Teaching babies, toddlers to communicate [Photo]

Andrew Trask, right, gives an egg rattle to his mother, Rhiannon Trask, during a "Kindermusik with Brenda" class. Several parents took their children at the Columbia Public Library to attend a 30-minute course on using sign language to communicate.

Teaching babies to communicate [Photo]

Brenda Haynes waves goodbye at the end of a "Kindermusik with Brenda" class. Several parents took their children to the Columbia Public Library to attend a 30-minute course on using the sign language to communicate.

Goodbye hug [Photo]

Andy Tribble hugs and wishes his goddaughter Silvia Aguila a good first day of classes at West Boulevard Elementary.

Pep talk [Photo]

As children and their parents huddle under Parkade Elementary's entranceway to stay dry, Erica Pefferman preps her son, Colton Carney, 5, for his first day of school.

School equipment [Photo]

The first day of school is filled with new students, new teachers and, of course, new supplies.

William Street improvements [Photo]

An artist's rendering shows proposed improvements to William Street.

Nate Hutchings on his first day [Photo]

Nate Hutchings handles introductions on his first day of teaching at Paxton Keeley Elementary School.

William Street improvements [Photo]

An artist's rendering shows some of the planned improvements for William Street.

A walk to class [Photo]

Abby Froman, 5 uses her backpack as an umbrella on the way to her first day of school at Mill Creek Elementary Thursday. Abby started her first day of kindergarten on Thursday.

A new day in fourth grade [Photo]

Fourth grade students in Lora Lee Hensel's class at West Boulevard Elementary begin their first day of school.

Guiding students [Photo]

Lisa Turner greets and guides students at West Boulevard Elementary on Thursday, the first day of the new school year for Columbia.

Exercises for the first day of school [Photo]

Annie Arnone, a first-time teacher in the Columbia Public School District, leads her class in stretching exercises that she learned working in theater. "Make yourself as big as you can," she told the Lee Elementary third graders on Thursday as they prepared for their first day of school.

David and Ching-Wen play together [Audio]

David and Ching-Wen play Beethoven's "Spring" Sonata together for the first time.

Movin' on up [Photo]

Alicia Thater, left, an incoming MU sophomore, moves her belongings into an apartment at Campus View while fellow sophomore Arriell Calvin waits to go back to her car to finish moving. Because of an influx of incoming freshmen, Campus View and Campus Lodge opened their apartments for students who weren't able to get a room in the dorms on campus. "I don't think it'll be that much different," Thater said about safety at the apartments. "My car's a lot closer here than it was at Mizzou, so that's better for me."

Kitten rescued safely [Photo]

The kitten — named "Striker #4" by its new owners — sits frightened in the back of a cage after being rescued out of a creek Wednesday.

Chasing the kitten [Photo]

From front, Alex Carranza and his children Emily, 8; Andy, 11; and Melissa, 6 work their way through tall weeds behind the Log Hill Run Apartments looking for a stray kitten that got caught in a storm drain Wednesday. The Carranzas were looking for a creek where the storm drain emptied into.

Struggle to save a kitten [Photo]

From left, Jack Rudelic, Paul Eschen and Greg Macarthur pry open a manhole cover along South Commercial Drive to help look for a stray kitten that wandered into the storm drain Wednesday.

Rescued kitten to be adopted [Photo]

Andy Carranza, 11, left, hands the rescued kitten to Paul Eschen as Carranza's sister, Melissa, 6 looks on. Eschen and his roommates adopted the kitten on the spot and plan to name him "Striker #4."

Kitten rescued in creek [Photo]

After finally catching the frightened kitten in a creek, Alex Carranza, left lets his son Andy, 11, hold the cat. Carranza and his son followed the meows of the kitten and grabbed a hold of it when it got caught in the tall grass.

Preparing for balloon flight [Photo]

Bill Clemons opens the blast valve, sending a propane-fueled fireball into his hot air balloon on August 24, 2007, at the Columbia Balloon Invitational at Corporate Lake. Clemons, who owns a ballooning business in Des Moines, Iowa, named this balloon "Color My World" after a Chicago song that he and his future wife danced to at his high school prom.