Counting the minutes [Photo]

Jacob St. Omer, 11, waits on his mother and younger brother to finish talking to a teacher at Russell Boulevard Elementary School during Sneak Peek. St. Omer used to attend Russell but has since moved on to sixth grade.

Taking a break from coloring [Photo]

Katie Stever, 5, pauses from coloring her bright green fish to listen to the warm welcome from her kindergarten teacher.

Waiting to meet her teacher [Photo]

Jami Dietz, 5, waits to meet her kindergarten teacher with her sister Addie, left, and her mother, Sarah, at Russell Boulevard Elementary School on Tuesday. Jami sings "Herman the Worm" while other students await the introduction to their first school teacher.

Waiting for takeoff [Photo]

Northwest 3170 waits on the tarmac for the first passengers to board Tuesday morning at the Columbia Regional Airport.

First passenger boards first flight [Photo]

Dan King, who is on his way to Little Rock, Ark., is the first passenger to board Northwest 3170, the first flight of the new Northwest non-stop service between Columbia and Memphis, on Tuesday morning at the Columbia Regional Airport.

First flight takes off from Columbia Regional Airport [Photo]

The first flight, Northwest 3170, of the new Northwest non-stop service between Columbia and Memphis begins to pull away from the terminal Tuesday morning at the Columbia Regional Airport. The new service will fly three times a day on weekdays and twice daily on weekends.

Commercial flight service resumes at Columbia Regional [Video]

Mesaba Airlines, a Northwest Airlines partner, began operating commercial flights out of Columbia Regional Airport on Tuesday. The airline will offer Columbia nonstop service to Memphis and onward connections to domestic and international destinations through Northwest Airlines.

Record number of freshmen rushing at MU [Photo]

Potential members of sororities travel across the intersection of Kentucky Boulevard and Richmond Avenue on Monday, the first day of rush week. They will visit the 14 chapter houses between Monday and Tuesday. Each chapter will accept about 70 of the incoming students, but there are more people interested in joining the sororities than there are spaces for them.

Sorority recruits make introductions [Photo]

Women of Alpha Chi Omega, left, introduce themselves to potential members on Monday, the first day of rush week. "We're a really big Greek community," said Audrey Danner, a facilitator for rush week. The final decisions on chapter placement will be made on Saturday.

Missouri Theatre performers [Photo]

Performing Arts in Children’s Education members staged “Aladdin Jr.” in the renovated Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts.

Football practice [Photo]

Brian Coulter, a junior defensive end from Baker, La., who is currently sidelined with a bad ankle sprain, watches a drill during Monday morning's football practice on Faurot Field at MU.

Edwards wins Cup race at Michigan [Photo]

Columbia native Carl Edwards celebrates winning the NASCAR 3M Performance 400 auto race Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. Edwards also won Saturday in the Nationwide Series race in Michigan

Increase in theft from cars [Graphic]

Eco Schoolhouse ready for 2008 school year [Photo]

Grant Elementary's Eco Schoolhouse, shown here on Saturday, has walls and a ceiling that keep the temperature of the classroom steady, leaving little need for outside energy. The schoolhouse's building crew is working double time to finish in time for school.

Blessings for pets at Unitarian Universalist Church [Photo]

Corinne Mann holds her pet bunny Goldilock at a pet blessing ceremony. Several members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia took their beloved pets to a blessing ceremony on Sunday.

Pets get blessings at Unitarian Universalist Church [Photo]

Fran Reynolds introduces her two dogs, Maggie on the left and Toby on the right, during a pets blessing ceremony at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia. Members of the Church brought their pets to be blessed on Sunday.

Pets get blessed at Unitarian Universalist Church [Video]

Lay Service Leader, Marianne Erickson, leads a Unitarian animal blessing service.

Race of city employees [Graphic]

Wage ranges among racial groups [Graphic]

Gender of city employees [Graphic]