Disgraced Former GOP House Speaker Rod Jetton Disinvited from Prayer Breakfast

Categories: News, Politics

In the wake of scandal, Rod Jetton turned his downfall into a career.
The church flyer promoting former state representative Rod Jetton's speech was heavy on inspiration and light on details.

"Rod's candid way of explaining his mistakes and pointing out the dangers of putting
his career in front of his faith and family will be of great benefit to fathers focused on accomplishing their professional goals," the flyer read. Hosted by First Baptist Church in Arnold, Jetton's speech was to take place during a men's-only prayer breakfast on August 15.

The flyer continued: "His ability to identify the early warning signs of pride, bitterness and paranoia in his life are exactly the type of cautionary advice anyone who is experiencing success needs to hear."

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Activist Responds to Dent County's Anti-LGBT Rhetoric With the Missouri Courage Scholarship

Categories: LGBT, Politics

Image via
On July 13, leaders in Dent County, Missouri voted to fly flags at half-staff on two public buildings to protest the "despicable Supreme Court travesty" of allowing gay people to marry each other.

Facing a national backlash, the Dent County Commission ditched the plan the very next day. But resident Jacob Wilson decided to capitalize on the attention by launching The Missouri Courage Scholarship. His idea was to recognize high school seniors who stand up for the LGBT community and for all other marginalized groups.

Wilson set up a fundraiser on the website Crowdrise. His goal: Raise a thousand dollars a day for every day the Commission had voted to lower the flag (so, twelve days in all).

Riverfront Times is pleased to report that he has succeeded.

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Sen. Dixon Says His Former Homosexuality Was Caused by Child Abuse; Won't Let "Evil" Win

Categories: LGBT, Politics

Bob Dixon and his wife Amanda.
Less than two weeks into his campaign to become the GOP's pick for governor, state senator Bob Dixon continues to field questions about his past.

As we reported last week, Dixon stood up at a 1991 Springfield city council meeting to claim a "religious experience" turned him straight after five years spent living as a homosexual. His comments were preserved in a 1992 Springfield News-Leader article.

Despite his previous public statements, Dixon's struggles with his sexual identity were not well-known. When we spoke to him on Thursday, Dixon did not deny the details in the old News-Leader article, but he declined to elaborate or answer specific questions.

In a subsequent statement provided to St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU 90.7 FM), Dixon appears to link his former homosexuality -- what he refers to as "teenage confusion" -- with a traumatic childhood abuse.

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Bob Dixon, GOP Candidate for Governor, Reportedly Lived as Gay Man Until "Religious Experience"

Categories: LGBT, Politics

On Monday, when state senator Bob Dixon stood on his front porch in Springfield and announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for governor, he delivered several lines that drew applause, including this one: "I've spent almost 23 years as a strong supporter of traditional marriage."

He didn't elaborate at the time, but it's been a long journey up to this point for Dixon, 46, who reportedly once lived as a gay man until a spiritual epiphany turned him straight.

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North St. Louis Aldermen React to Emotional Viral Video of Jeffrey Boyd Denouncing Violence

Categories: Crime, Politics

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A still from Alderman Jeffrey Boyd's angry impromptu speech against street violence
First of all, you've got to watch this video (if you haven't already). It's Alderman Jeffrey Boyd of the 22nd Ward. He has just learned his 23-year-old nephew, Rashad Farmer, has been murdered on the street at Lotus and Goodfellow. So he agrees to an interview with KMOV (Channel 4).

KMOV only ended up using a snippet in their newscast, but weeknight news anchor Steve Savard seemed to know he had something extraordinary in this hands. He put the entire thing on Facebook on Thursday afternoon. Since then, the video has gone stratospheric, garnering more than 1.5 million views.

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Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal Blasts "Racist Union Members," Tweets Pics of Their Kids

Categories: Politics, Racism

Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal

Ready for a filthy political gutter fight? You may want to take a shower after this one.

State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who represents District 14, which includes University City, has long been a friend to organized labor. That helps explain her feelings of betrayal when she discovered that commenters on the Facebook page of Pro-Union St. Louis were calling her nasty epithets.

In response, the senator went on a Twitter rampage, posting not only what was said and by whom. She also offered $1,000 for employment info on one commenter, and posted photos of him and the others -- photos in which some of her targets were posed with family members and children.

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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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Crotch-Rubbing Police Chief Triggers Two Lawsuits in Leadington

Courtesy of Veronica Johnson
Attorney Veronica Johnson represents two women suing the city of Leadington.
Two women who worked for the tiny Missouri town of Leadington have filed lawsuits against the city alleging they were subjected to unwanted touching and coarse comments, and then retaliated against when they dared to complain.

The women, city court clerk Altha Burgess and former city clerk Cynthia Leimkuehler, allege they endured a host of inappropriate activity on the job in 2013, much of it from then-police chief Rick Pogue and then-mayor Troy Dickens. Leimkuehler claims she was subject to the police chief rubbing his crotch on her shoulder -- only to be later told "God, you women! You make such a big deal of everything!" when she complained. Burgess, meanwhile, was repeatedly mocked after she asked not to be touched -- and called both "paranoid" and "an emotional mess."

"These women were exposed to some pretty graphic sexual harassment in the workplace," says St. Louis attorney Veronica Johnson, who filed the lawsuits on behalf of the two women. "No woman should have to go through that. And when they did what was right, they suffered a great deal of retaliation for it" -- including, for Leimkuehler, termination, according to the lawsuit.

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So You Want to Sext Your Intern: A Guide For Horny Missouri Lawmakers

Categories: Politics

Missouri News Horizon
Speaker John Diehl in 2010.
It's hard to describe the final week of Missouri's legislative session, which ended Friday, without profanity. Boondoggle? Quagmire? A parade of oopsies?

Not good enough. The scandalous weight of Republican Speaker of the House John Diehl Jr.'s resignation -- which followed revelations that he'd been sexting a 19-year-old intern -- can't be contained by the bounds of civil discourse. If we're being honest, Diehl's downfall feels more like a moral clusterfuck, or at best a contemptible outbreak of corruptive shitbaggery.

Which is why we want to take this opportunity to reach out to you, Male* Missouri Legislator. We know these recent events have complicated your already challenging job: From choosing a lobbyist to pay your lunch bill to determining how best to regulate Missouri vaginas, you've got enough to worry about without wondering how you're going to continue exchanging sex-drenched messages with your nubile college-aged intern.

Indeed, it's a complicated world out there for a horny legislator. But if you follow this handy guide, you'll be happily banging away on that, um, touchscreen in no time.

[*Sure, women are no less capable than men of political corruption. But let's not kid ourselves here. If you're a politician chasing a younger intern, we're betting you're a dude.]

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John Diehl Replaced As Speaker, Intern Katie Graham Goes Public

Categories: Politics

Missouri Division of Tourism via Flickr

Last night, after former speaker John Diehl Jr. announced his resignation, the Republican caucus gathered to select a new Speaker of the House.

Earlier, Diehl had indicated he would not vacate his post -- even after the Kansas City Star busted him for sexting with a 19-year-old college intern. But yesterday afternoon he sent out an announcement that he is resigning "for the good of my party, the caucus, and the state."

The caucus emerged from their discussions to announce that House Majority Leader Todd Richardson will take Diehl's place as speaker. A formal vote will take place today, the last day of the session.

But it was the intern who stole the spotlight last night -- she went public with her first statement about the incident and identified herself. She's Katie Graham, a Missouri Southern State University student originally from Olathe, Kansas.

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