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Chase Bond, 4, of Ferguson gets a haircut from Deyana Williams of the Elaine Steven Beauty College Saturday, July 25, 2015 in Forestwood Park during the Day of Hope outreach fair.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Cars lined the street leading to Forestwood Park in Ferguson Saturday for a resource fair organized by a faith-based non-profit that specializes in disaster relief and outreach to the poor.

Convoy of Hope’s “Day of Hope” provided a free meal and a kid’s carnival to anyone who stopped by the park, along with health screenings, haircuts, and other goods and services.

Missouri State Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, announced he was resigning from office on Friday evening.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Facing heavy pressure from some of his party's top officials, state Sen. Paul LeVota announced Friday night that he was resigning from his seat.

In an announcement posted to his Facebook page, the Democrat from Independence cited "media attention" as being a "distraction from doing the people's work." The Missouri Senate detailed sexual harassment and retaliation allegations in a report released on Wednesday.

Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 5:26 p.m., July 24 - It appears that the University of Central Missouri is siding with one of its students over allegations that she was sexually harassed by State Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, while working for him as an intern earlier this year.

When copper piping like this is stolen, it can be costly to replace.
via Flickr/nectarous

After receiving approval from both the Illinois House and Senate, a bill to form a task force to find solutions for metal theft has been signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner.  It goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

In a statement Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea announced Friday that he would be a member of the task force.

Original story from February 15, 2015:

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A decade after their last successful effort, Missouri backers of a higher minimum wage believe that 2016 may finally be their year for a successful replay.

“The ground is shifting really quickly in this country around the minimum wage,’’ said Lara Granich, Missouri director for the St. Louis-based group called Jobs With Justice. “The momentum is really growing, month by month.”

OnMessage Inc.

Another Republican has tossed his hat in the ring for Missouri attorney general.

Josh Hawley is a 35-year-old associate law professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Sen. McCaskill's Flickr Page

While it’s being called the “highway bill,” the U.S. Senate's plan has far more than funding for road and bridge projects. Among the provisions not specifically related to the six-year highway plan and its three years of guaranteed funding for maintenance and construction projects are two backed by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Regional stakeholders and Citizens for Modern Transit members converse over breakfast before a presentation on funding the expansion of mass transit in St. Louis on Thursday, July 23, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 4:42 p.m. with more detail -Efforts to expand mass transit in the St. Louis region gained momentum Thursday with the release of a funding study and a call for public input on future transit lines.  But what project or projects to fund remains undecided. What's more, once a project has been identified, the odds of successfully funding it remains unclear due to reduced availability of federal funding and lack of state support for public transportation.

Wikimedia Commons

During the summer and fall of 1948, President Harry S. Truman’s risky journey toward a second term turned out to be one of his greatest campaigning decisions.

After a 31,000-mile train ride across the country and 352 speeches during what’s known as his “Whistle Stop Tour,” Truman won the presidential election against then New York Governor Thomas Dewey.

Phil White, author of “Whistle Stop: How 31,000 Miles of Train Travel, 352 Speeches, and a Little Midwest Gumption Saved the Presidency of Harry Truman,” chronicles Truman’s trip.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has promised to help get a contribution limit measure on next year's ballot. But other Democratic officials have promised such a move and haven't delivered.
Courtesy of Claire McCaskill's Flickr

You’ve planned the perfect vacation and painstakingly searched for the best on-line deal for a hotel room. After making your reservations you head out, confident that you’ve got a handle on your planned expenses, but once you arrive at your destination, you are confronted with a long list of “hotel fees” that weren’t disclosed on the website when you did your search.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says that’s a form of fraud. “To me that is deceptive, to me that is inappropriate and I believe that we need to take a look at this practice.”

Charlie Miller, this time hacking into the steering wheel of a Ford Escape.
(Courtesy Charlie Miller)

Hear our conversation with Miller here.

On a widely-shared video and article at Wired, a driver cruises down I-64 in a Jeep Cherokee. His air conditioning starts blasting — “I didn’t do that,” he says, half-smiling — and then the radio booms. “Perfect.” He nods in a perplexed sort of way. Wiper fluid shoots out — the wipers go nuts. He tries to shout over Kanye West: “I can’t see anything!”

Andre Anderson, the new interim chief of the Ferguson police department, listens as Mayor James Knowles announces his appointment to the job on July 22. City manager Ed Beasley is to Anderson's left.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

A 24-year veteran of the Glendale, Ariz., police department will take the reins in Ferguson for the next six months.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles announced Wednesday that Andre Anderson, who has led Glendale's Criminal Investigations Division, will take over the 50-officer Ferguson department on July 23. He'll have the job for six months, replacing Al Eickhoff, who took over after former chief Thomas Jackson resigned in March.

Stadium task force co-chair Dave Peacock presents revised stadium plan to the Missouri Development Finance Board. The stadium project is asking for $15 million in tax breaks this year and plans to ask for $17.5 million each in 2016 and 2017.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Development Finance Board is mulling over a revised plan to build a new NFL stadium in St. Louis.

The new plan would use $50 million in tax credits, spread out over three years. The task force appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon presented the revised plan before the state finance board Tuesday. Co-chair Dave Peacock says they hope to have approval before NFL owners meet this fall.

(via Flickr/Michael Velardo)

In St. Louis County, 36 people have died from a heroin overdose this year. Although the number is a 23 percent decrease from the 47 fatalities reported last June, there is still much to overcome.

Casey Lambert, a detective with the St. Louis County Police Department Bureau of Drug Enforcement, explained that raising awareness and reaching the right crowd is difficult. Many of the citizens who succumb to heroin addiction are often teens and young adults.

Attorney General Chris Koster, left, and Missouri Sen. Tom Dempsey have announced separate investigations of Planned Parenthood operations in the state.
official photos

Underscoring the political power of the abortion issue in Missouri, Attorney General Chris Koster’s announcement that he has “opened an investigation into whether Planned Parenthood clinics in Missouri have violated state law” touched off a series of actions on both sides.

Mike Jones
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking podcast duo welcomes veteran Democrat Mike Jones as this week’s guest for a particularly lively show that focuses on education and black leadership.

A graduate of Beaumont High School and UMSL, Jones currently sits on the state Board of Education.

National Institutes of Health

A federal appeals court has resurrected a St. Louis area legislator’s battle against the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that insurance cover birth control.

Last year, a lower court had tossed out state Sen. Paul Wieland’s suit against several federal agencies over the requirement. But the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in St. Louis, ruled Monday that Wieland’s suit can proceed.

St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby, D-University City, wants to raise the county's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Weeks after St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger appeared to shut the door on a minimum wage increase, his chief rival on the county council is angling to bring the issue back into the forefront.

Councilwoman Hazel Erby said in a press release on Monday that she has requested legislation increasing the minimum wage in St. Louis County. The University City Democrat said that she wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years.

William Woods, the special agent in charge of the St. Louis office of the FBI, announces the Mission SAVE task force with chief Sam Dotson (L) and Mayor Francis Slay (R) Flanked by St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson.
UPI | Bill Greenblatt

One hundred five people have been killed in St. Louis so far this year, putting the city on pace for nearly 200 homicides in 2015. Many more than that have been shot or put in danger of being shot.

Now, city officials are looking to a new local-federal task force to slow the pace of violence in the city.

Missouri state Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, during the most recent legislative session
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Another Republican is jumping into next year’s race for Missouri governor.

Bob Dixon currently represents Springfield and parts of Green County in the Missouri Senate, having first been elected to the 30th District seat in 2010 and re-elected last year. Before that he served four terms in the Missouri House.

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