Michael Brown | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Brown

Emanuele Berry, Patricia Bynes and the Rev. F. Willis Johnson discuss Ferguson with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Dec. 31, 2014, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Mary Edwards / St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson has emerged as the top local (and national) story of the year. 

The Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson has raised questions about policing, poverty, government policy and funding, and safety. But some of the biggest questions have been about race and equality.

Protesters march down West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson earlier this year.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Plans are moving forward to spruce up West Florissant Avenue, the site of intense protests that followed Michael Brown’s shooting death.

Roughly $2.5 million will go toward preliminary engineering on the Dellwood and Ferguson portions of the street. The ultimate aim is to incorporate pedestrian friendly elements – such as new sidewalks and bike lanes – into a 2.6 mile stretch of the road between I-270 and the Buzz Westfall Shopping Center.

Former Ferguson Mayor Brian Fletcher holds a big $50,000 check symbolizing a $50,000 donation to Reinvest North County. Fletcher's group -- I Love Ferguson -- raised the money through selling t-shirts, mugs and hats.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been a few months since a group called I Love Ferguson started selling T-shirts, mugs and hats aimed at boosting the beleaguered town.

Since then, former Ferguson Mayor Brian Fletcher said the committee’s wares have been sold worldwide.

“We’ve shipped shirts to the United Kingdom, Italy and France. Our products are in 33 different countries,” said Fletcher, who is part of the I Love Ferguson committee. “They’ve been sent by relatives or they’ve been picked up at the I Love Ferguson store and brought back to those countries.”

Missouri State Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Just after the sun set on Nov. 24 — the day that then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s fate would be disclosed to the world — Missouri's Gov. Jay Nixon faced a throng of reporters at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

Appearing before cameras that would simulcast his words across the globe, the Democratic governor talked  at length about how law enforcement officials were ready to respond to the grand jury’s decision. 

Attorney General Chris Koster said the fragmented nature of St. Louis may inhibit long-term growth -- and may make policy change stemming from the Ferguson unrest difficult.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In the limbo between Michael Brown’s death and the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the state of the Ferguson Police Department became something of a national obsession.  

Attorney General Chris Koster announced the lawsuit in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is suing 13 St. Louis County municipalities for violating a state law that caps the percentage of ticket revenue that can be in a city’s budget. 

The statute in question – known as the “Mack’s Creek” law – stipulates that traffic fines and court costs can only comprise less than 30 percent of a city’s budget. Anything in excess has to go to schools.

Protesters sit on the steps of St. Louis City Hall, as locked metal grilles bar the doors at a protest on Dec. 17, 2014
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

About 50 protesters who marched to St. Louis City Hall Wednesday were greeted with locked metal grilles barring the doors.  For approximately two hours, employees were unable to go in or out, and residents hoping to pick up paperwork were turned away.  

Protesters briefly blocked traffic at the intersection of Tucker Blvd. and Market St., before they were ordered to the sidewalk by police. Then, about 25 laid down in front of City Hall for a ‘die in,’ while others sat nearby.

Better Together’s Dave Leipholtz, Washington University law school professor Mae Quinn and Thomas Harvey of the Arch City Defenders speak at Monday's Ferguson Commission meeting.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Since the unrest in Ferguson began in early August, curbing the power of municipal courts has become a focal point for policymakers from across the political spectrum. 

But at Monday’s meeting of the Ferguson Commission at St. Louis University’s Il Monastero, Maryland Heights resident Dan Hyatt brought the issue home.

The IT professional told commissioners how he was put in jail in Breckenridge Hills for three hours after a disagreement over whether he stopped at a stop sign. He said it was a galvanizing experience.

'St. Louis on the Air' legal roundtable members discuss law issues on Dec. 15, 2014, at St. Louis Public Radio. From left, Don Marsh, 'St. Louis on the Air' host; William Freivogel, professor at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale's Paul Simon Publ
Rebecca Smith / St. Louis Public Radio

Many people are unhappy with a grand jury’s decision not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, and the St. Louis County prosecutor’s handling of the case.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announces on Nov 24, 2014, that the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson on any of five counts that were presented to it.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch released more grand jury testimony in the case of former Ferguson police office Darren Wilson on Saturday, including the law enforcement interview with Dorian Johnson, who was with Michael Brown when he was killed in August.

Protest organizer Juliette Iacovino shouts into a bullhorn.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

WASHINGTON -- Thousands took to the streets Saturday in cities across the country for a so-called “National Day of Resistance” to protest the decision of grand juries not to indict police officers for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York.

The "Carnival of Injustice" marched through downtown St. Louis.
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

The “Carnival of Injustice” marched through downtown St. Louis Friday morning, making stops at City Hall and the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. courthouse – both of which were locked and guarded by law enforcement officers.

More than 30 people gathered at Kiener Plaza, and the crowd was very diverse.

Universal African People's Organization leader Zaki Baruti (left) and African People's Socialist Party leader Omali Yeshitela.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Activists connected to the Leadership Coalition for Justice (formerly called the Justice for Mike Brown Leadership Coalition) and the African People’s Socialist Party announced Friday that they are convening a symbolic grand jury in January to decide for themselves whether former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson should be charged with a crime for killing Michael Brown.

Michael Castro
Ros Crenshaw

Updated to include Michael Castro's poetry and interview audio, and reaction from poet Shirley Bradford LeFlore.

Except for dotting the “i’s” and crossing a “t” or two, St. Louis has its first official poet.

Jonathon Pulphus leads protesters in song as theater goers cross the sidewalk to see Annie on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Theater-goers attending Annie Sunday afternoon were serenaded by two dozen protesters outside the entrance to Fox Theatre.

The demonstrators sang modified versions of songs from Annie, including “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow,” as theater-goers, many with children, passed by on their way to see the musical. 

Aaron Dickerson paints St. Louis cityscape on the plywood covering the windows of an auto parts shop in Dellwood on Saturday, December 6, 2014.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

More than 30 businesses in Ferguson and Dellwood now have artwork covering their windows instead of ordinary plywood.

Inspired by the artistic efforts of friends on South Grand, Tom Halaska organized the “Paint for Peace” project to coordinate volunteers, donated supplies and businesses in north St. Louis County that wanted to participate.

Halaska, who owns the Art Bar on Cherokee Street, said he wanted to bring people together in a positive way.

Eugenia Alexander, left, and Edna Patterson-Petty
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting, the saying goes. And in the case of East St. Louis’ Edna Patterson-Petty and her granddaughter Eugenia Alexander, the frosting is artistically done.

Patterson-Petty is a fiber artist and art therapist. Alexander grew up enamored by her grandmother’s work, which includes an art quilt made for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

After a Thanksgiving hiatus, the Politically Speaking podcast team is back in the saddle. And this week, we welcome state Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis, who will be the new Senate minority leader when the General Assembly goes back into session in January. 

Keaveny – a lawyer and the 28th Ward Democratic committeeman -- also chairs the Senate’s Democratic campaign arm. He has been in the Missouri Senate since late 2009, when he won a special election to fill an unexpired term. He won re-election on Nov. 4.

Former Ferguson Mayor Will Seek City Council Seat

Dec 4, 2014
Committee chairman and former mayor Brian Fletcher talks with a resident and a volunteer about the "I Love Ferguson" new store that will sell items including the logo-bearing T-shirts.
Stephanie Lecci / St. Louis Public Radio

Former two-term Ferguson Mayor Brian Fletcher said Thursday that he’s seeking a City Council seat in April's election.

“I do plan on coming back. I plan to run for 2nd Ward in City Council, and I would be proud to serve the people in Ferguson if they’ll have me again,” Fletcher told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh.

Fletcher served as the city’s mayor from 2005 to 2011. He spent 16 years as a Democratic committeeman, and served on the Ferguson-Florissant School District’s board.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Dec. 2, 2014, at St. Louis Public Radio.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Since August, many people have been asking who’s in charge in Ferguson. Add James Knowles, the city’s mayor, to that list.

In an interview Tuesday with “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh, Knowles said he was kept out of the loop on state and regional efforts, including security and leadership decisions.

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