Archive for Front Page News

‘People Are Just Fed Up’ Say Ferguson Residents

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By Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer

FERGUSON, Mo. –  I was in Ferguson, Mo., last week-end. As I drove into the Historic Downtown Ferguson it looked like a modern downtown Mayberry.
Clearly renovations are taking place at City Hall, Municipal Court and the Police station. Renovations are already complete on the strip malls that line North Florissant road and University Blvd.
However, things  change as one makes that right onto Church street and winds up on the main drag of East Ferguson  on West Florissant avenue where peaceful protests take place during the day that take a violent turn almost every night since August 9.
“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”, “Hands Up Don’t Shoot”, are the chants you hear from blocks away from what is being called, “Ground Zero”, the Quik Trip store that was looted and burned down the first night of the protests in Ferguson. Protestors have the hand and arms raised above their heads.
Michael Brown, 18, was shot at least six times by a white police officer. Witness accounts vary, but the common theme is that Brown had surrendered and had his hands raised as he was shot and killed by Ferguson Police officer, Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on August 9.
The focal point of the protests have centered around Brown but the underlying issue is the racial unrest in the City that has been festering for decades and has finally come to the surface not just for Ferguson, but possibly St. Louis as a whole.
There are 21,000 people living in the “Sundown” town that has a black population of about 67 percent with close to 52  percent of the black population, in East Ferguson, living at or below the state’s poverty level, according to the 2010 Census.

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Petitioners Turn In 10,500 Petitions To Overturn City Ordinance

More than 10,500 persons have signed referendum petitions to force the City Council of Kansas City to either repeal or put on the ballot the ordinance to outsource the city’s ambulance billing to a Fort Lauderdale, Florida company.
Petitioners submitted 617 pages of petitions on Monday to the City Clerk, most filled with 10 names per page and estimated to contain a total of well over 5,000 signatures.  Petitioners earlier had turned in over 5,600 signatures.
Election authorities have certified that the earlier petitions contained the signatures of 4,112 registered voters in Kansas City, so an additional 3,031 valid signatures of voters were needed to force the Council to repeal the outsourcing ordinance or put it on the ballot.
Petitioners and some city officials acknowledged the petitions submitted Monday likely contained more than enough valid signatures to reach this goal, particularly since many signatures were gathered at the polls during the recent primary election, while many others were gathered at area churches.
The number of signatures submitted may have set a new record for signatures on any recent initiative or referendum petition drive in Kansas City, despite being a grassroots effort with no money for advertising or paying campaign workers.
“People don’t want to see our Kansas City jobs outsourced particularly to an out-of-state company that pays Walmart-type wages,” Ms. Rosa James, a long-time community advocate and one of the five Committee of Petitioners that sought the referendum petition.
She explained that most of the city employees are African American women many of whom are single mothers and the sole breadwinners for their families whose careers will be in limbo unless the outsourcing ordinance is overturned.
“They are doing a good job and don’t deserve to be kicked to the curb so the city can try to save a few bucks by contracting with a company like Intermedix that has a shaky history of not adequately protecting patient privacy, not collecting the amounts promised to gullible city officials and providing terrible customer service,” she said.

 

 

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Federal Court To Unveil Gaitan Portrait

 

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Today, Friday, Aug. 22, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri will unveil the senior portrait of District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan Jr., commemorating Gaitan’s 34 years of public service.
Judge Gaitan, the first African American appointee to the Western District, took senior status in January following completion of his seven-year term as chief judge.
The first in his family to go to college, Judge Gaitan earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from Pittsburg State university in 1970.  After a short time in California, he returned to Kansas City and began working for YPals, a youth organization co-sponsored by the YMCA and the local bar.  His interaction with the young lawyers who volunteered to mentor troubled juveniles at Y-Pals sparked his interest in law school.

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