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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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Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III answers question from reporters following Tuesday's city council meeting.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Department of Justice on Wednesday filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, alleging widespread constitutional violations in its police department and municipal courts.

The suit came less than 24 hours after the Ferguson City Council voted to attach conditions to a consent decree that would have eliminated the need for a lawsuit.

Ferguson's decision raised a number of questions about what comes next. We tackled a few of them here.

Peabody Energy Logo
Peabody Energy

Updated 12:49 p.m., Feb. 11 with Peabody Energy's earnings report - St. Louis-based Peabody Energy is  still speaking with creditors and is open to more asset sales as it deals with huge debt and a deep industry downturn. It is reporting a full-year loss of slightly more than $2 billion, compared to a loss of less than half that for 2014.

Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kellow says Peabody has made several moves to improve its financial picture, include selling operations in New Mexico and Colorado, but more needs to be done.

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.

UMSL Chancellor Tom George joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss financial issues at the university and what's in the works going forward.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

University of Missouri-St. Louis Chancellor Tom George is under pressure. This year, the school must find a way to fill a $15 million-sized hole in the budget — and that means layoffs. Who or how many will be laid off remains to be seen.

In November, George announced that instead of seeing a 2 percent increase in enrollment, the university actually saw an enrollment decrease of about four percent and that was the root cause of the shortfall.

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.

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St. Louis on the Air

Friday: Behind the Headlines — What is going on in Ferguson?

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh will discuss what is happening with the Ferguson consent decree with the reporters and editors covering the issue.

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.

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