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Then-Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven, left, speaks to St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams in January 2017. Vandeven was fired last December but will return as education commissioner.
File Photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Vandeven gets her old job back as Missouri's education commissioner

Updated at 2:15 p.m. with comments from Vandeven — Margie Vandeven will return as Missouri’s top education official a year after her unpopular firing by then-Gov. Eric Greitens. The State Board of Education announced its selection of Vandeven as state education commissioner Tuesday. She ran the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or DESE, for three years before she was ousted.

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Geneva Abbott's drawing of an arch on the St. Louis riverfront appears in the 1933 edition of the Red and Black, Central High School's yearbook from that year.
Missouri Historical Society Collections

St. Louis teenager Abdullah Brown-El was reading a book on the history of the St. Louis riverfront when a particular tidbit piqued his interest and he decided to dig a bit deeper.

“It was just a little blurb on [one] page of the book – about a girl named Geneva Abbott who had the idea for an arch on the riverfront,” Brown-El said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “She quoted Alfred [Lord] Tennyson saying, ‘All experience is an arch wherethro’/ Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades/ For ever and for ever when I move’ … I thought that was really cool, because [Abbott’s 1933 arch drawing] was obviously before Eero Saarinen thought of that, too.”

Brown-El, who recently completed the Missouri History Museum's Teens Make History apprenticeship program and is now a freshman at Amherst College, talked about the discovery with host Don Marsh while back home in St. Louis over Thanksgiving break.

Dozens of people line up for a Thanksgiving dinner-style meal organized for immigrants and refugees at the International Institute of St. Louis on Nov. 20, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees had the opportunity to experience their first Thanksgiving in St. Louis on Tuesday, a few days early.

The annual event held by the International Institute of St. Louis included games, raffle tickets and a group rendition of the classic folk song, “This Land is Your Land.”

Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Debra Horwitz discussed pets' needs in the colder months and what behavior changes they might experience on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air" program.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Winter is coming – although some would make the case that it’s already here. And the return of snowfall, shorter days and freezing temperatures can have an effect on domesticated cats and dogs as well as their human companions.  

Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Debra Horwitz joined host Don Marsh to discuss pets’ needs in the colder months and what behavior changes they might experience – as well as other pet-related questions.

After 10 years of consistent gains, the number of immigrant families enrolled in SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, fell by 10 percent in 2018.

New, preliminary research presented this month at the American Public Health Association conference showed the drop was highest for for families who had been in the U.S for fewer than five years. It’s a reflection of what Harvest Public Media and other outlets reported earlier this year: that some families are choosing not to participate in federal benefit programs out of fear it could impact their immigration status.

Nov. 19, 2018 at Operation Food Search: Andrew Glantz, CEO GiftAMeal and food bank manager Mark Taylor check bags for weekend meal program.
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

As many families prepare for the annual Thanksgiving feast, not everyone has the opportunity to sit down to a traditional meal on Thursday, or any other day of the week. The statistics about food insecurity — hunger — in our region are stark.

“Missouri is one of the hungriest states in the country,” said Mark Taylor at Operation Food Search, a food bank that distributes 200,000 meals a month in St. Louis and 31 surrounding counties in Missouri and Illinois.

Food waste being dropped off Total Organics Recycling's facility in St. Louis.
Total Organics Recycling

Residents in a Maryland Heights subdivision are dropping off their food scraps near the street for composting in the first Missouri program to collect food waste at the curb.

In June, composting company Total Organics Recycling, Republic Services and St. Louis County began the service to residents of the Brookside subdivision. The program is funded by a $26,340 municipal waste grant made possible by landfill tipping fees. The grant pays the cost of providing collection bins and having Republic Services haul the waste to Total Organics Recycling’s facility in Maryland Heights. There is no cost to residents. 

Alderman Scott Ogilvie, D-24th Ward, speaks on Friday about his bill to cap city-based campaign contribtions.
FIle photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie returns to Politically Speaking to talk about the pressing issues before the Board of Aldermen — and why he’s decided to leave after the 2019 elections.

Ogilvie represents the 24th Ward, which takes in six neighborhoods around southwestern St. Louis. That includes neighborhoods that encompass Dogtown, such as Cheltenham, Clayton Tamm, Franz Park, Hi-Pointe and Ellendale.

Pat Westhoff (at left), director of the University of Missouri's Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, and Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, joined Monday's program.
Pat Westhoff & Missouri Farm Bureau

Recent trade disputes between the Trump administration and China have had a heavy impact on farmers in Missouri, where the soybean industry dwarfs other crops in terms of acreage and production value.

“[China accounts] for something like 60 percent of total U.S. soybean sales in a typical year,” Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “So losing a chunk of that market’s a very big deal.”

Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, told host Don Marsh that he and fellow farmers have been directly experiencing the fiscal consequences this year, including a 20 percent drop in soybean prices.

Dr. Marva Robinson, a licensed clinical psychologist in St. Louis, advises that civil family discussions at holiday dinner tables start with setting ground rules.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In the upcoming weeks, friends and family will gather for delicious holiday meals. But sometimes, those meals turn bitter if loved ones discuss polarizing subjects. Breaking bread with someone who has very different views on politics or life can lead to tension and ruin a celebratory event.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the best ways to approach these holiday-time conversations with Dr. Marva Robinson, a licensed clinical psychologist with Preston & Associates Psychology Firm in St. Louis.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport. August 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Roadways and airports are expected to be busier than usual this Thanksgiving holiday.

The AAA Club of Missouri anticipate more than 1.1 million residents to travel over a 10-day period covering Thanksgiving. That’s an increase of roughly 5 percent from last year.


St. Louis on the Air

Wednesday: The Grannie Annie helps children illustrate their heritage

Host Don Marsh will discuss The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration and the role it plays in encouraging young people to preserve family stories.