FROM READERS: Photos of stormy skies, cowbirds and toadstools

John Hall prefers to take pictures, not be in them. This week he shares his thoughts on photographs of ominous skies, baby birds and toadstools in his front lawn. He also laments about a less than flattering pose captured in a picture that went with a feature article about his effort to preserve the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri Baseball League.

FROM READERS: Oakland Junior High School artists show their works at downtown galleries

As part of the 28th Annual Partners In Education Week, Oakland Junior High School students from Jody Spriggs' classes display their artwork at galleries in downtown.

FROM READERS: Sen. Danforth, Westminster graduate meet again after 20 years

Christopher Ghan met Missouri U.S. Senator Jack Danforth in 1992 as a small child, but 20 years later they met up again at Ghan's college graduation ceremony May 5.

FROM READERS: A reflection of war

Monir Shababi shares her reflections on the luckiest day of her life, when she survived a bombing during the Iran-Iraq war in January 1987. 

SHOW ME THE RECORDS: The new Comprehensive Plan updates

Columbia residents can find out the latest updates about the process of the city's new comprehensive plan, Columbia Imagined.

After breakout season, Blues break down in playoffs

The St. Louis Blues were the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, and the top team still standing. Hopes were high for a deep Stanley Cup run, but they never got comfortable against the Los Angeles Kings.

UPDATE: Health care for veterans, blind tied up in Missouri budget

Funding for blind health care, some autism services and a portion of the state's tourism marketing are dependent upon the passage of a separate bill creating a dedicated funding source for state veterans' homes.

Middlebrooks powers Red Sox to 11-5 win at Royals

Will Middlebrooks homered down each of the lines, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia also went deep, and the Boston Red Sox pounded the Kansas City Royals 11-5 on Monday night to snap a five-game losing streak.

Pujols hits first home run with Angels

The $240 million slugger finally hit a home run for the Los Angeles Angels, ending the longest power drought of his career Sunday in a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Missouri bill is a bad bet for gamblers

Casinos want to be able to make loans to their patrons, thus allowing people to gamble with borrowed money.

Marinatto resigns as Big East commissioner, blames pressure

Former Miami Dolphins CEO Joseph Bailey III will serve as interim commissioner. The search for a permanent replacement will be chaired by Gregory Williams, the president of the University of Cincinnati and a member of the Big East executive committee.

Highway deaths per mile fall to record low

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's early estimate indicated 32,310 traffic fatalities in 2011, the lowest number in more than 60 years.

ABC, Univision teaming for news network in English aimed at Latinos

The venture is aimed at Latinos born in the United State who prefer to get their news in English. The network will begin offering online content this summer and be on television next year.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: General Assembly takes small but important step toward prison reform

There is still much to be done to correct Missouri's prisons, but the new bill will save money and reduce prison populations in an effective way.

Column: Goodell better have goods on 'bad' Saints

The punishment doled out in response to the Saints bounty program ought to have compelling evidence to prove it was organized and vicious. If that's not the case, the punishment has already exceeded the crime.

Tony Stewart takes shots at Talladega, current state of NASCAR

By Tony Stewart's standards, his tongue-in-cheek assessment of NASCAR's latest wreckfest at Talladega was tame stuff. But his four-minute Q&A following Sunday's race was vintage Smoke, and boy did he deliver.

NY boy wants to stay on girls field hockey squad

A 13-year-old New York boy who played field hockey growing up in Ireland has been told that after two years as a member of the Southampton High School girls' team, he is now too skilled to qualify for an exemption allowing him to compete with girls next season.

Missouri budget negotiators back 2 percent pay raise

State employees earning up to $70,000 a year qualify for the pay raise. More than 54,000 employees would qualify, which includes nearly 97 percent of the workforce.

Washington University to study concussions in young athletes

Researchers will focus on about 1,000 athletes ages 10 to 18 and will follow them for 10 to 15 years in effort to understand the long-term impact of head injuries.

Missouri lawmakers seek to let young drivers ride with older friends, relatives

The legislation would allow teens with temporary permits to drive with licensed drivers who are at least 25 and have written permission from the teen's parent.