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Spotlight on St. Louis Area Neighborhood Activities - Updated January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday Celebration
Many participants in the 47th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebration were unknowingly caught up with the group of Ferguson protesters leading the first wave of marchers from the historic Old Courthouse.

Annual MLK Day Marchers Clash with Ferguson Protesters
by bob Moore,
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, January 19, 2015 - Following a Civic Ceremony in the rotunda of the historic Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, local and state officials joined hundreds of community leaders, families and supporters in the memorial march as part of the celebration for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Committee, founded by the Honorable Norman R. Seay, has hosted the march for the past 47 years. Over time, participation has fallen off to just a few hundred marchers who often braved cold temperatures in the twenties.

This year there was a massive crowd waiting outside the Old Courthouse. Numerous signs bearing the message of Dr. King were held proudly by marchers who have participated in the event for many years. Other signs reflected messages relating to the recent unrest in Ferguson.

Shouting loudly "No Peace, No Justice", several hundred participants, many wearing white masks, broke away from the crowd and began to march. Others stood, waiting for the official signal.

Rhonda Wren commented that she heard the march was halted at the beginning because it wasn't the official march. "That march was led by the white people and this march was organized by the committe. We are not all together. It's not about Ferguson. It's about Dr. King and his observance. We can't together for anything," she said.

"Mass confusion, unfortunatly," she added, shaking her head with disgust.

When asked if this was her first march, Wren responded enthusiastically, "This is my third or fourth march in St. Louis. I actually went to D.C. for the March on Washington. It was a fantastic experience," she smiled. I got to do some civil rights conferences and see some of our black leaders speak and try and formulate a plan. It was good. It taught me a lot," she said.

At that moment, the crowd suddenly begain to chant "Keep Peace Alive". Wren quickly joined the marchers as they moved forward along Market Street toward Harris Stowe State University for the Interfaith Service. Many linked arms in a gesture of peaceful solidarity as they followed the leaders of the official march.

MERS Goodwill Grand Opens on Forest Park Boulevard
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, January 13, 2015 - Known for its thrifty retail shops and job placements in the community through employment services and programs, MERS Goodwill hosted a grand opening of its new location in St. Louis.

The original Goodwill Forest Park location, at 4140 Forest Park Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63108, had been around forever and was dilapidated. Thanks to generous donations from the community, Goodwill was able to open a new location next door at 4200 Forest Park Blvd. so its shoppers have a better experience.

The celebration of the retail store's expansion and new location was held, Thursday, January 15, with an official ribbon cutting ceremony. The store opened directly afterward.

West Florissant Avenue Great Streets Project Gets Boost
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, December 29, 2014 - Gov. Jay Nixon has taken action that will support $2.5 million for the West Florissant Avenue Great Streets project, a transportation improvement project within the cities of Ferguson and Dellwood that includes portions of the avenue from I-270 to Buzz Westfall Plaza.

The Governor approved an amendment that added the West Florissant project to the FY2015-2018 St. Louis Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. The East-West Gateway board of directors gave its approval to the amendment in November, and then requested that the State Transportation Improvement Program be adjusted so the project could be implemented. The Governor's approval authorizes the project to proceed.

With approval of the amendment, $2 million in federal funding and a $500,000 local match can be available for preliminary engineering on the project. The West Florissant corridor is a major residential and commercial thoroughfare that services a major Metrolink bus line, and the TIP project would include making the avenue more pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly.

"I commend the East-West Gateway Council for moving forward on this project to better meet the needs of North County residents," Gov. Nixon said. "We will continue to work in a variety of substantial ways to improve the quality of life of Missourians in the region."

"This effort is just one of many initiatives being undertaken by committed public and private partners to create a stronger, more united and prosperous region," said Maida Coleman, Director of Missouri's Office of Community Engagement. "I'm glad the State of Missouri is able to facilitate this worthy project and I look forward to helping it succeed."

The West Florissant Avenue Great Streets project is part of the St. Louis Great Streets Initiative, launched in 2006 by East-West Gateway to expand the way communities think of their streets. Rather than viewing a roadway project as solely a way to move more cars and trucks faster, the goal of the St. Louis Great Streets Initiative is to trigger economic and social benefits by centering communities around interesting, lively and attractive streets that serve all modes of transportation.

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Archived St. Louis Community News and Information:
 Reinvest North County Fund Issues Second Round of Funding
 St. Louis Marathon Rock 'n' Rolls Through the Neighborhoods
 Monsanto Commits $1 Million for North St. Louis County
 President Reed Teams with Forest ReLeaf with 'Trees for Peace'
 Webster University Kicks Off Centennial Celebration at the Old Post Office Plaza
 Reinvest North County Fund Announces First Round of Awards
 City of Clayton Municipal Court to Hold Amnesty Day Court Docket, October 6
 VA Acting Secretary Sloan D. Gibson Addressed Issues at Hospital
 'Food for Fines' Program During July at St. Louis Public Library
 St. Louis Fire Department to Receive Grant to Enhance Training
 Painted Articulated MetroBus Spotlights South Grand
 Biking to Work Increases 60 Percent Over Last Decade
 Newly Rebuilt River des Peres Greenway Trail Opens at the Shrewsbury/Lansdowne MetroLink Station
 St. Louis City Introduces 'Milkweeds for Monarchs'
 Heat-Up St. Louis Hits A Record High of $165,000 To Date
 stl250 to Install 250 Cakes for the "Cakeway to the West"

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