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Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Senate committee to take up ‘bathroom bill’ for K-12 public schools

The debate over which bathrooms transgender students can use is coming to Missouri. A Missouri Senate committee will take up Senate Bill 98 on Tuesday, which would require that students at K-12 public schools throughout the state to use restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities that correspond to their “biological sex.” North Carolina was the first to adopt a so-called "bathroom bill" last year, and Texas lawmakers are considering one this session. But both of those affect all publicly owned places and all people regardless of age.

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Alderman Antonio French, January 2017
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio

On this episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jenny Simeone and Rachel Lippmann welcome Alderman Antonio French to show for the first time.

The 21st Ward alderman is one of seven Democratic candidates running to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. 

University City police say they're reviewing surveillance footage to determine who vandalized dozens of headstones at a more than century-old Jewish cemetery. 

Photos and video of the damage at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery show clusters of headstones that have been toppled. University City Lt. Fredrick Lemons told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday that authorities are keeping all options open, but wouldn't say whether the vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime.

It wasn't immediately known when the damage happened. 

Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Liane Constantine and her 6-year-old son, Ashton, live about half a mile from where he takes taekwondo classes in a small strip mall in Kirkwood. It would be easy enough to walk there, if only they could safely cross Manchester Road.

“ … I’d have to grab him by the hand and say ‘run when we don’t see any cars’,” she said, standing on the unpaved street corner that doesn’t have a crosswalk. Instead, they’re forced to drive, unnecessary as it seems.

The difficulty in traveling even short distances without a car prompted Constantine to ask our Curious Louis project why sidewalks are often so few and far between in St. Louis County.

Legal Roundtable returned on St. Louis on the Air on Monday with Daniel Epps, William Freivogel and Mark Smith.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis on the Air

On Monday, St. Louis on the Air’s monthly legal roundtable returned to address pressing issues of the law. 

Chris Koster thanks supporters at his November 2016 election night watch party at the Chase Park Plaza after conceding to Eric Greitens. Koster would have almost certainly vetoed "right to work."
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Former Attorney General Chris Koster is headed back to the private sector.

The Democrat, who lost to Republican Eric Greitens in last year's gubernatorial race, is joining Centene as a senior vice president for corporate services. Centene is a Clayton-based health care company that’s become increasingly involved in managing Medicaid services in Missouri and throughout the country.

St. Charles County executive Steve Ehlmann, Mayor Francis Slay, and St. Clair County executive Mark Kern (right) at the State of the Region breakfast on January 12, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In what turned out to be his final inauguration speech in 2013, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay described St. Louis County as a place that “we confidently expect to re-enter in this decade.”

The Democrat might have been a bit overconfident, as it’s 2017 and there’s still strong opposition to the idea of a merger throughout St. Louis County. No one really knows what an actual merger would look like, either: Would St. Louis become a county municipality? Or would St. Louis and St. Louis County coalesce into one big city like Indianapolis did in the 1970s?

Still, the lack of headway hasn’t kept the topic from being a prime talking point in the St. Louis mayoral race. Proponents of a merger believe that combining jurisdictions creates some cost savings — and makes it easier to bring in big-ticket development projects.

Rici Hoffarth / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s political power just got a big boost, even if he wasn’t aware of it.

That’s because the Missouri Ethics Commission just declared that candidates can spend money on, say, political ads for or against other politicians as long as there’s no direct coordination with a campaign. Since municipal and county candidates can take donations of an unlimited size, they could be used as a pipeline to help or hurt other candidates.

Artwork designed by organizer Charles Purnell for the St. Louis artists event depicts the words not my presidents day laid over official portraits of United States presidents with an X over Donald Trump's face.
Provided by Charles Purnell

It’s rare that people find comfort in admitting their fears.  It’s even more unusual to admit those  fears to a group of strangers.

But finding strength in fear, frustration and confusion in a starkly divided nation is one of the aims of This Is Who I Am Now: Artists on Politics,” which takes place today at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester Ave., in St. Louis.

“That’s been one of the biggest things for me, being able to say I’m scared and I have no idea what I’m going to do in the next couple years," organizer Charles Purnell said. "I don’t know what’s going to change, I don’t know what’s going to happen — and knowing that’s OK. It’s OK to be afraid and to admit that.”

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth / St. Louis Public Radio

Increasingly, college life is less about walking across the quad or stopping at the dining hall before sitting in a big lecture hall, and more about flipping open a laptop at home.

Take Royal Witcher, a St. Louis native and Army veteran who lives in Belmont, Mississippi. He completed most of his bachelor’s degree through the University of Phoenix, a fully online institution, but often felt like just a number.

When it was time for his MBA, the 45-year-old did his research — lots of it — and decided on Maryville University, which has a campus in suburban St. Louis. But he didn’t return to Missouri, instead taking advantage of an online degree.

Fifty affordable townhomes and garden apartments will replace several empty buildings in the southern part of the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.
Courtesy of Rise Community Development

Washington University’s medical campus in St. Louis will be getting a lot of new neighbors in the next couple of years, thanks to a new mixed-income development plan nearby.

The $27-million project will include 150 units of housing to buy and rent for both low- and middle-income residents in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. It aims to continue in the southern part of the area the revitalization seen in The Grove’s shopping and entertainment district to the north.

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St. Louis on the Air

Tuesday: Is TIF used too much in St. Louis?

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we’ll turn our attention to the use of tax increment financing as an economic development tool. Is it used too much in St. Louis?

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