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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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From left, Carol Swartout Klein and Joan Lipkin hold a poster for the play "26 Pebbles."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Drawing inspiration from a dark place, playwright Eric Ulloa created a theater production that highlights the issue of gun violence in the United States.

After 20 first graders and six school teachers were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Ulloa visited the recovering community of Newtown, Connecticut and collected more than 60 interviews, ultimately weaving them into a play titled “26 Pebbles.”

Missouri Department of Conservation

The Ballwin Police Department is urging residents to be cautious after a black bear was spotted Sunday in a St. Louis County neighborhood.

According to a post on Facebook by the police department, a resident saw a large bear running between the Castle Pines Subdivision and Oak Run Lane.

Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, was sworn in Monday as lieutenant governor of Missouri.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri once again has a lieutenant governor, despite legal questions over how that vacancy was filled.

Gov. Mike Parson has named state senator and fellow Republican Mike Kehoe of Jefferson City to fill the No. 2 statewide post. Kehoe was sworn in Monday inside the governor’s office by Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce.

The move comes a little more than two weeks after Parson took over as chief executive following the resignation of Eric Greitens.

Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

A visitor to the new wing of the Mercy hospital in Festus can likely tell immediately where the old building ends and the new part begins. The atrium still smells of fresh paint, and instead of dark, winding hallways, windows let in natural light.

Builders designed it to be prettier and more user-friendly. But Mercy Hospital Jefferson is safer, too.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her best-known Republican rival, Josh Hawley, agree on one thing: health care — including its rising costs — is a top issue in their race this year.

And they accuse each other of misleading the public on the matter.

Take, for example, insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes or pregnancy.

A group of visiting theater artists decry the first show of the season at the Muny. 6/16/18
via Facebook

Updated on June 18 at 1:50 p.m. to include the Muny's written response — A group of theater artists visiting St. Louis for a professional conference staged a demonstration during the performance at the Muny on Friday night, objecting to what they described as offensive elements in “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” a revue of scenes from famous American musicals.

The group, which numbered about 15, booed in unison during an excerpt from the musical “The King and I.” Muny employees quickly led the protesters away and and ejected them from the venue.

Demonstrators objected to the portrayal of a character from Burma (now called Myanmar) by a white actress. They also decried other parts of the show as displaying inappropriate cultural appropriation.

Eileen Graessle, right, photographs a honeybee on a milkweed flower at the BeeBlitz in Forest Park on June 16, 2018.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Eileen Graessle leaned in close to a patch of milkweed, as she tried to capture a photo of a honeybee in motion.

It was a difficult task, but one that Graessle relished as a volunteer for the BeeBlitz citizen science project on Saturday in Forest Park. The annual event aims to help researchers determine which species are present in the city and how their populations are changing.

“It helps to study the way that they move,” said Graessle, an amateur beekeeper who lives in Ballwin. “I also take multiple shots and then usually some of those come out exciting and defined.”

Attorneys Ross Garber and Ed Greim were hired by former gov. Eric Greitens to represent him "in his capacity as governor."
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

One of the lawyers who represented former Gov. Eric Greitens before a state House committee investigating his conduct says the state’s rejection of their bills sets a “terrible precedent.”

“If it works this time, then the next time there’s some sort of politically controversial engagement, you’ll have the same thing happen again,” said Kansas City attorney Ed Greim. “We’re going to have to have officeholders who have deep pockets, because they’re going to have to personally pay for state government work.”

Pixabay

The rare Bourbon virus could be in the St. Louis region, state health officials say.

A patient with symptoms matching the virus was bitten by a tick recently in the southwest part of St. Louis County, but has recovered.

The announcement from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services indicates the sometimes-deadly virus could be spreading through the state, experts said.

Stacie Lents, Rachel Tibbetts and Christopher Limber talk about artistic approaches to rehabilitation for incarcerated women.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A creative collaboration between a nationally known playwright and a group of women incarcerated in Vandalia, Missouri, is bringing new voices and stories to St. Louis theater-goers with the production “Run-On Sentence.”

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the initiative, which is a partnership between Prison Performing Arts and the award-winning SATE Ensemble.

The effort aims to move and entertain audiences and extend public awareness, particularly about the effects of incarceration and innovative, artistic approaches to rehabilitation.

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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.