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A kit containing the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.
File Photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Opioid-related deaths in St. Louis region rose again in 2017

Preliminary data from the community health agency NCADA show the number of opioid-related deaths in the St. Louis area rose again last year, as they have since 2007. Nearly 760 people died due to opioids in 2017, a 5 percent increase from 2016. That was a relative improvement from the dramatic spike between 2015 and 2016, when deaths jumped from 517 to 712, or a 38 percent increase. The total includes deaths from things like driving under the influence of opioids as well as overdose deaths.

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From left, Dr. Joan Luby, Kristine Walentik and Meredith Rataj discussed practices along the United States’ southern border and their impact on St Louis-area immigrants and refugees.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the local ramifications of a news story that continues to rock the nation: the treatment of migrant parents and children along the U.S.’s southern border.

Joining him to talk about President Donald Trump’s evolving immigration policies were three St. Louis-area residents whose areas of expertise shed light on the real-life impacts of those policies.

Ed Wheatley joined Don Marsh for a discussion about his illustrated children’s book “Incredible Cardinals.”
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For St. Louis Cardinals fans of a certain age, the players painted on the left field wall of Busch Stadium evoke fond memories of baseball heroes of days gone by. But for younger fans, the names Bob Gibson, Red Schoendienst and even Stan Musial may not even register, much less Dizzy Dean.

To rectify that matter, local author Ed Wheatley and illustrator Ed Koehler have created a book for children featuring St. Louis Cardinals greats who are now in the Baseball Hall of Fame as well as some who may be future inductees.

On the winter morning of Wednesday, January 8, 1969, a 49-year-old attorney walked into the Capitol building in Jefferson City with the intention of starting a new job.  William Morris, a WWII veteran from the Kansas City area, had been appointed lieutenant governor by then-Governor Warren Hearnes one week earlier.  Morris prepared to take his place presiding over the Missouri Senate on the opening day of the legislative session. 

Tony and Jack Erker are fifth-generation opticians who are challenging online vendors with a brick-and-mortar experience where customers can watch frames being made in a mini factory. June 2018
Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio

Brothers Jack and Tony Erker did not want to go into the family optical business.

They spent years pursuing other careers to take them far from the shop at Sixth and Olive streets in downtown St. Louis, where it all started in 1879. But it’s hard to resist five generations of history, not to mention the entrepreneurial DNA embedded in their genes.

This spring Jack and Tony opened Copper Hinge, a brick-and-mortar optical shop in the Delmar Loop.    The brothers envisioned a new way to sell eyeglasses, one that’s not available online or in other stores.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, addresses a packed audience at Thursday's annual NAACP dinner held June 21, 2018 in downtown St. Louis.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat and rising national star, delivered a two-pronged address in St. Louis on Thursday that appeared to be aimed at elevating her own profile while also boosting fellow Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Both officials were star attractions at the St. Louis County NAACP annual dinner, held at the downtown Four Seasons Hotel.

Many of Harris’ keynote remarks focused on challenges facing like-minded Americans who are upset over various actions by President Donald Trump’s administration.

In shirts and ties, boys go over the books of the hospital in the fictional JA BizTown. Running the city is part of a weeklong summer camp on business and entrepreneurship.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The mayor wears a plastic top hat; the doctor is years away from being able to drive; the utility worker is wearing a uniform six sizes too big.

Welcome to JA BizTown, a fictional city populated entirely by 8- and 9-year-olds. It’s part of a summer camp teaching financial and business skills to children and adolescents. Over a week they learn about the responsibilities of going to work, filling out paperwork and paying off bills, all within their very own make-believe town.

Musical instruments will be available to check out at four St. Louis County libraries starting June 25, 2018.
Kara Smith | St. Louis County Library

A program at the St. Louis County Library will allow residents to check out an assortment of musical instruments starting Monday.

The program is the first of its kind in the St. Louis region, said library district director Kristen Sorth. Lending musical instruments would be beneficial to many in the area, she said.

Katie Lefton, who studies neuronal networks, adjusts a yogi's pose in Forest Park during scientists' 'Active for AD' fundraiser on Thursday, June 21, 2018.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Thursday was the summer solstice, and the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association marked the occasion with a 24-hour fundraising blitz.

The organization’s Longest Day fundraiser is a national event that collects money to research the disease as well as support patients and their caregivers. Friends and family conduct sponsored activities such as bike rides, bowling tournaments and even drag shows.

The history of the region’s closed streets comes into sharp focus in the latest episode of St. Louis Public Radio’s “We Live Here” podcast.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Featuring everything from wrought-iron gates to concrete balls, restricted streets are a common characteristic in some St. Louis-area neighborhoods. That’s by design – and not just in an architectural sense.

“The first gated street in St. Louis was Benton Place, which is in Lafayette Square,” St. Louis Public Radio’s Tim Lloyd said Thursday in conversation with host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air. “It was built just after the Civil War … the wealthy elite in St. Louis were not happy with where they were living, mostly in the urban core at that time.”

From left, Steph Perkins, Curtis Galloway and Emily Klamer joined Don Marsh for a discussion about LGBTQ mental health.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis on the Air

While LGBTQ Pride Month is typically a time for celebration among the local queer community, mourning has also marked this year’s observance as several St. Louis-area residents have died by suicide and overdose in the wake of national news of celebrity deaths.

“The numbers of suicide attempts and LGBTQ people taking their own lives is something like nine times the rate for trans people and three times the rate of the national average for LGB people, and it’s very much increased by victimization and discrimination that we face every day,” Steph Perkins said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air.

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St. Louis on the Air

Monday: A look at river and floodplain policy

Host Don Marsh will discuss river and floodplain policy in the region ahead of the free "River Soundings" conference in Forest Park.