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Features

Russian pianist brings music to Columbia neighborhood

A Saint Petersburg State Conservatory-educated Russian refugee, Olga Koldobskiy, teaches piano and gives concerts in Columbia.

Glynn Thacker says airbrush painting is ticket to his sobriety

The Columbia resident has moved from troubled adolescent to member of an itinerant band to aimless hitchhiker, alcoholic, car thief and inmate. Now, he has a job the pays the bills, and he keeps busy by painting.

Avid cyclist racks up miles as Park Patrol volunteer on Columbia trails

As a volunteer for the Park Patrol, Chris Ingersoll watches over the Columbia trail system he uses for his daily 20-mile round trip commute to work.

Columbia Area Career Center students maintain milk crate gardens

Brook Harlan started a milk crate garden at the Columbia Area Career Center's Culinary Arts school to show students how to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables in almost any location.

Bill Busch's passion for scuba diving started early, never waned

Bill Busch has been a scuba diving instructor for 50 years. Teaching scuba diving has given him the opportunity to build strong relationships with his students, who often return to help with his class, even after they have become certified.

Columbia pastor balances two Sturgeon churches with declining memberships

Sturgeon was home to seven small churches two decades ago. Now, there are only three, and two of those have seen declining attendance among younger people.

Your True/False Film Fest Q-and-A guide

A user-friendly guide to the ins and outs of Columbia's renowned film festival.

Choir director celebrates 10 seasons with Missouri Symphony Conservatory Children's Chorus

Melissa Straw, who has been teaching for more than 20 years, began her music education career in the Southern Boone School District.

Born Just Right turns limb differences into a positive message

Jen Reeves, whose daughter Jordan was born with a left arm that stops just below the elbow, is determined to promote understanding about limb differences. 

Former state tourism director drives on all of Missouri back roads

It took John Robinson more than 10 years, 250,000 miles of road and 8,000 gallons of gas to cover all of the back roads of Missouri. He recounts his adventures in two books — the second was released in November.

Fish biologist Jeff Finley conserves endangered pallid sturgeon

There is no typical day for a fish biologist. One day, Finley might be in the field collecting fish samples for surveys. Another day, he is helping crews on the Missouri River with pallid sturgeon recovery. Sometimes he is in his office, completing paperwork.

Missionaries minister to international students at Christian Campus House

Retired missionaries Linda and Dennis Messimer minister to international students at the Christian Campus House. They spent 38 years abroad.

Columbia elementary school teacher takes a risk to start a family

Even as a little girl, Anna Kleinsorge knew she wanted her own children. When she hit 29, she decided she was done waiting. So she posted an ad on Craigslist and waited for her pay-as-you-go phone to ring. The response hasn't been quite what she had hoped for.

MU student publishes book documenting verbal and emotional abuse

MU student Alex Fischler published a book about verbal and emotional abuse and gives tips on how to heal.

Columbia resident adopts pay-it-forward lifestyle

Michele Spry pays it forward with random acts of kindness. She hopes to create a chain reaction of generosity through these acts.

CoMeow Kittens light up the local clubs with their go-go dancing

Go-go dancers such as the CoMeow Kittens are hired to dance on stage and hype up or entertain a crowd at clubs or raves. They engage the audience and add visuals to the music, Slavit said. She says they are performers, not eye candy.

Wooden cars, handmade by Columbia woodworkers, make children happy around the world

Most of the  woodworkers and other volunteers make the cars as part of a charitable act. The practice of making the cars started as a fulfillment of the woodworkers' association's motto of promoting quality woodworking in a safe way.

Pierpont Coffee Club keeps group of men together

The Pierpont Store Coffee Club meets every morning around 6:30 a.m., and members chat about their daily lives, sports, politics and anything else on their minds. On Wednesday, discussion revolved around repairing lawn mowers, the Cardinals' game and a friend's trip to Hannibal.

Flag procession part of MU International Day celebration

About 50 MU international students carried the flags of their home countries — which included China, Vietnam, Israel, Iran and Great Britain — Tuesday morning from Jesse Hall to Lowry Mall as part of MU International Day celebrations.

World War II airplanes visit Columbia Regional Airport

Non-profit Commemorative Air Force brought two World War II bombers for tours and rides to the Columbia Regional Airport on Saturday. 

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