Tag Archives: Saint Louis

Will Missouri Legislators Finally Decide to Pay Attention to Radioactive Waste Issues Outside of Saint Louis County?

Several national news media outlets, including CBS Evening News and the The Los Angeles Times, have reported recently about the inherent dangers of radioactive waste in the St. Louis County neighborhoods along Coldwater Creek colliding with an underground fire at the nearby Westlake Landfill, but none have reported the exclusive story I published for the first time Jan. 23, 2012, and, again, only nine months ago. It’s about radioactive waste impacting the lives of citizens in neighboring St. Charles County Mo., and about a state agency report due to be published in January 2016.

Click on image above to read the story I published Jan. 23, 2012, about radioactive waste issues in Missouri..

Click on image above to read the story I published Jan. 23, 2012, and, again, nine months ago, about radioactive waste issues outside of St. Louis County, Mo., and about a state agency report due to be published in January 2016.

I won’t repeat the story referenced above, since you can click this link to read it. Instead, I will republish two related stories that, for reasons beyond my control, went offline a little more than one year ago.

The first article was published March 26, 2012, under the headline, Missouri State Legislators Not Inclined to Place High Priority on 2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Report. The text of the article, which put me at loggerheads with my state legislators, appears below with only minor modifications for clarity and most, but not all, of the original links:

March has been a miserable month for me when it comes to dealing with Republican Party officials in my own backyard.

While most of my interaction about “things Republican” has revolved around the 2012 St. Charles County (Mo.) Republican Presidential Caucus, other interactions have involved GOP members of the Missouri House of Representatives.

During the first week of March, I made multiple attempts to contact several of those representatives with questions I had regarding the “2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report,” a four-page document published by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that was the subject of an exclusive article I broke Jan. 23.

The Weldon Spring Site in St. Charles County, Mo., was contaminated during the production of 2, 4, 6 – trinitrotoluene (TNT) and 2, 4 and 2,6 Dinitrotoluene (DNT) by the U.S. Department of Army from 1941 to 1945 and from enrichment of uranium ore and thorium processing by the Atomic Energy Commission from 1958 to 1966, according to an earlier MDHSS document, the 2005 Weldon Spring Cancer Report.

Those initial contact attempts, made between March 2 and March 6, involved sending three separate Facebook messages to five state representatives – Kurt Bahr of O’Fallon, Kathie Conway of St. Charles, Chuck Gatschenberger of Lake Saint Louis, Mark Parkinson of St. Peters and Anne Zerr of St. Charles.  My goal was to find out what each is doing, or planning to do, to obtain answers for their constituents about the controversial report.

To their credit, Representatives Bahr and Conway replied soon after being contacted.  Both admitted they were not extremely familiar with the topic, both explained they were very busy with legislative matters in Jefferson City, and both gave me the initial impression that the matter isn’t likely to become a “front-burner issue” anytime soon.

Sadly, three of the state representatives – Gatschenberger, Parkinson and Zerr — chose not to reply, leading me to come up with several possible reasons for their failures to respond:

• They place a low priority on the health and well-being of their constituents who live in the shadow of the Weldon Spring Site 30 miles west of St. Louis;

• They haven’t been asked often enough by their constituents to look into the matter;

• They place a low priority on inquiries from non-mainstream media reporters like me;

• They don’t want to have their names attached to such a potentially-volatile political “hot potato” during an election year;

• They believe ignorance is bliss; or

• Last but not least, it’s possible they don’t check their Facebook messages very often.

On March 7, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt regarding the Facebook possibility and send the same basic inquiry to all five state representatives via their official state email addresses.  Interestingly, the same two representatives who had replied to my Facebook messages replied to the email, and the same three representatives who had not replied to my Facebook messages did not reply to the email.

On the positive side, Representative Conway‘s reply came the same day and seemed to display genuine interest in the issue.

Not so positively, Representative Bahr‘s reply came the following day, was copied to all four of his colleagues, and didn’t leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

After he labeled me “the expert” on the matter at hand, Representative Bahr demanded I offer a solution before he would devote time to the matter.  In a “Reply to All” message, I refused the expert label and went on to share my beliefs that elected and unelected state officials must be responsive and that the issues raised in the report are not the kind to be solved quickly.  I closed by explaining what, at a minimum, officials at the state health agency should be required to do.

My short to-do list included requiring MDHSS officials to explain how they reached the conclusions they had reached in the report, to answer why they’ve refused to answer any questions from reporters — including Blythe Bernhard at the Post-Dispatch and me — about the report, and to respond to criticism of the report, such as that offered by Washington University Professor Robert Criss in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, Report on cancer risk from Weldon Spring site assailed.  It was published Feb. 20, four weeks after my initial article.

Interestingly, I ran into Representative Parkinson Saturday at the aforementioned caucus (a.k.a., “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre”), a topic about which I’ve written and published nine posts to date (not including this one).  He was manning the first chair at a long table of GOP officials processing caucus registrations.

When my turn to register came, I asked Representative Parkinson why he had not responded to any of my messages about Weldon Spring.  He said he had not seen them and acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about.

The conversation continued, and Representative Parkinson asked me to provide details about the issue.  I told him it was Weldon Spring, that he should read his email from me and — cognizant of the fact that 300 people were waiting behind me in the long caucus registration line — that “now” wasn’t the time or the place to discuss the matter.

As I started to walk away, Representative Parkinson asked if I, as “the expert” on the Weldon Spring matter, would like to discuss it over coffee.  I replied by telling him I would prefer to handle the matter more expediently, without wasting more time, via his response to my email message.

Later, while waiting for the caucus to begin inside the larger of two gymnasiums at Francis Howell North High School in St. Peters, Representative Parkinson approached me and again assured me that he had not seen any of my messages.  In response, I told him I found it odd that he had referred to me earlier as “the expert” – in much the same way Representative Bahr had in his aforementioned email — even though he said he had not seen any of the messages related to me.  The conversation ended there, and I went back to my seat in the bleachers.

A few hours after the caucus ended, Representative Parkinson sent me the Facebook message below, shown verbatim:

Bob…after an exhaustive search of my inbox (mark.parkinson@house.mo.gov) I can not find any correspondence from you on this issue. I don’t check facebook mail often (or at all). Please direct any official correspondence to the above email address.

We can discuss this issue when we sit down to discuss the other.

Mark

My response — “Mark – Perhaps you should look more closely. See screenshot of the message to you from my email “SENT” folder. – Bob” — was accompanied by a screenshot (taken March 18 and shown below) as evidence that Representative Parkinson had received the same message that all of his colleagues received.

Email-Message-Screenshot-to-Parkinson

Is it possible that Representative Parkinson is just computer illiterate?  Sure, it’s possible.  But I think that’s a stretch.

Instead, I believe he received my message but chose to ignore it.  My belief is augmented by the fact that my email message sent to the five state representatives did not produce any bounce-back messages like those I received on a handful of occasions in the past after I had used incorrect email addresses when trying to communicate with Missouri legislators.  [FYI:  As of this publication, I have still not received any email response from Representative Parkinson.]

Finally, it’s certainly worth noting that I ran into Representative Conway at the caucus, too.

During two brief discussions, she (1) seemed to express genuine interest in the matter, (2) told me she had read the materials to which I had provided links, and (3) gave me the feeling she would follow up on the matter.  Then, lo and behold, she contacted me via Facebook message to let me know she had contacted MDHSS and had more questions.  So much for that “initial impression” I mentioned early in this piece.

Sadly, the other state representatives’ responses and failures to respond raise more questions then they answer.

That in mind, I would like to offer a suggestion to readers (1) who live in one of the zip codes (63301, 63303, 63304, 63366 and 63376) covered by the cancer report, (2) who live in a zip code near the Weldon Spring Site or (3) who simply think these state legislators should be interested in this matter.  Use the information below to contact them in Jefferson City and let them know:

Rep. Kurt Bahr — 573-751-9768 or Kurt.Bahr@house.mo.gov;

Rep. Kathie Conway — 573-751-2250 or Kathie.Conway@house.mo.gov;

Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger — [Note: He’s no longer in office.]

Rep. Mark Parkinson — 573-751-2949 or Mark.Parkinson@house.mo.gov; and

Rep. Anne Zerr — 573-751-3717 or Anne.Zerr@house.mo.gov.

On March 29, 2012, I published another article — this one under the headline, Missouri Legislators Pass ‘Birther,’ Jumping Jacks and Butterfly Bills While Ignoring Cancer Report — in which I criticized Missouri legislators for what they were doing in lieu of investigating serious public health issues. The text of the first half-dozen or so paragraphs of that article appears below with only minor modifications for clarity and most, but not all, of the original links [Note: I opted to cut out paragraphs at the end of the article that simply rehashed details already shared in the aforementioned exclusive story]:

On Wednesday, the 46th day of the 2012 Regular Session, Missouri state legislators tackled at least one important bill which, I predict, will never be signed by liberal Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon.  That bill, HB1046, “requires proof of identity and status as a United States natural born citizen for the office of President and Vice President to be submitted with other required certification documents to the Secretary of State.”

In addition to the so-called “Birther Bill” which I support, legislators could have done so much more.  Before looking at what could have been, let’s look at what was addressed yesterday.

The house passed several bills that might eventually receive the governor’s signature.  Among them are seven specialty license plate-related measures, eight bills designating portions of several Missouri highways as memorial roadways to honor individuals who had served their country in law enforcement, the military and government and two bills designating days each year to honor veterans — March 26 as “Veterans of Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom Day” and March 30 as “Vietnam Veterans Day.”

Other bills that might get reach the governor and get his nod are bills advocating recognition for organ donation, Pallister-Killian Syndrome, fibromyaligia, lupus, spinal cord injuries and pancreatic cancer.

While I’m not specifically against any of the measures above, I simply think there are more pressing issues with which legislators should be spending their time.

Conversely, the ridiculous measures listed below were also pushed forward by legislators:

• “Jumping Jacks” as the official state exercise (HB1063);

• State Highway 5 between the cities of Ava and Mansfield as the “Missouri Fox Trotting Highway” (HB1107);

The Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia) as the official state butterfly (HB1266); and

The month of December as “Pet Breeders Appreciation Month (HB1404).”

Sadly, several of the same legislators who spent the day dealing with these “vital” pieces of legislation are the same ones who’ve been “too busy” and seem to have an avoid-at-all-cost attitude when it comes to answering questions about the 2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Report.

That report, issued by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services officials, has remained largely under wraps since it was released to me Dec. 29.  Why?

For starters, because it reveals troubling findings about leukemia and leukemia death rates among people living in five zip codes near the Weldon Spring Site in St. Charles County, Mo.  In addition, they must realize the report’s findings could turn into a “hot potato” political issue far too dangerous for ambitious politicians to tackle during an election year.

I ended that story by encouraging readers to learn more about the matter and to contact their state legislators. Today, I suspect state legislators might be more willing to listen to citizens concerns about this “hot potato” issue. No guarantees though, so keep your fingers crossed.

UPDATE 10/21/2015 at 10:48 a.m. Central:  A few minutes ago, I sent the media query below to Ryan Hobart, MDHSS director of public information:

Dear Ryan;

Five years ago, I communicated with your predecessors, Jaqueline Lapine and Gena Terlizzi, regarding the Weldon Spring Site where radioactive waste is stored in St. Charles County, Mo.

Because I had read in your agency’s 2005 Weldon Spring Cancer Report that the authors recommended “the Cancer Inquiry Program should continue to monitor the cancer incidence and mortality rates in Weldon Spring and its surrounding areas,” I asked for — and eventually obtained — a copy of the 2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report.

Today, I’m repeating the process in hopes of obtaining an update about your agency’s forthcoming release of a 2016 Weldon Spring Cancer Report.

With several national news media outlets, including CBS Evening News and the The Los Angeles Times, reporting recently about the inherent dangers of radioactive waste in the St. Louis County neighborhoods along Coldwater Creek colliding with an underground fire at the nearby Westlake Landfill, it’s imperative that your agency be transparent when it comes to testing and monitoring at the Weldon Spring Site.

At your earliest opportunity, I would like you to provide answers to the following questions:

1. When do officials at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services expect to release another five-year follow-up report (a.k.a., “2016 Weldon Spring Cancer Report”)? and

2. Who, within the agency, is in charge of producing the five-year follow-up report?

Please let me know ASAP if you have questions or anticipate any delay beyond 48 hours in responding to my questions. Thanks in advance for your prompt reply.

Sincerely,

Bob McCarty

FYI: I’ll let you know how he responds — or not — as soon as possible.

UPDATE 10-26-15 at 8:27 a.m. Central:  After waiting five days for Hobart to reply via email, I called him this morning and left a phone message for him. As the third public information officer in five years at the agency, I suspect he might have been caught unaware on the subject. Then again, he might be an obedient lackey, willing to do whatever he can to keep the subject under wraps. Stay tuned to see if he responds.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Saint Louis Police Admit to Using Illegal Surveillance Tech

A St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department official confirmed today that its officers are using cell phone simulator technology many believe is illegal and violates citizens’ privacy.

This screenshot shows the text of an email I received today from Schron Jackson of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

This screenshot shows the text of an email I received today from Schron Jackson of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

As a follow-up to a piece I wrote and published Nov. 17 and as a result of reading several articles (see examples here and here) about the technology, I fired off two questions to SLMPD spokesperson Schron Jackson Feb. 23:

1) Has the department purchased, or obtained via any other means, any items under any of the names Kingfish, AmberJack, HailStorm or Stingray? and

2) Has the department purchased, or obtained via any other means, any items from Harris Corporation of Melbourne, Florida, during the past 10 years?

In an email message received today, 31 days later, at 12:52 p.m. Central, Jackson wrote the following:

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department does possess a cell site simulator that is designed to allow our personnel to locate a lawfully targeted cellphone. The cell site simulator is a particularly effective tool and has assisted greatly in keeping the citizens of our community safe.  Unfortunately, there are widely held misconceptions about the usage of cell site simulators, partly as a result of law enforcement’s decision to not disclose specific information about the devices.  In the case of cell site simulators, numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have determined that the public release of technical details, applications, and operational procedures would create a significant detriment to the protection of their communities by providing criminal elements with the ability to circumvent the devices.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-law enforcement. I am, however, against government agencies infringing upon my Constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure.

If you agree with me, contact  SLMPD Chief Sam Dotson via Twitter (@ChiefSLMPD) or through Jackson via her email address (MEDIA@slmpd.org or syjackson@slmpd.org) or phone (314-444-5603 or 314-444-5604). Be forewarned, however, that it might take her a month or longer to respond.

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 10 a.m. Central:  According to this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s use of illegal cell phone simulator technology forced prosecutors to drop more than a dozen charges against three defendants.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Bowling Green Pipeline Rupture Stirs Backyard Fears

EDITOR’S NOTE: After reading recent news about a ruptured natural gas pipeline forcing the evacuation of area residents near Bowling Green, Mo., I decided to share anew a story I wrote and published Sept. 13, 2010, about one Missouri family’s experience with underground pipelines running through their backyard. The family still lives in the home described in the story below, modified only slightly from the original version.

Markers are mandatory after passage of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002.

Markers are mandatory after passage of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002.

Though natural gas pipeline explosions like the one that leveled a neighborhood and left several people dead in San Bruno, Calif., Sept. 9, 2010, are rare, having petroleum product and natural gas pipelines running through her yard still makes Shelley Miller of St. Peters, Mo., nervous and scared.

“I started shaking from the inside out,” said Miller, then 47, describing how she felt upon watching initial news reports about the blast.  “The first thing I thought was, ‘That could be us.’”

When Miller says “us,” she’s not just talking about members of her immediate family.  Instead, she’s referring to more than 75 of her neighbors who have pipelines running through their properties in the sprawling Brookmount Estates subdivision in the St. Charles County community of 58,000 located a few miles west of St. Louis.

Miller and her husband Ray bought their modest three-bedroom home in the winter of 1993 and moved into it in January 1994.  At the time, they had one small child and no idea that any pipelines were running through their backyard.  It was during the fall of 1995 that they learned they had a fuel pipeline running a few feet below the surface of their backyard.

When Shelley Miller moved into her home in 1994, pipeline markers were not required.

When Shelley Miller moved into her home in 1994, pipeline markers were not required.

During an interview at her home less than 24 hours after the California blast, Miller recalled how she found out about the existence of that then-unmarked pipeline.

“We found out that Williams Brothers pipeline had a pipeline back here,” she said, explaining that the company had sent letters to owners of approximately 75 other homes in the subdivision to notify them that the company would be conducting tests of a 9.5-inch natural gas pipeline.  Soon after the testing, company workers put a marker on Miller’s fence to indicate the location of the pipeline — less than 25 feet from the rear wall of her home.

“But I didn’t think too much about it,” she said, adding, “It’s a residential neighborhood in a populated city.”

Her fears increased during the fall of 2003 after a man from Explorer Pipeline Co. of Tulsa, Okla., came to her home.

The man, Miller explained, asked if he could see her backyard to get an idea of where the trees were.  His company was going to be cutting down and/or trimming trees to make the easement more visible from the air for flyover-inspection purposes per guidelines of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002.  That legislation stemmed, in part, from security concerns after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I brought him into the backyard, thinking that was the same pipeline company that I already knew was here,” Miller said.  Before the man’s visit ended, she learned Explorer owned a different pipeline in her yard, this one 24 inches in diameter and carrying gasoline, diesel and jet fuel at a flow rate of more than 14,000 gallons per minute at 825 psi.  Soon after the visit, she also learned she had two more pipelines — both owned by Conoco Oil Company — adjacent her yard that had been in the ground since 1931, bringing to four the total number of fuel pipelines behind her home.*

After receiving notices from Explorer about the tree-trimming efforts, neighbors along the pipeline begin to talk and ask each other questions, prompting Miller and a friend to go door to door to take the pulse of the neighborhood.  In July 2004, they began airing their concerns during meetings of the City of St. Peters Board of Aldermen.  And they got results.

“They did take action and listen,” Miller said, noting that board members made some moves to improve the safety of the pipelines in the city.  For instance:

• One new ordnance stipulates a minimum 25-feet barrier be maintained between newly-constructed housing and existing gas and/or hazardous liquid pipelines;

• A second ordnance requires the city be notified of any excavation near fuel or hazardous liquids pipelines; and

• A third requires disclosures be made in connection with real estate transactions involving property located along such pipelines.

While the board members’ actions have done much to assist future and prospective homeowners along the pipeline and throughout the city, Miller thinks more needs to be done to help people who purchased property near the pipelines in the past without being informed about the pipeline’s existence.  After all, it was the actions of city officials in 1971 that lead to the current situation, according to Miller.

Miller has collected stacks of documents while educating herself on the pipeline issue.

Miller has collected stacks of documents while educating herself on the pipeline issue.

“In 1971, Charlie Adams was a big developer in St. Charles County,” Miller explained.  “It turns out that Charlie Adams was not only the developer, but Charlie Adams was also the chairman of St. Peters’ planning and zoning (commission) at the time.”  Though city records fail to reflect any formal approval of the Brookmount Estates development plan by members of the commission after it was presented for consideration Nov. 10, 1971, the fact that the subdivision stands today indicates the plan received no less than tacit approval of the city.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that documents obtained by Miller show Adams, through his company R.G.S. Construction, also signed a right-of-way agreement with Explorer Aug. 6, 1971, nearly three months before the commission meeting.**  That agreement made it possible for Explorer to run the pipeline through the subdivision before homes were built there.

Though Miller doesn’t think any laws were violated when development plans for Brookmount Estates made it through the city’s planning and zoning commission, she said she believes bad moral decisions were made and that city officials should right the wrong that happened almost 40 years ago.

“Their predecessors were responsible and, just as a president assumes the previous president’s mess,” she said, “the city aldermen do the same.”

Asked what she would like to see happen in St. Peters in the wake of the California disaster, Miller didn’t mince words.

“I would like to see every homeowner walking into that city hall together and saying, “This is your mistake, you allowed this to happen, you permitted it to happen and, after having seen what happened (in San Bruno), we don’t want any part of it.  We want out.”

Miller points to a spot on a map where four pipelines converge in St. Charles County, Mo.

Miller points to a spot on a map where four pipelines converge in St. Charles County, Mo.

Miller noted that she’s aware of at least three other subdivisions in St. Peters are dissected by pipelines.  According to the National Pipeline Mapping System, at least a dozen pipeline companies operate in St. Charles County, and many of those pipelines carry product from the Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Ill., 40 miles to St. Peters and points west.  That means the issue of pipeline safety isn’t limited to St. Peters, and it isn’t going to go away soon.

Editor’s Notes: *Originally installed to carry crude oil, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, the 9.5-inch natural gas line in Miller’s backyard is no longer owned by Williams Brothers.  Now, it is owned by Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc., of Owensboro, Ky.  **I attempted to locate Adams for comment.  Along the way, I was told by more than one source — but could not confirm — that he had passed away.  According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s web site, his company ceased operations in 1983.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Are STL Cops Using Illegal Surveillance Equipment?

I’m not anti-law enforcement, but I am against government agencies infringing upon my Constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure. So when I came across evidence members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Board of Police Commissioners solicited bids for Stingray II surveillance system, I simply had to share it.

My discovery came Sunday afternoon, three months after reading a Popular Science article about one man’s discovery of phony cell towers installed at 17 locations across the country and only a few minutes after reading a Rutherford Institute piece about police in Houston using Stingray II equipment (a.k.a., “interceptors”) to illegally intercept and steal data from cell phones.

Curious, I conducted a quick web search which led to the discovery of a document, the Oct. 16, 2012, edition of The City Journal: Official Publication of THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS, posted online by the ACLU. Though I rarely rely upon the ACLU for any information, an entry on page 15 of the document reveals members of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners issued an “INVITATION TO BID” for “Stingray II System/Parts/Training, Installation & Integration of Stingray II System in Chevrolet Tahoe, and a 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe.”

Now, I’m left with two questions: 1) Did members of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners follow through and purchase the Stingray II surveillance equipment and related items? and 2) Are members of the Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department using the technology?

I suspect answers to the two questions above will not be forthcoming. Why? Because, according to The Rutherford Institute folks, many local police departments across the nation have obtained the technology and have kept its use secret, citing nondisclosure agreements with Harris Corporation, the technology’s manufacturer, and the FBI. Still, I’ll try to find out.

Stay tuned!

UPDATE 12/16/2014 at 8:24 p.m. Central:  After waiting three days for an answer, the folks at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department replied, saying, “The item was never purchased.”

UPDATE 3/11/2015 at 6:28 p.m. Central:  On Feb. 23, after reading this article, I submitted the two follow-up questions below to Schron Y. Jackson, public information officer, at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department:

1) Has the department purchased, or obtained via any other means, any items under any of the names Kingfish, AmberJack, HailStorm or Stingray?

2) Has the department purchased, or obtained via any other means, any items from Harris Corporation of Melbourne, Florida, during the past 10 years?

Sixteen days and two follow-up attempts later, I’m still waiting for an answer. Why?

UPDATE 3/16/2015 at 9:12 p.m. Central:  Despite leaving phone messages and sending follow-up emails. Still no answer. Why?

UPDATE 3/18/2015 at 7:51 a.m. Central:  Another email sent without results. Are they hiding something? Certainly looks that way.

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 10:01 a.m. Central:  According to this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s use of illegal cell phone simulator technology forced prosecutors to drop more than a dozen charges against three defendants. FYI: Same update posted to new article, Saint Louis Police Admit to Using Illegal Surveillance Tech.

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Prediction: World Series Will Bring More Racial Unrest to STL

You might be tempted to label this “premature” since the St. Louis Cardinals still must win the National League Championship Series in order for it to become a reality, but indulge me for a few minutes as I wax poetic about the prospect of more racial unrest in St. Louis during the 2014 World Series.

The graphic above shows a list of the organizations endorsing "Ferguson October" Oct. 10-13.

The graphic above shows a list of the organizations endorsing “Ferguson October” Oct. 10-13.

Caveat: Because I’m not a St. Louis native, I escaped the formal indoctrination program that is part of early-education programs for all who live in the shadow of the Gateway Arch. I did, however, take part in a distance-learning version of the program. You see, as a child in my forever hometown of Enid, Okla., I listened to Cardinals ballgames on the Cardinals Radio Network via KCRC-AM 1390. That, combined with the fact I’ve lived in the area for 14 years, makes me at least partially qualified to comment on local events. So here I go.

If the St. Louis Cardinals defeat the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS and find themselves in the position of hosting at least three Major League Baseball World Series games at Busch Stadium during the final ten days of October, I predict downtown St. Louis — instead of little ol’ Ferguson, Mo. — will become the epicenter of more racial unrest and protests waged by members of the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” crowd — still upset over the deadly shooting of 18-year-old Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson and unwilling to wait for the grand jury to determine whether charges should be filed against Wilson — will be hijacked by groups with no direct connection to anyone in St. Louis.

In case you haven’t heard, a practice event is scheduled to begin Friday and run through Monday. Formally known as Ferguson October, the event is endorsed by a laundry list of local, state and national organizations, many of them extremely radical (see graphic above). That list includes, but is not limited to, the following:

The Organization for Black Struggle — According to the group’s website, their program is “based upon the Black Freedom Agenda that was introduced at the founding of the Black Radical Congress in 1998 and ratified in 1999.”

Code Pink — A radical organization known, among other things, for its support of Hamas and other terror groups;

Million Hoodies Movement for Justice — “Established in March 2012 in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin,” according to its website, this group appears to advocate some worthwhile causes while also having a funny name and some seriously-misguided beliefs about guns and gun laws; and

New Black Panthers Party — After a long absence, this group reemerged on the national scene in November 2008 after some of its members were observed intimidating voters at a polling place in Philadelphia and then assisted by Obama Administration appointees who interfered with their prosecution;

The names of several other pro-union, anti-Israel, pro-Islam and left-wing political groups appear on the laundry list as well. Curiously, however, neither Al Sharpton’s National Action Network or Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition are listed on the website as being involved in this so-called “Weekend of Resistance.”  Rest assured, if the protest attracts national news media attention — and you know it will since its set to overlap with the first two NLCS games being played Saturday and Sunday — St. Louis-area residents can count on both race-baiting reverends to be there with bells on.

Factor in the possibility that gunfights — like the one that killed two and injured another in downtown St. Louis earlier this week — and Ebola might break out during the same period, and St. Louis could rocket back into the world media spotlight — and for all the wrong reasons.

“Postseason tickets! Get your post-season tickets here!

UPDATE 10/08/2014 at 12:13 p.m. Central:  After posting the piece above, I saw this article about Missouri authorities reportedly planning for possible riots if Officer Wilson isn’t indicted. Am I the only one now wondering if an announcement about the grand jury’s decision might be delayed until after the World Series? It wouldn’t surprise me if that happened. Just sayin’.

UPDATE 10/10/2014 at 7:10 a.m. Central:  Another officer-involved shooting of a young black man in St. Louis has tensions at a fever pitch. According to  this local news article, at least one police officer was injured when violence erupted Thursday night, as protesters blocked traffic, broke windows of at least one home and a business and burned American flags.

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