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Wentzville School Board votes to remove controversial book

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Wentzville School Board votes to remove controversial book

WENTZVILLE, Mo. – A controversial book that has been challenged for its mature language will be removed from Wentzville School District libraries and will no longer be an AP reading choice.

The Wentzville School Board voted 4-3 in favor of not retaining “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison during Thursday’s meeting. Before it went before the board, a district review committee had voted to retain the book.

Since the book was a reading option for AP English students, there was an original motion to keep it as a choice only for those in the class with parent approval, but the motion failed.

“The Bluest Eye” is about a young black girl named Pecola who grew up just after the Great Depression and is regarded as “ugly” because of her mannerisms and dark skin, according to a description of the book. As a result of how she’s treated, she wishes for blue eyes. The book also covers topics, including racism, incest, rape, and child molestation.

In the review committee’s summary notes, it states that “The referenced paragraphs are but a few of the passages of this book that allows us to see into this world and are not written for sexual gratification.”

“This novel has value towards a supportive WSD curriculum and students’ growth as readers and learners. This novel helps the reader step into and understand 1941 (pre-WWII, pre-civil rights movement), small-town black culture in a way no textbook can do. There is also value for the reader in reading and being exposed to Toni Morrison’s prose and manner of writing, which is unique to her.”

At Thursday’s meeting, one board member who voted to not retain the book said that “The Bluest Eye” does not have academic or social value for students, and could be “extremely harmful.”

Another board member, who also voted to not retain the book, said not only does this book provide illustration, but also a “play-by-play of action.”

To read the full report by the review committee, click here. To watch the school board meeting, click here.

The school district has also removed “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel and “Heavy: An American Memoir Kiese Laymon” from shelves without them going through a review committee.

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Wisconsin’s high court broadens who can carry concealed guns

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Wisconsin’s high court broadens who can carry concealed guns

MADISON, Wis. — A disorderly conduct conviction can’t disqualify someone from obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday in a unanimous decision that could dramatically broaden who can carry hidden firearms, knives and stun guns.

The court found that disorderly conduct isn’t a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence under federal law and therefore doesn’t disqualify a person from holding a concealed carry license. Justice Jill Karofsky, a member of the court’s liberal minority, concurred but in a separate opinion called on legislators to close a “dangerous loophole” that will allow domestic abusers to carry concealed weapons.

“Though legally correct, this result is as nonsensical as it is dangerous,” Karofsky wrote. “When a domestic abuse perpetrator, who has engaged in threats to kill or any other type of domestic violence, has access to a gun, the lethality risk for his victim increases significantly.”

The case revolves around Daniel Doubek, of Green Bay. According to court documents, Doubek broke into his estranged wife’s trailer in Door County in 1993 waving a board and shouting threats. He was ultimately convicted of disorderly conduct.

The state Justice Department granted Doubek a concealed carry permit in 2016, five years after carrying concealed weapons became legal in Wisconsin. The agency revoked his license in 2019 following an audit that revealed his disorderly conduct conviction.

Federal law prohibits states from issuing concealed carry permits to people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. The Justice Department found Wisconsin’s disorderly conduct statute qualifies as misdemeanor domestic violence as defined under federal code.

Doubek sued to regain his permit, arguing that Wisconsin’s disorderly conduct statute doesn’t match the federal definition of misdemeanor domestic violence. The federal definition requires “the use or attempted use of physical force.” But the state disorderly statute doesn’t mention the use of force, defining disorderly conduct instead as violent, abusive, indecent, profane or other undefined conduct that causes a disturbance, he argued.

A judge in Green Bay upheld the license revocation, but Doubek appealed. The 2nd District Court of Appeals sent the case directly to the state Supreme Court without ruling on it.

Writing for the majority, Justice Brian Hagedorn said a disorderly conduct conviction in Wisconsin can’t disqualify someone from holding a concealed carry license in the state.

“In short, the crime of disorderly conduct … does not require the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon as an element, even if that conduct could serve as the basis for a disorderly conduct conviction,” Hagedorn wrote. “It is therefore not a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence under federal law.”

State Department of Justice spokeswoman Gillian Drummond didn’t immediately respond to emails Friday seeking comment and estimates of how many people may now be eligible for a concealed carry permit following the ruling.

John Monroe, a Georgia-based lawyer who specializes in gun rights cases, represented Doubek. He said he was pleased with the decision.

He acknowledged domestic abuse is a serious problem, but said if prosecutors don’t want violent abusers to have concealed weapons they should charge them with violent offenses like battery.

Jeri Bonavia, executive director of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, which works to curb gun violence, called the decision “horrifying.” Domestic abuse victims now find themselves even more at risk because of a legal technicality, she said.

“They are re-arming domestic abusers,” she said. “(Abusers’) guns were taken away for a reason. We know these people who committed these violent acts are much more likely to go on and commit more acts of violence. It’s devastating.”

Bonavia said she didn’t have any estimates of how many disorderly conduct convicts could now get concealed weapons permits.

A message left at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, an organization that works to prevent domestic violence, wasn’t immediately returned.

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Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1

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Two teens charged with fleeing police in stolen cars, crashing near the state Capitol

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Two teens charged with fleeing police in stolen cars, crashing near the state Capitol

Two 15-year-old boys face criminal charges for a Wednesday night incident in which authorities say a group of juveniles fled police in stolen cars, crashed one of them into a St. Paul police squad car near the Minnesota Capitol and then ran from the scene.

The incident sent the Capitol into a brief lockdown, and a House of Representatives floor session went into recess.

The Ramsey County attorney’s office filed juvenile delinquency petitions Friday against the two teens alleging theft of motor vehicle, fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, motor vehicle tampering and fleeing a peace officer by a means other than a motor vehicle.

An attorney’s office spokesman said Friday that cases against two other boys, ages 12 and 13, remain under review.

A fifth suspect who eluded capture Wednesday has yet to be taken into custody, Steve Linders, a police spokesman, said Friday.

The incident began when St. Paul officers saw two stolen cars at Blair and Western avenues in Frogtown at about 7:20 p.m. Officers tried to pull them over, but they drove away. Police did not pursue, based on St. Paul police policy.

A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter tracked the car from the air as they drove to Woodbury. Law enforcement put out a stop stick, and one car — a Hyundai Sonata stolen out of St. Paul — went over and crashed, according to police.

Three juveniles jumped out and into a Honda Accord, which had been stolen in Edina. They drove back to St. Paul and the 15-year-old driver rear-ended a marked St. Paul squad car at about 40 mph near the Capitol, police said. The officer did not immediately report being injured.

The driver soon crashed in a state of Minnesota parking lot and five people ran from the car. Three juveniles tried hiding in a portable toilet and were arrested, while the suspected driver was found at an apartment building at Sherburne Avenue and Rice Street.

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Weekend things to do: $3 Brightline date destinations, Chris Bosh’s new beer, top tribute bands in Boca Raton

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Weekend things to do: $3 Brightline date destinations, Chris Bosh’s new beer, top tribute bands in Boca Raton

Don’t let the name fool you — Brightline’s third annual #305Weekend is a sweet deal for the 954 and 561, too.

Celebrating three years of intercity service in South Florida, the rail line is offering $3 and $5 one-way fares between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach on Friday through Sunday, which ought to encourage us to get out in a new way in new places.

Here are some low-hassle ideas for a weekend date night or afternoon out at destinations within an easy stroll of Brightline’s three South Florida stations. If you are looking to venture farther, Brightline’s free shared-shuttle service (within 5 miles of the station) is available with these discounted fares, if you book at least two hours in advance.

#305Weekend tickets — they cost $3 for one stop, $5 between West Palm Beach and Miami — are available at GoBrightline.com.

Perez Art Museum Miami is a short walk from Brightline’s Miami Central station and is showing the exhibit “Marisol and Warhol Take New York.” Drop by the museum shop to find a wide variety of items related to the show, including an unnerving Andy Warhol puppet. The museum’s Verde restaurant includes a beautiful view of Biscayne Bay. Visit PAMM.org.

Also nearby, the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is in the final weekend of Zoetic Stage’s “Our Dear Dead Drug Lord,” a well-reviewed dark “comedy” about four teenage girls by South Florida writer Alexis Scheer. Visit ArshtCenter.org.

And Brightline offers free shuttles to and from Marlins Park, where the Miami Marlins battle the rival Atlanta Braves this weekend. Visit Marlins.com.

In Fort Lauderdale, visitors also will find free shuttles between the downtown Brightline station and DRV PNK Stadium, where David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF will take on New York Red Bulls at 6 p.m. Sunday. Visit InterMiamiCF.com.

The Florida Panthers and Funky Buddha Brewery on Sunday will host a big-screen watch party for the hockey heroes’ playoff game, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Esplanade Park, a short walk from the station (a portion along the New River). The free, family friendly event includes live music, merchandise, street hockey and more. The game is at 1:30 p.m. Visit Facebook.com/FunkyBuddhaBrew.

Also in downtown Fort Lauderdale this weekend, Miami City Ballet will end its season with “Prodigal Son” at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with tickets starting at $30. Recommended date-night dining nearby includes Rivertail (on the New River) and The Chimney House (cozy, hospitable). Visit BrowardCenter.org.

In West Palm Beach, the Brightline station feels even more in the middle of everything. Two blocks north of the station, legendary Clematis Street music venue Respectable Street will be the site of Hip Hop Helps: Ukraine Benefit Concert at 8 p.m. Friday, hosted by Dan Lee, with performances by GVIN, Amani Omar, John Brown, Chevy LaPole and DJ Undrwd. Tickets: $5 to $10. Visit Facebook.com/respectablestreet.

About three blocks south of the station, at Palm Beach Improv in The Square, actor, comedian and keyboardist Craig Robinson (“The Office,” “You can’t out-pizza the Hut”) has five shows planned from Friday to Sunday. Visit PalmBeachImprov.com.

On the other side of The Square, “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” makes its pandemic-delayed debut at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, with a run through May 26. There are plenty of date-night dining options nearby. I’ve always been partial to The Blind Monk for intimate wine and tapas. Visit Kravis.org.

Elsewhere in South Florida this weekend, we’re dressing up for the new “Downton Abbey” movie, celebrating Miami Heat great Chris Bosh’s new beer, and drinking with basset hounds. Here’s a look …

FRIDAY

Weekend movie: The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival will host a red-carpet costume party and cocktail hour for a screening of “Downton Abbey: A New Era” on Friday night at the Classic Gateway Theater. The gin cocktail reception begins at 6 p.m., with music and macarons from Croissan’Time French Bakery. The film screens at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors. Cocktails cost $10. Visit FLIFF.com.

Across town the FLIFF Beatle Film Fest concludes with a 7 p.m. Friday screening of the Fab Four’s romp “Help!” at Savor Cinema. Tickets cost $5 at FLIFF.com. The festival is pegged to the May 25 show by Paul McCartney at Hard Rock Live on his Get Back Tour. Let’s call it a sellout, unless you want to spring for a platinum general-admission floor ticket at $783. Get back, indeed.

Brightsiders: Pop music’s indefatigable merchants of joy, The Lumineers perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday at iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. Prices start at $26.50 with purchase of a four-pack at LiveNation.com.

Everglades stories: South Florida native Sarah McCulloch will share music from her evocative new album, “Sawmiller’s Daughter,” at 8 p.m. Friday at the intimate North Miami listening room Luna Star Cafe. Informed by a childhood spent in the Big Cypress Swamp, McCulloch’s album is collection of vivid storytelling in the mode of traditional country music, all elevated by her timeless vocals. Local swamp-country provocateur Raiford Starke is also on the bill. Visit LunaStarCafe.com. For more on McCulloch’s music, visit SarahMacMusic.com.

Ticket window: Lady Gaga this week added a Sept. 17 performance at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens to her global stadium tour, The Chromatica Ball. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale 10 a.m. Friday. Visit Ticketmaster.com.

Carrie Underwood’s Denim & Rhinestones Tour, with special guest Jimmie Allen, will be at FTX Arena in Miami on Feb. 2. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Ticketmaster.com. (The presale password is GARDEN.)

Daryl Hall and Daryl’s House Band, with opener Todd Rundgren, will perform on July 31 at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, with tickets ($60+) on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through MyHRL.com. The tour supports Hall’s new two-disc retrospective, “BeforeAfter,” a reminder that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer once had an album produced by Robert Fripp (1980′s “Sacred Songs”).

Indie-rock favorites Peach Pit are bringing their Right Down the Street Tour to Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 5. Tickets start at $29.50 when they go on sale 10 a.m. Friday at JoinTheRevoluton.net.

Citing extraordinary demand, Live Nation has consolidated Spanish pop quartet Hombres G’s two sold-out performances at the Fillmore Miami Beach on June 25-26 into a single show on June 25 at FTX Arena in Miami. The move creates additional tickets, which go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Ticketmaster.com.

SATURDAY

Ukraine tribute: Featuring a lineup of classic-rock tribute bands, SongFest for Vets III is an Armed Forces Day celebration and fundraiser for Ukraine, set for 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton. Along with a variety of Ukrainian food, beer, art and kid-friendly crafts and games, the event will include area tribute acts KISS Alive, Erasmith (Aerosmith) and Shoot to Thrill (AC/DC), along with classic rockers Shovelhed. Admission is free, with donations accepted. The festival has been organized by retired Army Col. Bill Millard, a Boca Raton resident who served with the U.S. Army in Ukraine. Visit Facebook.com/SongFestforVets.

Weekend laughs: Writer, actor and comedian Bill Burr brings his Slight Return Tour to iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach at 8 p.m. Saturday. There are still tickets, starting at $74, through LiveNation.com.

Dog days: The Wharf Fort Lauderdale will be overrun with basset hounds from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday during a Yappy Hour meetup of the group Soflo Basset Hounds. The Wharf’s $35 bottles of Côtes de Provence Rosé can only add to the hilarity. Visit WharfFTL.com. … S3 Restaurant on Fort Lauderdale beach will host Bark Brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with house-made treats for dogs. Purchase a dog toy or $5 Tito’s drink ticket to benefit the nonprofit rescue Chasing Freedom. Dogs are welcome on the patio. Visit Facebook.com/S3SunSurfSand.

Brews & blues: The fifth annual Ocean Brews & Blues festival returns to Deerfield Beach on Saturday, with more than 100 craft beers, from South Florida and otherwise, plus food, live music and items made by local creatives. It takes place 3 to 8 p.m. in the Main Beach Parking Lot (149 SE 21st Ave.) and admission is free. Tasting tickets cost $40 in advance ($45 at gate) for 4 p.m. admission and $60 for 3 p.m. VIP entry ($65 at the gate) with exclusive VIP swag and food samples. Visit Facebook.com/oceanbrewsandbluesfest.

Free concert: The free Afro Roots Fest comes to Broward County for the first time at 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Hollywood’s ArtsPark. Along with popular locals The Resolvers and DJ Le Spam, and Brian Potts’ (Nu Deco Ensemble) samba percussion group Miamibloco, the lineup features Jesus Hidalgo (Venezuela), Philip Montalbán (Nicaragua) and Gilmar Gomes (Brazil). Visit AfroRootsFest.com.

Outside-inside: The pandemic-inspired outdoor comedy picnics known as Comedy On the Green are moving inside at Mizner Park Cultural Center in Boca Raton. The Comedy Off the Green series begins with a 7 p.m. Saturday performance by New York City-based comedian Jon Fisch (as seen on “Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”). Tickets cost $30 to $45. Visit ComedyOnTheGreen.org. For a preview, watch Fisch and comic-writer Dave Siegel (a COTG co-creator) chop it up at Instagram.com/comedyonthegreen.

Hometown blues: J.P. Soars & the Red Hots play at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton, their first local show since performing at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, where they were up for the Band of the Year award. Soars, a Boca Raton resident, was nominated for the top award, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, as well as the best guitar instrumentalist award. Tickets cost $15 to $25. Visit FunkyBiscuit.com.

SUNDAY

Chris Bosh beer: Dogfish Head Miami will celebrate its first anniversary in Wynwood in a big way at noon Sunday when Miami Heat icon Chris Bosh and Dogfish founder and brewer Sam Calagione host the can release for their limited-edition collaboration, Bosh Blonde. The citrus-y ale, brewed with Florida oranges and sugar cane juice, comes in cans featuring a sketch of Bosh in a contemplative pose on the label. The daylong anniversary festivities also include live music and a special menu of Bosh Bites, based on his favorite foods. Bosh Blonde will be available on draft and in four-packs of 16-ounce cans ($16). A portion of beer sales will go to nonprofit Refresh Miami. A limited number of meet-and-greet opportunities will be available to Dogfish Off-Centered Society members. To sign up, visit DogFish.com.

You want your ‘80s? Sting’s show at Hard Rock Live on Sunday night is sold out, of course. But another singer from the era (and a performer way ahead of her time), Pat Benatar will be at Pompano Beach Amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, sharing hits including “Love is a Battlefield,” “Heartbreaker,” “Hell is for Children” and “We Belong,” with guitarist and songwriter Neil Giraldo; John Waite opens. Tickets start at $35 through PompanoBeachArts.org.

Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached at [email protected].

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