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Top Stories

Editor's picks for the top news stories of the day.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley shares evidence included in a motion to dismiss Backpage's lawsuit against him.
File photo I Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 28 with name of attorney — Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said Monday he’ll hire outside help to investigate allegations of wrongdoing in connection with a civil lawsuit filed by the family of Anthony Lamar Smith.

Grandmaster Georg Meier from Germany eventually won the 2017 Fall Chess Classic, but not without a difficult battle.
Austin Fuller | Saint Louis Chess Club

The 2017 Fall Chess Classic brought together strong grandmasters from all over the world. The tournament, which has the goal of providing experience and training opportunities to collegiate students, as well as for the American women’s team, was a huge success. Despite the ongoing FIDE World Cup, which just finished in Tbilisi, Georgia, the event attracted a serious amount of attention from around the globe.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

At a free drop-in clinic for sexually transmitted disease screening in Pine Lawn, just north of St. Louis, people wait outside the door before the doors open at 8 a.m. That’s because the spots usually fill up in about an hour.

“I’d be more concerned if it didn’t fill up,” said Dr. Fred Echols, director of communicable disease for the St. Louis Department of Public Health.  “I definitely think we’re moving the needle.”

September 22, 2017 photo. Some Oktoberfest revelers in St. Charles' Frontier Park weren't happy to see protesters in a Sept. 22 demonstration.
Ryan Delaney| St. Louis Public Radio

People protesting daily against what they see as systemic police violence against African-Americans aren’t the only St. Louis-area residents who say they want to be heard.

Many white residents don’t support the protests. They can’t understand why demonstrators are pinning their protests to the not-guilty verdict for Jason Stockley, a white, former St. Louis police officer who shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, in 2011. Smith was 24.

Missouri Eastern Correctional Center
File photo | Katelyn Mae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Department of Corrections allegedly retaliates against prisoners who file complaints against prison guards and other officials, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Filed in St. Louis County Court by the MacArthur Justice Center at St. Louis, the lawsuit claims inmates who file complaints regularly have their cells searched, are denied privacy for telephone calls and lawyer visits and, in some cases, are transferred to facilities greater distances away from their families.

Flight board lambert airport
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern

Passengers at St. Louis Lambert International Airport are on the verge of getting more time to surf the internet for free. A plan to increase the cap on daily Wi-Fi access is expected to go into effect next month, pending approval by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

The bill making its way through City Hall increases the free daily limit to an hour, instead of the current 20 minutes. The change has been prompted by travelers, who want more time online before they have to start paying.

Police dressed in riot gear gathered on Tucker Boulevard on Sept. 15, the day Jason Stockley was acquitted of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Updated Sept. 27 with response from St. Louis officials — The City of St. Louis has asked the federal government to help with an independent investigation into two lawsuits and several complaints stemming from police response to protests that followed the acquittal of Jason Stockley, Mayor Lyda Krewson and interim Police Chief Larry O’Toole said Wednesday.

In a statement, the two said the investigation would focus on police conduct during the protests since the Sept. 15 decision, the dozen “grievances” filed with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division and the two federal lawsuits.

A protester stands in front of a line of St. Louis Police officers on Sept. 15, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As the days of demonstrations over Jason Stockley’s acquittal go on, protesters in St. Louis are outlining the policy changes they say will help create a more equitable justice system and police department.

The main demands involve giving St. Louis and St. Louis County police additional training, equipment and oversight — things that were proposed after a Ferguson officer shot Michael Brown in 2014 but never enacted. That’s because most bills required changes to state law, and the GOP-controlled General Assembly didn’t go for it.

University City resident Kristine Hendrix speaks at a meeting of the St. Louis County Council. Sept. 26, 2017
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Some members of the St. Louis County Council want an outside agency to investigate how police handled protests on Saturday at the Saint Louis Galleria.

That was the conclusion after hearing the concerns of nearly 30 speakers at Tuesday’s council meeting in Clayton. It comes as protests continued on Tuesday over Jason Stockley’s acquittal of first-degree murder charges in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith.

An Amtrak train approaches the Kirkwood train station as officers hand out railway safety information on Sept. 26, 2017.
Chelsea Hoye | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Local, state, and federal transportation departments have teamed up with local police, Amtrak and the nonprofit organization Operation Lifesaver in a week-long campaign to warn against trespassing on railroad tracks.

This project’s goal is to reduce the number of deaths by train across the United States. Police enforcement is stationed across the nation in places where high numbers of vehicle or trespassing deaths have taken place.

According to the new study, a woman's weight before her first pregnancy may have long-term effects.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases | National Institutes of Health

Intense stress faced by new moms can also affect the emotional development of their baby. That's a good reason to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income mothers, a St. Louis child psychiatrist argued Tuesday.

“If you want to have healthy infants, you have to have healthy caregivers,” Dr. Cynthia Rogers told an assembly of physicians at Washington University. “And the preterm brain is particularly vulnerable.”

Barge traffic along the Mississippi plays a key role in the U.S. economy.
File photo

Some heavy equipment is pounding away this week at the rock in a section of the Mississippi River south of St. Louis. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the removal is essential to keeping cargo moving along the river. Crews are working this week at Thebes, Illinois, near Cape Girardeau.

Shipping on the Mississippi is vital to the U.S. economy. A Corps spokesman said more than 100 million tons of cargo, including 60 percent of the nation's agricultural exports, move along the river every year. And the engineers have a responsibility to keep the shipping channel at least 9-feet deep and 300-feet wide.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

A convoy of 60 vintage military vehicles idled on the parking lot at Six Flags St. Louis in Eureka last Wednesday, ready to roll at sunrise.  

But first, the convoy paused for the National Anthem.

These can-do jeeps, ambulances and trucks were parked here overnight, while the drivers slept at nearby hotels and campgrounds. The vehicles were built to transport soldiers and supplies during World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars. Now, they’re vehicles of history, owned by members of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, an organization of nearly 10,000 collectors.

Protesters marched through downtown St. Louis silently on Monday night. They wore blue tape over their mouths to represent "blue silence." Sept 25, 2017
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Protesters introduced a new demand Monday night: that St. Louis’ interim police chief step down immediately.

Their call for Interim Chief Larry O’Toole to leave the department’s head post comes more than a week into daily protests against a judge’s decision to acquit former officer Jason Stockley, who is white, in the 2011 fatal shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man.

A wind turbine.
Provided by Ameren Missouri

Missouri's largest utility company announced plans today that could dramatically reduce its impact on the environment. 

Ameren Missouri released multiple goals it hopes to achieve, which include adding 700 megawatts of wind power generation by 2020, along with 100 megawatts of solar power by 2027. Company leaders are speaking to developers about a potential wind farm project and hope to provide more details by the end of this year.

Marjorie Theodore on Monday gives her account of the police response to protests at the St. Louis Galleria, where er son was among 22 arrested on Saturday. (Sept. 25, 2017)
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Marjorie Theodore and her son were among protesters at the St. Louis Galleria on Saturday.

She said the protest was just wrapping up and they were celebrating with chants and clapping when she said she heard something garbled. Within seconds Theodore said a whistle blew and police moved in on the protesters. Her 33-year-old son was among the first arrested.

“Clearly the police took a peaceful situation and committed violence on it,” she said. “That would be called a police riot and the violence continued and continued.”

Second-grade students at Koch Elementary School in the Riverview Gardens school district listen to a book reading Thursday.
File photo | Ryan Delaney / St. Louis Public Radio

A new, voluntary version of the Riverview Gardens’ school transfer program is serving just a fraction of the students enrolled the year before.

Although Riverview is no longer legally obligated to pay for students to attend other school districts, it made arrangements with several schools to let students remain where they are for up to four years.

But with fewer districts participating on the receiving end and no bus transportation, the new program is serving a quarter of the students who were enrolled last school year.

Amazon is searching for a second corporate headquarters to go along with its operation in Seattle. The current headquarters campus in that city includes 33 buidlings covering 8.1 million square feet.
Amazon.com/pr

With St. Louis and St. Clair County planning to jump into the battle to become Amazon's second North American headquarters, many people are asking if the region has a legitimate shot to land an anticipated 50,000 jobs. Bigger cities including Chicago, Boston and Toronto have also shown interest, but the author of what might be the definitive book on how Amazon does business believes it's too soon to rule out any potential location.

A sunset at the Great Rivers National Wildlife Refuge in Annada, Mo.
Carmen Cortelyou | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Great River National Wildlife Refuge in Annada, Missouri,  is acquiring two islands on the Mississippi River to protect wildlife and provide more areas for outdoor recreation. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given $677,500 to the refuge in northeast Missouri, a portion of $21.9 million the U.S. Department of the Interior dedicated to conserving public lands in 16 states. A family near the river used to farm on the 702-acre property, called Slim and Haps Islands, but stopped as flooding increased along the Mississippi River.

Steve Bannon blasted Republican leaders Sunday for not supporting President Donald Trump.  "They’re not conservatives, they are liberals. And that is what we’ve got to fight every day," he said.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon contended Sunday that President Donald Trump’s biggest political enemy is “a corrupt and incompetent Republican establishment” that’s out to kill his chief objectives.

Speaking at a conservative gathering in St. Louis, Bannon asserted that Republican leaders in Washington have “not had any support for [Trump’s] populist, nationalist, conservative message; his populist, nationalist, conservative ideas; his populist, conservative nationalist programs.”

More than a hundred protesters marched in downtown Clayton on Sunday afternoon and demanded the release of 22 people who were arrested at the Saint Louis Galleria on Saturday.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

It wasn’t so much of a protest as a vigil on Sunday as demonstrators gathered at the Justice Center in Clayton to wait for the release of the people arrested Saturday at a protest in the Galleria.

By 5 p.m., all 22 of those arrested had been released.

St. Louis County police arrested at least 22 people Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, during a protest at the Galleria mall.
Vincent Lang | St. Louis American

Updated at 11:15 p.m. Sept. 23, with additional details — The continuing protests over a judge’s decision to acquit former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of murder returned to the Galleria mall on Saturday, where police ended the demonstration and made 22 arrests.

Many in St. Louis are outraged that St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson found Stockley, who is white, not guilty in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, who was black. Protesters marched through the mall to declare that there would be no business as usual until the St. Louis region reformed its criminal justice system.

Two men confront a crowd of demonstrators during a protest Friday night in St. Charles. It was the eighth day of protests following the not-guilty verdict of white ex-St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley on first-degree murder charges.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

One week after a judge acquitted former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of murder in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith, protesters continued their push for change, taking their message Friday to the mostly white city of St. Charles.

Angus Kingston | Flickr

A cybersecurity initiative launched two years ago to protect public schools in Missouri from hackers is getting good marks from educators. 

It was launched in September 2015 by State Auditor Nicole Galloway and has become a permanent part of the auditor's office's practices.

Students get ready for a violin class taught by Philip Tinge at Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis is one of hundreds of private schools in Illinois that could see a financial boost from the state’s new tax credit scholarship program.

More than 90 percent of the families who send their children to the school fall below the federal poverty line of $24,600 for a family of four. That gives them top priority to receive a scholarship.

Although children from low-income families get priority,  if Illinois follows the pattern of other states with similar programs, most of the tax credit scholarships will go to middle-class families.

Carla has started taking classes, hoping to make her children proud by becoming fluent in English over the next few years. St. Louis Public Radio has changed Carla’s name because she is an unauthorized immigrant. May 2017.
Jenny Simeone-Cases | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans have jumped behind the latest proposal in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

A Senate bill would gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions and redistribute health care spending in the form of block grants to states. States like Missouri, which did not expand Medicaid coverage to low-income people under the 2010 health law, would see a boost in funding; states like Illinois could lose hundreds of million dollars a year.

Alderman John Collins-Muhammad, D-21st Ward, speaks as Anthony Lamar Smith's parents, Annie Smith and Darvell Smith Sr., look on.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

As protests continue over the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is honoring the man he shot and killed: Anthony Lamar Smith.

The Board’s actions on Friday came as St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson is embracing the Ferguson Commission report, a collection of dozens of policy recommendations that was laid out after the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, as the way forward.

St. Louis Alderman John Collins-Muhammad stands near the street where Jason Stockley killed Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. Reps. Joshua Peters and Bruce Franks also spoke out against Stockley's not guilty verdict.
File Photo |Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the hours after a judge acquitted former St. Louis Police officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder last week, St. Louis Alderman John Collins-Muhammad appeared at the street where Stockley fatally wounded Anthony Lamar Smith roughly six years ago.

The 21st Ward alderman is part of a younger group of African-American politicians who are fed up that, again, the judicial system has not punished a white police officer who killed a black person. Collins-Muhammad made clear last week that he and his fellow elected officials would continue agitating and advocating for change.

Protesters square off with police officers at the gates of Busch Stadium Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 during a concert. They were protesting the acquittal of a former St. Louis police officer on murder charges.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:40 p.m. with additional details — Hundreds of “white allies” marched in the streets downtown on Thursday. Their aim was to demonstrate broad support for the protest movement sparked by a judge’s decision to acquit a former police officer of murder.

For more about 90 minutes, a crowd of predominantly white demonstrators expressed solidarity with African-Americans. For the past week, many have protested St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson’s decision to find Jason Stockley, who is white, not guilty of murder in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man.

Panelists at Harris-Stowe University discuss racial inequality on Sept. 21, 2017.
Chelsea Hoye | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

As the St. Louis region manages the ongoing unrest sparked by a judge’s decision to acquit a white former police officer in the death of a black man, civil rights activists say it’s past time for the city to address the policies that have long kept black people behind.

St. Louis must put an end to systemic racism if conditions are to improve for African-Americans, community leaders said Thursday during a panel discussion at Harris-Stowe University.

“Education is freedom; it allows you choices,” state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said. “It allows you to go to the next level.”

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