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.

Solar house floor plan [Photo]

The floor plan for team "Show-Me Solar's" solar house.

Another rendering of solar house interior [Photo]

Another rendering of team "Show-Me Solar's" solar house interior.

Rendering of solar house interior [Photo]

A rendering of team "Show-Me Solar's" solar house interior.

In the game at 70 [Photo]

Stan Kline, 70, says he want to keep playing softball as long as he can.

Swinging away at 73 [Photo]

Norris Kruse connects for a base hit up the middle in an over-50 softball league game on Tuesday at the Rainbow Softball Center at Cosmopolitan Park.

Seeing the fireworks, on field and in Columbia [Graphic]

Fireworks can be a safe and fun way to enjoy the holiday, as long as caution is exercised. Here's the scoop on how fireworks work, the different types and how to safely use them.