Third graders ready for CIS balloon launch [Photo]

Megan Pursifull's third grade class poses for a picture moments before launch at Columbia Independent School on Friday. The school caters to grades k-12 and has about 315 students.

CIS hosts annual balloon launch [Photo]

An enormous amount of balloons, ready to be launched, fill a room at Columbia Independent School on Friday. The balloon colors represent the gold and blue school colors.

Students watch balloons drift to sky [Photo]

Senior Abbi Clearinger and pre-kindergartner Claire Opie watch as the mass of balloons drift in the wind on Friday. Middle and Upper School Director, Doug Sept, says that an older student is paired with a younger one so that they can each make a friend and properly launch a balloon.

CIS students release balloons to start school year [Photo]

The Columbia Independent School student body releases balloons on their campus to mark the commencement of the school year on Friday. This is the twelfth consecutive year that the balloons have been launched.

Images of Derrick Washington [Slideshow]

This slideshow of images shows MU Tigers tailback Derrick Washington on the football field. Washington was suspended from the team indefinitely by head coach Gary Pinkel on Thursday for disciplinary reasons.

FIle of MU softball player Jenna Marston [Photo]

Jenna Marston led Team USA in batting average at the International Baseball Federation’s Women’s World Cup in Venezuela.

Rock Bridge football player Sheldon Gerau [Photo]

Bruins senior Sheldon Gerau is the younger brother of MU receiver Brandon Gerau, who helped the Bruins upset the Kewpies in 2005.

Rock Bridge football players get pep talk [Photo]

Rock Bridge players gather around head football coach A.J. Ofodile at the end of the Bruins practice Thursday on Faurot Field.

MAP: Campus View Apartments [Graphic]

Mother and daughter ride together [Photo]

Christina Osamtowski, 16, and her mother Tami Osamtowski rode 420 miles from Columbus, Neb. Christina began riding on the back of her mom's bike when she was 6 years old and has had her motorcycle license for less than a year. She was the youngest biker at the last two bike rallies that they attended.

Caring for the classics [Photo]

Joe Banks, 72, rode to Columbia from Princeton. “I’ve rode my whole life,” said Banks, who started out riding dirt bikes. He now owns a variety of classic bikes that he rode when he was younger, which he enters in various competitions.

Having fun and helping out [Photo]

Henry Barchet, 56, stands beside his wife, Debbie, 55, with his custom Harley-Davidson. They came to Columbia from Waterloo, Ill. “You immediately strike up friendships here because you have something in common,” Henry said. “You ride a Harley.” He and his wife have met bikers from Belgium and France in the past. Henry, who has been riding since the 1960s, is more than the "official biker bingo caller" for the 2010 Missouri State H.O.G. Rally; he’s also the 2011 Make a Wish, “Ride for Wishes” chair. “We do a lot of good,” Henry said. “We do things for kids and veterans.”

Spreading the word about riding motorcycles [Photo]

Darren Williams, 42, owner and editor of Full Throttle magazine, a motorcycle enthusiast publication, has been riding for 28 years. A St. Louis native, Kleinhans has been running the magazine for five years. “When the economy hit, the bikers rallied around us,” Kleinhans said. “You can’t beat that.”

Creating illusions [Photo]

Steve Kleinhans, 42, owner of Liquid Illusions, started riding dirt bikes at age 12. His passion for art and design became his career when he opened his custom paint and fabrication company in 1999. “I do custom paint on everything from bikes to boats,” said Williams, who is the shop’s only employee. “It’s my bread and butter.”

'Loudr' than the others [Photo]

Dave Hagler, 60, has never owned a bike that wasn’t a Harley-Davidson. “Everybody that buys a Harley wants to individualize it,” Hagler said. “I put another $5,000 in mine.” His custom seat alone, which is equipped with memory foam and a gel pad, cost $1,000, he said. He rode the “Ghost,” as he calls it, from his hometown of Trenton with his “LOUDR” license plate. “Ghost” was already taken, he said.

MU tailback Derrick Washington [Photo]

Last season, Derrick Washington led the Tigers in rushing for the second straight year.

Beetle Bailey mascot [Photo]

Beetle Bailey leans against a pillar in the brand new MU student center on Thursday. With the Beetle Bailey stamp being released and the current rebuilding of The Shack, Bailey joins Truman the tiger as an important MU mascot.

Beetle Bailey wishes Missourian happy birthday [Photo]

Alumn Mort Walker sent the Columbia Missourian a special 80th birthday card to help commemorate the milestone.

Reflections of the former Shack owner [Slideshow]

Former Shack owner Joe Franke sat down with the Missourian to discuss the history of his former business and how it inspired Beetle Bailey cartoonist Mort Walker.

1965 disappearance now called kidnapping [Photo]

Elizabeth Ann "Betsy" Gill was 2 1/2-years-old when she disappeared from the front porch of her family's home in Cape Girardeau in 1965 and was never found. The FBI has now declared the case to be a kidnapping. Elizabeth Ann Gill is shown here in an undated family photo. Her family always believed she was snatched and, 45 years on, the FBI has reclassified her case as a kidnapping and reopened the investigation.