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THE WILD ONES

The St. Louis Journalism Review's Charles Klotzer goes the extra mile for a story

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The September edition of the St. Louis Journalism Review, just off the presses, features a fascinating tale by publisher and editor emeritus Charles Klotzer, describing how city police blocked off downtown city streets in response to late-night cruising by hundreds of young African-Americans. Among interesting revelations in the SJR report: City police temporarily closed exits along Interstate 64 — that's Highway 40 to you natives — in an effort to steer cruisers from downtown to the suburbs. The SJR recounts the story of one tourist who left his hotel in the city for a pack of cigarettes, got stuck on Highway 40 and ended up lost in the burbs, far from his hotel.

Talk about shoe-leather journalism — Klotzer and his wife, Rose, both indefatigable First Amendment crusaders, spent a summer of Sundays hanging out with the hundreds of cruisers to gather material. SJR editor Ed Bishop says Klotzer became intrigued by the story after his son Dan was blocked by police from exiting 40 at Skinker. "It's typical Charles," Bishop says. "Charles has a sixth sense about unfairness. He has a personal seismograph that can feel the slightest tremors in social behavior — maybe it's from growing up in Nazi Germany; I don't know — but Charles has an uncanny ability and is inspired by righting wrongs."

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