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Rice in Missouri is grown mostly in the Bootheel.
USDA

The modern history of U.S. trade with Cuba began on a Missouri rice farm

A rice farmer from Dexter, Mo., asked his U.S. representative a question more than 15 years ago that launched two Missouri lawmakers into the first successful effort to open Cuba to U.S. trade since the embargo in the early 1960s. The change came with restrictions that the Obama administration is now trying to remove, but it was the first crack in that trade wall.
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Showme
Wilis Ryder Arnold

Cats of St. Louis Public Radio may not make it to CAM video fest but they sure are cute

OK, we get it: publishing a video starring the cats of St. Louis Public Radio employees is completely self-indulgent. But with the Contemporary Art Museum offering its Internet Cat Video Festival July 9-10, we figured we’d better pounce on the chance.
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Cityscape

St. Louis improv theater finds community in comedy

When you think of improv comedy, you’re more likely to think of Chicago than St. Louis. But St. Louis has a theater of its own, and it’s attracting a growing number of students and audiences.

Classical Music

Classical 90.7 KWMU-3

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

Courtesy Union Avenue Opera

Union Avenue Opera opens its 21st festival season on July 10 with Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” When “Cityscape" host Steve Potter pointed out that age 21 in people usually indicates adulthood, UAO Artistic Director Scott Schoonover responded, “We have actually played around with that imagery, thinking about coming into our own at 21. We actually have a pretty serious season this year … a bit heavier in that sense. I think people will still enjoy it and get a lot out of it, but coming into our own, yes.”

Carmellena Blockton (black pants) and Diva Sweat Girls
Ambee's Photography

In March, Carmellena Blockton set out to provide an outlet for young girls in St. Louis to develop social skills, learn physical fitness and to increase self-confidence. Straying away from the traditional mentoring program, she chose a different approach and created a hip-hop inspired majorette dance team entitled “Diva Sweat Girls.”

Diva Sweat originally began in 2013 as an adult dance class. As time went on, Blockton noticed a need in her community and decided to take action.

Jefferson Barracks cemetery
Mary Delach Leonard I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County government is planning public meetings later this summer about expanding Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, which has been a longtime priority for veterans groups.

For years, the county has been negotiating about selling part of Sylvan Springs Park with the Veterans Administration so it would have more cemetery space. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger told reporters that public meetings will take place in mid-July, and will include staffers from the county parks department and the VA.

Author Eric Greitens talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 16, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens, author and former Navy Seal, has yet to officially announce whether he’s seeking Missouri’s Republican nomination for governor in 2016.

But St. Louis-based Greitens already has collected at least $1.4 million in 2015 in large donations of more than $5,000 apiece. His largest monthly haul -- $540,000 – was in June.

So far this year, Greitens has been Missouri’s undisputedly biggest recipient of large donations.

Fireworks, fourth of july, reflected, horizontal, arch
Rachel Heidenry | 2008

Journalists can be an irreverent lot, yet most of us believe devoutly in the sanctity of the First Amendment. The Fourth of July is its holy day, and we are its acolytes. But this year, the celebration of a free press ought to be tempered with doses of concern and reality.

Sarah Kellogg

The St. Louis Fire Department is cautioning St. Louis area residents against setting off fireworks this weekend.

The use of consumer fireworks is legal in Missouri, but illegal in St. Louis city and county.

“We hear them in South City, North City, the West End, downtown, they’re illegal. It’s illegal in the city of St. Louis to shoot fireworks: bottle rockets, firecrackers, sparklers, anything,” St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said.

Some surrounding counties do allow the use of consumer fireworks.

health map
Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

For many students summer means freedom from school, but it can also mean hunger.

During the school year, many children receive up to two nutritious meals a day through free or reduced lunch programs. Organizations throughout the St. Louis region are working to make sure low-income children continue to receive those essential meals even when school is out of session.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

Missouri's financial picture looks much better today than it did a year ago at this time.

The latest revenue figures show tax collections increased by 8.8 percent during Fiscal Year 2015, which ended Tuesday.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

There'll be no waterskiing at the Lake of the Ozarks, at least maybe not till Saturday at the earliest.

The high-water level due to heavy rainfall has led Gov. Jay Nixon to declare the entire lake a "no-wake zone," meaning that boaters can travel no faster than basic idle speed.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street.
(courtesy NGA) / National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, NGA

Legislation authorizing the city of St. Louis to borrow as much as $20 million to buy land to keep a major employer within the city's borders narrowly squeaked through preliminary approval on Thursday.

The Board of Aldermen approved the measure Thursday by a 13-11-1 vote amid confusion about the final outcome. It needs one more vote before going to Mayor Francis Slay's desk.

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Community Engagement

The Listening Project: Why is it hard to find affordable housing?

Chris Krehmeyer of Beyond Housing explains that few new units are built and roadblocks can trip up those looking