WBEZ | St. Louis http://www.wbez.org/tags/st-louis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Police step up patrols in St. Louis over string of church fires http://www.wbez.org/news/police-step-patrols-st-louis-over-string-church-fires-113451 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/The Newlife Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis as it sits with the front burned on Tuesday. A fire damaged the front doors, siding and an entrance to the small predominantly Africian-American church..jpg" alt="" /><p><div><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="The Newlife Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis as it sits with the front burned on Tuesday. A fire damaged the front doors, siding and an entrance to the small predominantly Africian-American church." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/21/62322141_h40244458_custom-ed6da956ba86225481680e843e0423b70890b7ea-s600-c85.jpg" title="The Newlife Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis as it sits with the front burned on Tuesday. A fire damaged the front doors, siding and an entrance to the small predominantly African-American church. (Bill Greenblatt/UPI /Landov)" /></div><div><div><p>Police in St. Louis have stepped up patrols after six churches in predominantly black neighborhoods were set on fire this month.</p></div></div></div><p><a href="http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/local-federal-investigators-probe-6-arsons-black-churches-10-days">As St. Louis Public Radio has reported</a>, the cases, which are being investigated by local and federal authorities, are being treated as arson. St. Louis Public Radio reports that the fires have been started when the churches are empty and when the &quot;arsonist lit exterior doors on fire.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-police-add-patrols-trying-to-crack-string-of/article_26d2eb76-f517-5394-9a21-f31ccfdc024a.html">The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports</a>:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and the Anti-Defamation League suggested a racial motive may be at play. In a prepared statement, the ACLU of Missouri&#39;s executive director, Jeffrey Mittman, called the fires &#39;domestic terrorism.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;&#39;It is a sad truth that, throughout our nation&#39;s history, African-Americans often have been met with astounding violence when they demand equality,&#39; he wrote. &#39;Those who commit this violence seek to instill fear. This is why arson against predominantly black churches has been a frequent tool of white supremacy.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;But Dotson said investigators have yet to confirm that race was the motive. If race or religion proves to be the reason, he said, police will seek to have the incidents prosecuted as hate crimes.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p><a href="http://kplr11.com/2015/10/20/st-louis-religious-leaders-call-for-fires-to-stop-forgive-church-arsonist/">KPLR-TV reports&nbsp;</a>that authorities are offering a $4,000 reward for information that leads to the suspects.</p><p>The station adds:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;In statements Tuesday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster condemned the recent church fires in north St. Louis City and County.</em></p><p><em>&quot;Nixon said, &#39;These cowardly acts of violence against places of worship are deeply troubling. Houses of worship must be safe havens where people can come together in faith and fellowship &ndash; not the targets of hate and violence. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been in contact with local and federal authorities and is ready to assist in the investigation of these crimes.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;Koster said, &#39;A house of worship should be a place of peace and refuge. These targeted acts of arson strike at the heart of St. Louis by attacking its sanctuaries. The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice.&#39;&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/21/450581516/police-step-up-patrols-in-st-louis-over-string-of-church-fires?ft=nprml&amp;f=450581516" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 21 Oct 2015 14:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/police-step-patrols-st-louis-over-string-church-fires-113451 Raising the minimum wage puts a city at odds with lawmakers http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-06/raising-minimum-wage-puts-city-odds-lawmakers-113192 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Supporters of Min Wage increase.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><div id="file-293415"><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Supporters of a higher minimum wage came out in force when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen held a hearing on the issue. (Marketplace/Jason Rosenbaum)" id="1" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/styles/primary-image-766x447/public/Supporters%20of%20Min%20Wage%20increase.jpg?itok=9Yy0e05l" style="height: 350px; width: 600px;" title="Supporters of a higher minimum wage came out in force when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen held a hearing on the issue. (Marketplace/Jason Rosenbaum)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><div>Bettie Douglas could barely contain her excitement when St. Louis raised its minimum wage. Dressed&nbsp;in her black McDonald&rsquo;s uniform, Douglas crammed into St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay&rsquo;s office earlier this year after the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved legislation raising the city&rsquo;s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018.</div></div></div><div><div id="story-content"><p>After Slay signed the bill into law, Douglas predicted the bill would mean a little more money in her pocket &mdash; and a lot more piece of mind. &nbsp;&ldquo;I need to be able to eat, be able to take myself,&rdquo; Douglas says. &ldquo;And I can see in the future I won&rsquo;t have to rob Peter to pay Paul.&quot;</p><p>With a stroke of Slay&rsquo;s pen, St. Louis joined more than 25 cities and counties that raised its minimum wage independently from the rest of the state. It&rsquo;s part of a nationwide movement that&rsquo;s struck a chord with labor unions, left-leaning activists and Democratic politicians like St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Green.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think that any person who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty,&rdquo; Green says. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s what we have right now. Somebody who&rsquo;s making minimum wage is earning $16,000 a year roughly. You can&rsquo;t raise a family on that. You can&rsquo;t get an apartment on that &ndash; at least not a decent apartment. And it makes it very difficult to break that cycle of poverty.&rdquo;</p><p>But St. Louis&rsquo; minimum wage push came with a big catch. Not only is the new law facing a fierce legal attack from businesses and business groups, but it&rsquo;s being met with some serious push-back from the Republican-controlled Missouri General Assembly.</p><p>Missouri lawmakers overrode a gubernatorial veto of legislation banning cities from raising their own minimum wage. The bill effectively invalidated Kansas City&rsquo;s minimum wage hike and prevents any other city from following St. Louis&rsquo; lead.</p><p>If St. Louis&rsquo; minimum wage law survives a legal challenge, the city could have a higher wage scale than the rest of the state. That&rsquo;s alarming enough for Cooperative Health Care owner Mitch Waks to threaten to leave St. Louis if the minimum wage hike goes into effect.</p><p>&ldquo;If the economics force us out of business, what is the alternative?&rdquo; Waks says. &ldquo;Well, you can start caring for your mom and I applaud that.&rdquo;</p><div><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Cooperative Home Healthcare owner Mitch Waks spoke against the minimum wage increase at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen committee hearing. (Marketplace/Jason Rosenbaum)" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/Waks%20min%20wage.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 600px;" title="Cooperative Home Healthcare owner Mitch Waks spoke against the minimum wage increase at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen committee hearing. (Marketplace/Jason Rosenbaum)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><div><p>Some St. Louis aldermen who opposed the minimum wage bill &mdash; such as St. Louis Alderman Antonio French &mdash; felt that the city was putting itself at a major competitive disadvantage. He thought it was a &nbsp;mistake to go through with the wage increase without surrounding counties following suit.</p></div></div><p>&ldquo;I want people to remember this vote today how we&rsquo;ve changed the economy in the city of St. Louis and how we&rsquo;ve done something alone when didn&rsquo;t have to do it,&rdquo; French says. &ldquo;We did it without the proper information. And it&rsquo;s going to hurt the folks that I think many people are intending to help.&rdquo;</p><p>So did St. Louis just shoot itself in the foot from an economic standpoint? It depends on who you ask.</p><p>David Wiczer, an economist at the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve, says the &ldquo;potential cost of a minimum wage is in effect a detrimental effect on employment, which is difficult to observe in the data.&rdquo; He went on to say that &ldquo;if it (a detrimental effect) &nbsp;is there, it&rsquo;s very small.&rdquo;</p><p>But Wiczer says there&rsquo;s &ldquo;anecdotal evidence&rdquo; that a minimum wage hike&rsquo;s employment effect &ldquo;happens with a lag.&rdquo;</p><p>&quot;At some point in the future, the job growth in this locality is slower than somewhere else. And that&rsquo;s the result of all of these small-level decisions affirmed to not locate in one area and locate then in another area. And there is research that shows that if there is an employment effect, it often happens with a lag,&rdquo; Wiczer says.</p><p>Jake Rosenfeld is a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis. He just moved back here from Seattle, where novice baristas and fishmongers will eventually make $15 an hour thanks to a local minimum wage increase.</p><p>Rosenfeld says minimum wage boosts aren&rsquo;t completely inconsequential to businesses. But he says companies shouldn&rsquo;t panic either.</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re an employer in the city and you&rsquo;re only competitive advantage is paying rock bottom wages, then yes. A minimum wage increase is going to be alarming. But there are other ways businesses compete,&rdquo; Rosenfeld says. &ldquo;This is a tried and true tactic that you can compete on things like productivity, on having the best most productive workers. And having this differential between surrounding areas actually does provide an advantage to those employers who see themselves as kind of &#39;high road&#39; employers who take care of their employees and in return get higher productivity out of them.&rdquo;</p><p>But St. Louis&rsquo; minimum wage law isn&rsquo;t set in stone quite yet. A court case over its legality is set to begin in October.</p></div></div><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/wealth-poverty/raising-minimum-wage-puts-city-odds-lawmakers" target="_blank"><em>via Marketplace</em></a></p></p> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 09:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-06/raising-minimum-wage-puts-city-odds-lawmakers-113192 Morning Shift: Combating college debt http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-04-21/morning-shift-combating-college-debt-111911 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/manoftaste.de_.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Flickr/manoftaste.de" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201879403&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Dante Servin decision</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">A Chicago police detective acquitted after fatally shooting an African-American woman -Rekia Boyd- says justice was served. But the woman&rsquo;s supporters say the detective deserved to go to prison. They&rsquo;re slamming the acquittal yesterday, and the way the case was prosecuted. From our West Side bureau, WBEZ&rsquo;s Chip Mitchell <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/servin-trial-feature-150421-cm-with-intro">reports</a>. We also talk to Rekia Boyd&rsquo;s brother about the decision, and a protester who hit the streets of the West Side last night to raise awareness about police and community relations.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/tino_rebelz">Martinez Sutton</a> is the brother of Rekia Boyd.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em>Grant Newburger is a member of <a href="https://twitter.com/StopMassIncChi">Stop Mass Incarceration Network Chicago</a>.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">Chip Mitchell</a>&nbsp;is WBEZ&#39;s West Side Bureau reporter.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201879401&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Writer wants money back from St. Louis Police</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Ever get stopped by the police and wonder why? That happened eight years ago to a St. Louis area woman and mother of 10. One of her sons recently shared her story in the online magazine The Intercept. Juan Thompson says his mother was pulled over and told she was speeding. She wasn&rsquo;t given a ticket but instead hauled off to jail because the arresting officer said there was an outstanding warrant on account of her failure six years earlier to appear in court for driving without a license. But it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. But she still spent two nights in jail and was levied about $1000 in fines. We talk to Juan Thompson, a writer with The Intercept and a former WBEZ intern, about his mother&rsquo;s story.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/JuanMThompson">Juan Thompson</a> is a writer with the online magazine <a href="https://twitter.com/the_intercept">The Intercept.</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201879396&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Combating college debt</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Today it takes the average college graduate nearly 20 years to pay off their student loan debt. As the number of students dealing with post-grad debt continues to grow, Chicago&#39;s <a href="https://twitter.com/libertybankIL">Liberty Bank for Savings</a> is working to help combat some of the confusion potential students face when considering their payment options for higher education. Money Smart Week began Monday, and many financial institutions across the country are stepping up too, and offering guidance on spending, saving and other general money issues. Chicago will get involved via a free webinar set to take place tomorrow at 7 p.m. and geared at Chicago area millennials. Laura La Belle, a Certified financial Instructor and Money Coach, joins us to preview <a href="https://www.libertybank.com/wipe-out-student-loan-debt-2015">Wednesday&#39;s event</a>, which she&#39;ll be leading and take your questions about student loan debt.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pub/laura-la-belle-cfp/12/348/846">Laura La Belle</a> is a certified financial planner with <a href="http://www.lfeinstitute.com/">LFE Institute</a> and a money coach.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201879392&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Female veteran&rsquo;s autobiography</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Glenda Dugar, a retired 20-year U.S. Army Airborne veteran, was the first female Airborne Policewoman in her Fort Bragg unit to become an assistant Airfield Manager at Stuttgart Army Airfield in Germany. She&rsquo;s now a registered nurse and physical therapist assistant living in Evanston. She&rsquo;s written three books about her military experience &ndash; Confessions of an Airborne Soldier, Career Soldier and In My Own Words. Dugar is in studio to discuss In My Own Words, her memoir that garnered the attention of First Lady Michelle Obama.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/GlendaDugar">Glenda Dugar</a> is the author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/In-Own-Words-Glenda-Dugar/dp/1483624412">&quot;In My Own Words,&quot;</a> an autobiography.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 07:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-04-21/morning-shift-combating-college-debt-111911 Decision clears way for Illinois high-speed rail line http://www.wbez.org/news/decision-clears-way-illinois-high-speed-rail-line-104465 <p><p>WASHINGTON &mdash; The Federal Railroad Administration has taken action that will allow the full build-out of a high-speed rail corridor between Chicago and St. Louis.</p><p>The administration said Tuesday the Rock Island Corridor is the most efficient route between Joliet and Chicago. Officials also chose a route through Springfield that consolidates trains on the city&#39;s 10th Street corridor.</p><p>The decisions were the final step needed for environmental approval of the project.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn praised the action. He said design and construction work may begin once funding is available.</p><p>The $1.5 billion in improvements to the Illinois line are expected to enable speeds of 110 mph over 70 percent of the route by 2015.</p><p>That is expected to shave about an hour off the journey between Chicago and St. Louis.</p></p> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 08:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/decision-clears-way-illinois-high-speed-rail-line-104465 Occupy St. Louis to meet with city's leaders http://www.wbez.org/story/occupy-st-louis-meet-citys-leaders-93856 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-08/stlouis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>ST. LOUIS — City leaders will meet Tuesday with protesters involved in the Occupy St. Louis movement to try to resolve a dispute over the occupation of a downtown park. The mayor's chief of staff, meanwhile, said the city will do everything it can to avoid a violent confrontation if occupiers refuse to leave.</p><p>Jeff Rainford, chief of staff for Mayor Francis Slay, and city Parks Commissioner Dan Skillman were scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. with protesters at the Edward Jones Dome. Slay is not scheduled to attend the meeting.</p><p>Slay, Rainford and other city leaders are calling for an end to the occupation of Kiener Plaza. A few dozen protesters have been camping in tents at the park, a few blocks from Busch Stadium and the Gateway Arch, for the past several weeks as part of the nationwide Occupy movement.</p><p>"We've given them a wide berth because of their First Amendment rights," Rainford said. "But now we're getting complaints."</p><p>He said the complaints are varied: The area smells bad and the tents are unsightly; the occupiers are taking up park space that should be open to everyone. Some complain simply because they don't like their politics, Rainford said.</p><p>"We're caught in the middle," Rainford said.</p><p>City Hall leaders, police and others have developed a plan for what to do if the protesters refuse to end the encampment "that seeks to minimize the possibility of violence," Rainford said. He did not offer details of the plan.</p><p>Calls to a spokeswoman for Occupy St. Louis, Chrissie Brooks, were not immediately returned.</p><p>In a blog last week, Slay cited the approaching cold weather and the need to clear space for other events. Kiener Plaza is typically decorated for Christmas and is often the location for downtown events ranging from charitable gatherings to pep rallies to performances by school bands or choirs.</p><p>"I know, and the Occupy participants know, that they cannot stay there forever," Slay wrote.</p><p>Rainford said that by camping at the park, occupiers are violating at least two city laws: The 10 p.m. park curfew, and a law prohibiting the placement of structures — in this case, tents — in public parks.</p><p>Occupy St. Louis on Monday responded on its website, accusing the city of caving to "Big Business" and saying the Occupy movement has generated "vast support across the country and around the world."</p><p>"How ironic, then, that Mayor Slay has decided to stop listening to the complaints of the people and instead heed the complaints of the corporate groups that control the city," the statement read.</p><p>The statement also cited what it called false accusations against the protesters. Rainford has said Kiener Plaza "reeks of urine," which the statement called false.</p><p>"The occupiers have done a remarkable job of maintaining a clean and orderly place," the statement said, citing the group's safe space policy that calls for the area to be free of alcohol, drugs, weapons, hate speech and violence.</p><p>A police spokeswoman said there have been no reports of violence at the encampment. The only arrests came in early October, when 10 protesters were cited for curfew violations.</p><p>The statement also discounted Slay's claim that the area needs to be cleared for other events, saying the group has already shared the space with many others. And the group sought to turn the tables on Slay, citing a list of problems during his 11 years in office, ranging from failed or delayed development projects to high infant mortality rates.</p></p> Tue, 08 Nov 2011 17:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/occupy-st-louis-meet-citys-leaders-93856 EPA: Lead levels too high in Pilsen air http://www.wbez.org/story/epa-lead-levels-too-high-pilsen-air-87913 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-15/Kramer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday said the air in a swath of Chicago’s Southwest Side does not meet federal standards for lead. The finding is preliminary, but could lead to a crackdown on a copper smelter.</p><p>The finding supports an Illinois determination that the air in an area of the city’s Pilsen neighborhood exceeds 2008 federal limits for lead. The area’s borders are Damen Avenue, Roosevelt Road and the Dan Ryan and Stevenson expressways.</p><p>Cheryl Newton, who directs the air division of an EPA region that includes Illinois, says the process could lead to a state plan “to make sure those elevated levels come down.”</p><p>A cleanup could be a problem for a Pilsen smelter owned by H. Kramer and Co. In April a U.S. EPA legal complaint accused Kramer of violating lead-emissions rules. Illinois regulators, meanwhile, asked the state attorney general to take action.</p><p>A Kramer spokeswoman said the company had no comment on the U.S. EPA’s preliminary finding.</p><p>Pilsen and an area near St. Louis are the only Illinois locations whose air, according to the state, does not meet the standards for lead. Early childhood exposure to lead, a heavy metal, can trigger learning disabilities.</p></p> Thu, 16 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/epa-lead-levels-too-high-pilsen-air-87913 Chicago men indicted over contraband cigarettes http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/chicago-men-indicted-over-contraband-cigarettes <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//cigarette packs.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Eleven men from the St. Louis and Chicago areas are facing federal indictment for allegedly trafficking in contraband cigarettes.</p><p>The U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis announced the indictments on Thursday. Four of the men are from suburban St. Louis, five are from Chicago and two are from Chicago suburbs.</p><p>Authorities say the illegal enterprise supplied hundreds of thousands of contraband cigarettes to people in Missouri and Illinois. The participants allegedly sold the cigarettes without paying state and local cigarette taxes.<br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 06 Jan 2011 21:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/chicago-men-indicted-over-contraband-cigarettes U.S. bishops reject candidate tied to Chicago sex abuse http://www.wbez.org/story/news/us-bishops-reject-candidate-tied-chicago-sex-abuse <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Kicanas2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Catholic bishops have chosen a New York prelate to lead their organization for the next three years. The move is an unexpected defeat for an Arizona bishop under fire for his links to an imprisoned Chicago child molester.<br /><br />At a meeting Tuesday in Baltimore, the bishops elected New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, a St. Louis native, as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Dolan&rsquo;s victory is the first time in decades the nation&rsquo;s bishops have passed over a sitting vice president for their top post.<br /><br />That vice president, Tuscon Bishop Gerald Kicanas, once served as rector of a Chicago archdiocese seminary in northwest suburban Mundelein. In that post, Kicanas heard about three instances of alleged sexual misconduct by a student named Daniel McCormack.<br /><br />The nature of those incidents is murky. An archdiocese-commissioned report describes one as &ldquo;sexual abuse of a minor&rdquo; and says they occurred when McCormack attended a nearby seminary college&mdash;before he arrived in Mundelein.<br /><br />Kicanas approved McCormack&rsquo;s 1994 ordination. As a Chicago priest, McCormack sexually abused more than a dozen boys. Cardinal Francis George had started receiving allegations about the abuse by September 2005 but didn&rsquo;t pull McCormack out of the ministry until Chicago police arrested the priest in January 2006. The roles of Kicanas and George, the outgoing USCCB president, were the subject of a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/undefined/sex-abuse-lurks-behind-catholic-election">WBEZ report</a> last month.<br /><br />The National Catholic Register last week pressed Kicanas for his reactions to the report. A written response from the bishop said revelations about the three alleged sexual-misconduct incidents led to a church evaluation of McCormack. He said the evaluation sought &ldquo;to determine if he could live a celibate life and if there was any concern about his affective maturity.&rdquo;<br /><br />The evaluation found that McCormack&rsquo;s alleged misconduct was &ldquo;experimental and developmental,&rdquo; Kicanas added. &ldquo;I would never defend endorsing McCormack&rsquo;s ordination if I had had any knowledge or concern that he might be a danger to anyone.&rdquo;<br /><br />On Sunday morning some victims of priest sexual abuse led a Chicago protest against Kicanas, warning that it would be a mistake for U.S. bishops to elect him. Some conservative Catholic bloggers, meanwhile, seized on the controversy and cited additional reasons to oppose Kicanas. They said he wouldn&rsquo;t uphold many Catholic teachings strictly enough.<br /><br />Kicanas, 69, has pushed for dialogue between the church&rsquo;s liberal and conservative wings. In Arizona, the bishop has spoken against abortion and gay marriage but hasn&rsquo;t denied communion to politicians who favor abortion rights. On immigration, Kicanas has sided against a tough new Arizona law and pushed for a federal overhaul that would include a legalization of undocumented residents. Kicanas promoted &ldquo;comprehensive immigration reform&rdquo; as recently as Friday, when he gave the keynote speech at a church conference in Hammond, Indiana, just southeast of Chicago.<br /><br />Dolan, 60, appeals to many Catholic conservatives as a more aggressive defender of church orthodoxy. Last year, he signed a statement that united leading evangelicals and Catholics against abortion and gay marriage.<br /><br />The Vatican installed Dolan as New York archbishop last year. He had spent almost seven years as archbishop of Milwaukee.<br /><br />In Baltimore, where the bishops are holding their annual fall meeting, Dolan beat Kicanas in the third round of voting, 128-111. Dolan will replace Cardinal George as president this week. In another win for conservatives, the bishops elected Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to take Kicanas&rsquo; place as their vice president.<br /><br />An expert on the U.S. bishops says it&rsquo;s hard to know whether the latest McCormack flare-up shifted votes against the Tuscon bishop. &ldquo;Clearly Kicanas was being attacked and accused of making bad decisions when he was rector of the seminary,&rdquo; says Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. &ldquo;On the other hand, Dolan has also been criticized by victims of sexual abuse.&rdquo;<br /><br />In August, according to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Dolan &ldquo;quietly, recklessly and deceptively&rdquo; let a priest resign from his Harlem parish without mentioning that &ldquo;at least nine men&rdquo; had accused the priest of sexually abusing them as children.<br /><br />But a SNAP statement applauds Tuesday&rsquo;s defeat of Kicanas: &ldquo;We can hope that his shocking defeat will help deter future clergy sex crimes and coverups by the Catholic hierarchy.&rdquo;<br /><br />The USCCB has no formal authority over bishops but helps them promote Catholic teachings and coordinate positions on national issues such as marriage, immigration and health care. The organization has also formed policies to protect children from sexually abusive priests and other adults.</p></p> Tue, 16 Nov 2010 21:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/us-bishops-reject-candidate-tied-chicago-sex-abuse