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Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon
Kimberly Ney | Riverview Gardens School District

Unaccredited districts cite progress in latest test score results

Updated at 5:30 p.m. with comments from more districts — Superintendents of Missouri’s only two unaccredited school districts say the latest standardized test scores show their students are improving. But state school officials caution that because the tests taken in the spring were from a different source from those taken the year before, year-to-year comparisons aren’t really valid, so there is no good way to truly gauge how much progress students have made. Still, the superintendents in Normandy and Riverview Gardens are pleased.
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Jason Wilson, CAM board member, and Shanti Parikh, anthropology and African Studies assistant professor
Kelly Moffit | St. Louis Public Radio

An exhibition that opened at the Contemporary Art Museum Sept. 16 continues to draw fire for images that some say are demeaning to African-Americans. The issue has hit home with many St. Louisans including Shanti Parikh, an anthropology and African Studies associate professor, and her husband Jason Wilson, who’s on the board at CAM.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster speaks at the Truman Dinner, the Missouri Democratic Party's annual gathering.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In a move reminiscent of the presidential contest, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster – Missouri’s Democratic nominee for governor – has released his last four years of tax returns.  And he is daring Republican rival Eric Greitens to do the same.

“We believe it is important to voters that Mr. Greitens release the same information the Attorney General has to give voters an understanding of any conflicts he may have if elected governor,” the campaign said in a statement. “The question is, will Eric Greitens blink now?”

Author Candice Millard's book "Hero of the Empire" looks into Winston Churchill's exploits during the Boer War.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Winston Churchill sure didn’t make it easy to become a seminal figure in world history.

Before becoming Great Britain’s prime minister and leading his empire through World War II, Churchill was an extremely ambitious youngster who saw military glory as a pathway to political power. But this type of thinking almost got him killed in the Second Boer War, a late 1890s military conflict in what’s now South Africa.

Ferguson resident Shirlissa Pruitt asks about keeping more resources in her part of the school district  at a town hall meeting on Thursday. Sept. 22, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 29 with the plaintiff’s choice — The American Civil Liberties Union and the Missouri NAACP are asking the judge in their ongoing voting rights case to consider changing Ferguson-Florissant School Board elections to a cumulative voting system.

Cumulative voting allows a voter to cast multiple votes for the same candidate. For instance, if three slots on the school board are open but a voter only likes one candidate, he or she can cast up to three votes for the same candidate.

Chris Hebert.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Angels of Detroit” is author Christopher Hebert’s second novel.  It delves into the fictional lives of those experiencing Detroit’s decline and redevelopment. 

Hebert joined St. Louis on the Air on Thursday to discuss the book and the parallels between Detroit and St. Louis. 

Hebert lived in St. Louis in 1998 after finishing college.

"It was brief but meaningful," Hebert said.

Sara Parker Pauley
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

The Missouri Department of Conservation has found its new director, and didn't have to look far.

Sara Parker Pauley is moving to Conservation from the Department of Natural Resources. She was appointed to that position by Gov. Jay Nixon in December 2010.

Lonely Mountain String Band played last year's An Under Cover Weekend and came back for this year as well.
Provided by Corey Woodruff and Michael Tomko

As Libby Swanger raised her viola and began Jimmy Page’s solo from Led Zepplin’s “Kashmir,” there was no way for her to anticipate the crowd reaction.

“People were like screaming for me, and as a violist, that has never happened ever," she said. "People don’t scream for us, and it was just like a shining moment that came out of last year.”

Swanger’s performance took place with the bluegrass group The Lonely Mountain String Band during An Under Cover Weekend, St. Louis’s annual tribute band festival.  This weekend, the event celebrates its 10th anniversary.

An insect chess set
Provided by the World Chess Hall of Fame

Dr. George and Vivian Dean have been fascinated with chess sets for more than half a century. Their collection of more than 1,000 sets and diverse singular pieces stretches from the 8th century to the present, with examples from as many different cultures and eras as they have been able to find.

Their criteria for selecting works have been: aesthetic beauty, quality and diversity of materials, and quality of craftsmanship. In assembling an exhibition from their collection – titled Animal Vegetable Mineral: Natural Splendors from the Chess Collection of Dr. George & Vivian Dean – one question that had to be addressed was what rational guide could  be used to select the works.

The Kabbalah Centre St. Louis opened five years ago, but has outgrown its space. It will hold a grand re-opening Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016.
The Kabbalah Centre St. Louis via Facebook

A St. Louis spiritual center that is only the second facility of its kind in the Midwest is growing, even as its students say many people in St. Louis don't know about it.

Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi
Florida Institute of Technology

Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi is an astrophysicist with so many credentials it would take a page and a half to list them all. Here’s a sample: He has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University, was a 2012 TED Global Fellow, was a visiting scholar at MIT, was a U.S. State Department speaker and specialist to Algeria in 2012 and he co-hosts television shows on the Science Channel, National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel.

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St. Louis on the Air

Friday: Behind the Headlines

We’ll take a deep dive into the controversy around Kelley Walker’s “Direct Drive” exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum with help from reporters Willis Ryder Arnold and Jenny Simeone.

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