St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger confers with Councilman Pat Dolan at a Dec. 19, 2017, meeting of the St. Louis County Council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County residents likely to vote on slew of charter changes

The St. Louis County Council isn’t finished changing up the county’s charter. Council members on Monday sent four charter amendments for voter approval. The measures stem from an increasingly adversarial relationship between the council and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. They’re slated for the Nov. 6 general election.

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Michael Guthrie signs up for an appointment at the mobile health clinic.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday it’s giving nearly $3 million to 29 community health centers in Missouri. The money is awarded based on how effectively and efficiently the centers provide services to their patients.

Federally qualified community health centers are one part of the government-supported health safety net for low-income individuals in medically underserved areas. The federal government requires them to offer services on a sliding pay scale and serve people regardless of whether they have insurance or not.

SLDC launches town hall meetings on August 14, 2018
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Development Corporation has kicked off a campaign of town hall meetings aimed at improving its public image.

SLDC executive director Otis Williams on Tuesday told an audience at the LaunchCode headquarters on Delmar Boulevard, in the Fountain Park neighborhood, “We want to become more transparent.”

James Clark, vice president of community outreach at Better Family Life, addresses a crowd of people who have just received amnesty vouchers. He recommends keeping the vouchers on them at all times until the warrant is dismissed. August 15, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

People with misdemeanor warrants in St. Louis-area municipalities have a chance to get them dismissed Wednesday and Saturday this week.

Better Family Life’s warrant-amnesty program lets people pay a $10 processing fee to receive a $100 voucher that helps dismiss warrants for nonviolent offenses such as traffic violations or child-support delinquency, and other misdemeanor crimes.

Stephanie Lummus (at left) is the veterans advocacy project attorney for St. Francis Community Services’ Catholic Legal Service Ministry, and Michael-John Voss is co-founder and special projects director of ArchCity Defenders.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When Stephanie Lummus first entered nonprofit legal work, she didn’t expect that her efforts to represent homeless people and help them exit poverty would so often revolve around child support. But she estimates that at least three-quarters of her homeless clients are dealing with that issue – and it’s not a simple one.

“The enforcement mechanisms in place in the state of Missouri for those folks that have resources and just don’t feel like supporting their children are usually appropriate … [but] what we’re talking about is the vulnerable and the disenfranchised,” Lummus said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, “the folks that have run into difficulty or catastrophe in life and need modification, and they can’t get it.”

Black Pride St. Louis President Randy Rafter said, “Everyone’s invited; everyone’s included,” about this weekend’s events.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the intersectionality of black and queer identities and how the organization Black Pride St. Louis offers support for the community in advance of its celebratory weekend starting Friday.

The president of Black Pride St. Louis, Randy Rafter, joined Marsh in-studio as Earl Fowlkes, president and CEO of the Center for Black Equity, chimed in via phone.

A home in St. Francois County undergoing remediation for lead contamination
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The number of homes contaminated by Missouri’s historic lead mining continues to grow as Environmental Protection Agency officials test more residential yards in St. Francois County.

EPA officials are meeting with communities this week to expand its soil sampling efforts and receive feedback on its plan to clean up the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund site. Representatives of the federal agency had their first meeting with residents on Monday in Bismarck, about 80 miles south of St. Louis. Officials found high levels of lead, or concentrations above 400 parts per million, in 96 out of the 122 residential yards they tested in Bismarck. They began testing in the city in 2014.

Alan Lambert directs Washington University’s Attitude and Social Cognition Laboratory.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Conspiracy theories are nothing new – but they are in the news a lot these days, and they seem to particularly plague the digital age.

“I don’t think they’re more common, but they spread much more quickly now because of the internet,” Alan Lambert said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “We hear about them faster.”

Lambert, who is an associate professor of psychology at Washington University, joined host Don Marsh for a close look at why conspiracy theories persist.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Despite an income downturn in July, Missouri budget director Dan Haug says the state is starting its new fiscal year in stronger shape than it has seen in years.

That’s because the fiscal year that ended June 30 saw a last-minute surplus of $350 million that is providing an income cushion.

So unlike his recent predecessors, Gov. Mike Parson hasn’t had  to impose additional spending cuts.

Flickr Creative Commons | Mike Mozart

Updated 6:02 p.m. with plaintiffs’ announced appeal - Missouri residents will have the chance in November to vote on a gas tax increase.

Associatate Circuit Judge Robert Schollmeyer in Osage County on Tuesday tossed out a lawsuit seeking to strip Proposition D from the ballot. If approved by voters, the measure would gradually raise the fuel tax from 17 cents to 27 cents a gallon by the year 2022.

Nurses at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center say without raises, more employees will continue to leave for the private sector.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly one-third of the nursing positions at the St. Louis County Jail are vacant, according to the county’s Department of Public Health. Nurses and public-health officials say the pay isn’t sufficient to keep people from leaving.

Nurses from the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton on Monday told members of the St. Louis County Council if the county does not pay them more, it’s likely nurse turnover will remain high.

“In the past month, we’ve lost four longtime employees to [hospital group] SSM,” said corrections nurse Lisa Wellman, who has been working at the jail for seven years. "And their pay-and-benefits package far exceeds what we have.”

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St. Louis on the Air

Thursday: Sports, race and the law

Host Don Marsh will discuss the legal aspects of employer policies regarding protests, especially by athletes, and the racial implications.

25 years later: Remembering the Great Flood of '93

Twenty-five years ago, on Aug. 1, 1993, the Mississippi River crested in St. Louis at the highest level ever recorded — 49.58 feet. Residents can still feel the impact of the watershed disaster today.