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Many people around the country saw Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson as the catalyst behind a new civil rights movement.

But, even with the Ferguson protest movement going from the streets to the halls of government, political change in the St. Louis region was slow, as activist-preferred candidates lost elections and some policy demands went unmet.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell has a message for people who believe little has been accomplished or gained here in five years.

“I would say with all due respect, me sitting in this office now would be evidence of change,” Bell said. “And in my opinion obviously positive change.”

After spending three weeks as the Grandmaster-in-Residence at the St. Louis Chess Club, I have come to the realization that the future of chess, as an entertainment vessel, lies in the online, livestream medium.

Angela Boykin watched her cousin die from cancer in 2016. Loretta — or Lo, as everyone called her — suffered through significant pain. So when Missouri voters passed the medical marijuana law in November, she wanted in on opening a dispensary in Kansas City. 

Missouri starts officially accepting applications for medical marijuana businesses Saturday, and it’s a potentially lucrative business: A cannabis data research company estimates that by 2025, Missouri could see $111 million in medical marijuana sales yearly. 

But Boykin and other applicants are black, and even though Missouri by law can’t factor in race or gender when awarding licenses, the national trend is that pot business owners and founders are overwhelmingly white. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 16 2012 - St. Louis County Library may demolish eight of its 20 existing county branches as part of the system’s 10-year facilities master plan. But before it could do that -- and then rebuild or rennovate -- voters would have to approve a $108 million bond issue Nov. 6.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 14, 2012 - The Madison County Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation program is headquartered in a former hospital building in Wood River, but there are no miracle cures to be found here for the foreclosure ills that have plagued the nation since the financial crisis of 2008.

Updated at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 1 with testimony from Illinois Department of Corrections officials — The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois wants a federal judge to order the state of Illinois to change its practices for providing medical treatment to transgender prisoners. 

Current policies fail to provide adequate health care to prisoners diagnosed with gender dysphoria, according to opening arguments made Wednesday by the ACLU in a federal court in East St. Louis. Illinois Department of Correction practices deny and delay medically necessary treatment for years, leading to “profound suffering” and increasing the risks of self-harm and suicide for transgender prisoners, the ACLU’s motion argues. 

Copyright 2019 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Every Missouri public school should employ armed protection to keep children safe from active shooters.

That is the main takeaway from a report released Wednesday by a task force formed by Gov. Mike Parson in March to improve school safety. A federal panel spent much of 2018 conducting a similar review of school safety measures and released its report in December.

Tens of thousands of Missourians are still waiting to receive their state tax refunds this year. 

And some are saying this year’s wait is particularly bad.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway said this has been an issue for years, under both Republican and Democratic governors. Despite significant improvements in the timeliness of refunds last year, Galloway said problems persist and little has been done to remedy the situation.

Copyright 2019 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Kansas Sen. Jim Denning may be on the hook for about $90,000 in legal fees after a judge threw out his defamation claims against The Kansas City Star and former Star guest columnist Steve Rose.

That’s because the Kansas Public Speech Protection Act, which is meant to discourage lawsuits that chill free speech, allows prevailing parties to recover their costs of litigation and “reasonable attorney fees.”  

A high-ranking official of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, has resigned after a jury on Tuesday found him guilty of misdemeanor battery against a female employee.

Dennis “Tib” Laughlin was director of General Services and worked for the UG for 21 years. According to the UG, he submitted his resignation in writing after the verdict was handed down Tuesday afternoon.

Online medical shopping is now available in Missouri and Kansas, and it could be more affordable than going through insurance companies.

Launched in March, Sesame allows patients to search for medical care in the Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, areas. MediBid is an online portal that allows patients to make requests for care and doctors and hospitals to respond with an offer. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 9, 2012 - Missouri’s two major-party nominees for the U.S. Senate — Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill and Republican challenger Todd Akin — each waded Thursday into touchy social-issue territory.

As McCaskill, D-Mo., shook hands with supporters following her re-election kickoff event Thursday in St. Louis, ally Fred Tompkins asked the senator why she had voted for Amendment 2.

Catholic church leaders in the Belleville Diocese promoted a priest they knew as a danger to children until he was in charge of their largest parish and its grade school, where he is accused of sexually abusing students, according to a civil suit filed earlier this month.

Joseph Schwaegel, who was first accused of child sexual abuse in a 1999 lawsuit, has been named in a new complaint filed against the diocese July 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a massive gambling expansion into law in June. On Tuesday he stopped by Fairmount Park Racetrack in Collinsville to talk about the impact.

The legislation offers six new casinos, a harness racetrack and casino licenses for the three existing racetracks in Illinois. Pritzker said adding other types of gaming will reverse the current decline at the horse racing track.

Six months after suing The Kansas City Star and columnist Steve Rose for defamation, Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning has seen all of his claims thrown out.

Earlier this month, Johnson County District Judge Paul Gurney tossed Denning’s defamation claims against The Star, finding he had failed to show malice.

And on Tuesday, he did the same thing with Denning’s claims against Rose, finding that Denning had failed to meet his burden of proof under the Kansas Public Speech Protection Act.

This Saturday, the Missouri History Museum opens two new exhibits: “Pulitzer Prize Photographs” and “In Focus: St. Louis Post-Dispatch Photographs.” The first is a traveling exhibit from the Newseum in Washington, displaying the most comprehensive collection of Pulitzer-winning photos ever assembled. The second provides a companion exhibit that shows off the work of local photojournalists.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with Jody Sowell, director of exhibitions and research for the Missouri Historical Society, and Robert Cohen, a staff photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, about what the new shows entail. 

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are asking a federal judge to overturn a Missouri law banning most abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. 

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, lawyers for the ACLU and Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services, the St. Louis clinic that provides abortion services, asked the court to overturn the law on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.

“Extreme legislators are really pushing to find any way possible to outlaw abortion in the state,” said Colleen McNicholas, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

A Wyandotte County jury found a high-ranking official of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, guilty of misdemeanor battery against a female employee Tuesday.

Maddie Waldeck, a former Unified Government employee, said on May 1 last year that she was having a "light-hearted" conversation with colleagues after work when her boss, Dennis "Tib" Laughlin, grabbed her by the shirt and pushed her against a wall.

Missouri state Rep. Rebecca Roeber, a Republican from Lee's Summit, died Tuesday in her sleep. 

Few sounds in sports are more satisfying than the crack of the bat. But for too many baseball fans, it has come to signal something else: danger. Commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month’s edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

Snagging a foul ball is, admittedly, one of the greatest thrills in sports — the ultimate hands-on experience. Only at a baseball game do fans get a chance to grab the ball and take it home as a trophy. It’s the dream of every little kid with a glove.

But too often, tragedy happens.

Segment 1: Missouri's junior senator is 'playing for that long future.'

Copyright 2019 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Sleepy truck drivers cause hundreds of fatal crashes each year. Drivers work in an industry that rewards miles driven, not time on the clock, so many truckers push the envelope just to make a living.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeps drivers in check with so-called Hours of Service Regulations. The regs cap driving time at 11 hours a day. Truckers have to stop and rest for at least a half hour during that time, and no matter how much downtime they may have in between, they have to quit for the day 14 hours after they start.

Two healthcare giants are expanding a pilot program in the Kansas City area aimed at using their drug stores to provide primary care and other services to Medicare beneficiaries.

Humana and Walgreens announced on Tuesday that they plan to open two primary care centers in area Walgreens stores in addition to the two they opened last year.

While residents are in an uproar this summer over residential property assessments in Jackson County, Missouri, an equally important battle is underway in Johnson County, Kansas, where big box stores are successfully challenging major increases in their commercial property values.

The trend could significantly reduce future tax dollars for Johnson County schools, libraries and cities. Government leaders are worried and trying to plan for worst case situations.

A group of local teens made St. Louis proud earlier this month when they earned first place at the 2019 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival in Las Vegas.

Selected through a months-long process under the umbrella of local nonprofit organization UrbArts, the six budding poets won the competition July 20. The festival draws about 500 young poets, their mentors, and leading artists and cultural workers each year for arts education, artistic expression and civic engagement.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with two members of the award-winning team: Zack Lesmeister, who is a graduate of Marquette High School, a freshman at Emerson College and a former St. Louis youth poet laureate, and Keana Fox, a graduate of Collinsville High School who is headed to Indiana University in Indianapolis this fall. Also participating in the discussion was one of the team’s coaches, Sahara Sista SOLS.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 3, 2012 - No matter how cool the air-conditioning in the ballroom of the Millennium Hotel downtown next week, no matter how determined 900 leaders of Catholic religious sisters are to be civil with well-modulated voices, many already are hot under the collar.

Cheryl Watkins-Moore has a vision.

Even though the building she’s standing in is empty, she points to spots where she can see a trendy coffee bar beneath a vaulted ceiling, retail shopping in the window front ⁠— and a medical marijuana dispensary in the back.

“People can come into the dispensary, take care of what they need to take care of and then be able to go on about their business,” said Watkins-Moore, the chief strategy and marketing officer of REAL Cannabis Co.

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