News

Legacy nuclear waste at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton was thought to be contained behind this fence, but a new study has detected radiation in trees offsite.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

A special master has allowed the state to proceed with groundwater testing at wells in the portion of the West Lake Landfill where World War II-era radioactive waste has been detected. The decision Wednesday in a circuit court of St. Louis County comes after landfill owner Republic Services tried to stop the testing from moving forward. The tests were scheduled to begin Aug. 22, but the work was delayed when Republic Services attorney Peter Daniel wrote Assistant Attorney General Thais Folta to inform him the company would not permit the sampling.

Gateway ARch Sunshine
(photo by Tim Tolle via Flickr Creative Commons)

The superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial says the work to renovate the ground around the Gateway Arch could be an example for other national parks as they deal with the possibility of under-funding by the federal government.

Sam Moore shared this photo of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park in 2014.
Sam Moore | @museumsamstl | http://bit.ly/2bQ80A7

August 25th marks the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. In observance of the anniversary, St. Louis on the Air talked with those who have had experience inside the parks about what exactly could be done to ensure the parks' sustainability (financial, environmental and otherwise) amid calls to privatize the parks.

paper ballot voting places
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

(Updated Aug. 25 with ruling on campaign donations) – A Cole County judge has sided with supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to restore campaign contribution limits.

The proposed Constitutional Amendment 2 contains language that would ban campaign donations from investor-owned utilities and state chartered banks. Circuit judge Patricia Joyce ruled Thursday that that particular ban would not violate Missouri's constitution.

Cora Faith Walker
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jenny Simeone welcome state Rep.-elect Cora Faith Walker to the show for the first time.

Walker recently won a Democratic primary to represent the 74th District, which takes in portions of north St. Louis County. Because she has no Republican opponent, she will take office next year. (Even if she did have a GOP opponent, her district is overwhelmingly Democratic, so she most likely would have still won. )

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Environmental attorneys have petitioned the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to ban commercial trapping of the state's freshwater turtles. 

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Great Rivers Law Center filed the petition Wednesday, arguing that harvesting turtles has led significantly to the decline of many species. In the last five years, more than 17 million freshwater turtles have been exported from the U.S. to Asia to be processed into food and traditional Chinese medicine.

Missouri is one of a few states that doesn't impose a limit on how many turtles anyone with a commercial fishing permit may take. 

Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club, presents a check to Jeffery Xiong after he won the 2016 U.S. Junior Closed tournament in St, Louis. At right is Mike Kummer, deputy arbiter.
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

I've had the pleasure of knowing Jeffery Xiong since he started taking his first pawns. Jeffery is the current rock star of the junior chess world, having last week won the World Junior Championship in Bhubaneswar, India.

The tournament brought together the strongest players from around the world age 20 or younger, and it was the 15-year old grandmaster from Coppell, Texas, who achieved the remarkable. It was the first time in 19 years that the title went to an American - already quite notable. However, and perhaps most impressive, Jeffery is the youngest player in history to have won this title.

A person filling in a standardized test bubble sheet with a pencil.
Flickr | Alberto G.

The latest statewide averages for ACT scores are out, and for the first time both Missouri and Illinois have a complete picture of how well their students did.

With 100 percent of 2016 graduating seniors participating, Missouri students scored an average of 20.2 and Illinois students scored an average of 20.8 out of 36.

District website

A Ladue high school student who filed suit saying he was harassed by classmates who called him names like “faggot” will receive $75,000 from the district under a settlement unsealed Wednesday.

The settlement also calls on the district to conduct training in bullying and harassment and for parents of students subjected to such behavior to be notified as soon as possible.

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

The committee searching for a new president for the University of Missouri system is working to narrow the list of candidates from a few dozen before starting interviews.

Committee co-chair Jim Whitaker of Kansas City said Wednesday the group made up of the system’s curators plus representatives of all four campuses still hopes to have a successor to Tim Wolfe chosen by the end of the year.

In 1916, women in St. Louis brought an era of non-violent protest to the women's suffrage movement.
Wikimedia Commons | http://bit.ly/2bzknmM

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we looked back on a movement 100 years ago in St. Louis when 3,000 women marched to remind Democratic National Convention attendees that women still didn’t have the right to vote. That was in June of 1916, four years before women won the right to cast ballots on Aug. 26, 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution.

Little Sisters of the Poor local Superior Mother Gonzague Castro described on Wednesday her "mixed emotions" about the order's decision to withdraw from its St. Louis facility, as provincial Superior Mother Maria Christine Lynch looks on.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

After nearly 150 years of ministering in St. Louis, the Little Sisters of the Poor will stop operating its residence for low-income elderly individuals in the city’s St. Louis Place neighborhood.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, center, with Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, right, at area high school during height of unrest in Ferguson.
Missouri Attorney General's Office | File photo

If you’ve paying attention to the discourse in the race for Missouri governor, you’ve probably heard a lot about what Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster didn’t do during the unrest in Ferguson in 2014.

In fact, several Republican gubernatorial hopefuls accused Koster of being “absent” during the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death. It's the type of message that serves a dual purpose of questioning Koster's commitment to law enforcement and leadership skills. (Republican gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens told a swarm of reporters after he won the GOP primary that Koster “failed to show up and to lead in Ferguson.”)

It will be up to Missouri voters to decide whether Koster's actions in Ferguson two years ago were effective. But it’s inaccurate to say that Koster was “absent."

Karen Levin Coburn first wrote "Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years" in 1988. It has has been rereleased four times since.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s that time of year again: kids are heading back to school … unless they aren’t and are instead breaking new ground on a college campus. While this time in a young adult’s life can be scary, it also holds significant fears on the part of the parent.

A. J. Rosenberg was the lead artist on "Peace Wish Dove," 2014. Off-duty police officers and a number of others helped paint the 7-by-4-foot piece at an office on West Florissant Avenue.
Outside In: Paint for Peace

An art exhibition made of plywood, paint and community spirit opens this weekend in St. Louis.

The work emerged from the 2014 unrest sparked by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown. Nights of protest and police action gave way to days of boarding up buildings.

After a grand jury declined to charge Wilson in Brown’s death, the protests moved in to St. Louis on South Grand Boulevard. Business owners affixed plywood to their plate-glass windows to cover the damage and protect against more.

To artists and others, the plywood became a canvas. Painting alone, and in collaboration, they transformed the knotty wood into works of art. Beginning Saturday, a collection of the pieces will be displayed at several venues in a show called “Outside In: Paint for Peace.”

Supporters pack the St. Louis for Hillary Clinton campaign office. Some took photos with the life-size cardboard cutout of Clinton in the background on Aug. 24, 2016
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay sees it, the crowd that packed Hillary Clinton’s new local office Tuesday night could help persuade her Democratic presidential campaign to direct more attention — and resources to Missouri.

Win or lose, such action could help the state’s entire Democratic ticket.

“We need to show the support is here, to pull her over the top,’’ Slay told reporters, shortly before addressing the shoulder-to-shoulder audience that spilled onto the sidewalk outside the Clinton campaign office at 4039 Lindell Blvd.

MetroLink train at station
Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

A new initiative is asking St. Louis-area residents to re-imagine the role of three MetroLink stations as vibrant public spaces where visitors can do more than just catch a train.

Before it was banned in 1978, lead paint was commonly used in homes. In St. Louis, which is dominated by older housing stock, lead contamination is still prevalent.
Abby Lanes | Flickr

Four employees who work in a Veterans Affairs records office in north St. Louis have tested positive for higher than average levels of lead in their blood, though officials stressed that the measurements still fall within the range that is normal for U.S. adults.  

Rep. Shamed Dogan
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Rep. Shamed Dogan to the program.

The Ballwin Republican represents a portion of western and southwestern St. Louis County. He is seeking his second term in the Missouri House in his GOP-leaning state House district.

Emily Koplar - Wai Ming
Provided by St. Louis Fashion Incubator

Updated 11:48 a.m., Aug. 25 with inaugural class announcement -  A local designer is part of the St. Louis Fashion Incubator's first class. Emily Koplar is one of six people chosen to go through the two-year program aimed at supporting the businesses and boosting the city's fashion-related economy. She is founder of the Wai Ming women’s clothing line. Other members of the inaugural class are from the New York City area, Dallas and Chicago.

Speech bubbles
Valery Kenski | Flickr | http://bit.ly/2bZQCfi

Do you have a friend, family member or co-worker whose political convictions tend to run opposite your own?

If you do, you’re not alone. During this particularly contentious election season, it’s difficult to prevent political discussions from creeping into the office, restaurant or living room. How should we approach these seemingly inevitable conversations when participants strongly disagree about an issue or a candidate?

Explorer William Clark is most well known for his famous expedition with Meriwether Lewis. A few years prior, in 1798, he traveled to Spanish Louisiana.
(Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

William Clark and Meriwether Lewis’ expedition as part of the 1804 Corps of Discovery is one of the more well-known and celebrated journeys in American history.

Not as well known, however, is William Clark’s journey a few years prior down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Spanish Louisiana in 1798.

Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

This story was updated at 4 p.m. Aug. 23 with new comments from St. Louis Development Corporation executive director Otis Williams.

The head of the St. Louis Development Corporation said he will work to keep a business that must move to make way for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's new campus, in business.

SLDC executive director Otis Williams told St. Louis Public Radio on Tuesday that he wants to see Adrienne Harris' adult day care successfully moved into a new building. 

(via Flickr/espensorvik)

(Updated with Clinton campaign's response) The release of a new batch of almost 15,000 of Hillary Clinton’s old emails has ensnared a top Missouri political consultant, Democrat Joyce Aboussie.

The conservative group, Judicial Watch, has focused on an email string between Aboussie and top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, among others, to bolster its contention that Clinton and her staff gave preferential treatment to donors and political allies while Clinton was secretary of state.

Melanie Adams
Missouri History Museum

Updated at 4:45 p.m. with comments from Adams: Melanie Adams, one of the three original members of the Special Administrative Board that has run the St. Louis Public Schools since 2007, is leaving her job at the Missouri History Museum and her spot on the SAB.

Her successor on the board will be named by Mayor Francis Slay; his spokeswoman, Maggie Crane, said the search process is underway and will be completed as soon as possible.

Ferguson-Florissant parent Redditt Hudson, attorney Dale Ho, and past school candidate Willis Johnson at a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the Ferguson-Florissant schools on December 18.
Diane Balogh | ACLU of Missouri

Updated Aug. 22 with Sippel's ruling. — A federal judge has ruled that at-large elections for seats on the board for the Ferguson-Florissant School District violate the rights of African-American voters in the district.

Flickr

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, says a new government study shows changes are needed in the way federal agencies track and report cases of sexual assault.

The report by the Government Accountability Office, released last week, found that four separate federal agencies – the departments of Education, Defense, Justice and Health and Human Services – keep track of data on sexual violence.

Those departments have at least 10 programs to collect the information, and they use 23 different terms to describe sexual violence, the GAO found.

Legal Roundtable Panelists
Kim Oswalt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday, St. Louis on the Air’s Legal Roundtable returned to discuss pressing legal issues of the day.

We were joined in studio by:

  • William Freivogel, J.D., Professor, School of Journalism, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
  • Jennifer Joyce, J.D., St. Louis Circuit Attorney
  • Mark Smith, J.D., Associate Vice Chancellor of Students, Washington University

Here are some of the issues they discussed:

Missouri political activists in both parties are mourning the death of former state Sen. Betty Sims, a Republican from Ladue who was a legislative leader.

Sims, who was 80, died Monday morning after a short illness, friends said. She had been in good health until a few weeks ago, when she was stricken while preparing for a family float trip.

Sims currently held posts on several state and regional boards, including the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump points to protesters that he tells to "get out," during his speech at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 11, 2016.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has tapped two veteran GOP operatives to head up his state operation.

Aaron Willard, who has held several key posts in the Republican-controlled General Assembly, is Trump’s new state director. Todd Abrajano, a consultant with similar GOP ties, is to serve as Trump’s communications director.

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