Top Stories

Marc Treble | Flickr

Despite reputation for reform, Missouri's juvenile justice system has serious systemic issues

This July 31, the U.S. Department of Justice released the findings of a 20-month investigation into the St. Louis County Family Court that sent a jolt through the system. "The investigation found that the court fails to provide constitutionally required due process to children appearing for delinquency proceedings, and that the court’s administration of juvenile justice discriminates against black children, all in violation of the 14th Amendment," assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a conference call.
Read More
Jennings Superintendent Tiffany Anderson takes her turn as a crossing guard.
Jennings School District

We Live Here: Funding Missouri's public schools comes down to one not-so-simple formula

The arcane world of school finance in Missouri can be harder to understand than the most obscure poem or the most difficult calculus problem. But clear away all of the acronyms and calculations and modifications, and it comes down to two simple questions: Should the quality of children’s education depend on where they live? And how important is money to education anyway?
Read More

St. Louis on the Air

Tuesday: There’s no cure for the common birthday, but there are ways to improve

Host Don Marsh will discuss new training for primary care doctors who care for elderly patients with Dr. John Morley.

Classical Music

Classical 90.7 KWMU-3

Classical music 24-7. Listen online or with an HD radio.

A crowd of teachers and supporters picket outside East St. Louis School District 189's administrative offices Thurs. Oct. 1, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 5, 8:45 p.m. negotiations stall.

 There’s no end in sight for the teacher strike in East St. Louis. On Monday, representatives for both the district and teacher union met with a federal mediator, but those talks stalled.

“I have no good news to report,” said Superintendent Arthur Culver. “We are still miles apart.”

The major sticking point is how long it would take teachers to max out their pay. The union wants a schedule that, barring a salary freeze, would allow a new teacher to reach the top of the pay scale in 11 years. But Culver said that’s not sustainable and wants a scale the stretches out across 21 years.       

The district’s proposal would give teachers a $2,000 stipend and a raise that averages 2.6 percent per teacher. But Illinois Federation of Teachers spokesman Dave Comerford said moving to the longer schedule could drive new teachers away.   

“This would basically equate to a career-long pay cut," Comerford said. "Many of the younger members said if that goes through, I can’t say here. I mean that’s a significant impact on someone’s future and one that we don’t believe is necessary.”

Union representatives say the school system could afford the 11-year schedule and Comerford pointed to what he said was more than $30 million in the district’s reserve fund.  Culver said that money came from restructured debt, closing facilities, staff reductions and state money that he wasn’t sure would be there in the future. The money gives the district a roughly four month cushion in operating expenses, which Culver said is a fiscal best practice.    

As of Monday night, no further talks were scheduled. More than 6,000 students attend schools in the East St. Louis school district.   

Updated 4:45 p.m. Oct. 2 with news from union- School administrators and union leaders in East St. Louis are making plans to renew contract negotiations after two days of teacher strikes in East St. Louis.

Dave Comerford of the Illinois Federation of Teachers told St. Louis Public Radio a session with a federal mediator is scheduled for Monday. Comerferd said that means teachers will continue to strike at least through Monday.

Video screen shot

The kingdom needs the contributions of all its people to thrive. 

That's the premise of "Gateway Gauntlet," an animated video directed by Benjamin Kaplan as part of an 18-month community engagement effort conducted by St. Louis Public Radio. The video premiered Oct. 1 in the Public Media Commons in Grand Center.

(courtesy Cortex/Chris Cross)

A little more West Coast is moving into St. Louis.

The music streaming company Pandora opened an office inside Cortex, St. Louis’ innovation district, on Monday.

"Pandora came looking for us," said Dougan Sherwood, co-founder and managing director of CIC St. Louis, which is housed in the @4240 building.

Sherwood said officials with Pandora, which is based in Oakland, Calif., wanted to replicate the culture they have at their headquarters.

This colorized scanning electron micrograph image shows filamentous Ebola virus particles (shown in blue) infecting a cell (shown in yellow-green).
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

Scientists at Washington University have developed a genetic test that can be used to detect practically any virus known to infect humans.

It could be especially useful for quickly identifying the cause of deadly disease outbreaks or helping a patient whose disease has eluded diagnosis.

Chuck Berry
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

This month marks one year since Chuck Berry wrapped up his iconic run at Blueberry Hill in the Delmar Loop. The musician’s performing status is up in the air, according to Blueberry Hill owner Joe Edwards.

“The fact he’s almost 89 years old, who knows? He has the interest in doing it but he’s also working on some songs,” said Edwards. 

John Thavis covered the Vatican for 30 years.
Provided by the author

When veteran Vatican journalist John Thavis interviewed exorcists for his new book, many said right off that exorcism was “nothing at all like the movie.”

These American and Italian priests were referring to the 1973 movie “The Exorcist” made from William Peter Blatty’s novel, which was based on a St. Louis event.

Brian Rohlfing is co-founder of Watchdog Creative, the company behind the Stop Harassing Me Now app.
Watchdog Creative | provided

A new anti-bullying app available on Google Play is the brain child of a handful of St. Louis dads. The Stop Harassing Me Now app, which is also designed to combat domestic violence, records flagged calls and texts and stores them in a secure database in case they are needed as evidence.

Parking lots disappear in renderings of the new east entrance of Washington University.
Renderings from Washington University

Two of the most important civic, cultural, educational and recreational institutions in the region — Washington University and Forest Park — announced building and renovation plans over the weekend, plans that include transformative changes to come as well as some work already completed.

The plans also include a campaign for bulking up endowment funds for the future for Forest Park. Together, the plans represent a total of about $370 million and include five buildings and a green on the eastern part of the university campus.

Parents cheer during a football game against Christian Brothers College High School at St. Louis University High on Friday. At left, Verlion Evans cheers for her nephew, Andrew Clair.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

When she was a student at Maplewood Richmond Heights High School back in the 70s, Betty Pearson would ring a cowbell every time the Blue Devils made a touchdown. Her high school sweetheart — now her husband — played football, and their oldest son later followed in his footsteps. So when the school board announced they were ending the district's high school football program due to a lack of interest, Pearson was pretty shocked.

“I was first sad! I was like, 'Oh wow.' You know?” Pearson said.

Left: Audience members at an Ameren employee diversity festival clap when Ameren's $2.5 million donation is announced on Sat. Oct. 3, 2015 in St. Louis. Right: Rev. Earl Nance Jr. of Heat Up St. Louis shakes hands with Ameren CEO Warner Baxter.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

​Updated at 10 a.m. Oct. 4 with more detail on recipients - Ameren Corporation has pledged $2.5 million dollars to programs that support the Ferguson Commission’s priorities to reduce poverty and improve educational opportunities in St. Louis. The commission’s other priorities include justice and racial equity.

Ameren announced the funding Saturday during an employee festival celebrating diversity.


Public Insight Network

Help inform our coverage

Become part of our Public Insight Network. We use the PIN to get insight from people like you. Today's question: No budget in Illinois: What does that mean to you?