A heinous crime kicks off another potboiler by Tim Johnston, who captivated fans with “Descent.” In Johnston’s new book, “The Current,” close friends Caroline Price and Audrey Sutter, students at a southern college, are accosted at a gas station not far from their Minnesota destination.

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Every year, Girl Scout members all across America participate and sponsor events to develop leadership skills. To further those leadership roles and engage in a friendly competition, the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri held their third annual “Powder Puff Derby” on Jan. 5 at Immanuel Lutheran.

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Color. That’s what Tim Judge was looking for when he went to his garage last year to select a painting from his collection for the 2018 MetroScapes contest that features local artwork in bus shelters around the St. Louis metro area.

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There were a couple of dissenters at the Washington Public Library’s Wednesday Book Club meeting in December.

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A little more than a year ago, if you had asked 22-year-old Taylor Leone about pickleball, she would have said that it was a sport her parents, Sheryl and Jerry Leone, Union, played for fun and fitness, but not one that she would ever be drawn to play, much less think of as competitive.

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The first divorce case in Franklin County was heard in 1819 — the same year the county was officially established.

Sandwiched in between two tours in Vietnam, Jim Buchanan, owner of the NAPA Auto Parts stores in Washington and Union, had a front row seat to history 50 years ago this week.

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Not long after Christmas 2017 had passed, Linda Saunders already was thinking about Christmas 2018 and what kind of gingerbread house she would make for the annual contest sponsored by B&J Printing in Downtown Washington.

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As a fifth-grader at New Haven Elementary School, Henry Vedder isn’t the typical Missourian reader, but he reads it every day. At school, it’s part of his daily English and reading lessons. At home, he reads it for fun and information.

Kali the polar bear looked quite cozy sleeping outside in his pen at the Saint Louis Zoo one evening last week. By contrast, families walking past him as they followed the path of the annual U.S. Bank Wild Lights display were bundled up with coats, hats and gloves to stay warm.

St. Nick, the saint of children and sailors, pays a visit to little ones this week, spreading his message of light and kindness by gifting them with treats and toys. Before we know it, Santa will follow in the saint’s footsteps, happily heft his pack into his sleigh, call out his trusty rein…

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Organizers of the annual Festival of Trees at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Washington didn’t need anyone to tell them the event was special and beautiful. They could see that for themselves.

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Back in 1936, the opening of the first vehicle bridge over the Missouri River at Washington was such a monumental event that Mayor Fred Ruether declared a half-day holiday. He issued a proclamation requesting all businesses to close up shop by noon Thursday, May 28, so everyone could attend …

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Jill Terschluse can’t help but smile when she sees the sign her husband made for the storage room door where they keep their Christmas decor: “Warning, contents in this room will make you happy.”

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The 4 to 8 inches of snow that fell across Franklin County last week delighted schoolchildren like it was Christmas morning. The nine reindeer living on a farm in Robertsville felt the same way.

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Paige Babbs has never wanted to be a wrestler herself, but she has a love for the sport that runs deep.

Touring the Gateway Extrusions Ltd. factory in the Union Industrial Park, big is a word that comes to mind over and over again — from the size of the plant to the size of the equipment to the size of many of the products.

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Roger Gildehaus didn’t go to college, at least not in the conventional sense, but he has found more success in business than he ever could have imagined.

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The 4-inch scar at the base of Cole Boland’s skull doesn’t seem to faze him much. Neither did his diagnosis with medulloblastoma, a fast-growing cancerous brain tumor that can spread through the cerebrospinal fluid to other locations on the surface of the brain and to the spinal cord, last January.

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Even before he and his wife bought the historic Thias house on Elm Street in Downtown Washington, Marc Houseman had heard stories that it was haunted. And after living in the house for several years now, he admits there are things they have heard (and smelled) that are unexplained.

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Missourians can take pride in the state’s role in the development of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. The 1968 act helped protect free-flowing rivers around the country for the enjoyment of future generations.

First off, I’m not going anywhere — not retiring, or moving or leaving our local newspaper. You will continue to see my byline as Newsbee or Chris in book columns in The Missourian. The only change is “Sights and Insights” is ending.

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Undefeated.

We all get busy. It’s a common lament. But in our hurry-hurry-rush-rush days we often overlook those who impact us in simple yet important ways. We give little thought to everyday things they do in their jobs that make our lives easier and more pleasant.

“Rivertowns: 100 Miles, 200 Years, Countless Stories,” the Nine Network special that taps into the social, natural and cultural changes in Missouri River communities over more than two centuries, will premiere on Channel 9 this Wednesday evening, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.

This week, I’ll be trekking up and down the steps to put away my summer things. The first to go will be the whites — because everyone knows you can’t wear white pants, shoes or carry a white purse after Labor Day.

Gina Vernaci has been promoted, effective Oct. 1, to the position of president and chief operating officer (COO) of Playhouse Square, a nonprofit performing arts center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Mr. and Mrs. Kirby and Debra Bliss of Union, along with Mr. and Mrs. Derrick and Donna Howard of Union, are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Sara Ann Howard, to Troy Robert Frick, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Julie Frick of New Haven.

In the back corner of the banquet room at Röbller Winery in New Haven, musicians who had pulled chairs into a circle for an impromptu jam session had drawn a crowd of people who were watching, tapping their toes and some even recording the performance with their smartphones.

An elementary student worries about college and what she wants to be. She wishes she could talk to her mom because she can’t quit obsessing about it. The girl is only a fourth-grader.

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