The Rundown: Stenger, Grand Jury Process Still Subjects Of Controversy
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Change at the top
As he brings in new people to constitute his administration, newly inaugurated St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger will have the structural tools and a friendly legislative majority to move his agenda. But he enters office at a tumultuous time in the county’s history, as it tries to address the causes underlying the protests and violence in Ferguson. For starters, he plans an audit of county departments that he said could lead to great efficiencies and a friendlier climate for businesses interacting with the county.
Grand jury fallout
A grand juror is suing St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch in an effort to speak out on what happened in the Darren Wilson case. Under typical circumstances, grand jurors are prohibited by law from discussing cases they were involved in. The grand juror, referred to only as "Grand Juror Doe" in the lawsuit, takes issue with how McCulloch characterized the case. McCulloch released evidence presented to the grand jury and publicly discussed the case after the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson, then a Ferguson police officer, in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American.
The grand juror who wants to challenge publicly St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s portrayal of the Ferguson grand jury has a relatively strong First Amendment case -- if the juror can get the argument before a judge, legal experts say.
Illinois has already missed a self-imposed deadline to license medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries by the end of 2014. The law allows people suffering from one of about 40 conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval. In the meantime, patients continue to wait. One patient is 3-year-old Michaela Frederick, who has a severe case of cerebral palsy that causes violent seizures. The family has been struggling to find a way to control them.
Washington U in the news
What if we could design a camera that could take a hundred billion pictures in a second ― enough to record the fastest phenomena in the universe. Sounds like science fiction, right? But it’s not: A new ultrafast imaging system developed at Washington University can do just that. Story includes video of a laser pulse propagating in air and being reflected from a mirror.
Now that adjunct instructors at Washington University have voted to join a union, they have to figure out exactly what improvements they want their new status to bring. They are being asked to rank their priorities in a survey. While the answers are being correlated, adjuncts plan to work to put together a negotiating team. Adjuncts hope the successful election at Washington U. will help spur union movements at other local campuses.
Despite all the gains that Missouri Republicans made in last fall’s balloting, the state party appears headed for a showdown shortly over who should be its leader heading into the crucial 2016 elections. Two St. Louisans – incumbent state GOP chairman Ed Martin and former party executive director John Hancock – are competing in an election to determine who gets Martin's job.
Can't stop the music
Local music collective FarFetched is a loose association of musicians from various genres and age groups. The group celebrates its fourth anniversary with a compilation album, "Prologue IV," and a release concert at 2720 Cherokee arts space on Jan. 9. The group is united by a will to experiment with genres, use digital means for music creation, and push boundaries lyrically and stylistically. In four years, it has grown to encompass 14 acts that range from hip-hop to progressive pop music.