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A kit containing the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.
File Photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Opioid-related deaths in St. Louis region rose again in 2017

Preliminary data from the community health agency NCADA show the number of opioid-related deaths in the St. Louis area rose again last year, as they have since 2007. Nearly 760 people died due to opioids in 2017, a 5 percent increase from 2016. That was a relative improvement from the dramatic spike between 2015 and 2016, when deaths jumped from 517 to 712, or a 38 percent increase. The total includes deaths from things like driving under the influence of opioids as well as overdose deaths.

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Gallery-goers mill about near the piece "Blake the Great."  6/20/18
Brea McAnally

St. Louis-based artist Damon Davis works in many forms, from visual art to hip hop records. His profile has grown steadily in recent years. He's now showing a deeply conceptual, richly realized exhibition at the Luminary, on Cherokee Street, that he calls the culmination of his years of art-making collaborations.

The show, called "Darker Gods in the Garden of the Low-Hanging Heavens," is built around a series of myths and fables Davis wrote, featuring black deities.

One of the first signs drivers see on the way into Unionville, Missouri, is this billboard advertising cardiology at Putnam County Memorial Hospital, a hospital in northern Missouri.
Bram Sable-Smith | Side Effects Public Media

Rural hospitals are more likely to close in states such as Missouri that have not expanded Medicaid.

A recent report from the pro-Affordable Care Act organization Protect Our Care analyzed 84 rural hospital closures since 2010. It found 90 percent of those hospital closures were in states that had not expanded Medicaid coverage. Missouri remains one of the 14 states that hasn’t amended its program to cover people who earn up to 138 percent above the poverty line.

Gov. Eric Greitens makes a statement to reporters after his invasion of privacy case was dropped in this on May 14, 2018 file photo.
File photo I St. Louis Public Radio

Attorneys seeking to prove former Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff violated Missouri’s Sunshine Law by using the message-deleting Confide app have an extra hurdle to clear.

Circuit Judge Jon Beetem has issued a protective order, for now, shielding Greitens’ former staffers, including any who still work for the state, from being interviewed under oath by plaintiff’s attorney Mark Pedroli.

On Tuesday’s show, local experts (from left) Amy Bertschausen, Elizabeth Sergel and Dixie Meyer discussed loneliness and its increasing impact across generations.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

recent survey of more than 20,000 U.S. adults suggests that most Americans struggle with an emotional state of loneliness, and it’s an issue that has serious health implications.

“[It can] have the same health effects as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” Elizabeth Sergel said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “There’s significant increase in the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke and dementia and depression, and overall there’s a higher likelihood of death related to loneliness.”

Timothy O'Leary concludes ten years of leadership at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Timothy O’Leary, general director of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, is concluding a 10 year run in St. Louis as head of the city’s premier opera theater company.

“I’m getting very nostalgic about St. Louis and how much I love it here,” O’Leary told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

O’Leary is heading east to lead the Washington National Opera, an organization that’s part of the Kennedy Center and that enjoys more than twice the budget of OTSL.

The Missouri Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of former state Sen. Mike Kehoe, pictured here on the Senate floor, as lieutenant governor.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 19 at 2:50 p.m. with comments from Attorney General Josh Hawley and additional background — The Missouri Democratic Party is challenging Gov. Mike Parson’s appointment of Mike Kehoe as lieutenant governor.

In a lawsuit filed Monday night on behalf of a World War II veteran, attorneys for the party say Parson had no authority to name Kehoe, a former Republican state senator from Jefferson City, to the office. The lieutenant governor is, by law, an advocate for seniors and by tradition an advocate for veterans.

St. Cin Park in Hazelwood. The park is staying open during the clean-up, but the Corps is monitoring the air and water for contamination.
Mike Petersen | U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District

A federal government agency has concluded radioactive contamination in a north St. Louis County creek could cause increased risk of certain types of cancer in residents who live near the north St. Louis County waterway.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s public health assessment, released Monday, states that residents who were exposed to the area around Coldwater Creek had a higher risk of exposure to radioactive contaminants, and thus a higher risk of bone cancer, lung cancer or leukemia. The federal organization is also calling for the public to comment and add to the report through Aug. 31.

Advocates for residents near Coldwater Creek were pleased to hear representatives of a federal agency acknowledge what they have long suspected.

Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton
YouTube

Updated at 10:50 a.m. with statement from Rachelle Aud Crowe.

The mayor of Edwardsville says he believes a decade-old photo of him wearing blackface makeup released Monday was an attempt to harm his chances to become a state senator.

The Belleville News-Democrat published a photo Monday it received of Mayor Hal Patton wearing a T-shirt, a bandana on his head and dark makeup on his face. The newspaper reported receiving the photo from a Democratic operative.

Former St. Louis County police chief at his campaign kickoff for St. Louis County Council
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch – who’s jumping into the political arena.

Fitch often made headlines in his former job. He didn’t hesitate to go public with some of his concerns, even when it put him at odds with then-County Executive Charlie Dooley.

From left, film director Michael Beattie and Alan McFarland, a descendant of Robert Campbell, traveled to St. Louis from Northern Ireland for this week’s screening and discussion of “Robert Campbell, Mountain Man."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A love story, expeditions full of danger and discovery, unimaginable tragedy – the life of Robert Campbell (1804-1879), a prominent resident of early St. Louis, pretty much has it all.

“In 40 years of making documentaries I have rarely found a story that has so many aspects, that has so much adventure … it’s just an incredible story,” filmmaker Michael Beattie said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And to have the opportunity to tell it was just too good to miss.”

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St. Louis on the Air

Monday: A look at river and floodplain policy

Host Don Marsh will discuss river and floodplain policy in the region ahead of the free "River Soundings" conference in Forest Park.