Brenda Potterfield joins National Park Foundation’s board of directors

Brenda Potterfield, co-founder and secretary of Columbia-based MidwayUSA, recently announced her appointment to the board of directors for the National Park Foundation following a recommendation from United States Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, according to a Jan. 3 news release from MidwayUSA.

Potterfield said her name was recommended to Bernhardt through a third party, and she first heard about her nomination when she met Bernhardt at a conference in September. She found out about her appointment to the board in early January.

According to its website, the National Park Foundation is “the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service” and “generates private support and builds strategic partnerships to protect and enhance America’s national parks for present and future generations.”

The National Park Foundation leads different programs and campaigns to support the United States’ national monuments, parks and historical sites.

“There is so much more to the National Park Foundation than parks,” Potterfleld said. “You’ve got monuments and lakeshores and seashores and rivers, so there are a lot of things other than just the parks that are involved.”

Potterfield said she is “totally excited” to be joining the board of directors.

“I’m pleased that someone trusts me enough to allow me to work with a group of phenomenal people,” she said.

Potterfield will serve on the Board of Directors until her term is up in 2025, according to the foundation’s website.

— Hayley Vawter

League of Women Voters to host public events

The League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County is hosting two events on local politics for the general public.

The first event will be a program on “How Local Elections Affect Your Daily Life” at noon Tuesday at the Columbia Public Library.

The presentation will be co-sponsored with the library as part of their monthly “Lunch & Learn” meetings. Boone County Commissioner Janet Thompson and former Columbia City Council member Barbara Hoppe will lead the discussion.

Lunch will not be provided but attendees may bring their own or purchase snacks from the library kiosk.

The League also will host “Conversations with Legislators” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Activity and Recreation Center, 1701 West Ash St.

Attendees will have the chance to meet informally with Boone County legislators while they discuss their goals for the current legislative session. The entire Boone County legislative delegation has been invited to participate.

Both events are free and all members of the public are encouraged to attend.

—Vivian Kolks

Community group works to end violence

The Boone County Community Against Violence group discussed adopting Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design in its third meeting Sunday.

Shaunda Hamilton founded the group after losing her 18-year-old daughter, Nadria Wright, to gun violence in September. The group aims to keep Boone County safe and get as many people involved to ensure movement in the right direction.

CPTED aims to use planning, zoning and building to create an environment that will reduce crime risks. Examples include increased lighting and surveillance cameras.

Rev. James Gray from Second Missionary Baptist Church helped Hamilton lead the meeting and stressed the importance of the group.

“We’ve got a lot of great things going on,” Gray said. “We’ve got some great ideals, but the biggest part about this is that we put it into action. Action is what we need.”

The group also discussed recent crime, including the fatal shooting at Vibez nightclub that killed a Columbia father of three. Gray said ending violence in Columbia is going to take the entire community working together.

“We ain’t going to stop everything,” he said. “If we could just stop a couple, if we could just work together and figure out and come together to say let’s make sure that this place is safe.”

The group is hosting a free neighborhood watch training on Feb. 25 and encourages the community to come learn about crime reducing methods.

The next meeting is from 2-3:30 p.m. on March 8 in the Daniel Boone Regional Library.

— KOMU

Voter registration deadline coming up fast

Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon is keeping the Boone County Clerk’s office open on Feb. 12 in a last effort to increase voter registration, despite other Boone County offices closing due to Lincoln’s Birthday.

With just three days left to register for the March 10 presidential primary, Lennon is encouraging as many people as possible to register, including students.According to previous Missourian reporting, MU’s 2016 voter turnout was 1.5 points below the nationwide average for student voter turnout.

Lennon notes that MU students who live out of state can still register to vote in Boone County. However, students must keep in mind that they can only be registered to vote in one place at one time.

If students would like to vote in their local elections at home, absentee ballots are the best option, according to Lennon.

Lennon has already been working on raising voter registration by implementing several social media campaigns, including “Why Vote Wednesday,” according to previous Missourian reporting.

“It’s been interesting to hear the reasons why people vote,” Lennon said.

According to Lennon, “Why Vote Wednesday” has been a campaign that has “been resonating with people.”

Elections on tap this year include the March 10 presidential primary, the April 7 general municipal election, the Aug. 4 primary for Missouri Secretary of State and the Nov. 3 presidential and general election, according to previous Missourian reporting.

If you want to do more than just vote on election day, “We’re still looking for poll workers,” Lennon said.

Information for becoming a poll worker can be found on the Boone County Clerk’s website, or by calling the Boone County Clerk at 573-886-4375.

—Lianna Kowalke

Snakes and drones featured at this year’s farm and garden expo

The Mid-MO Expo: Small Farm to Backyard Garden plans to help newcomers and experienced enthusiasts alike step up their agricultural skills.

The fourth annual farming and gardening exposition will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 29 at Battle High School. It will expand and update topics, from old favorites like tips to address nuisance wildlife to newcomer presentations like getting to know snakes, according to event organizer and presenter Kent Shannon.

Shannon’s presentation will focus on the potential for drones to be used in marketing and surveying farms.

“Now that it’s becoming more affordable, there are more and more opportunities with tech,” he said.

The event organizers hope to include information necessary to get started gardening. The goal of presentations like “Choosing the right tree or shrub” is to bring in new audiences and teach basic strategies, according to Shannon.

Jill Edwards, one of the event organizers from the MU Extension Center, said this is the center’s biggest event every year. They are hoping to draw in 200 people this year, Shannon said. They expect that a large portion of the attendees from the statewide volunteer organizations Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists.

The programs are tailored to foster more productive and sustainable agricultural practices.

“The expo was designed to meet the needs of the community,” said Shannon. “Audiences have always indicated that the topics have been beneficial to them.”

The event features more than just educational tutorials, Edwards said. In previous years, there have been robotics and sewing demonstrations by Missouri 4-H, livestock exhibits and a showcase of Goats On The Go, a service that rents out goats for weed control.

“We wanted to create an event that would appeal to backyard gardeners in addition to rural farmers,” Edwards said. “But really anyone interested in nature would dig the event.”

— Grace Zokovitch

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The First Baptist Church of Columbia will host Austen Hartke, a transgender theologian, Feb. 21 and 22, according to a news release from the church.

Hartke’s “greatest passion is helping other trans and gender-non-conforming people see themselves in scripture,” according to his website.

The Rev. Carol McEntyre, senior pastor at First Baptist, said{/span} when she first heard Hartke speak, she was very impressed.

“We need to have him come to Columbia,” McEntyre said, calling it a “natural next step.”

Although the event will be held at First Baptist, several other churches in Columbia are sponsoring the event and pitched in funding for it.

McEntyre said she wants people to understand that there are transgender Christians, and this is an event for allies of the LGBTQ community and for those who want to learn more as well.

“First Baptist Church has a long history of working towards LGBTQ inclusion,” she said, adding that the church held training on inclusion last August.

McEntyre said she hopes the event leaves LGBTQ people ”feeling affirmed in who they are and who they’re becoming,” and added that she would like to see more events like this one in the future.

The weekend includes several events and is free to the public. Childcare will be provided during the event for those who make a reservation, according to the release

The First Baptist Church of Columbia will host Austen Hartke, a transgender theologian, Feb. 21 and 22, according to a news release from the church.

Hartke’s “greatest passion is helping other trans and gender-non-conforming people see themselves in scripture,” according to his website.

The Rev. Carol McEntyre{/, senior pastor at First Baptist, said when she first heard Hartke speak, she was very impressed.

“We need to have him come to Columbia,” McEntyre said, calling it a “natural next step.”

Although the event will be held at First Baptist, several other churches in Columbia are sponsoring the event and pitched in funding for it.

McEntyre said she wants people to understand that there are transgender Christians, and this is an event for allies of the LGBTQ community and for those who want to learn more as well.

“First Baptist Church has a long history of working towards LGBTQ inclusion,” she said, adding that the church held training on inclusion last August.

McEntyre said she hopes the event leaves LGBTQ people ”feeling affirmed in who they are and who they’re becoming,” and added that she would like to see more events like this one in the future.

The weekend includes several events and is free to the public. Childcare will be provided during the event for those who make a reservation, according to the release.

Boone County government to close for Lincoln and President’s days

Boone County government offices, including the courthouse and annex, will shut down for Lincoln Day on Wednesday and President’s Day next Monday.

The city of Columbia will remain open both days, as will MU, Stephens College and Columbia College.

Columbia Public Schools will be closed for President’s Day only.

Grace Zokovitch

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