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This collage of file photos shows the "Words for Love" book cover and author Emily Robbins.
Collage images provided by Riverhead Books

Author Emily Robbins was a Washington University grad student in August 2013 when she saw St. Louisans protesting in University City against U.S. plans to attack Syria. She was profoundly moved by the local activists and incorporated those feelings into the book she was writing, called “A Word for Love.”

On Wednesday night, Robbins will appear at Left Banks Books to sign copies, and speak about the book and its St. Louis roots.

“There is a very active community here,” Robbins said. “That was something I really drew on and felt proud of in St. Louis.”

MoDOT's district manager Greg Horn announcing construction work in St. Louis region on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 outside at the Missouri Department of Transportation - February 17, 2017
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis region can expect several major road construction projects this year.

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced on Friday that most of the road work will be maintenance and bridge repairs.

Jessica Gans Wilder, the founder and CEO of Euphrates Institute, joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Janessa Gans Wilder envisions a world with less conflict and one in which people engage with others who are not like themselves.

Wilder is the founder and CEO of the Euphrates Institute, an organization that aims to promote peace through understanding. A St. Louis-based chapter recently opened.

Wilder’s path to founding the peacebuilding nonprofit is an interesting one. Prior to establishing it in 2005, she worked as a CIA counterterrorism and counterinsurgency analyst.

“It’s not a normal trajectory,” she said.

Marsha Coplon and Jeane Vogel are working to collect oral histories from Meacham Park residents.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Longtime residents of St. Louis County who  regularly drive down Lindbergh in the southern part of Kirkwood may not even realize that there is a historic community tucked behind the Kirkwood Commons shopping center. Meacham Park was annexed into Kirkwood in 1991, but its history dates back to 1892 when Elzey Meacham came to town and bought 150 acres of farmland in the area now bounded by Big Bend, Kirkwood Road and I-44. He divided the area into small parcels and sold them at an affordable price to people of modest means, many of them African American.

St. Louis Public Radio reporter Mary Delach Leonard shares the story behind her reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline in Patoka, Ill.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday,  St. Louis on the Air goes "Behind the Headlines” to discuss the top stories of the week with those who can bring a little more in-depth knowledge to them. On this week’s program, we discussed a story about the local connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline that you can find 75 miles east of St. Louis.

Joining the program was St. Louis Public Radio reporter Mary Delach Leonard, who reported on Patoka, Illinois, the city in where the Dakota Access Pipeline ends.

The story:

Alexis J. Roston, seen in this file photo, has performed "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" in Chicago and Milwaukee.
Provided | Milwaukee Rep

The story of a jazz a singer whose signature song drew attention to the brutal treatment of African-Americans will be on stage in St. Louis for the next two weeks.

Max and Louie Productions presents “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” a drama about the iconic Billie Holiday. The setting is a fictional performance that takes place four months before her death.

The production includes a dozen of Holiday’s songs and a running commentary in which she looks back on her life of love, loss, addiction and struggle with racism.

Longtime St. Louis resident Lucy Hamm celebrates her 109th birthday with her retirement community in Chesterfield. Hamm was born on Jan. 30, 1908.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

It might be harder than you think to find the oldest person in town.

Local governments don’t formally track the data, and voting records are often manually entered, and can contain errors. So when a listener named Sally asked our Curious Louis project to find the oldest person in St. Louis, we started looking.

After calls to county election boards and senior service nonprofits came up short, employees in the office of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay introduced us to someone who might just be the winner: 109-year-old Lucy Hamm.

FIle photo | Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:10 p.m. Feb. 17 — An alderman who is running for St. Louis mayor has asked the union representing city police officers to fire their business manager, Jeff Roorda, over a social media attack leveled at another mayoral candidate.

Thursday evening's statement from Alderman Lyda Krewson, D-28th Ward, targets Roorda's Facebook post that called city Treasurer Tishaura Jones a race-baiter and, in a second post, "the worst person to occupy skin."

Dick Gephardt in 2013
File photo | Sid Hastings | WUSTL

Former U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt has a key message for everyone these days: Politics “is a substitute for violence,” and respect for all is crucial.

That's a preview of what the one-time Democratic political leader will convey during a speech on Friday at Washington University.  The St. Louis native is taking part in the IMPACT Conference, which brings together college activists from around the country.

The Missouri Capitol Building at dusk
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Thursday was a busy day for the Missouri House, which passed four bills, including another piece of the GOP’s labor-union reform agenda.

The House also sent along to the Senate two law enforcement-related bills and a measure that would deregulate the cosmetology industry.

The Sierra Club's Andy Knott speaks at a rally in 2013 in front of a 15-foot tall inflatable inhaler in Keiner Plaza
File Photo | Sarah Skiold-Hanlin | St. Louis Public Radio & The Beacon

Story updated Feb. 17 with comment from Ameren Missouri — A federal judge has approved the Sierra Club's request to intervene in a Clean Air Act lawsuit between Ameren Missouri and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Last month, Chief Judge Rodney Sippel ruled in U.S. District Court that Ameren violated the Clean Air Act when it installed boiler equipment at the Rush Island Power Plant in Festus in the late 2000s without acquiring special permits. The new equipment caused the plant to emit more sulfur dioxide emissions, which at high levels can cause asthma and exacerbate respiratory conditions.

Before Sippel held the first meeting Thursday to determine how Ameren should reduce air pollution, the Sierra Club's lawyers filed a motion to intervene, out of concern that the Trump administration could put the case in jeopardy.

Claire McCaskill is going to the U.S.-Mexico border next week.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill plans to spend the congressional recess next week tooling along the U.S.-Mexico border.

She said Thursday that her aim is to get a first-hand look at border security issues and the best solutions. 

“Getting border security right is a critical and complex task for keeping our nation secure,” McCaskill said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to hearing directly from the folks on the ground who work on this every day, and seeing firsthand the challenges and successes they see during efforts to secure our border.”

Rebecca Copeland, Rob Maesaka and Suzanne Sakahara discussed the history and legacy of Japanese internment, almost 75 years after the executive order that paved the way for it was signed.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Retired Lindenwood University professor Suzanne Sakahara was just six years old when she witnessed two FBI agents enter her house on Vashon Island, Washington, in 1942. They searched the house from top to bottom, looking for hunting rifles and radios for confiscation.

“They even looked in the kitchen at the length of our knives,” Sakahara said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “If you had too long of a knife, they confiscated it.”

Monsanto says it will not comment further on Bayer's bid, which is being reviewed by the board of directors.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On behalf of several farmers in 10 states, including Missouri and Illinois, a law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against Monsanto.

The main allegation is that the agriculture company knowingly sold a crop that did not have any approved herbicide to go along with it in 2015 and 2016. As a result, farmers who planted Monsanto’s Xtend cotton and soybean seed used dicamba, an illegal herbicide, to avoid damage to the crops.

Dick Henmi is a noted St. Louis architect, but his journey to St. Louis started during a dark period of American history. In 1942, Henmi and his family were sent to an internment camp near their home in Fresno, California.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

If you don’t know Richard (Dick) Henmi by name, and you probably should, you definitely know one of his most iconic contributions to St. Louis’ architectural assembly: the so-called ‘flying saucer’ building in Council Plaza off of Grand Boulevard. Henmi designed that building in 1967.

The International Institute of St. Louis building.
File photo | Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

A federal appeals panel's ruling last week lifted a travel ban for residents of seven predominantly Muslim countries, but it didn't change one crucial aspect of President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration: a 50,000 cap on refugees allowed to enter the United States.

That's is a significant drop, considering that the Obama administration raised the cap from 85,000 to 110,000 for the 2017 federal fiscal year, which extends from last October to this September. As a result, local organizations that resettle refugees, such as the International Institute of St. Louis, are finding themselves in a difficult position, having originally planned for a larger intake of people.

Soumya Chatterjee, a scientist at Saint Louis University, peers into a microscope in his laboratory, where he studies pathogens, such as tuberculosis.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump's executive order last month reduced the cap of refugees allowed into the United States from 110,000 to 50,000. That means that fewer refugees will be resettled into areas like St. Louis.

But the cap also is curtailing disease research across the country. To understand diseases that are widespread in poor, war-torn countries, scientists study refugees from those nations that are infected with those diseases.

Logo for an upcoming norm tournament at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

Many readers may be familiar with such titles as Grandmaster (GM) and International Master (IM), but what do they mean? Why are they important? How does an aspiring player earn them?

Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, January 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Rachel Lippmann and Jenny Simeone welcome St. Louis Alderman Jeffrey Boyd to the program for the first time.

Boyd is one of seven Democratic candidates vying to succeed Francis Slay and become St. Louis’ next mayor. 

Jay Kanzler, the Almuttan family’s attorney for years, paces in front of Country Club Hills' empty city hall building. He says the city's mayor has been targeting the Almuttans for years.
Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

A Muslim man has filed a lawsuit against the city of County Club Hills, Mayor Bender McKinney and three aldermen, claiming that they discriminated against him.

In a suit filed last week in St. Louis County Circuit Court, Mohammed Almuttan, who is Palestinian,  claims he was denied a business license for a laundromat based on his nationality and religion.  He and his family, their attorney, and the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have called for McKinney's resignation.

Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his third budget address Wednesday at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. There has been no state budget since July 2015. 

Reporters and editors from WBEZ, WTTW, and NPR Illinois annotated Rauner's address with fact-checks and analysis. 

Lance Weiss, a CPA with the St. Louis tax and accounting firm SFW Partners, LLC.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Except for the select few of you who have already filed your tax return, you may have started scratching your head and scrambling ahead of that April 18 deadline. Tax season is upon us!

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Maria Altman was joined by CPA Lance Weiss who is with the St. Louis tax and accounting firm SFW Partners, LLC, about tax tips you should take into account this season.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

Jay Nixon received a nice parting gift from the Department of Natural Resources a few days before stepping down as governor: a new state park that bears his name.

But Jay Nixon State Park may soon have a new name if Republican lawmakers have their way.

The "March March" during True/False Film Fest in 2016 includes the Papier-mâché-d heads of the festival's co-founders Paul Sturtz and David Wilson.
Courtesy Kelly Moffitt

In a “post-truth” era of “alternative facts,” the importance of media literacy, and questioning why different media is made the way that it is, has reemerged in American society.  

Such media literacy values are baked into True/False Film Fest, a four-day mid-Missouri festival devoted solely to documentary filmmaking. This year the festival will take place from March 2-5 and screen some 35 nonfiction films that urge audiences to define the line between real and fake.

Tishaura Jones 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome back St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones to the show.

Jones is one of seven Democratic candidates running to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. All seven contenders in the March 7 primary have now taped an episode of the podcast.

Jones, the daughter of former St. Louis Comptroller Virvus Jones, made her first bid for public office in 2008, when she successfully ran for a state House seat  slice of eastern St. Louis.

Mizzou's Columns
File Photo| Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Eric Greitens wants a former Mizzou football player and two others with ties to the state’s flagship university campus to help oversee the University of Missouri System.

The new curators-in-waiting are Darryl Chatman, Jeff Layman and Jamie Farmer. They all studied at the Columbia campus, and need to be confirmed by the state Senate.

Greitens announced the three appointments to the Board of Curators on Wednesday. The spots were open after he withdrew former Gov. Jay Nixon’s interim appointments.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Outgoing St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay will return to his legal roots once he leaves office this spring. He's joining the law firm Spencer Fane, which is opening a St. Louis office.

The stable of lawyers at Spencer Fane already include influential Democratic activist Jane Dueker, who represents a number of major corporate clients, and St. Louis Alderman Jack Coatar, whose district includes downtown.

The project calls for a tower to go up beside Centene's headquarters in Clayton and in front of The Crescent condominiums.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Feb. 15 with city's rejection of petition - A group of Clayton citizens is dealing with a setback in its effort to bring a massive expansion project directly to voters. The city has rejected a petition essentially calling for the more than $770-million Centene headquarters expansion to be put on the ballot.

Emma Minx, Logan Chiropractic Paraquad Clinic senior intern, turns on the power plate exercise machine for Paraquad participant Leon Zickrick. The machine vibrates to help break up joint adhesion in his shoulder. (July 25, 2014_
File Photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Nonprofit organizations that serve seniors and people with disabilities say their clients would be harmed by Gov. Eric Greitens' proposed cuts to assistance programs.

KT Klng | Flickr

Of the hundreds of education bills Missouri lawmakers have filed this session, charter school expansion has the best chance of passing.

Not only is Republican Gov. Eric Greitens an enthusiastic backer of school choice, but charter school advocates say the desire for alternatives to traditional public schools is broadening.

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