"Noble" Ferguson Librarian Scott Bonner Gets Lemony Snicket Prize

Categories: Ferguson

Photo Courtesy of the American Library Association
Scott Bonner (right) with Mo Willems and his brand-new award, which was designed by Willems.
As far as awards go, "The Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity" sounds like something out of, well, a children's book -- it's named with just the right combination of dramatic flair and whimsy.

But this is no children's book. And it's certainly not fiction. Instead, this weekend, Ferguson Public Library Director Scott Bonner received a prize titled exactly that, along with $10,000, at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in San Francisco.

The award was presented by Mr. Lemony Snicket himself, aka Daniel Handler, as well as noted children's author Jacqueline Woodson and beloved illustrator Mo Willems.

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Alderman Who Sunk $15 Minimum Wage Increase Sponsored Bill Granting Bonuses to Workers Like His Wife

Categories: News

Jon Gitchoff
St. Louis fast food workers and their supporters have protested low wages for years. Here they are demonstrating in December 2013.
Activists and politicians backing a higher minimum wage in St. Louis received an unwelcome surprise to start the weekend. On Friday, 23rd Ward Alderman Joe Vaccaro unilaterally cancelled all future hearings on a bill that would raise the minimum wage from its current $7.65 to $15. Many experts believe Vaccaro's move likely killed the bill.

There's a lot to unpack here, and the talented folks over at St. Louis Public Radio (90.7 FM) and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have both offered detailed articles on what this means for the future of the city's minimum wage.

But there's one item we couldn't help but point out ourselves: That despite Vaccaro's opposition to a city minimum wage hike, we already know he's fine with some types of wage increases -- that is, as long as the extra cash could benefit his wife.

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Anal-Retentive Drug Smuggler Hides Booty Stash for Three Days

Categories: Crime

Flickr via Alex-501
Prison is a dehumanizing and achingly boring place to be, and so it's no surprise some inmates turn to drugs to get through those long years. Getting those drugs inside the slammer? Well, that's a whole other story.

In the case of Anthony Johnson, a 25-year-old inmate in the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Illinois, that story involves a remarkable commitment to not pooping.

According to a press release, Johnson pleaded guilty on Monday to a drug possession charge stemming from a September 28, 2014, incident in a visiting room. A guard witnessed Johnson swallow an unknown object, prompting prison officials to throw him in a cell without a toilet, "so that his bowel movements could be monitored."

We'll let the press release take it from here:

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St. Charles, Jefferson Counties Not Ready to Marry Same-Sex Couples Just Yet (UPDATED)

Categories: LGBT, Missourah

Photo by Sarah Fenske
St. Louis City Hall has been handling same-sex marriages for some time now. St. Charles? Not so much.

UPDATE: We heard from the ACLU of Missouri, which has been in touch with St. Charles County and believes the Recorder has made a commitment to start issuing licenses. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the latest.

Original post follows....

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal nationwide, barring states from refusing to perform or recognize LGBT unions.

But two Missouri counties aren't ready to start processing same-sex marriage licenses just yet. Jefferson County said it wouldn't be ready to do so until July 6. And St. Charles County said it could need as much as a month.

"We are working with our software providers and form printers to align our systems for it, so we will begin no later than July 20," a clerk told Daily RFT on Friday.

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Parking Rates Increase in St. Louis This Week -- But Here Are 3 Reasons That Doesn't Suck

Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Peter Roome
Meter rates will go up to $1.50 an hour in downtown St. Louis as of July 1.

First off, the bad news: The rate for parking at a meter in St. Louis is going up this Wednesday, July 1. So is the cost of a parking violation.

Previously, a parking fine in the city cost $10 if you paid promptly. Now it will be $15. And while meters used to charge $1 an hour to park downtown, and 75 cents in the rest of the city, as of Wednesday, they'll charge $1.50 an hour in high-demand areas (which includes downtown) and $1 elsewhere.

So that's the bad news. But after talking to Jared Boyd, chief of staff and counsel for the St. Louis City Treasurer's Office, we're convinced things aren't quite as bad as they could be. Here are three silvery linings tucked into those higher rates:

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Missouri Rejoices as Supreme Court Rules Gay Marriage Is Legal Nationwide

Categories: LGBT

RFT Street Team
A couple gets engaged at a previous Pridefest.

In a landmark decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court today, gay marriage has been legalized in all 50 states.

Missouri has had a ban on gay marriage since 2004, although court cases have carved out exceptions in the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Jackson County. Now all Missouri counties are expected to begin issuing gay marriage licenses to same-sex couples, effective immediately.

The timing in St. Louis couldn't be better -- Pridefest is this weekend, and the Supreme Court's ruling provides much to celebrate.

Here's what Missouri activists and officials are saying about the decision.

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Who's at Eat-Rite In the Middle of the Night?

Photo by Nicholas Phillips
An overnight shift at the Eat-Rite Diner downtown can be, let's say, anthropologically rich, an idea we explored in this week's feature about the three nights at the St. Louis mainstay.

Not surprisingly, after pulling three all-nighters, we had more material than we could possibly use. Here are some sentence fragments we jotted down, and some mugshots we managed to snap.

(Note: The people in these photos do not necessarily have any connection to the quotations we've included here. Although some of them do ....)

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7 Things to Do This Week for $10 or Less

Categories: Arts

Photo by Theo Welling
Pridefest returns to St. Louis this weekend -- just one of several free events happening around town.

It's the last weekend in June, and St. Louis is jam-packed with fun stuff to keep you busy. And whether you're into Pridefest or Pink Flamingos, the Breakfast Club or Babes in Brassland, nothing will cost you more than an Alexander Hamilton.

Here are our seven top picks for this week's events.

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Marnie Is a Beautiful Story of a Girl Learning How to Live

Categories: Movies

Girlhood angst, animated.
Those who think of anime as a medium suited only for science-fiction heroes with bad haircuts and neurotic animals competing in repetitive card-playing games may be surprised and quite likely charmed by the down-to-earth quality of When Marnie Was There, the latest — and some fear the last — offering from Japan's revered Studio Ghibli. Long-time Ghibli fans may find it a little less ambitious than earlier milestones such as Spirited Away, but what Marnie lacks in adventure or fantasy is compensated with a convincing depiction of adolescent angst with a gothic twist. It's a deliberately low-key tale set (well, mostly) in the real world and guided by the self-conscious emotions of youth — but filtered through a Henry James-like ghost story.

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Bummed About the City Razing Old Buildings? Now You Can Track It Online

Image via
This North St. Louis house, built in 1899, was slated for demolition
Until recently, it wasn't easy to know how many old buildings in the city were slated for the wrecking ball, much less what kind of shape they were in.

Now there's a one-stop shop for it: The "Demolition Docket."

Since April, the independent Preservation Research Office (PRO) has been running the new blog, utilizing government data that's always been available, only not in such a user-friendly format.

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