New Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro

Newly selected Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro, left, stands next to Sandy King, wife of the late Kent King, the former commissioner of education, at a press conference announcing Nicastro's position at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City on Thursday.

Freedom to assemble

From left, Joanne Schrader, Kathy Forck, Alyssa Alman, Dakota Hoard and Bryce Thebo pray for the end of abortion outside of Columbia's Planned Parenthood. The group gathers every Thursday to counter the day the clinic performs abortions.

Internet suicide trial

A camera operator covers Lori Drew as she leaves the federal courthouse in Los Angeles on Thursday after a federal judge tentatively threw out the convictions of the Missouri mother for her role in a MySpace hoax directed at a 13-year-old neighbor girl who ended up committing suicide.

ELSAG taking pictures of plates

The Columbia Police Department has outfitted some of their patrol cars with the new ELSAG device during their trial 30-day trial that began June 12. The device can take pictures of vehicle license plates and cross-reference for any law violations.

ELSAG license plate scanners

Columbia Police Officer Cathy Dodd surveys cars with the new ELSAG device on July 2. Dodd has been working in law enforcement for 20 years and said she has seen technology make her job easier and easier with new developments.

Shoebox gifts

Jennifer Claybrooks, a 19-year-old chemical engineering student at MU, left Wednesday for Panama to distribute shoebox gifts for Kuna youth. The delegates will distribute boxes each day they're there, but she specifically made a box of her own, stuffed with a jump rope, coloring book, school supplies, toiletries and a teddy bear. The children often go to distribution not knowing that they will receive a gift. "A lot of these children have nothing to hug at night. I put something in that the kids love to cuddle with," Claybrooks said.

Weatherizing homes could lower utility costs

Dan Riepe sets up his blower door which measures how the air flows around doors. Homeowner Kathleen Maier said that she wanted to check for efficiency because of possible lower energy costs.

Infrared cameras can measure warmer areas in houses

Dan Riepe measures air leakage in a house with an infrared camera which displays warm areas of a house in hotter colors. "The average house blows out 30 (percent) to 50 percent of the air out of the house. Meaning your air conditioner has to work 30 (percent) to 50 percent harder to keep the house cool," Riepe said.

Wii Bowling at Paquin

Martin Andrews plays Wii Bowling from his wheelchair after the Adapted Community Recreation program's monthly birthday celebration. Wii video games are just one of the activities offered by the program, but participants would like to see improved activities and more participants in the future.

Solar house floor plan

The floor plan for team "Show-Me Solar's" solar house.

Another rendering of solar house interior

Another rendering of team "Show-Me Solar's" solar house interior.

Rendering of solar house interior

A rendering of team "Show-Me Solar's" solar house interior.

In the game at 70

Stan Kline, 70, says he want to keep playing softball as long as he can.

Swinging away at 73

Norris Kruse connects for a base hit up the middle in an over-50 softball league game on Tuesday at the Rainbow Softball Center at Cosmopolitan Park.

Columbia ordinance prohibits fireworks

Kristy Bare, Hope McDaniels and Shaye McDaniels, light fireworks in the street in front of McDaniels' house in Columbia on July 1, 2006.

Filling out employment applications

Alyssa Essers looks for the addresses of former employers on her phone as she fills out employment applications in her kitchen on Friday. Essers has been job hunting for more than a month. "A lot of places are like, 'We've got everybody we need,'" she said.

Applying for a restaurant job

Alyssa Essers drops off an application at The Rome on Ninth Street on Friday. She has already applied at several restaurants. "I want to get a waitressing job, but I don't have any experience, so they're not giving me the time of day," she said.

Visiting Stephens Lake Park

Nell McCabe, right, takes her two daughters — Freya, left, and Matilda, center — to Stephens Lake Park in the mornings to play in the fountains. Free admission makes it an ideal place for the three to visit.

LaVonda Carter, a Money Smart graduate

LaVonda Carter is a graduate of Columbia's Money Smart program and used the skills she learned to buy her house in July 2004. "Don't sit on your certificate ... use it," she told graduates.

Playing in the backyard

Thomas Carter IV, left, and LaMarco Carter play catch in their front yard on Monday. Their mother, LaVonda Carter, likes that her children can "go outside and play" and avoid dangerous situations.