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Mizzou searches for the next 'Idol' [Video]

Students gathered in Jesse Auditorium Thursday night for Mizzou’s search for musical talent. Four judges, hundreds of students and 16 contestants, but only one could win the top prize – a trip to audition for Fox’s American Idol.

This is Mizzou Idol.

By the end of the night, Keertana Sastry, a junior, had won over the audience and the judges, winning the top spot. Paige Sommerer, also a junior, was runner-up.

Welcome home [Photo]

Mary Burch Nirmaier, center, is greeted at the Columbia Regional Airport by Salute to Veterans chairman Mary McCleary Posner, left, and Dana Morgenthaler on Thursday. Nirmaier flew to Washington, D.C., earlier this week to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for her service in the Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASPs.

A gold medal winner [Photo]

Mary Burch Nirmaier holds her Congressional Gold Medal after returning to Columbia from an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. "I just want to tell all young girls that if they want to do something, get busy and do it," Nirmaier said. She received her medal for her service during World War II in the Woman Airforce Service Pilots or WASPs.

Fourth Ward candidate — Sarah Read [Photo]

City Council Fourth Ward candidate Sarah Read poses for an in-studio portrait.

Patient reading [Photo]

Robin Blake, a retired family physician and MU professor, reads a passage from "Still Alice," a novel about a woman's sudden descent into Alzheimer's disease during the MU Health Care Book Club meeting Wednesday. Blake retired early from medical school to write short stories and teach a class on medicine and literature.

Elementary school tornado drill [Photo]

Lisa Cunningham's first grade class at Rock Bridge Elementary School practices a tornado drill on Thursday in the school's media center. The school participates in a statewide tornado drill once a year.

Discussing diversity [Photo]

The Chancellor's Diversity Initiative organizes a town meeting Thursday in connection with a cotton ball incident two weeks ago at Monsanto Auditorium. During the meeting, five KU students delivered a banner that expresses their support for diversity at MU.

CHART: Tornadoes [Graphic]

MU climatologist Tony Lupo says the influence of El Niño in the Pacific Ocean is likely to produce a stormier spring than usual in the Midwest. In the past 20 years, Missouri’s peak of tornado activity came in 2006, with 101 tornadoes. There have not been any tornadoes reported yet in 2010.

Listening to talk about diversity [Photo]

MU Chancellor Brady J.Deaton, left, listens to Samantha Pugh from the University of Kansas during a town hall meeting Thursday at Monsanto Auditorium in connection with a cotton ball incident two weeks ago at MU. Five KU students visit MU to deliver a banner that expresses their support for diversity at MU.

A show of unity [Photo]

Five University of Kansas students deliver a banner that expresses their support for diversity on campus during a town hall meeting in connection with a cotton ball incident two weeks ago at MU.

Supporting diversity [Photo]

Drew Case from the University of Kansas, left, and Lawrence Hale of MU listen to a panel discussion during a town hall meeting Thursday about a cotton ball incident two weeks ago at MU.

Missouri's Steve Moore banged up in Big 12 men's basketball tournament loss [Photo]

Missouri forward Steve Moore is attended to by a trainer after a sideline collision with a cameraman in Thursday's loss to Nebraska in the Big 12 men's basketball tournament in Kansas City.

Stein era ends in MU women's basketball team's loss to Texas [Photo]

Missouri coach Cindy Stein, right, talks with forward Jessra Johnson during a time out in the Tigers' loss to Texas on Thursday in the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City.

MU women's basketball player Amanda Hanneman shines in final game [Photo]

Missouri's Amanda Hanneman, left, tries to get around Texas defender Kathleen Nash. "... That’s what I wanted to do, just give my all and that’s what happened.” Hanneman said.

Freshman gymnast Brittany Bendoff [Photo]

MU freshman gymnast Brittany Bendoff performs during her floor routine on Friday night, Feb. 19, 2010, during the competition against Oklahoma University in the Hearnes Center. OU won the meet 197.05 to 195.50.

Columbia's Fourth Ward [Graphic]

Sarah Read answers 11 questions [Video]

In this video, Sarah Read talks about the city's transportation needs. Watch Read answer 11 questions on issues of importance to the city.

Sarah Read: Transportation [Video]

Sarah Read answers: What do you think are the most important issues related to transportation in Columbia?

Sarah Read: Government transparency [Video]

Sarah Read answers: How would you rate city government in terms of transparency, and what, if anything, would you do to improve it?

Sarah Read: Sustainability [Video]

Sarah Read answers: What do you think the primary goals of the city's new sustainability director should be?
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