Twirling after the free dance [Photo]

Wale Aliyu, front center, who won third place at the hip-hop talent competition, helps 4-year-old Sanaya Hazlette off the stage after twirling her. Sanaya had joined Aliyu, Frankie Humphrey, back center, and DeAngelo Harris, right, on stage during the free dance portion of the event that followed the rapping and spoken word performances. Aliyu performed “Weight of the World" as his rap. He uses rhymes and phrases to express his thoughts on faith, hope and love.

Dominicque 'Static' Ellis performs [Photo]

Dominicque "Static" Ellis performs his song "Block Starrs." “I’m an artist because I can’t stop writing,” Ellis said. Ellis, 20, a seasoned performer, did both a spoken word piece and a rap for the competition. He turned to music and started to write after he was hit by a car at the age of 10 when he was supposed to be in church with his mother.

Slowing the beat down [Photo]

Bria Edwards, 16, and Tyree Byndom talk about Bria's strong vocal skills. Slowing the beat down, Bria, whose stage name is “Little Miss Love,” sang “For You I Will” by Monica. The song was dedicated to her little sister and received a standing ovation.

Singing a duet [Photo]

From left, Tyree and his wife, Jesca Byndom, sing for judges Patrick Jackson, Stu Eailey, Chad Kelley, DJ Travo and June Bud. Tyree was the talent show coordinator, and Jesca was the tally-keeper for the Second to None hip-hop competition at Douglass High School on Thursday.

Hawkins, Banks join forces in freestyle [Photo]

Charles "G Blaze" Banks, left, and Brendan "Reckless" Hawkins freestyle in Douglass High School's Second to None hip-hop talent show. The two met freshman year and have been friends since.

Audience enjoys Second to None hip-hop contest [Photo]

The audience at Douglass High School's Second to None hip-hop talent competition on Thursday waits to show its appreciation for the competitors. Audience members included 17-month-old Nicholas Khelawan, front, and 4-year-old Sanaya Hazlette. Winning third place, Wale Aliyer took home $20, and second-place winner Frankie Humphrey received $30. Dennis Moore took first place, winning the title “Como’s Finest,” $50 and studio time to work on a single produced by Koppa 2 Gold Productions and Beat Town Productions.

Busting a move [Photo]

From left, Wale Aliyu, Frankie Humphrey, DeAngelo Harris and Brendan "Reckless" Hawkins bust a move for the Second to None hip-hop talent competition at Douglass High School on Thursday. Their performance came in second place.

Walking the halls [Photo]

From left, Daniel Burke-Aguerro, Maggie Kaurffman, Will Schauwacker and Ryan Bocklage finish up on mile 20 of their walk — of which teacher Matt Cone was a sponsor — through the halls of Rock Bridge High School on Dec. 20. The four students are at separate colleges across the country but came back to the school they graduated from in spring 2008 to help raise money for the YouthAIDS program.

Looking at the Quran [Photo]

Ronald Smith reads a guide to the Quran in the foyer of the Islamic Center of Central Missouri on Feb. 16. Smith learned the majority of his Arabic while working toward a two-year degree in the Middle East.

During Dhuhr [Photo]

Imam Abdullah delivers a sermon during Dhuhr, the early afternoon prayer service, to practicing Muslims of the Islamic Center of Central Missouri on Feb. 20.

Matt Cone and his contemporary issues students [Photo]

Matt Cone, a social studies teacher at Rock Bridge High School, discusses the progress of his students’ charitable work as part of Partners in Health with, from left, Brandon Wilder, Erin Greer and Kirk Backus on Dec. 11. Cone has let the students pick charities to help instead of doing conventional classwork. They have responded by coming up with inventive and unconventional ways of activism, such as singing and dancing door-to-door.

Interior of Curt and Deborah Sleeper's cave home [Photo]

Curt and Deborah Sleeper with their son Perry, 12, left, and daughter Kian, 15, far right, are seen in the kitchen area of their three-bedroom home, which was built inside a one-time mining cave in Festus. The Sleepers bought about 3 acres of property and a cave in 2004 after they spotted it on an Internet site. Now they are putting it it up for sale on eBay.

Curt and Deborah Sleeper's cave home [Photo]

Curt and Deborah Sleeper's home in Festus was built in a cave. The Sleepers have put the house on eBay as a backup in case they can't meet a large payment due on the property.

the beat 2/27 [Audio]

Muslim conversion [Graphic]

Columbia College wins final regular season home game [Photo]

Columbia College senior Joe Flanner goes in for a shot against Harris-Stowe on senior night. Columbia College won its final regular season home game 70-40 on Thursday.

Clarence Lo lectures at MU [Photo]

Clarence Lo, an associate professor of sociology, gives a lecture at MU's Middlebush Hall on Feb. 25. Lo's first cousin, Steven Chu, has been tapped to become President Barack Obama's Energy secretary.

Leaning towards art [Photo]

Kelsey Lincoln leans against a piece of art made by Sara Mercer at the Ragtag Cinema on Thursday.

True/False opening night [Slideshow]

Thursday marked the opening of the 2009 True/False Film Festival in Columbia. There are several workshops and panels being held over the weekend on top of the daily film schedule. The official kickoff parade is at 5:30 p.m. Friday beginning at The Blue Note.

Hickman readies for Rock Bridge rivalry [Photo]

Hickman senior guard Eric Franklin, center, and Kenny Ash, left, run drills to practice on Thursday for the District Championship game against Rock Bridge High School in Wentzville. The game, which will take place on Friday, will be the third time the teams have met this season this season. Rock Bridge won the first two games.