9 Things To Be Thankful For in St. Louis

Categories: Community

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Steve Truesdell
Volunteers transform South Grand's broken windows into painted murals.
Happy Thanksgiving, St. Louis!

We've come a long way in the last three months, Lou. We've seen fires, tear gas, blood, tears and outrage. While today's national day of gratitude can't take away from the pain this city has been through, it is a good time to remember what's worth a hearty, "Thanks."

So here are nine things we at the Riverfront Times are thankful for in a St. Louis forever changed by the shooting death of Michael Brown.

We are thankful for...

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For Sale on St. Louis Craigslist: Engagement Ring Edition

Categories: Community

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Craigslist
Who wants to buy Mike Farris' engagement ring?
Even if you're not in the market, Craigslist postings of engagement rings for sale make for fascinating reading.

"The girl that it was for unfortunately left me...Willing to trade for a bike," writes one prospective seller. "Small, elegant, brilliant ring. Worn four days after Christmas," writes another.

But one post in particular caught Daily RFT's interest recently. Christine Farris, 26, of Tower Grove East, is selling the ring her 66-year-old father bought for the woman who left him after he had a stroke -- a fourteen-carat, white-gold ring with a one-third carat, princess-cut diamond and matching contour wedding band.

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Yoga Instructor Hopes To Bring Healing To Ferguson With New Studio

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Mitch Ryals
OM Turtle Yoga in Florissant opened one year ago, and owners hope to add a second location in Ferguson by December.
As anticipation in Ferguson mounts, maybe the town could use a little yoga.

Angie Carron wants to be the one to bring it there.

The fifteen-year Florissant resident and owner of OM Turtle Yoga recently signed a lease for a second studio, an 1,100-square-foot space down the road from the Ferguson police station.

"Everyone is like, 'Why Ferguson? Why now?'" Carron says. "But truly, why not Ferguson right now? We all need to find our center, our peace, our balance, and I think this is a better time than any to bring our studio to Ferguson."

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13 St. Louis County Municipalities Fit in One City Neighborhood

Categories: Community

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This is how many St. Louis County municipalities fit in a south St. Louis city neighborhood without changing the area or directional orientation.
Ever since protests erupted in Ferguson in August, experts have been pointing to St. Louis County's unique political geography as a root cause of the unrest.

Nearly all of St. Louis County's 90 municipalities come with their own elected officials and police forces. Even small local governments need money to operate, so the municipalities draw 20, 30, sometimes even 40 percent of annual revenue from petty fines and fees paid to their municipal courts by residents busted for traffic offenses, noise violations and other minor crimes.

Even after reading (and reading and reading) how St. Louis' scores of municipalities contribute to a suffocating legal landscape -- especially in mostly black north county -- nothing drives the point home more than this map, created by Tod Martin, a city resident and the deputy chief of staff for Senator Claire McCaskill.

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15 Signs You're a Ferguson/Shaw Protester

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Steve Truesdell via
You might be a Ferguson or Shaw protester if...
The last two months have brought wave after wave of protests and demonstrations to the city of St. Louis. What started as an outpouring of grief and anger over the death of one black teen has grown into a movement known around the world.

But as the protests move from Ferguson to Shaw (to South Grand to political fundraisers to Walmart stores), Daily RFT has noticed a few overlapping consistencies among protesters young and old.

See also: PHOTOS: Ferguson Protesters Hit Rams Game, Steve Stenger Rally, Walmarts: 50+ Arrested

Want to know if you're a *real* Ferguson or Shaw protester? Here are fifteen tell-tale signs:

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Activist Cornel West Arrested During Ferguson Protests (UPDATE)

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Steve Truesdell
Dr. Cornel West speaks at a five-hour #FergusonOctober event at Fubar on October 12, 2014. Dubbed "Hip-Hop 4 Justice," the event also featured Dead Prez, Dr. Cornel West, Jasiri X and Talib Kweli.
Dr. Cornel West got what he said he wanted.

West, a prominent author, activist and the keynote speaker at Sunday's mass meeting at Chaifetz Arena, was arrested Monday morning during protests in front of the Ferguson Police Department.

Update, 3:50 p.m.: Read below for an update from St. Louis County Police about West's arrest.

West told supporters during Ferguson October, a four-day protest against police brutality sparked by the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, that he wanted to be arrested.

Read more Riverfront Times coverage of Michael Brown and Ferguson.

"It's a beautiful thing to see people on fire for justice, but I didn't come here to give a speech," he said Sunday night. "I came here to go to jail."

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Burglars Steal Food, Games While Vandalizing Northside Youth, Senior Center

Categories: Community, Crime

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Courtesy of Northside
Students serve hot meals to seniors at Northside Youth and Senior Service Center.
A community center in north St. Louis city says late-night burglars caused $10,000 in damage while stealing food and games from the children and elderly adults the center serves.

The burglars tripped the alarm at the Northside Youth and Senior Service Center, triggering a call to police, but staff says no officers arrived until almost twelve hours later, when an employee called 911.

Sunday around 9:30 p.m., burglars smashed their way into the center and stole electronics, video-game consoles and games, toys and sports equipment, says Sandra Norman, Northside's executive director. They also stole hundreds of dollars worth of food.

But the burglars didn't stop there. While inside, the vandals broke doors, cabinets and electronics, damaged windows, security bars and the balcony, and vandalized the 40-year-old agency.


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Sham Film Festival to Unleash Web's Best Short Parodies on St. Louis

Categories: Community, Movies

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Courtesy of Matthew Newlin
A still from Little Man of Steel, which will be screened on October 24 during the Sham Film Festival.
In the past, the greatest film parodies were crafted by professionals. This is Spinal Tap, Airplane and The Naked Gun offered the highest-quality mockery money could buy, while sketch-comedy shows like SNL married production values with the funniest comedians in the world. Then the Internet came along, and parody videos exploded.

Matthew Newlin and John Reynolds want to celebrate those short-form parodies by putting them on a big screen. The two St. Louisans are organizing the first ever Sham Film Festival -- opening October 24 -- as a showcase for short-form film parodies that inhabit YouTube and sites like College Humor and Funny or Die.

"I kept seeing all these videos posted online, the fake movie trailers, the spoofs that people do themselves -- but they're excellent," says Newlin, 31, who came up with the idea for the festival about a year ago. "The quality and creativity and the originality is there, and these people are filmmakers that are not getting their due. Let's give them some attention."

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Library, Magic House Team Up to Help Ferguson Kids Cope with Crisis

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Photo by Mitch Ryals
Wish wands made by Ferguson-Florissant students at the Flo-Valley Library last Thursday
A unicorn. A Blues Stanley Cup. An end to the violence in Ferguson. To finally start school. Peace.

These were the wishes children made at the Florissant Valley branch of the St. Louis County Library as they waited for the violence in Ferguson to calm down long enough for them to walk safely to school.

"Wish wands" decorated with pipe cleaners, construction paper and different-colored feathers offered a window into the thoughts of north-county elementary school kids during the three-day event last week. For some children, the violence, looting, protesting and shooting of Michael Brown was at the top of their minds. For others, Brown's death wasn't as concerning as the macaroni and cheese and pineapples they ate for lunch.

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With Schools Closed, Teachers and Volunteers Hold Class at Ferguson Library

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Photo by Mitch Ryals
Shaila and Janeatha Evans show off their art projects at the Ferguson Public Library.

For the past three nights, Shaila Evans has packed her book bag and set it by the front door hoping to go to school the next day. And every morning she has been disappointed.

The Ferguson-Florissant School District was supposed to begin classes Thursday, August 14. Owing to the protests and riots, the district postponed the beginning of the school year to the following Monday, August 18, but then canceled classes for the entire week altogether.

"She's really anxious to start school," says her mother, Janeatha Evans. "She loves school, and she's been saying how she wants to start learning and making new friends."


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