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Tax season is underway. So is a program that helps low- to moderate-income St. Louis families prepare their taxes for free.
401(K) 2012, via Flickr

Here’s something that may need to be clarified this tax season. Despite the ongoing debate in Washington over a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the law’s requirement for people to be enrolled in health coverage or face a tax penalty is still on the books.

“People should go ahead and take care of their taxes as they would, as if the law hasn’t changed," said Geoff Oliver, a staff attorney for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. "Because at this point the law hasn’t changed.”

Ahead of the April 4 elections in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, St. Louis on the Air will host several pro/con discussions about ballot measures with a proponent and opponent of the measure at hand.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation about Proposition 2, one of the ballot measures that City of St. Louis voters will decide on during the April 4 election. Also on Thursday, we heard about Proposition A, which you can listen to here.

Holly Rehder, March 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome Rep. Holly Rehder for the first time.

The Sikeston Republican is serving her third term in the Missouri House representing the 148th District in southeast Missouri, including parts of Scott and Mississippi counties.

Workers for the Metropolitan Sewer District begin to demolish a house on Greer Avenue as a part of program to turn vacant properties into green spaces. (March 22, 2017)
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

The Metropolitan Sewer District has started demolishing abandoned buildings to kick off a $13.5 million project to build green spaces in St. Louis.

The Urban Greening Program is a part of the MSD’s $100 million initiative to divert rainwater from entering the city’s sewers and contaminating local waterways. It’s also a key portion of a settlement agreement in 2012 with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency that requires the sewer district to spend $4.7 billion over the next two decades on improvements to sewer systems in St. Louis and St. Louis County, a larger effort called Project Clear.

This is the marketing image for "The Boys in the Band," released in 1970. It is one of two classic films to be shown in this year's QFest.
Provided | Cinema St. Louis

When St. Louis' QFest of films officially launched, people in the LGBTQ community were barred from institutions ranging from the military service to marriage.

A decade later, LGBTQ citizens can both serve and marry.  The 10th annual festival, which opens March 29, includes a dozen films that reflect a restricted past and progressive present.

On Chess: US Chess is rising and So is the competition

11 hours ago
Fabiano Caruana in a match with Hikaru Nakamura at the 2016 U.S. Championship
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis | Lennart Ootes

It’s that time of the year again. The time when St. Louis dresses up in its white and black gown and welcomes the best chess players the nation has to offer. The 2017 U.S. Chess Championship & U.S. Women’s Championship will take place from March 28 to April 10 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and it will feature the highest prize fund in history, with $194.000 for the U.S. Championship and $100,000 for the U.S. Women’s Championship.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles chats with a supporter ahead of canvassing; Councilwoman Ella Jones greets people at a restaurant. On Monday, March 27, Knowles and Jones will participate in a mayoral forum ahead of the April 4 election.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday night, March 27, St. Louis on the Air and The Center for Social Empowerment will host a live forum at the Ferguson Community Center with the two candidates running for Mayor of Ferguson. Host Don Marsh will moderate the discussion, with questions from St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jason Rosenbaum.

The event is free and open to the public. 

Lyda Krewson joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss her bid to become the next mayor of the City of St. Louis. She is the Democratic candidate for mayor.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On March 7, St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson pushed past Treasurer Tishaura Jones and a crowded field of Democratic mayoral candidates to become the Democratic candidate for mayor of the City of St. Louis. On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Krewson joined host Don Marsh to discuss her platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.

Vesla Weaver, a Yale professor who studies inequality as it relates to the criminal justice system, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in-studio.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by Vesla Weaver, an associate professor of political science and African-American studies at Yale University, ahead of a talk slated for Wednesday afternoon in Grand Center.

Advocate and author Christine McDonald, right, listens to U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri testify during a public hearing in St. Louis about human trafficking.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Eastern Missouri has four full-time police officers dedicated to investigating human trafficking cases, but convictions are rare.

Law enforcement officials say it's hard to build cases against perpetrators because witnesses are few and victims often are unseen. To improve awareness, Webster University will hold a training session this weekend for law students and the general public. Attendees will hear how people are forced into sex work and other trades, and how to identify warning signs.

Lyda Krewson speaks with reporters after winning the Democratic mayoral primary on March 7, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Lyda Krewson, the Democratic nominee to be St. Louis’ next mayor, acknowledges the obvious: More than two-thirds of the city’s Democrats preferred one of her six rivals.

She also recognizes some tensions likely remain from the March 7 primary. “Campaigns are tough. A lot of skinned knees and scabby elbows after a campaign,” Krewson said. “But fundamentally, we’re all Democrats and we want to elect Democrats in the city in April.”

Judge Paul Herbert stands in his courtroom after one of the court's weekly sessions.
Andrea Muraskin | Side Effects

Originally published July 7, 2016, by Side Effects Public Media. 

It’s not something you expect to see in a courtroom: 35 women, chatting, laughing, eating lasagna. But brunch before the session is a weekly tradition at an unusual court in Columbus, Ohio.

Once the plates are cleared away and everyone sits down in a semicircle facing the bench, a probation officer steps to the center of the room, with an empty plastic bin and a big smile.

“You know I love you so much, right?” she says, as she collects everyone’s cell phones, to a chorus of groans.

Monsanto's widely-used weed killer Roundup contains glyphosate, a chemical that's been the subject of multiple lawsuits that allege that it's linked to cancer.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Monsanto is facing more pressure to compensate farmers and farm workers who allege that its leading pesticide product caused them to develop cancer. 

A Los Angeles-based law firm on Friday filed 136 new cases against the company in St. Louis County Circuit Court. The lawsuits allege that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, caused the plaintiffs to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Jim Kavanaugh of SC STL, the investment and ownership group trying to bring an MLS team to St. Louis, is shown after a news conference Tuesday, March 21, 2017, announcing the group's planned investments in community development. (March 21, 2017)
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

An ownership group that’s trying to persuade St. Louis voters to help fund a professional soccer stadium said Tuesday that it will invest millions of dollars in youth soccer and job-training programs.

The ownership team, SC STL, along with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and nonprofit organizations at a news conference detailed the potential benefits of attracting an Major League Soccer team. Slay called the Community Benefit Agreement negotiated between SC STL and the city a “first-of-its-kind deal” that promises millions of dollars for more than a dozen organizations and initiatives — and shows their request to voters isn’t just about sports.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Our latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast features St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who’s making his first appearance since taking office more than two years ago.

Stenger had joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies in 2014, when he was a candidate against then-Executive Charlie Dooley.  Stenger ousted Dooley in a combative Democratic primary, and narrowly won a general election contest against Republican Rick Stream.

 

Ali Fields, Aisha Lubinski and David Bachman joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss their eating disorders.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

For the estimated 575,000 Missourians struggling with an eating disorder of some kind, a huge barrier to overcome is having the vocabulary to describe the problem. That was certainly the case for Ali Fields.

“I was an anxious and uncomfortable kid, I had low self-esteem and anxiety,” Fields told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “I did not know that [an eating disorder] was what it was. At age 8, I did not have the language to communicate that something was wrong.”

Paula Poundstone
Paula Poundstone

If you listen to St. Louis Public Radio at 11 a.m. on Saturday mornings or 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings, you definitely know of the guest who joined St. Louis on the Air on Tuesday: Paula Poundstone.

Poundstone will visit St. Louis for a performance at the Sheldon on Saturday evening and joined host Don Marsh to discuss her career, comic relief in stressful times, her upcoming performance and a new book set to be released in May titled “The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness.

James Cridland via Flickr

Starting May 1, newer attorneys at private law firms in the St. Louis area will help the state’s overloaded public defender office.

This file photo is a image from The Rep's production of "Follies," which kicked off its 50th season.
Provided | The Rep

Tales based on the Bard and a Stephen Sondheim musical about the glory days of show business were the top winners at the 2017 St. Louis Theater Circle Awards.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis took home nine awards for work associated with the company, seven of them for the musical “Follies," including outstanding production of a musical and outstanding director. The wins topped off a year of celebrating the company's 50th season.

A vacant building at 4030 Evans Ave. owned by the city's Land Reutilization Authority in March 2017.
File photo | Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis voters will decide next month whether to increase their property taxes by a penny in order to help stabilize vacant buildings owned by the city.

Proposition NS is on the April 4 ballot. If passed, it would allow St. Louis to sell up to $40 million in bonds, or about $6 million each year for about 6½ years. That amounts to a one-cent property tax increase per $100 of valuation on a property.

Two yellow signs indicate a streetcar crossing on Delmar Blvd.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in more than 50 years, trolley cars – a few of them, at least – will be rolling down the streets of St. Louis. Construction on the Loop Trolley’s 2.2-mile stretch between Forest Park and University City wrapped up in November and, according to trolley officials, test runs on Delmar Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue are set to begin in the next week or so.

File photo | WUIS Radio

With state Sen. Daniel Biss' announcement Monday, four Democrats are now lined up to challenge Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in the 2018 election, and more may be on the way.

Joe Edwards at Chuck Berry at Blueberry Hill.
Courtesy Blueberry Hill

Legendary musician Chuck Berry, the “poet laureate” of rock 'n roll, died Saturday, at his home in St. Charles. He left behind him a changed world of music, culture, friendship and a dedication to the St. Louis region that continued until the very end.

Related: Obituary: Chuck Berry dies. He was the ‘poet laureate’ of rock ‘n’ roll

Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:55 p.m. with Rauner administration response — An anti-abortion law firm has sued Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state of Illinois over a law that requires medical providers to tell pregnant patients that an abortion is an option.

 

The lawsuit, filed last week by the Thomas More Society, claims the provision in the Health Care Right of Conscience Act that took effect in January, is unconstitutional and violates religious rights. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction.

An adult Eastern massasauga in southwestern Michigan.
Photo provided | Eric T. Hileman

Illinois scientists are studying an endangered species of rattlesnake to find ways to revive its numbers. 

The Eastern massasauga once was widespread in the Midwest, living mainly in the Great Lakes region. Over several decades, its population declined dramatically. The species lives in wetlands, many of which have been drained to to build farms. Northern Illinois University biologist Richard King said it's also the only venomous snake in its range, which has made it a target.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday, St. Louis on the Air’s monthly legal roundtable returned to address pressing issues of the law with a panel of local legal experts. This month’s focus? The proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren has been reporting extensively on this matter and its local impact. Here’s how Missouri fares in cost estimates for the GOP’s health care plan.

St louis skyline riverboat curious louis logo
Susannah Lohr

St. Louis mayoral forums like this one have been packed. So, we know you have questions for St. Louis' next mayor.

What are they? 

Curious Louis wants to know what you want to know.

Police cars park outside of the Bel-Ridge Municipal Complex, which includes spaces for Village Hall, its municipal court, and the police department.  11/8/14, Durrie Bouscaren
Durrie Bouscaren/St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

The name of a recently ousted Bel-Ridge police chief will appear on the ballot when the city’s voters elect new aldermen on April 4.

Gordon Brock led the Bel-Ridge Police Department for 16 years before his termination last winter, following accusations of harassment, mismanagement and accepting bribes.

Gov. Eric Greitens and his wife, Sheena, brought their two children to a polling place before the November general election. Greitens signed an executive order extending paid parental leave for some state employees.
File photo |Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

With Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens issuing an executive order extending parental leave to some state employees, the question naturally arises: What’s next?

While important to the thousands of state employees it affects, the Republican governor’s executive order is not comprehensive. It provides paid time off for people who give birth or adopt a child, but only applies to “executive” state agencies run by gubernatorial appointees. It doesn’t affect or every state employee — or private sector workers .

Malindi Henning answers questions during a science class at Miriam School in Webster Groves. (March 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Miriam School is a small, private school in Webster Groves that serves children who've struggled to learn in typical classrooms. Thirteen percent of its students are adopted.

At first glance, that may seem surprising, as nationally, fewer than 2 percent of school-aged children are adopted. But studies suggest that adopted and foster children suffer from learning disabilities at twice the rate as children raised by both birth parents. For adoptive parents, that may mean a greater challenge in finding the right school or learning environment for their child.

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