Christmas in July a hit with kids

Molly Schooley, 9, and Austin Bruns*, 7, of Harrisburg, Mo., are greeted by Santa (Don Waltman) as they make their way to the Christmas in July event hosted by Columbia's Voluntary Action Center. Christmas in July took place at the Missouri United Methodist Church.

Pujols scoops president's pitch

President Barack Obama throws the ceremonial first pitch to the St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols at Tuesday night's MLB All-Star game at Busch stadium in St. Louis.

Mark Wanner with a hellbender

Mark Wanner, zoological manager for reptiles, amphibians and aquatics for the St. Louis Zoo, holds a maturing Ozark hellbender that is nearing the age for fertilizing eggs, a key part of the reinstatement process and conservation effort at the center.

Texting while driving

Realtor Brent Gardner, of ReMAX, navigates the streets of downtown Columbia while talking on his cellular phone on July 10. Real estate agents, who often use their cars as mobile offices, have strongly opposed cell-phone restrictions. “My office is the city of Columbia,” Gardner said. “My job is a little different than most people in that I’m mobile.”

Local business owner refused loans

Tom Kardon Sr. poses for a portrait inside Tom's Imports repair shop. Kardon is in the process of opening a parts store at 1001 N. Providence Road, freeing up space in his old shop. However, he was refused loans to purchase equipment to open the new parts store.

Tom's Imports trying to open new location

Tom Kardon Sr. and his son, Tom Kardon Jr., help a customer at their repair shop, Tom's Imports. The Kardons are opening a new store at 1001 N. Providence Road to alleviate the clutter at their current location.

Owner of Tom's Imports seeks to rezone again

Tom Kardon is opening a new parts store at 1001 N. Providence Road, while keeping his old shop for repairs. He is trying to rezone the land so he can rent out half of the shop to a retail business, which would lower the operating costs of the store.

Training Joint Communication operators

Michanne O'Dell, a communications operator for Joint Communications, trains Jade Mooney on how to answer 911 calls Wednesday. The dispatch center needs five more employees to be fully staffed, according to Interim Director Zim Schwartze. "You should see when a storm hits or there's an accident on I-70 ... We're stretched pretty thin in here," she said.

Joint Communication operator answers call

Michanne O'Dell, a communications operator for Joint Communications, answers a nonemergency call on Wednesday.

Lucille “Lucy” Coleman

Lucille "Lucy" Coleman, 82, celebrates her retirement as owner and manager of Lucy's Burgers and Beverages in McBaine, Mo. She ran the bar for 51 years before selling it to her great-nephew Larry Morris in early June.

Lucy’s Burgers and Beverages

The day before selling her bar, Lucille "Lucy" Coleman sips her afternoon refreshment -- Diet Coke on ice with a splash of vodka. After two heart attacks by age 82, Coleman insisted her doctors approved of her daily ritual. Now that she's sold Lucy's Burgers and Beverages to her great-nephew Larry Morris, Coleman doesn't spend as much time in the place.

Rainer Glaser floats down Missouri River

Rainer Glaser, a Columbia resident, points to the storm clouds in the distance while floating down the Missouri river for the Big Canoe Float on Saturday. The Big Canoe Float was postponed once due to weather but eventually was rescheduled. The event did eventually get rained on, but most canoers found it a welcome relief from the heat of the sun on the river.

Examining sturgeon in Missouri River

Aaron DeLonay, an employee for the Columbia Environmental Research Center, shows David Walchshauser a shovelnose sturgeon on California Island during the Big Canoe River Float on Saturday. Many of the sturgeon in the Missouri River are electronically tagged and monitored because of their status on the endangered species list. Sturgeon were around with the dinosaurs and many found in the river are more than 15 years old.

Taking a dip in the Missouri

Linde Hardie of Topeka, Kan., takes a cool dip in the Missouri River after paddling her canoe for about four miles. This is the first time Hardie has gone on this float trip, and she thought it was a great way to take a break. Marcia and Gene Reed float in the background while getting ready for the second part of the trip.

Preparing for the Big Canoe Float

A two-person Mad River Canoe sits on the sand at California Island during the Big Canoe Float on Saturday. At least 100 people showed up for the float. Not only did participants float 9.5 miles, they also were able to stop along the way and listen to presenters talk about the river's history and ecology. The California Island stop offered a history of African Americans in Missouri, and the opportunity to learn more about fish in the river, including a hands-on opportunity to learn about shovelnose Sturgeon.

Shaving heads for Missouri Dream Factory

Skyler Arends, 18, poses before and after the Buzz the Red, White and Blue, where members of the community shaved their head to raise funds for the Missouri Dream Factory on Sunday. As a survivor of lymphoma, Arends was a recipient of the Missouri Dream Factory's help. Last year, they gave him a hot tub to ease his pain during chemotherapy.

Dog fight rescue

A dog stands chained before being taken away by officials from the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis Wednesday. Officials siad they need help finding shelters for about 300 dogs that were seized in raids of dog fighting operations in Missouri and Illinois.

Dog fighting rescue

Dogs are taken from a St. Louis location by Humane Society officials Wednesday. About 300 dogs were seized in raids of dog fighting operations in Missouri and Illinois, about 350 dogs, mostly American Pit Bulls, were seized during raids in five states Wednesday.

Dog fighting raid

Dogs stand chained before being taken away by Humane Society officials in St. Louis on Wednesday. The Humane Society of Missouri seized about 300 dogs in raids of dog fighting operations in Missouri and Illinois.

Mushroom sale at Columbia Farmers' Market

Heather Willman, a full-time mushroom farmer located six miles outside of Ashland, sells a bag of oyster mushrooms to Jack Wax at the Columbia Farmers' Market on Saturday. Wax's favorite kind is shiitake, but Willman did not have any at the time.