Groups share ideas for city's future [Photo]

Groups at the Vision Showcase in the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts set up booths to inform the citizens of Columbia about their goals for the city's future Thursday. The groups associated with the "Columbia Visioning" are trying to stay connected through shared ideas as they try to improve the city.

Showcase connects city visions [Photo]

Simon Wanyonyi, 9, looks at Columbia police Sgt. Lloyd Simons' badge as he makes his way around the Vision Showcase on Thursday. The groups present at the showcase shared their goals for the future development of Columbia.

Hickman football player Spenser Washington [Photo]

Hickman sophomore Spenser Washington lined up at seven different positions in the Kewpies' season opening loss to Liberty.

McCain watch party 2 [Photo]

Boone Tavern employees and friends watch John McCain at the Republican National Convention during his acceptance speech on his party's presidential nomination.

McCain watch party, photo 1 [Photo]

James Gray, a manager at Boone Tavern, watches John McCain during his presidential nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, shown at a watch party in Columbia. "I'm neutral. I love everybody, " Gray said of his campaign following.

Tomato Festival gives growers opportunities to show [Photo]

The Tomato Festival began about four years ago when festival superintendent Tim Reinbott said he and other growers had a discussion about what was missing in the Columbia horticulture community. Each year, the festival provides an opportunity for growers to bring their own varieties of peppers and salsas for taste tests and a friendly competition.

Tomato Festival allows visitors to sample [Photo]

The Tomato Festival at Bradford Farm allowed visitors to sample varieties of tomatoes and peppers and rate them to select their favorites.

Sun Gold and Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes win at festival [Photo]

The Sun Gold and Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes won the awards for best tomatoes at this year's Tomato Fest. It was the second year in a row where the Sun Sugar variety had taken the crown.

Tomatoes, peppers get graded at Tomato Festival [Photo]

Darrel Sharpe, 76, tastes and grades each tomato and pepper at the Tomato Festival on Thursday. Sharpe, who is interested in horticulture, traveled all the way from New Bloomfield this year for the festival, which is held at Bradford Farm.

Tomato Festival offered chance for tasting [Photo]

The Tomato Festival was held at Bradford Farm, 6.5 miles east of Columbia on Thursday afternoon. Visitors were welcomed to try 50 varieties of tomatoes and 32 varieties of peppers grown at the farm, and then rate them to select the best varieties. Last year, the winning tomato was a hybrid called Sun Sugar.

Bike route [Graphic]

Rain-1 [Photo]

Rainwater gushes through Flatbranch Creek Thursday morning as precipitation continues in the Midwest as a result of Hurricane Gustav. Effects of the storm are expected to taper off by Friday morning and add an extra 3 to 5 inches of precipitation. Rain and gusts will continue throughout the day.

Rain-3 [Photo]

The effects of Hurricane Gustav have added an extra 3 to 5 inches of precipitation as heavy rains continued throughout the Midwest on Thursday. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning, effective until Friday morning.

Tomato fest audio slideshow [Slideshow]

Click the above picture to view an audio slideshow about the Tomato Festival in Columbia.

POOCH PLUNGE [Slideshow]

Dog lovers spilled into Oakland Family Aquatic Center on Tuesday evening to let their pets take the last swim of the pool season. Owners tossed toys, balls and Frisbee discs for the dogs to chase into the pool, but were not allowed to go in with them. More experienced dogs played with others near the shallow end of the pool while those just learning to swim took their chances slowly dipping into the deep end. Whether they were a strong swimmer or a beginner, both dogs and owners enjoyed the first pooch plunge.

Michael Keck [Photo]

Compost bike route [Graphic]

Southeast Missouri State fans [Photo]

SEMO fans cheer on the Red Hawks at a football game. The team was paid $250,000 to play MU and thinks the exposure from taking on the Tigers is worth the wide disparity in scholarship players and talent.

Obama Opinions [Video]

The nation watched as Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination in a historic campaign for the presidential candidacy. At Second Baptist Church on E. Broadway and in the surrounding area, African American residents of Columbia shared their opinions about Obama and his platform.

MU students make compost from dining hall waste [Photo]

Katie Hemmann composts food waste collected from the Rollins dining area at the Saint Joseph Community Garden for a new environmental studies class Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008. Every day, a pair of students will have to bike from the garden to the Rollins dining area, collect food waste, ride back carrying the waste in a small trailer and put it in the garden to compost.