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TONY MESSENGER St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The question before Associate Circuit Court Judge Theresa Counts Burke was not one of innocence or guilt. That answer will come later. At issue in Burke’s Division 25 courtroom in St. Louis Circuit Court Monday morning was whether Jeannetta Maclin has to stay in jail. Maclin is the 23-yearold mother of two who last month left her two boys — ages 2 and 5 — in the family’s apartment while she went to work a shift at her minimum-wage job at a movie theater. Maclin The decision — the kind of one single mothers living in extreme poverty often struggle with — turned tragic when the boys somehow started a fire in the apartment. By the time firefighters responded to the building at 807 Clara Avenue, the boys were not breathing. They were revived on the way to the hospital. Since that Feb. 11 fire, the boys have recovered, and they are living with their father, Stephon Hughes, in St. Louis County. Maclin, meanwhile, faces felony child endangerment charges. She is being held at the city’s medium security facility, known as the Workhouse, in lieu of a $15,000 cash bond. The bond was the reason for the court hearing Monday. It’s too high, argued Maclin’s attorney, Stephanie Lummus, who works for the nonprofit firm Arch City Defenders.

“If she had $15,000,” Lummus argued before Burke, “she wouldn’t be here. She never would have been charged. We don’t put people in jail because they’re poor.” To be fair, Maclin was put in jail because she’s accused of a terrible crime, one that, if not for the quick response of the fire department, could have ended much worse. But the question of bail strikes at the heart of whether the courts have one set of rules for poor people and another for those with money. Bail exists, Lummus explained, to make sure the defendant shows up in court, and to protect victims and the community, should the accused be considered dangerous. “She’s never been in trouble,” Lummus said of Maclin after the hearing ended. “She’s not a criminal.” Like her mother before her, Maclin was a teen mother, giving birth to her first child at the age of 17. Her mom was 15 when she was born. A native St. Louisan, she was homeless for a time before she ended up with the apartment on Clara Avenue, living on friends’ couches and in her car. Behind almost $2,000 in rent, she made the now-fateful decision to leave her children alone, Lummus told the judge. Then Lummus asked the judge to allow a few people to speak on Maclin’s behalf. There were six who lined up to speak. Pam Ross went first. “Give this poor mom some help,” Ross pleaded with Judge Burke. “Let us adopt the woman and help her out of her problem.” Ross is a grandmother who helped organize other moms to ask the judge to lower Maclin’s bail. The way Ross sees it, single mothers living in poverty make hard-to-imagine decisions every day that most people never face. Food or day care? Roof or car?

Electric bill or child support? When resources are finite, the decisions get more diicult. The dilemma other parents might face with deciding what age is appropriate to leave a child alone comes at earlier for struggling single mothers, and is balanced with other pressures. Judge Burke listened to the people asking her to release Maclin while she awaits her court date, but she let them know that Maclin wasn’t her primary concern. “Ultimately, there are other people I have to keep in mind, mostly, the protection of two children,” she said. Her decision ultimately came down to what another judge decided in a case in the county. There, a family judge on Monday afternoon issued an order of protection that keeps Maclin away from her children until her child endangerment charges are resolved in court. Tuesday morning, with the children protected by a court order, Burke lowered Maclin’s bond to $10,000, with a 10 percent cash option. Lummus believes Maclin’s new support group will be able to raise the $1,000 to get her out of jail. These are the choices people who live in poverty must make, or, in this case, have made for them. Maclin might be forced to stay away from her children, but doing so might also improve her opportunities to provide for them someday in the future, when she hopes to get them back. For now, she’s in jail and jobless. Even without two felonies hanging over her head, poverty is keeping Jeannetta Maclin — and her children — in its cruel grasp.

OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER The St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Department is accepting nominations for its Outstanding Volunteer Awards through March 18. Residents are encouraged to nominate qualified volunteers by submitting a nomination form to the department. The Outstanding Volunteer Awards will be presented to the winners at the Parks Department’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Night held during National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 10–16. The nomination form can be found at stccparks. org. For more information, contact parks marketing coordinator Nancy Lee Gomer at 636-949-7535. To submit items, email them to headsup@post-dispatch. com or fax them to 314-340-3050.

EVENTS EGG HUNT When • 10 a.m. Saturday Where • Logan University, 1851 Schoettler Road, Chesterfield How much • Free More info • logan.edu/ EggHunt or 636-227-2100 The Hare in the Air Egg Hunt features the arrival of the Easter Bunny by helicopter at 11 a.m. The 15,000-egg hunt is divided into age groups of 2, 3, 4-5 and 6 -8. Other activities include balloon artists, a petting zoo and costumed characters. To list a community event or meeting, submit it online at events.stltoday.com.

LOTTERY MULTISTATE GAMES MEGA MILLIONS Tuesday: 01-29-33-34-55 Mega ball: 06 Megaplier: 5 Estimated jackpot: $135 million POWERBALL Wednesday’s estimated jackpot: $292 million

Tony Messenger • 314-340-8518 @tonymess on Twitter tmessenger@post-dispatch.com

MISSOURI LOTTERIES

Residents seek audit of Hazelwood School District BY JESSICA BOCK St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS COUNTY • Upset parents and residents here are beginning to circulate a petition to request that state officials perform an audit of the Hazelwood School District. They will need to gather 5,000 signatures, according to the state auditor’s office. The Hazelwood School Board and administrators have been under fire since making public plans to cut about $6.6 million in the next school year, including elementary band and orchestra, time in physical education by half for elementary students, and 25 percent of the district’s custodial staf. About 300 people attended the board’s second meeting since the cuts were announced, many to bemoan the reductions and wearing red T-shirts that read, “#letusplay.” About 30 people took more than an hour to voice their unhappiness. “Can you please tell my kindergartner why you made that decision and why she doesn’t matter to you anymore?” said Monique Norfolk, a Hazelwood parent, to the board on Tuesday. Residents in other school districts have successfully spurred state audits after questioning practices in their districts. In Rockwood, a School Board member re-

signed and others failed to get re-elected after a state audit concluded he should not have voted on projects that helped the construction company that employed him. “From what I understand, they were very productive,” said Kimberly Gonzalez, who planned to distribute the petition to the large crowd expected at Tuesday’s School Board meeting. The meeting had been moved to the Hazelwood East Early Childhood Center, 12555 Partridge Run Drive in Florissant. District oicials responded by saying a state audit would cost the district $80,000 to $120,000 if the petition is successful. They also linked to an audit completed in 2015 by a firm hired by the district. The state auditor’s oice says that when conducting a performance audit of an entity that has already had a financial audit, investigators will review the independent audit to avoid duplicating eforts. Meanwhile, State Rep. Keith English, an independent from Florissant, asked both leaders of the state House and Senate budget committees on Tuesday to withhold any public funds from the Hazelwood School District until he receives a response to his request for line item expenditures for the proposed 2016-17 budget. “We as taxpayers are not getting information as to why they are not making cuts to administrative salaries,” he said.

In response to a letter from English last week calling for Interim Superintendent Ingrid Clark-Jackson’s dismissal, School Board President Desiree Whitlock replied, saying his request was of base. “The accusations contained in your letter are not based on fact and your very personal attack on Dr. Clark-Jackson is despicable,” she wrote. This is the third year the district has been spending more on operating expenses than it is bringing in, and using its reserve fund to make up the diference. The cuts have totaled $6.6 million, and more are expected for 2017-18. A projected $12.7 million shortfall for 2016-17 prompted leaders to eliminate the positions of 13 elementary school physical education teachers, as well as nine orchestra and band teachers for fourth- and fifth-graders. Three high school physical education positions also were cut. The changes do not take efect until the new school year. Nearly all of the teachers have been placed in other positions for 2016-17 based on planned resignations and retirements, but reductions mean elementary students will have their time in gym class cut in half. Instead of twice a week, they will be in gym once a week.

ILLINOIS LOTTERIES LUCKY DAY LOTTO Tuesday Midday: 06-19-20-22-39 Evening: 16-29-30-38-40 LOTTO Monday: 05-08-17-34-39-50 Extra shot: 03 Thursday’s estimated jackpot: $25.5 million PICK-3 Tuesday Midday: 626 FB: 5 Evening: 380 FB: 3 PICK-4 Tuesday Midday: 5755 FB: 6 Evening: 2402 FB: 3

STLTODAY.COM/LOTTERY Current and past numbers, plus jackpots from state lotteries around the country.

Jessica Bock • 314-340-8228 @jessicabock on Twitter jbock@post-dispatch.com

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LOTTO Wednesday’s estimated jackpot: $1.1 million SHOW ME CASH Tuesday: 01-14-19-37-38 Wednesday’s estimated jackpot: $50,000 PICK-3 Tuesday Midday: 026 Evening: 136 PICK-4 Tuesday Midday: 9229 Evening: 9707

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