Nathaniel Thompson, 4, plays with his father Duane Thompson on the jungle gym at Trojan Park in Wellston Sat. October 8, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

People who live in and around Wellston have a new place to gather, play and exercise.

Trojan Park is now open to the public in the north St. Louis County town.  It features a playground, exercise equipment, butterfly gardens and the city’s first full-length basketball court.

Sgt. Susie Lorthridge on patrol in Wellston on May 19, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri state Auditor Nicole Galloway detailed numerous problems with how bonds are collected from people accused of municipal violations in Wellston. She also found that the city collects fees on dismissed cases, which she says violates state law. And she described in a press release how court case records “were disorganized, incomplete, missing and in many cases, inaccurate, with 90 percent of cases reviewed showing conflicting activity between electronic and paper records.”

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly a year ago, a new sheriff of sorts arrived in town. The city of Vinita Park announced that it was taking over policing duties for Wellston, its larger neighbor, and changing its name to the North County Police Cooperative.

Now, the Cooperative patrols five cities in north-central St. Louis County. And residents say they have noticed big changes.

Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, as seen from atop the old  J.C. Penney building between Hamilton and Hodiamont Avenues.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This is the first of three reports looking at the history, present and future of Martin Luther King Drive.

Today is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Had he lived, he’d be 87 years old. About four years after the shooting death of King in Memphis in 1968, two contiguous north St. Louis streets were renamed in his honor and his memory.

This renaming followed a by-then well-established practice in the United States — one that eventually spread abroad. St. Louis wasn’t the first or the last to join this tradition. The first street named for King was South Park Way in Chicago; that memorial was initiated about four months after his death.

The J.C. Penney building, in 1948, on what is now Dr. Martin Luther King Drive
Provided by Andrew Raimist

Architect-preservationist Andrew Raimist pulled open a makeshift plywood door, the sort of bashed-up door you see before the boarding-up service shows up. Once, a door here would have opened onto a building resplendent with promise, a landmark post-World War II department store that gleamed not only with commercial ambition but with civic muscle in a city very much on the go.

This is the J.C. Penney building at 5930 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr.

Bloomsberries | Flickr

It’s now up to the Missouri Court of Appeals to decide if the former mayor of Wellston should get her job back.

A three-judge panel of the court heard arguments Tuesday on whether a St. Louis County judge was correct when he threw Linda Whitfield out of office in May 2014.

North County Police Cooperative chief Tim Swope (center) with Vinita Park mayor James McGee (left) and Wellston mayor Nathaniel Griffin (right) at a press conference announcing a policing contract arrangement on June 2, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

The streets of the city of Wellston are now being patrolled by a new police department.

The Wellston City Council voted 5-2 Monday night to disband its police department and contract for services with Vinita Park, a tiny municipality a few miles to the west.

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Updated 6:14 p.m.

One man is dead and two others are hospitalized after a shooting in the St. Louis suburb of Wellston.

St. Louis County Police spokesman Rick Eckhard says officers were called to a house Thursday afternoon where they found one man dead. One of the injured men was found in the street about two blocks away, while the other made it to a small market about four blocks away and sought help.

Police said they didn't know the cause of the dispute, nor the identities of the victims. Eckhard said the injured men were expected to survive.

Eckhard said police don't yet know whether the shooter was among the victims, but he added that police weren't conducting a manhunt.

Detectives were at a hospital waiting to talk to the injured men.