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Dorothy Huddleston at a party for her 84th birthday [Photo]

Dorothy Huddleston, right, adjusts a chair at a celebration for her 84th birthday on Saturday at Cosmo-Bethel Park. Four generations of the Huddleston family attended the celebration.

B.J. Powers cooks burgers on the Fourth [Photo]

B.J. Powers cooks burgers at a celebration for Dorothy Huddleston's birthday on Saturday at Cosmo-Bethel Park.

Zach Huddleston blows out birthday candles [Photo]

Zach Huddleston blows out the candles on his grandmother Dorothy Huddleston's birthday cake on Saturday at Cosmo-Bethel Park. Each year, the family gathers to celebrate her birthday as well as Independence Day.

Coffee and Games and More Meetup group [Photo]

Members of Coffee and Games and More, a Meetup group, share a laugh as they try out the board game Rummikub for the first time June 27 at It's a Grind coffee shop. From left are Christine Goyette, Pamela You, Colleen Brown, Kate Brown and Greg Leonard. The group has been meeting and playing games since November. "We always laugh so much, we always have fun," Leonard said.

Dog and owner at Ashland Independence Day parade [Photo]

Bryn the dog glances over her shoulder as her owner, Paul Beuselinck drives their float back to the start point of the Ashland Independence Day parade today.

Close-up at Ashland Independence Day parade [Photo]

Surrounded by the flurry of activity during the Ashland Independence Day parade, Bryn the dog sports a patriotic ribbon, samples the occasional Tootsie Roll and sniffs everything in sight.

Ashland Independence Day parade pases by [Photo]

Paul Beuselinck waves at residents of the Ashland Healthcare nursing home facility as the Ashland Independence Day parade passes by today.

Children at Ashland Independence Day parade [Photo]

Kayla Jestis,8, decorates her friend Daniel Gustofson, 6, with colorful plastic cable ties just before the start of the Ashland Independence Day parade today.

Lola the dog dressed up for Ashland parade [Photo]

Lola the yellow lab waits patiently for the Ashland Independence Day parade to begin today while cousins Mary Gracer Grover, left, and Mia Blanchard chat in the background.

Fireworks display at Midway Expo center [Photo]

Fireworks explode in the night sky at the Midway Expo Center in Columbia. The fireworks were operated by the FireOne system, which operates completely from a computer firing in tandem with music.

Jeff Cellucci of Sprit of '76 fireworks [Photo]

Jeff Cellucci of Spirit of '76 fireworks explains the path of the fireworks display he designed on June 19 at the Midway Expo Center.

Bob Gerau of Bob's Fireworks [Photo]

Bob Gerau of Bob’s Fireworks talks about his favorite fireworks that he has collected over the last 44 years.

Fireworks culture video [Video]

VIDEO: This video shows how fireworks culture is booming in Columbia. Bob Gerau has been a part of that culture as a local vendor of fireworks for the last 44 years. Jeff Cellucci shares a similar passion for fireworks with his work in designing firework displays for Spirit of ‘76 Fireworks.

Fireworks culture interactive map [Graphic]

There are several places to buy fireworks in Columbia, but also places where they are restricted.

TNT teammates bike outside Forum 8 [Photo]

Nicole Pele, left, and Shelly Frazier ride on bike trainers outside Forum 8 Theaters on June 18. The TNT teammates, who were raising money for cancer research, set out a poster for moviegoers to write the names of cancer-stricken family or friends to be their "honored teammates" when they compete in a triathlon in Washington, D.C. this September.

TNT coaches in Nations Triathalon [Photo]

TNT coaches Nicole Pele, left, and Lise Nyrop, center, talk with Jessica Wieberg outside Forum 8 Theaters June 18. Pele, Nyrop and Wieberg are participating in the Nations Triathlon in Washington, D.C. in September and took 50 percent of the Theater's concession sales, as well as donations from theater patrons, for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research.

Freie Fireworks stand [Photo]

The Freie fireworks stand, located on Interstate-70 Drive Northwest, is closed for the first time in 33 years, but the family plans to reopen and expand it next year.

Semitrailer overturns on U.S. 63 [Photo]

A semitrailer overturned after drifting off U.S. 63 at around 9:25 a.m. on Friday near Gans Creek. The driver suffered minor injuries despite the damage. Before they begin cleanup, firefighters and highway patrolmen will investigate the overturned truck to make sure there are no hazardous materials.

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.
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