Home for the Fourth [Video]

Mid-Missourians experienced the Fourth of July this year in different ways. While some prefer the parades, firework shows and live bands of Jefferson City, other mid-Missourians choose to celebrate their Independence Day in the atmosphere of a small town community like Rocheport.

Awaiting his nightly meal [Photo]

Ditto awaits his nightly meal from Kimberly Newberry on June 18. The small notch in his left ear indicates that he has been fixed by one of the veterinarians that work with Spay, Neuter And Protect, an extension of Columbia Second Chance that specializes in trapping and fixing feral cats.

Newberry calms trapped feral cat [Photo]

Kimberly Newberry calms a trapped feral cat while waiting for a veterinarian on the morning of June 20. Newberry seeks to educate her children and her community about the importance of responsible pet care.

Mother, child watch over cat [Photo]

Bailey Newberry, 10, left, and her mother, Kimberly, watch over a trapped feral cat on the night of June 19. Younger cats might go into a trap repeatedly, while older cats learn to stay away.

Sedalia snake lady [Photo]

Connie Koch of Sedalia, fondly known as the Snake Lady by children and adults around Pettis County, shows off one of her 10 snakes in her snake room at her Sedalia residence. The snake is a ball python she named J.J. Buddy and has had for eight years.

'Snake Lady' known all over Sedalia [Photo]

Connie Koch of Sedalia calls her bull snake, Maxine, a drama queen because it tends to hiss when annoyed. Lots of children — some now adults — have met Koch as she hosted educational programs over the years. Many don't remember her name, but they remember who she is: the Snake Lady.

Backyard Fourth of July celebration [Slideshow]

A group of neighborhood kids and their families from mid-Missouri gathered for a backyard celebration in Prathersville on the Fourth of July.

Sights and sounds at Fourth of July Fire in the Sky [Slideshow]

Despite brief rain delays, families from around mid-Missouri gathered to celebrate the Fourth of July at Columbia's Fire in the Sky event.

Fourth of July fireworks go on despite rain delay [Video]

After days of preparation by organizers, pyrotechnicians and musicians, Columbia’s biggest fireworks display, "Fire in the Sky," was threatened by a summer storm system that dampened the Memorial Stadium crowd and delayed the colorful explosions. In the end, the Missouri Symphony Orchestra packed up its instruments, but its pre-recorded performance of patriotic music played on. After a 10-minute rain delay, damp spectators were treated to the traditional booms and flashes of their annual Independence Day light show.

Last lap crash [Photo]

Kyle Busch (18) crashes with Tony Stewart (14) heading to the finish line in Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. Busch hit the wall and Stewart was able to win the race.

Stem cell researcher studies cell culture [Photo]

Toshihiko Ezashi — lead investigator on the stem cell research team of R. Michael Roberts, MU curator's professor of molecular biochemistry in the animal sciences division — examines a cell culture inside the biological safety cabinet. Ezashi said that the team can spend up to 12 hours at a time in their lab.

Pension woes [Graphic]

In the past 10 years, the University of Missouri System’s annual rate of return on its retirement fund has fluctuated with the ebb and flow of the stock market and the performance-calculated benchmark index.

A-blazing sky [Photo]

Spectators at the 58th annual "Fire in the Sky" celebration watch fireworks over the parking lot at Hearnes Center on Saturday.

Caught in the rain [Photo]

Chicago residents Otto and Kelly Kudrna, center, huddle under their umbrella, along with other couples and families waiting out the rain before the "Fire in the Sky" fireworks display in Columbia on Saturday.

Caught in a jump rope [Photo]

Before the fireworks, a group of girls worked on their jump rope techniques. From left are Terriona Starks, Samantha Lester, Tanett Hopson and Tammie Jackson.

Ashland man plans on climbing another of the Seven Summits [Photo]

Bill Powell, who lives in Ashland, stands at the top of Mt. Elbrus in Russia in 2003. The mountain is part of the seven summits, which are the highest mountains on each continent, and is the second one Powell has climbed. Powell plans to climb his third, Mt. Kilimanjaro, on Aug. 2 and says he will try to climb as many of the seven as he can.

Unwinding the cable for 'Fire in the Sky' [Photo]

Kayla Roberts, left, unwinds a firing cable away from Premier Pyrotechnic Inc.'s fireworks display for "FIre in the Sky," while Bill Davis prepares another cable on Saturday.

Fireworks computer demonstrated [Photo]

Mark Bookout demonstrates Saturday the computer responsible for launching the fireworks inside Memorial Stadium.

Pam Huddleston hugs her mother-in-law [Photo]

Pam Huddleston, left, hugs her mother-in-law Dorothy Huddleston during a birthday gathering for Dorothy Huddleston on Saturday at Cosmo-Bethel Park. "Today, the birthday girl can get anything," joked the birthday girl, whose family calls her Grandma Huddy.

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.