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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Ferguson Residents Try to Make Do Living in a War Zone of Tear Gas, Explosions

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Photo by Danny Wicentowski
Tear gas wafts over West Florissant Avenue Sunday night
Brittany Townsend sat on her front stoop Sunday around 10 p.m. with a weary look on her face. An hour earlier police on nearby West Florissant Avenue began shooting tear gas at protesters in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Now the noxious fumes had drifted into her yard as they have nearly each night since demonstrators in Ferguson began protesting the police shooting of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown.

"It's not been easy living here," said Townsend, who's home on Lang Drive back up to the Public Storage on West Florissant. "I have a two-year-old daughter, and to throw tear gas down a residential street in front of my house, in the back of my house, past my house is not right."

Townsend's complaint is echoed by other nearby residents whose lives and comfort have been upended by the nightly sting of tear gas in the air and chaos occurring just a block or two away.

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Momentum Grows for Police Dashboard Cameras, Body Cams in Wake of Ferguson

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Image Via
Authorities in Kentucky released a dash cam video last April for what they argued was the justifiable shooting of nineteen-year-old driver.
Much of the frustration in Ferguson since the police shooting of Michael Brown on August 9 has been with the excruciatingly slow trickle of information coming from law enforcement. On Friday -- six days after Brown was killed -- Ferguson police finally released the name of the officer, Darren Wilson, as well as an incident report suggesting that the eighteen-year-old victim had been involved in a convenience-store robbery moments before the cop's run-in with Wilson.

Authorities have yet to release, however, an incident report of the shooting or any photos of Wilson, who the Ferguson Police Department says was savagely beaten by Brown prior to the shooting. Last week the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit yesterday against St. Louis County and the St. Louis County Police Department for violation of Missouri's Sunshine Law. The ACLU requested the incident report involving Brown's death under Missouri Revised Statues 610 claiming that the report is a public record.

But regardless of when the police report of the shooting enters the public domain, there's one thing it's unlikely to contain: a police video of the incident. That's because Ferguson police do not have dash cams in their vehicles or wear body cameras as a growing number of police agencies do.

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Watch Police in Ferguson Arrest, Tear Gas Journalists [VIDEO]

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Ray Downs
Demonstrators protest Antonio French's arrest outside the Ferguson Police Department. French, an alderman in St. Louis city, is a former journalist and has been filming the unrest.
As demonstrations against Ferguson police descended into a fourth night of tear gas, rubber bullets and chaos, heavily militarized police officers briefly detained two national journalists, arrested a St. Louis alderman sharing video of clashes and tear gassed a broadcast news crew.

Police actions against the press seem to be part of the reason Governor Jay Nixon finally decided to cut his Missouri State Fair trip short. The governor says he'll arrive in St. Louis County Thursday morning to manage what's increasingly becoming a volatile, violent and devastating time in St. Louis history.

Read all Riverfront Times coverage of the unrest in Ferguson and the aftermath of Michael Brown's shooting.

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St. Louisans From Far and Wide Clean Up Ferguson After Protests

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Photos by Mitch Ryals
A group of volunteers clean up trash on West Florissant Avenue Wednesday morning.
Nighttime in north county is mired with heated confrontations between protesters and police, but during the day people from all over the city come to clean up.

Though looting ended on Sunday, nightly protests persist, and broken glass and garbage -- not all left over from protests -- line the streets.

About 100 people gathered at First Baptist Church in Ferguson Wednesday to clean up trash and ask business owners what other help they need. One volunteer passed out "I Heart North County" signs before the group dispersed. People traveled from places including Arnold, Winfield, St. Charles and St. Peters to help. After a brief prayer, half of the group went to South Florissant Road near the Ferguson police station, and half went to West Florissant Avenue where the looting took place Sunday night.


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St. Louis Archdiocese Releases New Sex Abuse Allegations Against St. Louis Priest

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via
Archbishop Robert Carlson, who says the allegations of sexual abuse against Alexander Lippert are "credible."
Father Alexander Lippert, a Catholic priest who served in eleven St. Louis-area parishes over 33 years, sexually abused a minor in the 1970s, according to the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Archbishop Robert Carlson says a report accusing Lippert of abusing a minor is credible, the archdiocese announced last week. Since Lippert died in April 2000 and can't respond to the allegations, the archdiocese has officially ruled the report of sexual abuse as "credible though unsubstantiated."


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LISTEN: 911 Callers Tell Dispatcher Sunset Hills Mayor Ran Cyclist Off the Road

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Tom Carlson
Mayor Mark Furrer's Mercedes parked outside Sunset Hills City Hall.
In 911 calls made after Sunset Hills mayor Mark Furrer and cyclist Randy Murdick collided last week, Murdick tells dispatchers he was run off the road by a car, and a witness screams at the driver to stop leaving the scene.

The full two-minute audio clip, obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, records two callers, a witness and Murdick himself, describing a hit-and-run.

"I want to report a hit-and-run over here on Old Gravois Road, right here by Delta Dental," the witness tells the 911 dispatcher, later saying, "The guy hit a bicyclist, drove off and then turned around and came back."

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No Answer on Lyft in St. Louis Until August 2015. Yes, 2015.

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Lyft
Lyft says its working with city leaders to bring its services to St. Louis.
What was supposed to be a quick trial over a restraining order has grown into a larger case after the ride-share app Lyft and the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission agreed to delay their court case until August 2015.

Judge Joan Moriarty already issued a preliminary injunction against Lyft earlier this week barring the company from operating in St. Louis.


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Taxi Commission Delays Decision On Key Issue Keeping Uber from St. Louis (UPDATE)

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Uber
Uber wants to open its premium sedan service, UberBLACK, in St. Louis.
UPDATE, 6:30 p.m.: Read below the jump for a statement from Uber.

The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission voted today to change its ride-for-hire and allow room for Uber to launch in St. Louis, the largest U.S. market the app-based car service.

But the MTC delayed deciding on the biggest obstacle barring Uber from St. Louis: charging a $25 minimum fare.

Uber, which hasn't officially applied for a taxi license, has said its business model can't function under some of the rules and proposed rules the taxi authority wants to enforce, including a proposed $25 minimum fare. Before Tuesday's meeting even started, Uber sent emails to supporters warning them that forcing a $25 minimum fee is a non-starter.

"St. Louis is the largest city in the U.S. that does not provide residents and visitors access to transportation options such as Uber," the email says. "Imposing fare minimums and other protectionist regulations driven by the taxi industry are the reason why."

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5 Ways Uber Could Change Ride-For-Hire Rules in St. Louis

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Uber
Will St. Louis allow Uber Black? It's up to the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission.
After months of slow negotiations, the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission released proposed rule changes that could pave the way for Uber to open in St. Louis.

While many of the proposed code revisions seem like minor updates -- such as allowing electronic ride tickets as well as written ones -- they'll have an impact on premium sedan ride-for-hire services across the city and county.

In May, Mayor Francis Slay threw his hat into the ring, personally encouraging the taxi authority to adopt alterations proposed by Uber.


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