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Eliminating positions [Graphic]

GRAPHIC: For the second year in a row, the Columbia Public School District cut positions as part of an overall budget reduction. The total budget reduction was smaller than the previous year, but the amount eliminated from paid positions for 2009-10 was slightly higher.

Freedom of the press [Photo]

Mike Martin sits in front of a computer screen displaying his blog, The Columbia Heart Beat, in his home in Columbia on Monday. Martin has maintained the blog for four years, developing strong contacts with local officials and an intimate familiarity with the Boone County political scene. Martin's commitment to the community evolved after he purchased and renovated several rental properties in the area and got to know his tenants. "I've learned a lot about Columbia from them and how it's changed over the years," he said.

Freedom to petition [Photo]

Cherith Moore, center, and her children Olivia, 6, left, and Sage, 9, stand outside of their home on Alexander Avenue in Columbia on Tuesday. Cherith Moore, concerned with the heavy traffic flow on her street, which is home to many families with young children and pets, circulated a petition asking the city to construct two new speed humps and impose a 20 mph speed limit on the street. With help from First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz, Cherith Moore and about 10 other residents were successful in their petition.

Freedom of religion [Photo]

Negar Jackson bows her head in a Baha'i prayer session at the Columbia Public Library. Originally from Iran, Jackson's parents were the last of the family to obtain exit visas from the Iranian government. After the summer of 1979, Jackson said, many of her relatives had to pay people to be smuggled out of the country.

Ring symbolizes three worlds of Baha'i faith [Photo]

Negar Jackson's ring symbolizes the world of God, the world of man and the world of the prophets of the Baha'i faith. Originally from Iran, Jackson's parents were the last of the family to obtain exit visas from the Iranian government. After the summer of 1979, Jackson said, many of her relatives had to pay people to be smuggled out of the country.

Freedom of speech [Photo]

Charles Dudley Jr. sits at what looks like a communication headquarters in the living room of his home in Paquin Tower. Dudley's living room is lined on two sides with tables that hold his computer, TV screen and several speakers. Being plugged into the Web is one way Dudley voices his opinions and exercises his freedom of speech.

A mission of prayer [Photo]

Dakota Hoard and Joanne Schrader gather outside Columbia's Planned Parenthood. Their mission revolves around using prayer to combat abortion.

Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ [Graphic]

GRAPHIC | Proposed street closures for the 2009 Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival.

New Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro [Photo]

Newly selected Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro, left, stands next to Sandy King, wife of the late Kent King, the former commissioner of education, at a press conference announcing Nicastro's position at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City on Thursday.

Freedom to assemble [Photo]

From left, Joanne Schrader, Kathy Forck, Alyssa Alman, Dakota Hoard and Bryce Thebo pray for the end of abortion outside of Columbia's Planned Parenthood. The group gathers every Thursday to counter the day the clinic performs abortions.

Internet suicide trial [Photo]

A camera operator covers Lori Drew as she leaves the federal courthouse in Los Angeles on Thursday after a federal judge tentatively threw out the convictions of the Missouri mother for her role in a MySpace hoax directed at a 13-year-old neighbor girl who ended up committing suicide.

ELSAG taking pictures of plates [Photo]

The Columbia Police Department has outfitted some of their patrol cars with the new ELSAG device during their trial 30-day trial that began June 12. The device can take pictures of vehicle license plates and cross-reference for any law violations.

ELSAG license plate scanners [Photo]

Columbia Police Officer Cathy Dodd surveys cars with the new ELSAG device on July 2. Dodd has been working in law enforcement for 20 years and said she has seen technology make her job easier and easier with new developments.

Freshman orientation show helps new students feel at home [Video]

COLUMBIA — MU students are turning to Harry Potter, Beyonce's "Single Ladies," musicals like "Mamma Mia" and "Wicked," and YouTube videos like "David After Dentist" and "Kittens Inspired by Kittens" to help incoming freshmen feel at home in Columbia.

Summer Welcome Revue, a variety show put on by MU's 36 orientation leaders, wraps up a long day of information by entertaining new students and their parents with skit, song and dance parodies infused with a Mizzou flair.

Though the point of Revue is to reinforce all the information students have been given during their orientation, the show does more than that — it welcomes incoming freshmen to the university with open arms, ensuring the that "you'll fit in here."

Revue will be performed at 8 p.m. on July 5, 6, 7, and 8 at Jesse Hall. All shows are open to the public.

Shoebox gifts [Photo]

Jennifer Claybrooks, a 19-year-old chemical engineering student at MU, left Wednesday for Panama to distribute shoebox gifts for Kuna youth. The delegates will distribute boxes each day they're there, but she specifically made a box of her own, stuffed with a jump rope, coloring book, school supplies, toiletries and a teddy bear. The children often go to distribution not knowing that they will receive a gift. "A lot of these children have nothing to hug at night. I put something in that the kids love to cuddle with," Claybrooks said.

Solar house uses louvers [Graphic]

GRAPHIC | The solar house uses wooden slats, known as louvers, to regulate indoor temperatures.

Weatherizing your home [Graphic]

Weatherizing homes could lower utility costs [Photo]

Dan Riepe sets up his blower door which measures how the air flows around doors. Homeowner Kathleen Maier said that she wanted to check for efficiency because of possible lower energy costs.

Infrared cameras can measure warmer areas in houses [Photo]

Dan Riepe measures air leakage in a house with an infrared camera which displays warm areas of a house in hotter colors. "The average house blows out 30 (percent) to 50 percent of the air out of the house. Meaning your air conditioner has to work 30 (percent) to 50 percent harder to keep the house cool," Riepe said.

Wii Bowling at Paquin [Photo]

Martin Andrews plays Wii Bowling from his wheelchair after the Adapted Community Recreation program's monthly birthday celebration. Wii video games are just one of the activities offered by the program, but participants would like to see improved activities and more participants in the future.
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