Bob McCulloch's Family Links Him to Darren Wilson Legal Team: Report

Categories: Ferguson

UPI/Bill Greenblatt
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch.
When it comes to a prosecutor's relationship to the police, how close is too close?

It's a question some are asking of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch. Weeks after he announced that a grand jury would not indict Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown, protesters are still clamoring for a special prosecutor to reopen the case, and critics continue to cite McCulloch's father -- a cop killed in action by a black robbery suspect when McCulloch was twelve years old -- as reason to doubt his objectivity in police-brutality cases.

But there are other, more recent McCulloch family connections to scrutinize: By way of a cop cousin indicted for assaulting a mentally disabled man and a lawyer brother who frequently defends officers, McCulloch appears to have a web of personal ties to Wilson's legal team.

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How To Buy One of St. Louis' 250th Birthday Cakes

Categories: Community

Paul Sableman on Flickr
The Citygarden-inspired birthday cake for St. Louis' 250th anniversary.
As St. Louis' 250th birthday year comes to a close, it's time to find new home for the 250 birthday cakes spread across the region. The question is: Who will take the cake?

Now Stl250, the volunteer group organizing the year-long sestercentennial celebration, is auctioning off many of the cakes painted by local artists to decorate the city.

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Ring of Fire: The Rep's Tribute to Johnny Cash Falls Short

Categories: Arts

Jerry Naunheim Jr.
Principals Jason Edwards, Allison Briner, Trenna Barnes and Derek Keeling.

Fresh off its glimmering success with A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis returns with Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, a shallow-end tribute to the life and work of the Man in Black.

Neither a retelling of Cash's life nor a straight holiday concert, the hokey, Branson-style show tips its hat to the performer's biography, jumping around the Cash songbook to deliver polished renditions of Cash standards.

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The Upsetting Truth About Sandra McElroy, Witness 40 in the Ferguson Grand Jury

Categories: Ferguson

KMOV (Channel 4), via The Smoking Gun
Sandra McElroy, better known as Witness 40 in the Ferguson grand jury.
Riverfront Times' uncensored online comments have always been a troll's haven, but a recent report from The Smoking Gun has Daily RFT reading one particular comment in a new light.

On September 14, Kirkwood resident Sandra McElroy posted on one of our stories about why Ferguson's police chief and mayor hadn't spoken directly to Michael Brown's family after more than a month of outrage and unrest over his death. McElroy commented from Facebook: "But haven't you heard the news, There great great great grandpa may or may not have been owned by one of our great great great grandpas 200 yrs ago. (Sarcasm)."

A screengrab of McElroy's comment on DailyRFT.
McElroy's ignorant, racially biased, difficult-to-understand, unnecessary, grammatically challenged, not-actually-sarcastic eyeroll of a comment is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how this N-word-using, bipolar woman with a penchant for thrusting herself into newsworthy events influenced the grand-jury investigation into Brown's death.

That's because McElroy is also Witness 40, one of the alleged eyewitnesses whose testimony to the grand jury strongly supported Wilson's version of events. Witness identities are secret, but McElroy admitted she's Witness 40 to The Smoking Gun after the site published an article outing her.

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Seth Rogen's The Interview Harnesses the Power of Butthole Jokes [UPDATE]

Categories: Movies

Ryan Orange
Seth Rogen finds the absurd in North Korea in The Interview.
Update: Sony has officially canceled the theatrical release of The Interview following terrorist threats against theaters -- and the announcement that several major theater chains had opted not to exhibit the film. Here's Sony's official statement on the decision:

In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers. Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale - all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.

Sony assumed North Korea would hate the movie. The question was: What would it do? Pyongyang had just tested its atom bomb and threatened "preemptive nuclear attack." And the Supreme Leader with his finger on the trigger was barely over 30, with less than two years of experience.

But Kim Jong-un didn't care about Olympus Has Fallen, even though the violently anti–North Korean 2013 film showed his people strangling women, murdering unarmed men, kidnapping the U.S. president and even executing their fellow citizens. That wasn't worth a fight.

A year later, North Korea had a bigger enemy: Seth Rogen.

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Bosnian Woman Made Up Report of Hate Crime: Police

Categories: Crime

Seherzada Dzanic.
A 26-year-old woman admits she was lying when she told police a group of black men targeted and assaulted her because she is Bosnian, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Seherzada Dzanic was charged with making a false report, a Class B misdemeanor, Monday after investigating officers found surveillance footage showing she was not attacked.

"The video showed her vehicle stopped in the middle of the street, nobody approaching the vehicle, no suspects," Chief Sam Dotson tells St. Louis Public Radio. "So when we confronted the victim at this point with the video, she admitted fabricating the story. She admitted she lied."

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Hey Dogtown, This is Why Your Sewers Smell Awful (Hint: It's Not Poop)

Categories: Community

Thumbnail image for stlsewergrate.JPG
No, St. Louis isn't being attacked by Ghostbusters 2 ooze -- but that smell in Dogtown is definitely sewer related.
There's something stinky in Dogtown.

Residents of the quaint neighborhood south of Forest Park have been whiffing the mystery odor for several days, describing it as a sort of toxic, permanent-marker-type smell. Some have reported the stench in their homes.

It turns out the odor is coming from the sewer, although not for the usual poop-related reasons.

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St. Louis Named Top 5 City for Young Veterans

Categories: News

DVIDSHUB via flickr
Thank you for your service. Now come move to St. Louis!
St. Louis' recent downtown revitalization and low housing costs are just two of the reasons why young veterans should consider moving here after service, according to a study.

The USAA, which provides insurance and financial services to 10.4 million current and former members of the U.S. military, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released a list of ten of the top cities where young vets can transition out of military life and into a civilian career. St. Louis ranks No. 5 this year, after not making the list at all in 2013.

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Holiday Gift Guide: $30 Fake Girlfriend or Boyfriend Comes with Real Voicemails, Notes

Categories: Tech

geezaweezer via flickr
She doesn't, really, but she'll pretend to for $29.99.
It's the most wonderful time of the year...unless you're single and your parents/grandparents/cousins/annoying family members want to ask you a million questions about it.

Before the winter holidays start in earnest and the barrage of questions about your personal life is unleashed ("Why haven't you met someone? Is it because you dress like that? Don't you smile more?"), Daily RFT thought we'd share one of the most unique holiday gift ideas we've seen this season -- something conceived and built by a St. Louis startup.

Invisible Girlfriend and Invisible Boyfriend, the winners of the 2013 Startup Weekend St. Louis, are selling a "Girlfriend/Boyfriend-in-a-Box," a one-month subscription to the startup's fake love services -- including fake texts, voicemails and handwritten notes -- for $29.99. The startup partnered with Greetabl greeting card company, so every girlfriend-in-a-box comes with a special gift box and a handwritten message from the sender.

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Study: White Missourians Are Pretty Racist And Don't Even Know It

Categories: Racism

Project Implicit
The more red your state, the more implicitly racist it is.
After months of reeling from turmoil after the fatal police shooting of unarmed Ferguson teen Michael Brown, St. Louis has had an u- close and personal look at implicit racism lately.

And we're not talking about overt, explicit racism -- the type that wears a klan hood, uses the n-word or photoshops pictures into viral memes about black crime. (Though there's plenty of that here, too.)

We're talking about uncontrolled or unrealized bias against people of color, like the Sullivan High School senior girls who were "very embarrassed and shocked" last month to learn that wearing blackface to look more threatening during powder-puff football came across as excruciatingly racist.

See also: Wearing Blackface, Sullivan High School Seniors Play Powder-Puff Football Game

Implicit bias is an important, though little-discussed, factor in police shootings. In parts of St. Louis where mostly white police officers patrol mostly black neighborhoods, implicit biases "influence split-second law enforcement decisions" and "could have life or death consequences," according to the Washington Post.

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