Woman Arrested for Trespassing After Protesting Controversial "Right to Farm" Bill

Missouri's Food for America/Facebook
Police in Springfield arrested a Right to Farm protester at the Ozark Empire Fair after fair security claimed she was causing a disturbance. But opponents of the controversial farm bill say the arrest was an egregious violation of one's freedom of speech.

Last week, Laura Umpenour was at the fair and handing out literature that explained her position against Amendment 1 at a booth operated by Len Pense, a local farmer who also opposes the ballot measure known as "Right to Farm," reports the Springfield News-Leader. Pense also put up prominent signs telling voters to vote no on the amendment.

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

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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10 Important Sentences from the Judge's Ruling Against Lyft in St. Louis

Lyft can't operate or advertise rides in St. Louis, a judge ruled.
The ride-sharing app Lyft must stop giving and advertising rides in St. Louis, for the summer and possibly forever, a St. Louis circuit court judge ruled Monday.

The news doesn't change much: Lyft was already under a temporary restraining order preventing it from operating in St. Louis when Judge Joan Moriarty granted the preliminary injunction Monday. Lyft has another chance to plead its case in a permanent injunction hearing set for the end of August, so the story isn't over.

The latest ruling is a win for the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission, which has demanded that Lyft, Uber, Carmel and other rideshare app businesses comply with taxi codes and license drivers and cars. Carmel is fully licensed, and Uber is working with the city on licensing.

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UPDATE: St. Louis Archdiocese and Defrocked Priest Head to Trial Today on Sex Abuse Cover-Up

Joseph Ross
Update 9:11 a.m.: The case settled this morning prior to the start of trial. Ken Chackes, the attorney for Jane Doe, is to make a statement later today. More as it develops.

Update 9:42 a.m.: In a prepared statement, attorney Ken Chackes confirmed that the case was settled. And, in terms of the settlement, could (and would) only state the following:

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Greene County Candidate for Sheriff Charged with Jury Tampering Via Facebook

Luke Lamb, shown here in a campaign banner from last year. He's running for Greene County Sheriff now.
Luke Lamb has a history of fighting the law -- and winning.

Lamb is running as a "constitutional Sheriff's candidate" in Greene County, Illinois, selling himself as an advocate for a more limited system of police intervention. He made a name for himself in 2011 for filming a cop drinking beer after a traffic stop, and he popped up again in 2013 for hanging an "Impeach Obama" banner over a highway overpass. But now he's managed to piss off the very same sheriff's office he's running for.

Indeed, current Greene County Sheriff Robert McMillen didn't appreciate Lamb using Facebook to allegedly advise a juror to "Nullify, nullify, nullify!" and to "Hang the jury, if necessary" in a traffic case in January. Lamb is now facing a felony for unlawful communication with a juror, a charge his lawyer has stated "reeks of small-town political retribution."

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Judge Says St. Louis County Courts Must Allow Press, Public Into Courtroom

Bryan Turner/Wikimedia
The Missouri Constitution says that courts must be open to the public. But in several St. Louis County municipal courthouses, that's not always the case. Now, after attorneys who work in the county expressed their concerns, a top county judge has ordered the courts to open up.

"There are still a substantial number of municipal courts that limit seating only to defendants and defendants' attorneys, without any justification," Presiding Judge Maura McShane -- who has administrative authority over municipal courts -- writes in a June 24 letter. "The practice is not only a clear violation of the Missouri Constitution, but it also subjects those to potential claims for violations of Constitutional rights."

The order comes after lawyers from ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit law firm focused on indigent clients, as well as professors from the Clinical Law Offices of the Saint Louis University School of Law, brought the matter to the attention of McShane and other County judges beginning back in March.

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Egypt Demands Saint Louis Art Museum Return 3,000-Year-Old Mummy Mask

The mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer resides at the Saint Louis Art Museum. But is it stolen?
Egyptian minister of antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim has a message for the Saint Louis Art Museum: Let our mummy mask go.

The mummy in question is Ka-Nefer-Nefer, "The Twice-Beautiful Ka," an Egyptian noblewoman whose funeral mask was unearthed by archaeologist Mohammed Zakaria Goneim in 1951, more than 3,000 years after her death. SLAM acquired the the mask in 1998 from an antiquities dealer, but Egypt maintains the mask was stolen decades ago and smuggled out of the country.

The U.S. government sued SLAM in 2011, attempting to return the mask to Egypt, but the case fell apart last week after U.S. attorneys missed a simple filing deadline. Now, the Egyptian government is threatening to sue SLAM itself.

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Judge Delays Hearings on Lyft's Future in St. Louis

Urbanists on Flickr, cropped
Lyft's pink mustaches are getting their day in court.
A full week of deliberations just isn't enough. On Wednesday, Circuit Court Judge Joan Moriarty ordered a ten-day break before the hearings over ride-sharing app Lyft's future in St. Louis can continue.

After hearing from all of the witnesses, Moriarty asked counselors from Lyft and from the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission, which is fighting for a permanent injunction against Lyft, to prepare a findings report by June 2.

Stephen O'Brien, a lawyer representing Lyft, asked Moriarty to expedite the process and allow closing arguments since Lyft is under a temporary restraining order until Moriarty makes her final decision.

"This is a bit of an emergency," O'Brien said in court. "This is important to us, and we need to get this resolved."

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Lyft Fights Injunction in St. Louis Court: "It's Just Not Fair"

Lyft's emblematic pink mustache has arrived in St. Louis. Will a judge let it stay?
The future of Lyft in St. Louis isn't final yet.

A St. Louis judge delayed ruling on an injunction that would ban the ride-sharing app from operating in the Lou Wednesday until she could hear further testimony.

The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission, which regulates cars-for-hire in the city and county, is asking for a permanent injunction against Lyft, which does not have a business license or a commercial driving license in Missouri.

"We don't know who these people are," Charles Billings, a lawyer for the taxi commission, told the court about Lyft and its fleet of drivers Wednesday. "They are putting themselves in danger because they haven't been properly trained. They are putting their riders in danger because they do not have insurance."

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Lawsuit Over Estate of Deceased Munchkin, Mickey Carroll, Slated for Trial Next Week

Mickey Carroll at his home in Bel-Nor in 2007. | Jennifer Silverberg
Five years ago this week, Wizard of Oz actor Mickey Carroll passed away in his sleep at the age of 89. Yet the fight over his estate had already begun with Carroll's niece, Janet Finocchiaro, alleging before his death that the ex-Munchkin's caretaker, Linda Dodge, physically abused Carroll and duped him out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the wake of Carroll's passing, a photo of a purportedly abused Carroll -- sporting a bruise to his forehead -- even ran in the National Enquirer.

Next week the lawsuit Finocchiaro and other family members brought against Dodge is finally slated for trial in St. Louis County Circuit Court.

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