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One Billion Rising St. Louis "Flash Mob" Dance at Chesterfield Mall
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, February 11, 2018 - St. Louis will celebrate unity with women around the globe and demonstrate against violence at the One Billion Rising event, held each year on Valentine's Day.

Free and open to the public, One Billion Rising St. Louis will take place on February 14 from 12pm to 2pm on the second floor of the Chesterfield Mall at The Connection STL (#632). With more than one hundred events held simultaneously around the globe, One Billion Rising is the largest mass action to end violence against women in history. The event is marked by a dance, taught at the event, that women around the world will dance at the same moment, 1pm in St. Louis.

Especially relevant in light of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that have shined a light on harassment and assault against women, this year's official theme is "Solidarity Against the Exploitation of Women: Rise, Resist, Unite." In addition to dancing together, the sixth annual One Billion Rising St. Louis will showcase St. Louis organizations working to end violence and empower women, including Turning Point, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.

Speakers will include Patrice Billings, the first female police helicopter pilot and a democratic candidate for Missouri State Senate District 2; Pooki Lee, founder of The Connection STL; Ellen Reed of Turning Point and Sharon Campione, chapter leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in St Charles County.

"One Billion Rising is an important display of the value women have in our community and around the world," said Patrice Billings, candidate for Missouri State Senate for District 2. "No matter where we come from, or what we have experienced in life, we can overcome our adversities. We survive. We come together. We change the dialogue. That is what this event is about." One Billion Rising St. Louis is sponsored by Butterfly & Moon, a boutique on Main Street in Saint Charles, and The Connection STL, a space for cultural and creative community events.

"Now is the time to stand up with women, for women everywhere and show our solidarity. Women are coming together like never before to support each other in a time when the rights we have fought so hard for are now at stake. If there was ever a moment to stand together, now is that moment," said Pooki Lee, founder of The Connection STL.

For more information about One Billing Rising St. Louis or to RSVP, Pooki Lee from The Connection at (314) 412-4984.

Budget Deal will 'Literally Save Lives' with New Anti-Opioid Resources
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, February 11, 2018 - Following the announcement on a two-year agreement on spending levels that includes billions in resources to combat the opioid epidemic, restore community health centers funding, boost military spending, and a rural infrastructure fund for broadband, water, and other projects, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill released the following statement:

"I'm eager to see text and review the details of this agreement, but it's a positive step away from the kind of brinksmanship and stop-gap funding measures that have undermined Missourians' confidence in their government. What's even more positive is that this deal includes the kinds of resources I've fought to bring to Missouri-resources that'll literally save lives, strengthen our military, and boost jobs in communities across our state."

The deal includes $6 billion in opioid funding, $20 billion in funding for rural infrastructure projects, a two-year renewal of funding for community health centers including an increase in resources to $7 billion, an additional four years of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, and relief from military sequestration cuts.

McCaskill is leading efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in Missouri and across the country. Spearheading a push to expand rural Missourians' access to treatment for opioid addiction, she is calling for an exemption for doctors and nurses in rural areas to write anti-addiction prescriptions via telemedicine.

Earlier this year McCaskill launched an investigation into opioid manufacturers-the most comprehensive Congressional investigation into the crisis to date-when she requested information related to sales and marketing materials, internal addiction studies, details on compliance with government settlements and donations to third party advocacy groups from major opioid manufacturers.

Monsanto Fund Awards $25,000 to Arts and Education Council
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, February 11, 2018 - The Arts and Education Council (A&E) has announced receipt of $25,000 in renewed support from the Monsanto Fund for a grant program to provide arts in rural communities across the bi-state region.

Since its inception in 2007, the Monsanto Fund Rural Community Arts Education Program has provided more than $200,000 in arts funding to bring artists and entertainers into classrooms and performance venues so adults and children living in the rural communities surrounding the St. Louis metropolitan area have greater access to performing, visual and literary arts.

"The arts are a critical element of any vibrant community. They create a ripple effect of positive change by inspiring our kids, engaging our minds and enriching our lives," said Cynthia A. Prost, A&E president & CEO. "This renewed support from the Monsanto Fund means A&E can continue to provide direct support to arts organizations in our region's rural communities, where grant recipients have told us that the program plays an integral role in providing collaboration among artists, educators, businesses and community leaders."

"As public funding for the arts continues to diminish, so does access for those whose lives would be enriched by either participating in or attending art programs," said Michelle Insco, Monsanto Fund program officer. "The Monsanto Fund is proud to support the Arts and Education Council in its mission to ensure students and their families, especially those who reside in rural communities, have opportunities to enjoy the arts."

Organizations that received funding in 2017 were: Highland Arts Council (Highland, Ill.), Looking Glass Playhouse (Lebanon, Ill.), Raintree Arts Council (Clarksville, Mo.), Sullivan Area Arts Council (Sullivan, Mo.), The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts (Lebanon, Ill.) and Warren County Fine Arts Council (Wright City, Mo.).

This support from Monsanto Fund adds to the institution's existing support for the Creative Impact Fund at the Arts and Education Council. The Monsanto Creative Impact Fund program, launched in 2017, provides grants to arts and arts education organizations that demonstrate immediate need in support of new programs or projects. Recipients of Monsanto Creative Impact Fund grants in 2017 were: Arts & Faith St. Louis, The Black Rep, ERA Theatre, Saint Louis Story Stitchers and Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis.

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