Columbia residents exercise First Amendment rights

Mike Martin sits in front of a computer screen displaying his blog, The Columbia Heart Beat, in his home in Columbia on Monday. Martin has maintained the blog for four years, developing strong contacts with local officials and an intimate familiarity with the Boone County political scene. Martin's commitment to the community evolved after he purchased and renovated several rental properties in the area and got to know his tenants. "I've learned a lot about Columbia from them and how it's changed over the years," he said.

Exercising rights is a personal prerogative, as symbolized by these Columbia residents who are exercising the five freedoms embodied in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

Mother in Missouri MySpace case says it was properly dismissed

Lori Drew, a St. Louis-area mother convicted of cyberbullying in November, had her case tentatively thrown out Thursday. Drew created a fictitious teen boy on MySpace and flirted with — before dumping — a 13-year-old girl who ended up committing suicide.

Fourth of July offers journalists cause to celebrate

The Fourth of July might seem like one giant pyrotechnics display, but it symbolizes a lot more for American journalists.

A declaration: Our first freedoms play out in everyday lives

On the day we celebrate our independence, lets also recognize the power of the Consitution and our freedoms, which can be seen each day in the actions of our neighbors.

MU basketball camps see increased numbers

Unlike other camps in the area, MU basketball camps have seen an increase in the number of participants because of many factors, most notably the success of the team last season.

What's open? What's closed in Columbia for holiday weekend?

City announces schedule of Independence Day closings of city offices and services.

GUEST COLUMN: Bond issue a good investment for Missouri

Rep. Chris Kelly explains why he thinks a bond issue to raise money for capital improvements is the right step for Missouri to take.

Les Bourgeois Vineyards to host fireworks show

Les Bourgeois Vineyards will host a Fourth of July celebration from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, with a free fireworks show and music by Jack Tar.

For some Columbians, fireworks are a way of life

For some Columbia fireworks merchants, it's the Fourth of July year-round.

'TNT' triathletes fundraise in Columbia to benefit cancer research

Seven Columbia residents are part of a "Team In Training" that is raising money to participate in a triathlon this September to benefit research for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. 

Family fireworks stand in Columbia closes for first time in 33 years

 Despite the stand's closure this year, the family plans to reopen and expand next year.

Missouri insurance department helps return nearly $6 million to customers

In the first half of 2009, the state's insurance department has assisted in returning nearly $6 million dollars to customers from insurance companies.

City Council to discuss Roots 'N' Blues ticketing at next meeting

The Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival is coming back to Columbia in September, this time with some additional costs to cover last year's losses.

Columbia literacy, math coaches look to new roles after budget cuts

With their remaining positions eliminated in Columbia School Board's 2009-10 budget, the district's literacy and math coaches prepare for their next step.

Teachers seek alternatives after Columbia School Board boots field trip budget

The elimination of the elementary and middle schools' field trip budgets won't prohibit schools from planning field trips, but classes will now have to find alternative funding sources, such as the PTA, which already sponsors trips.

Today's Question: Can the Columbia School Board maintain educational values and large-scale budget cuts?

How should the Columbia school board handle large-scale budget cuts while preserving and improving the education system?

Columbia home invasion suspect to be tried as adult

Austin J. Hammers, 16, is to be tried as an adult on suspicion of two armed robberies that took place in April and May.

Vets recommend safety measures when dealing with pets, firecrackers

Fireworks are dangerous on many levels — especially for pets — and pet owners are encouraged to take safety measures to protect their furry friends.

Filing: Teen faces rape charge in connection with Columbia incident

Joshua Cortez Dent, 19, was charged Tuesday with forcible rape after his Saturday arrest. Another teenager also was arrested in connection with that incident.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri approved for tax credits

The youth mentoring program received $85,000 in tax credits from the Missouri Department of Economic Development on June 30.