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Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

Department of Justice sues Ferguson over civil rights violations

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, alleging widespread constitutional violations in how it polices its residents. "The residents of Ferguson have waited nearly a year for their city to adopt an agreement that would protect their rights and keep them safe," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday at a news conference. "We intend to aggressively prosecute this case, and we intend to win."
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Bundesarchiv Bild | Wikimedia Commons

Lithuanian-American young adult author Ruta Sepetys has known her whole life of the trials faced by refugees fleeing war. Her father fled from Lithuania when the Soviets occupied the country following World War II and spent nine years in refugee camps before he was able to come to the United States.

Eric Greitens, who is seeking the GOP nomination for governor, opened a campaign office in Crestwood earlier this week. Feb. 8 2016
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

For all the months of declarations and endorsements, the campaign season really gets underway when candidates begin opening their field offices, and their first TV ads hit the airwaves. The season also often kicks off with a broadside attack.

This week, all three happened.

Vita Kryvoruchko is the resident grandmaster for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Nicole Halpin | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hosted the 8th Annual Metro St. Louis Tournament on Feb. 6. I was very glad to participate in the event, which was the first time I played in the Chess Club. Every section played in different rooms, which was good because it was quiet and comfortable. The Master’s section had eight strong players: two grandmasters, three international masters and myself, a woman grandmaster.

Volunteers got a chance to enjoy drinks and snacks and socialize while volunteering at Operation Food Search's December Rap N Pack event.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Not all of the food at Operation Food Search one evening last December was going to needy families.

Rather, some were appetizers to be paired with wine and beer and enjoyed by the volunteers at the University City-based food bank, as part of its "Rap N Pack" event that mixes socializing with volunteering.

Laverne Mitchom stands with Mayor James Knowles III and her new fellow council members after Tuesday's meeting.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After a delay caused by a split vote last month, the Ferguson city council has unanimously appointed Laverne Mitchom to fill the open council position left by the death of Brian Fletcher on Jan. 10.

Mitchom is an African-American counselor with 30 years’ experience working for St. Louis’ voluntary school desegregation program, where she developed skills she says she plans to transfer to her role as councilwoman.

(WhiteHouse.gov video screen capture)
(WhiteHouse.gov video screen capture)

The Missouri House is thumbing its nose at President Obama. The Republican-controlled chamber passed a resolution Wednesday asking Congress to reject his recent executive order requiring tighter gun control measures.

The order, issued last month, contains more than 20 actions. They include requiring all businesses that sell guns to be licensed and requiring them to conduct background checks on buyers at gun shows and over the internet.

Poet and spoken word artist Cheeraz Gormon has felt great pain.

She grew up in the north St. Louis neighborhood of College Hill and remembers what it was like to hear the first gun shots ring out in her neighborhood in the late 1980s and the gang wars that erupted thereafter. She remembers when her brother, six weeks home from Kuwait, was murdered in Olivette. She remembers, most recently, when her baby brother was murdered on August 13, 2013, defending a woman who was the victim of domestic abuse. She most certainly remembers years of systemic racism she faced as an executive in the advertising industry and daily life as a black woman and activist.

But Gormon has also approached this pain with great love: a fuel for her poetry and spoken word performances that are capturing the hearts and minds of people around St. Louis.

Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A bill that would have abolished Missouri's death penalty has unofficially become the first bill to die during the 2016 legislative session.

Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, is Senate Bill 816's sponsor. He told reporters he knows there aren't enough votes in the Senate to abolish the death penalty, but calls Monday's debate on the floor a victory in itself.

Co-founder of Just Moms STL Karen Nickel (at podium) said her group has the support of Missouri's U.S. Senate representatives in their efforts to meet with the EPA.
Just Moms STL | Facebook

An activist group of St. Louis area moms concerned about underground smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill plans to picket outside the Environmental Protection Agency's Washington, D.C. offices on Wednesday.

Missouri and Illinois have some similar gun laws, but several areas where they diverge.
M Glasgow | Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a state law that bans all felons -- even those convicted of nonviolent crimes -- from possessing a weapon.

"Missouri's constitution does not prohibit the legislature from restricting nonviolent felons' right to possess firearms," judge Laura Denvir Stith wrote for the five-judge majority in one of three opinions on the issue released Tuesday. "Section 571.070.1 survived strict scrutiny review under the prior version of article I, section 23, and this Court already has held that Amendment 5 did not substantially change article I, section 23. The statutory bar is valid."

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St. Louis on the Air

Thursday: Curious Louis — what’s happening with Sugar Loaf Mound?

Kyle Reynolds asked: What's the history and current status of Sugar Loaf Mound? "St. Louis on the Air" will provide the answer with two experts.

A Prairie Home Companion Live

Don’t miss your opportunity to see Garrison Keillor perform!

St. Louis Public Radio's advance tickets are sold out. Fox Box Office sales begin Jan. 22 for the June 18 performance. Sponsored by SSM Health-SLU Hospital.

Curious Louis voting

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