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A seedling of the Torreya taxifolia, or the Florida nutmeg tree, at a private area in Tower Grove Park in December 2018.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis arborists join national effort to save the Florida nutmeg tree

An endangered species of a Florida cedar tree is growing in St. Louis, where arborists are helping it recover from decades of blight. Arborists at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Tower Grove Park and the Bellefontaine Cemetery have planted and are studying the Torreya taxifolia, an evergreen tree commonly known as the Florida nutmeg. The three locations received seedlings from the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which has spearheaded a project to save the species.

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Sankofa Soleil (at left) stars as Alice in Metro Theater Company's "Wonderland: Alice's Rock & Roll Adventure," while Patrick Blindauer is the Cheshire Cat.
Ron James

Audiences are collectively pretty familiar with falling through a rabbit hole to accompany a young girl named Alice on a strange trip involving everything from a queen to a cat to a jury composed of animals. But Metro Theater Company has added even more elements to Lewis Carroll’s classic story – in this case keyboarders, guitar players, bass players, an accordion, trumpet players and a clarinet, among others.

“It’s an interesting situation, because you have actors actually playing live instruments – everybody’s playing live, so there’s no pit, which is a little more [of a] challenge,” music director Lamar Harris said Tuesday on St. Louis on the Air. “It’s not just [learning] lines … dance moves and the normal type of stuff you would do just in a regular musical.”

Alongside director and choreographer Jamie McKittrick and Sankofa B. Soleil, who plays Alice in Metro’s “Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure” production currently playing at the Grandel, Harris joined host Don Marsh to discuss what sets Metro’s performance apart.

Winfred Obruk (right) from Shishmaref, Alaska shows Amy Martin (right) where the island used to be before erosion, caused in part by climate change, ate away at the island.
Nick Mott

Amy Martin has reported many times on environmental issues for NPR and other public radio outlets. Through that reporting, she realized she wanted to “go deeper and really dive into one issue with a lot of detail and a lot of nuance.” So she founded the Montana Public Radio show and podcast, “Threshold,” which delves into environmental topics and issues.

Martin, the podcast’s executive producer, spoke to host Don Marsh on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air and explained why she chose the subjects for the show’s first two completed seasons: bison and climate change.

Farm Bill Compromise Reached With SNAP Changes Out, Industrial Hemp In

9 hours ago

Lawmakers unveiled the much-anticipated farm bill compromise Monday night, ending the months-long impasse over whether a critical piece of legislation that provides subsidies to farmers and helps needy Americans buy groceries could pass before the lame-duck session concludes at the end of the year.

Dr. George Smith Accepts His Nobel Prize in Stockholm

22 hours ago

University of Missouri Professor Emeritus George Smith has received the university’s first-ever Nobel Prize. In a ceremony Monday, he was recognized by the Swedish royal family.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley spoke in the St. Louis area on Aug. 30, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Money wasn’t everything when it came to Missouri’s nationally watched U.S. Senate contest.

Republican Josh Hawley is the state’s first Senate winner in decades to be dramatically outspent by the rival he defeated.

And the Democrat who lost, two-term incumbent Claire McCaskill, set a huge fundraising and spending record in the state.

Monday marks the five-year anniversary of the merger between St. Louis Public Radio and the St. Louis Beacon.

Collectively known as St. Louis Public Radio, the alliance of the two organizations was a bold move that increased the capacity for more journalists to tell more local and regional news stories.

Fabiano Caruana at the 2018 Sinquefield Cup
Lennart Ootes | Grand Chess Tour

The 2018 Grand Chess Tour will conclude in London with a new and exciting format. The four qualified players, who were the top four point leaders after the first three tour stops, will take center stage.

The field will be led by none other than World Championship challenger Fabiano Caruana of St. Louis. The contenders will battle it out over six days, starting Tuesday.

The knock-out format comes with a total prize fund of $300,000 and the much-coveted title of Grand Chess Tour Champion.


Though singer, actor and writer Storm Large now boasts a large cult following, her beginnings were far humbler. On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, she described the process of discovering her voice and breaking out of a cycle of insecurity and loneliness.

“I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere,” Large told host Don Marsh. “I wasn’t normal. I wasn’t pretty. I didn’t fit in … All of a sudden, there was this thing that I can do that makes people happy.”

Today, Large tours the country sharing her voice with a diverse range of audiences.

David Burks mans the Salvation Army's red kettle outside the Walmart store in Granite City.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Salvation Army bell-ringer David Burks was making a joyful noise in front of the Granite City Walmart on a recent Friday morning. He greeted everyone who passed his red kettle, whether they dropped in pennies or a folded dollar bill or hurried by without a glance.

“You have a good day now. Thank you, and God bless you.”

The fundraising goal for the Granite City Salvation Army is $88,000 this Christmas season, and it will take thousands of drops in the buckets to get there. The Salvation Army says its trademark red kettle campaign is as important as ever because many have been left behind by the nation's rebounding economy.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Virtual schooling is coming to public K-12 education in Missouri next month.

While districts expect high school students to be the first to enroll, the program allows for students as young as first grade to take classes online.


St. Louis on the Air

Wednesday: Creating healthier school environments in St. Louis

Host Don Marsh will talk about an effort to make schools healthier through an initiative comprised of 10 components from a federal model.

Special Report

How McKee’s rehab plans made big promises to St. Louis but left buildings to rot

Nearly a decade after Paul McKee sold St. Louis on a vision worth billions to rehab more than 150 properties on the north side, roofs have caved, walls have crumbled and residents have lost patience.