COLUMBIA — Car crashes and women's rights were recurrent topics in this week's most-read stories. Readers also responded to stories of MU researchers creating a new type of chicken substitute, how drought is affecting Missouri's cattle farmers and changes in flights being offered at Columbia Regional Airport. Here are the 10 most popular stories posted last week on ColumbiaMissourian.com, according to Google Analytics.
1. MU student Timothy "Kelly" Needham, 21, died Aug. 18 in a hospital in Wausau, Wis., a week after being injured in a two-car crash. Needham was riding in a car driven by John Pearl, 21, when it collided with a flatbed truck driven by Robert Lemmer, 50, of Hazelhurst, Wis., who was pronounced dead at the scene. Needham and Pearl, both of Peoria, Ill., were on their way to Minocqua, Wis., a popular tourist destination speckled with forests and lakes. 2,013 page views
2. Two Columbia police officers, James Meyer, 28, and Jamie Dowler, 27, are making inroads among community members in the First Ward area near Douglass Park, where the two make their patrols. After weeks of getting to know people who live in their beat area, the two officers have earned themselves the nicknames "Starsky and Hutch" and have organized cookouts and baseball games at the park. 1,421 page views
3. On Aug. 19, a charity race at the Missouri State Fair involving off-duty police officers in old police cruisers got out of control. The Missouri State Highway Patrol stated that when several of the racers collided, a car driven by Tyson Russell, 25, of Crocker, crashed through a guardrail into a spectator area, injuring five. 1,243 page views
4. An advance story for a topless protest in Peace Park on Sunday got some attention this week. The Las Vegas-based GoTopless organization included Columbia with 14 other U.S. cities holding a "Go Topless Day" on Sunday to advocate for the rights of all Americans to bare their chests. The event was perfectly legal, as Columbia has no city ordinances criminalizing toplessness. 1,037 page views
5. Missourian photographers snapped pictures of MU basketball player Kim English donating 200 sub sandwiches to students at Cedar Ridge Elementary on Thursday. English signed in mid-July to play for the Detroit Pistons. 983 page views
6. Last Monday, Delta Airlines announced it would be canceling its flights to Memphis from Columbia Regional Airport on Nov. 2. Flights to Atlanta will continue. Delta's decision came less than a week after Mayor Bob McDavid announced that Frontier Airlines begin providing nonstop flights to Orlando twice a week, starting Nov. 20. 818 page views
7. Missouri's severe drought conditions have hit cattle farmers hard. This week, a rancher, a researcher and a spokesperson for the Missouri Cattlemen's Association told the Missourian about the tough trade-off they face during parched summers — spend more money on feed because of rising production costs or slaughter breeding cows before they can reproduce new offspring and increase the size of their herds. 783 page views
8. After 20 years of research, two MU biological engineers, Harold Huff and Fu-Hung Hsieh, have come up with a vegetable product that tastes, feels and looks like chicken. Made from soy powder, carrot fiber, gluten-free flour and other ingredients, the "chicken" might become available to consumers as soon as 2015. 761 page views
9. Last Monday, U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, a representative in Missouri's state house, apologized for his comments that women's bodies are able to prevent pregnancy in the case of "legitimate rape." On former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's radio show, Akin called rape an "evil act" and said he "used the wrong words the wrong way." He said he would continue his campaign, despite rebukes from other Republicans. 757 page views
10. Last Thursday, about 120 supporters of Planned Parenthood donned pink T-shirts and rallied outside the office of Democratic Rep. Mary Still. The rally was part of an 11-state bus tour put on by Planned Parenthood, dubbed the "Women Are Watching" bus tour. Still, who is running for the 19th District seat of the Missouri Senate against incumbent Kurt Schaefer, told the crowd: “When women vote, Democrats win.” 712 page views
Supervising editor is Maggie Walter.