ST LOUIS: Rally to halt police brutality

When a local television station aired video of four police officers, three white and one African American, beating Edmon Burns, who is Black, in the suburb of Maplewood, the community organized and demanded that the City Council establish a civilian police review board and discipline the officers.

Outside City Hall, residents rallied Feb. 10 when the legislation, Bill 69, was scheduled for a vote. Although the bill had 12 co-sponsors, just three short of the 15 needed for passage, the council postponed action. The Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression vowed to continue the fight. The Rev. Douglas Parham, one of the coalition’s leaders, invited police officers to join to protect residents and themselves.

The officers involved in the attack have yet to be disciplined.

NEW ORLEANS: FEMA evicts thousands

Some 12,000 families, victims of Katrina, have been put out on the street with no place to sleep, 4,400 of them here in the Big Easy. On Feb. 13, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stopped payment on hotel rooms that housed the families.

Many of the evicted told hotel workers they planned to sleep in their cars or on a relative’s sofa until they could return to their own homes.

Meanwhile, 10,770 furnished mobile homes are sitting at the Hope Municipal Airport in Arkansas. “All of us think it’s not right for them be sitting out there and not where families need them,” said Janice Skipworth, manager of the Hope Super 8 Motel. “I stand behind my government no matter what, but this is kind of wrong.”

Local officials feared the trailers would sink in the mud as the rainy season hit. So FEMA spent $6 million to lay down gravel to continue to store the trailers.

New Orleans residents have set up a tent city across from City Hall under the banner of Common Ground. The hand-painted sign outside the community reads, “Stop evicting hurricane survivors.”

WASHINGTON: Bush to sell National Forest land for $1 billion

While cutting taxes on the country’s richest citizens, the Bush administration announced plans to sell 300,000 acres of National Forest land to pay for schools in rural communities.

“This is going the wrong way,” said David Carr, public lands director for the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Americans want more public land, not less.”

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein called it “a terrible idea based on a misguided sense of priorities.”

New Mexico is growing in population and needs the space for development, the administration claims. But Sen. Jeff Bingham of New Mexico said, “That is precisely the reason the land should not be sold. Hunters, anglers, campers and other recreational users benefit from and depend on access to public land.” He called selling public lands to pay down the deficit “shortsighted, ill-advised and irresponsible.”

The public has until the end of March to comment.

Bush also plans to shut down libraries that serve scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency and the public, and an electronic scientific research catalog, part of $300 million to be axed from the EPA.

“How are EPA scientists supposed to engage in cutting-edge research when they cannot find what the agency has already done?” asked Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) Director Jeff Ruch. “The president’s plan will not make us more competitive if we have to spend half our time re-inventing the wheel.”

DENVER: Congregations celebrate Darwin

On Feb. 12, Charles Darwin’s birthday, congregations in 450 churches, including 11 in Denver, marked “Evolution Sunday.” At Denver’s Sixth Avenue United Church in Christ, worshippers read from Genesis and sang a modern hymn celebrating God’s works through science: “Engines and steel. Jack hammers pounding. Classrooms and labs. Tall boiling test tubes. Sing unto God a new song.”

“Evolution Sunday” started in 2004, when University of Wisconsin biology professor Michael Zimmerman initiated a movement to challenge those who argue that Christianity and science clash. Zimmerman drafted a letter and more then 10,000 Christian ministers signed on urging school boards across the country “to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge.”

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards ( Tony Pecinovsky contributed to this week’s clips.