affair in 1996 and 1997 with former deputy Edith Homan.

Lawyer contributions pose possible conflict

Ideas for campaign finance reform have taken numerous shapes, from lowering caps on contributions to letting contributors donate as much as they want.

Republican lawyer Chris Byrd of Kansas City believes the attorney general and those running for the office, including himself, should not accept contributions from attorneys or law firms. Byrd criticizes incumbent Attorney General Jay Nixon for doing so.

’Realville’ imitates poverty’s realities

The people of “Realville” are just like everyone else: They work, send their children to school and pay bills. The town has a bank, a supermarket, a school and a police department. The only difference is that all of Realville’s residents are at or below the poverty level.

Realville and its residents may be fictitious, but the situations they find themselves in are very real. That’s what participants from all over the community — ranging from the homeless to CEOs — learned during the “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” poverty simulation Friday.

Youths discuss politics, rights

Sarah Whites-Koditschek walks with a purposeful gait, her shoulders taking the lead and a determination behind her steps that fall heavy on her brown leather Birkenstocks. She’s clad in slacks with a tank top over her broad shoulders, hanging a bit from her thin frame. The 19-year-old has dark, calm eyes. They seem to record and take notes as she nods occasionally. Her knuckles cover her pursed lips. Her dark hair is almost within Army regulations for men. Whites-Koditschek stretches a lot. Hardly a moment goes by when she’s not tugging at one elbow or another, which reveals a rather large scar that other women would go to lengths to cover. But this restlessness is possibly because of stress. She just organized Columbia’s first Youth Activist Conference.

“They’re really doing an excellent job,” said Hilary Aid, an adult volunteer helping with the conference. Aid insists that Whites-Koditschek and her small crew did all the organizing themselves.

Life Sciences summit offers opportunities to network

About 300 people are expected to gather this week in St. Louis for the Missouri Summit on Life Sciences for opportunities to learn, exhibit and network with each other.

A Columbia contingent of 20 to 30 participants will attend the summit, which opens today and runs through Tuesday. It is “a way to facilitate commercialization activities that will directly affect Missouri’s bottom line in the life sciences industries,” said Barbara Wilhelm, program director for Missouri Biotechnology Association, host of the summit.

Losing my mind along with sleep

Being more than a half century old, I have my share of aches and pains. But lately I’ve been acting strangely. And I’d really start worrying about myself if I weren’t surrounded by friends who have the same problem. Sadly all of us weirdoes are women. Men at this age either are not inflicted with this syndrome or are good at hiding it.

Choosing a church's path

ASHLAND — Ten miles south of Columbia on U.S. 63, the cemetery behind New Salem Baptist Church houses the bodies of slaves, Civil War veterans and a who’s who of Ashland and Columbia’s earliest days. Dr. David Doyle, the church’s first pastor, is buried here. He carried a rifle to and from church from fear of Indian attacks. That was a little more than 175 years ago.

Through the window of the church’s back office, Doyle’s tombstone stands guard. But there is change in sight these days.

More power

For the first time in more than two decades, Columbia residents and businesses face rising electric rates as a result of unbalanced energy supply and demand in mid-Missouri.

In early June, the Water and Light Advisory Board recommended the consulting firm R.W. Beck review Columbia’s electricity needs. This study, completed July 1, estimated Columbia will need an additional 75 to 150 megawatts of capacity between 2008 and 2020 as the city’s peak energy load increases.

Mother charged in infant deaths

A Moberly woman was arrested Thursday morning and charged with murder in connection with the deaths just over a year apart of her two infant children.

Carla Clay, 23, was arraigned before Randolph County Associate Circut Judge Scott Haynes Thursday afternoon on two counts of first-degree murder. She is being held on $1 million bond in the Randolph County Jail.

Cheney to campaign Monday in Columbia

Vice President Dick Cheney will visit Columbia on Monday to tout the administration’s agenda and shore up support in a presidential battleground state.

Cheney will speak at a campaign event at Boone County Millwork showroom and production facility on Vandiver Drive, according to a news release issued Thursday by the Bush-Cheney campaign. “The vice president will talk about the importance of continuing the administration’s optimistic agenda and the progress being made as a result of the president’s leadership,” said Tracey Schmitt, a Bush-Cheney spokeswoman.

Democrats debate in House races

Even the Democratic candidates for the 24th and 25th District House races admitted it’s been tough to distinguish the differences among them.

“We’re all good, progressive, Democratic candidates ... so wherein lies the difference?” Mike Blum, a candidate for the 25th District, said in his opening remarks at a Thursday night debate leading up to the Aug. 3 primary.

Teens to hold activist meeting

Isaiah Taylor empties his pockets as he looks for the list of panelists for Saturday’s Youth Activist Conference.

As the 19-year-old begins to sort through the scraps of paper, fellow conference organizer Sarah Whites-Koditschek chimes in playfully.

A good room for mushroom

Brad Bomanz loves mushrooms. He loves to cook with them and he loves to eat them. He also loves to collect them, a passion he traces back to his childhood.

Bomanz is a member of the Missouri Mycological Society, referred to as MOMS. It started in 1986 as a small group of amateur mushroom researchers and hunters. Now a chapter of the North American Mycological Society, MOMS has about 150 mushroom lovers.