Accepting sexuality in the church [Photo]

Doug Stone, left, and partner Tim Root have both been active members of the Missouri United Methodist Church for over a year. "It's one thing being kind of accepted by your family and community," said Root. "It's another thing to be accepted in our church."

the beat 7/07 [Audio]

Janet Saidi of KBIA/91.3 FM talks with Missourian city editor Scott Swafford and reporter Abby Rogers about how Thumper Entertainment, the company that runs, manages and operates the Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival, has paid back the debt it owed the city for the 2008 festival.

Cherry Hill Summer Fest and Art Show [Slideshow]

Complete with music, games and food, the Cherry Hill neighborhood held its annual Summer Fest and Art Show on June 13. Festival organizers added a parade with neighborhood children on bikes and scooters to open the morning.

A full docket at the courthouse [Photo]

The number of cases on Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton's docket filled nearly 13 pages outside his courtroom at the Boone County Courthouse on July 6.

Nancy Jones outside her home [Photo]

Nancy Jones stands outside her house in the Clearview subdivision of north Columbia where she has lived since it was constructed in 1971. A credit card company threatened to take her house after Jones fell behind on her payments. Jones went to court three times against the company until it was dismissed Thursday. "I might not have fought so hard if they hadn't threatened my home — this is all I have," Jones said.

A shelf of files at the Boone County Courthouse [Photo]

Civil court clerk Sheri Vanderhoof retrieves a file for court in the circuit court office of the Boone County Courthouse on Monday. Shown in this photograph are files for civil court cases that are currently pending.

MU Health Care vehicles given new certification [Photo]

Dan Lund, left, ambulance supervisor for MU Health Care, displays a pediatric immobilization board as he and Eric Mills, assistant manager of ambulance services at University Hospital, discuss the service's recent state certification for pediatric care. "We've always had this equipment, but the certification is new. It keeps the ambulances up to speed," Lund said.

Missouri task force leader unloads equipment [Photo]

Doug Westhoff, Missouri Task Force One leader, unloads equipment after returning from Louisiana in 2008. Westhoff is one of 80 members from the Missouri Task Force One, a division of the Boone County Fire Protection District that went to help with Hurricane Ike destruction.

Technical search, rescue specialists return from deployment [Photo]

Technical search specialist John Sweet, back center, and rescue specialist John Rieth, right, both of Missouri Task Force One, unload a bus in September 2006 after returning from recent deployment. Task Force One participated in relief efforts for Sept. 11, 2001, and during Hurricane Katrina.

Task force checks houses after Katrina [Photo]

Members of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Missouri Task Force check houses impacted by Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 31, 2005, in New Orleans. The members are taking off vents and cutting holes in the roof to search for people stuck in their attics.

Columbians work on rebar in Honduras [Photo]

From left, Dennis Murphy, two children from El Pital, Ellen Thomas and Emily Thomas work on a rebar frome to cover the foundation of one of the service group's latrine projects in Honduras.

El Pital workers focus on latrine project [Photo]

Construction foreman Cito Bertin, left, and another worker, both of El Pital, work on a latrine project at an El Pital house during the Columbia Unitarian Universalist Church's service trip to Honduras.

More cases, fewer employees [Graphic]

Clerks keep track of nearly everything that comes through the Boone County Courthouse. As the worsening economy drives case numbers up, the number of clerks available to handle such cases remains unchanged.

Columbia residents in Honduras during coup [Graphic]

Kevin Denson was one of 26 Columbia residents on a service trip in El Pital, Honduras, during last week’s coup.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this map showed the location of the wrong El Pital village. The El Pital village the group visited is in the north, near the city of La Ceiba, as shown here.

Boone County Circuit Clerk among state's most overworked [Graphic]

A state survey has found a significant disparity between the number of employees the Boone County Circuit Clerk has and the number needed to handle the court’s workload.

Behind the scenes, clerks make court tick [Graphic]

Each of the hundreds of court appearances that take place in the Boone County Courthouse is made possible by the efforts of the circuit clerk and staff, who take care of most administrative tasks. A quick look at the work that goes into one consumer debt case illustrates their central role. Each step often involves numerous phone calls and minor steps too convoluted to picture here.

Electrical short causes fire in mobile home [Photo]

A fire that began with an electrical short in a clothes dryer destroyed a Columbia mobile home Wednesday. The owner of the home, Marie Crews, was able to escape safely — along with her daughter, son-in-law and dog, Piper — after being awakened by a smoke alarm.

Lightning struck home in June [Photo]

Damage caused by a fire that began with an electrical short in a clothes dryer can been seen from the outside of a Columbia mobile home Wednesday. The owner's daughter, Marsha Harrison, says that the dryer was damaged in June when lightning struck the home.

Taking photos of the damage [Photo]

Marsha Harrison takes photographs Wednesday of the damage caused to her mother's mobile home in Columbia after an electrical short in the clothes dryer caused a fire. No one was hurt in the blaze.

Car drives through kitchen, living room off Nifong [Photo]

The property manager and staff assess the damage done to a house on West Oak Drive by Nifong Boulevard on Wednesday morning. The car ran off Nifong, passing through a field, a partition of trees and the Dennison's backyard before ending up in the family's kitchen and living room. No one was home at the time of the incident.