FROM READERS: Three Columbia Independent School students read together

Second-grader Claire Sergent, fifth-grader EllaWyn VanderTuig and second-grader Henley Tarwater read together during Columbia Independent School's Read-A-Thon, a fundraiser for Heifer International.

FROM READERS: Two Columbia Independent School students read together

Second-grader Ryly Dou and fifth-grader Dylan Sayers read together during Columbia Independent School's Read-A-Thon. They raised money for Heifer International.

Healthy snacks become the rule

Third-graders Catherine Cox, left, and Monaya Barney grab fruit to fill their plates during their class's holiday party at Benton Elementary School on Friday. Embracing new nutrition guidelines, Benton Principal Troy Hogg is encouraging parents to provide healthier snacks for class parties rather than sweets.

Fruits and vegetables sub as snacks

Students at Benton Elementary School reach for fruit, popcorn and other snacks brought by parents during the holiday class party on Friday.

Popcorn stars in holiday party

Benton Elementary School third-graders Ronald Harris and Monaya Barney pick up popcorn during clean-up after their holiday class party on Friday.

Faith helps corporate pilot conquer challenges

Columbia corporate pilot Alex Czerwinski stands next to a Pilatus PC-12 airplane at Columbia Regional Airport. Czerwinski often flies members of Veterans United and MU Athletics as a pilot for Ozark Management.

A lesson in robot karaoke

Seventh- and eighth-grade students at Smithton Middle School listen as a robot called GlaDos plays a song during their computer science class.

Smithton students practice writing code

LeAnn Huynh works on a project during her computer science class earlier this month. She and her partner, Connor Richardson, must use their coding skills to program the robot to play a 20-second song.

Students used instruction manual for robot

Students at Smithton Middle School begin work on a project involving the school's new robot, GlaDos. They are instructed to use software to have the robot play a favorite song.

Robot looks somewhat humant

Glados is a humanoid robot created by a French company called Aldebaran with speakers for ears, cameras for eyes and touch sensors.

Domestic violence the top story of 2014

In this May 23 photo, Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks during a news conference at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Maryland.

Pierce looks forward to Christmas game

Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce argues a call with referee Ken Mauer during a game last week in Miami.

Brady leads Patriots like Spurs

In this file photo from 2005, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy over coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft, right, after they beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21, in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Florida. Brady and the Patriots are aiming for a fourth Super Bowl title. Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs are defending the NBA championship for the fifth time. Different sports, but similar dynasties with solid ownership, demanding coaches and humble superstars.

Ohio State thriving a year early

Ohio State's Vonn Bell, left, celebrates with teammate Cam Burrows after intercepting a pass during the Big Ten Conference championship this month against Wisconsin in Indianapolis.

DeMarre Carroll leads Hawks

Atlanta forward DeMarre Carroll, a former Missouri star, reacts to hitting a 3-pointer in the final minutes of a 107-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Monday in Atlanta.

Blues downed by Avalanche

St. Louis Blues center Maxim Lapierre (No. 40) and Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson go after the puck during the first period of a hockey game Tuesday in Denver.

LeBron's return the No. 3 story

In this Oct. 30 photo, workers finish hanging a mural of Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James on a building in Cleveland. James' return to Cleveland was the third-ranked sports story of the year in an annual vote conducted by The Associated Press. The NFL's troubles with domestic violence was the top story of the year.

Aldon Smith says he didn't drink at house

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith sits on the bench during a game last month.

Stephanie Hunt drops off new earrings at Mustard Seed

Stephanie Hunt drops off new earrings at Mustard Seed on Wednesday. Hunt, a consigned artist for the store, makes jewelry at her home studio in Moberly, Missouri.

Earrings on display at Mustard Seed

A pair of homemade earrings sit on display Wednesday at Mustard Seed. They were made by Stephanie Hunt, who makes jewelry in her home studio in Moberly, Missouri.