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Greitens' Cabinet appointees shown clockwise from top left: Sarah Steelman, Chris Chinn, Anne Precythe, Carol Comer, Joel Walters, Chlora Lindley-Myers, Randall Williams, Charles "Drew" Juden
Credits listed clockwise from top left / Jason Rosenbaum; Dept. of Agriculture; Tim Bommel, House Communications; Office of Gov. Eric Greitens; Linkedin; City of Sikeston

With new administrations come new agency directors, and it’s up to the governor to choose those people. Nearly half of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ Cabinet positions have been approved by the Missouri Senate, while three still must be vetted.

Plus, appointees of former Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, still run three state agencies, meaning Greitens still has some work to do. Here’s a who’s who behind the major state agencies:

Lewis Reed January 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

It’s an odd-numbered year after a presidential election. And you know what that means? It’s time for a rough and tumble race for St. Louis mayor.

This isn’t any ordinary election. Because Mayor Francis Slay isn’t running for a fifth term, a big field of candidates have signed up to succeed him.

We’ve invited mayoral candidates to visit the Politically Speaking podcasts so they can give a lengthier view of their opinions on major city issues.

A boutique apartment tower going up at Euclid and West Pine avenues received tax increment financing in 2015. It sits across from a Whole Foods, which is housed on the lower level of another apartment building that received TIF. (Feb. 21, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s been a statistic tossed around frequently in the Democratic race for St. Louis mayor: The city has given away more than $700 million worth of tax increment financing and tax abatements over 15 years.

And those tools have become a big issue in the races for aldermen, and the mayoral primary.

Dr. Nathaniel Murdock, 79, visits the former Homer G. Phillips Hospital. Murdock delivered thousands of babies at the hospital as an OB-GYN in the 1960s and 70s.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the first half of the 20th century, segregation touched virtually every part of American life. Black residents of St. Louis weren't just barred from schools, lunch counters and drinking fountains reserved for whites. Even hospitals could refuse to admit black patients.

But the hospitals that were built to serve African-American patients hold a special place in medical history. The facilities employed and trained thousands of black doctors and nurses. In St. Louis, Homer G. Phillips Hospital quickly became a trusted household name. Today marks the 80th anniversary of its dedication ceremony on Feb. 22, 1937.

Protesters gathered in downtown Clayton in February 2017 to show soldarity with immigrants and refugees following the announcement of President Trump's executive orders.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Department of Homeland Security’s latest announcement on the Trump administration’s immigration policies have alarmed local immigrants and their advocates.

In two memos released Tuesday, the department expanded the scope of immigration raids, undermined sanctuary areas and called on local law enforcement to help with federal immigration enforcement.

St. Louis immigration lawyer Jim Hacking said his office phone lines have been busy since the announcement, with clients unsure of how to move forward.

“People are really and utterly freaked out,” he said. “They’re wondering if they should carry their papers on them, they’re wondering what they should do, they want to have a lawyer on speed dial. Frankly, people are scared.”

Planned Parenthood supporters march silently past the organization's Central West End clinic as anti-abortion activists pray the Rosary Feb. 11, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Charles County lawmaker seeks to reverse a new ordinance in neighboring St. Louis that bars employers and landlords from discriminating against women who are pregnant, use contraception or have had an abortion. 

House Bill 989 was filed late Tuesday by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters. He said in a written statement that it's a direct response to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signing of the so-called "sanctuary city" measure into law, which took effect last week.

Andy Sminds / Flickr

Updated 9:40 a.m. — This story and the accompanying photo have been correct to reflect the charter sponsors of the Confluence Academy network.

Missouri’s State Board of Education has limited power when it comes to charter schools, mostly making sure they meet the state’s requirements, such as staying open a certain number of days. Academic performance is out of its hands.

On Tuesday's St. Louis on the Air, we'll look at the use of tax increment financing in St. Louis.
Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we turned our attention to the use of tax increment financing (TIF) and tax abatement as an economic development tool. Is it used too much in St. Louis? Is it used in the best way possible?

We spoke with two people who have different perspectives on the subject.  

The International Institute in St. Louis helps immigrants to get settled, find housing and find jobs. Feb 2017
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

The International Institute of St. Louis is highlighting a new report that delves into the numbers behind immigrants in the United States.

The national organization New American Economy released the report “Map the Impact” on Tuesday. The report breaks down not just the number of immigrants in each congressional district, metropolitan area and state, but also looks at what they provide in taxes, spending power, education and entrepreneurship.

The location of the Sauget Area 1 Superfund site.
MAPBOX, OPENSTREETMAP

Four chemical companies could have to pay $14.8 million to clean up a federal Superfund site in Sauget.

The settlement, which needs court approval, would address groundwater contamination, cap some of the waste and install a well monitoring system. 

Industrial waste has been dumped in six sites within the Sauget Area 1 Superfund from the 1930s until the 1980s. The Environmental Protection Agency has been investigating the site since the early 1980s.

Christine Brewer
Christian Steiner

Good morning, darling, the sun has just come up. It is a beautiful morning…

So begins a letter from 1944 that 1st Lt. George W. Honts wrote his wife Evelyn Honts, while deployed during World War II.

The text to these letters has been set to music by composer Alan Smith. The song cycle, “Vignettes: Letters from George to Evelyn, from the Private Papers of a World War II Bride,” will be performed by soprano Christine Brewer on March 3 at Concord Trinity United Methodist Church.

Alderman Antonio French, January 2017
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio

On this episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jenny Simeone and Rachel Lippmann welcome Alderman Antonio French to show for the first time.

The 21st Ward alderman is one of seven Democratic candidates running to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. 

Workers with Rosenbloom Monuments Company re-set headstones at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery on Tuesday morning.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10:15 p.m. with additional information from the cemetery. — The Jewish community throughout the St. Louis area is trying to understand what’s behind an act of vandalism that left 154 gravestones toppled in one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the state of Missouri.

The damage happened some time over the weekend and was first noticed by workers making the rounds at the University City cemetery on Monday morning, according to Chesed Shel Emeth’s executive director, Anita Feigenbaum. 

The St. Louis research team for Mobilizing Millions. From left to right: Debadatta Chakraborty, Neeraja Kolloju, Kristen Barber, Debaleena Ghosh and Trisha Crawshaw. All five work with the Sociology Department at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Provided | Kristen Barber | SIUC

Did you attend the Women’s March on St. Louis? An Illinois professor and her team of graduate students want to hear about your experience.

The Mobilizing Millions study, based at the University of California, Santa Barbara, aims to identify what motivated people to turn out en masse across the nation and around the globe.

“So many people are participating in politics who maybe have never participated before,” said Kristen Barber a sociology professor at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, who is part of the research team. “So, the questions really revolve around how this engagement might impact the size of future protests and participation.”

A sidewalk along Bellefontaine Road in Bellefontaine Neighbors doesn't quite make it to the Metro bus stop.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Liane Constantine and her 6-year-old son, Ashton, live about half a mile from where he takes taekwondo classes in a small strip mall in Kirkwood. It would be easy enough to walk there, if only they could safely cross Manchester Road.

“ … I’d have to grab him by the hand and say ‘run when we don’t see any cars’,” she said, standing on the unpaved street corner that doesn’t have a crosswalk. Instead, they’re forced to drive, unnecessary as it seems.

The difficulty in traveling even short distances without a car prompted Constantine to ask our Curious Louis project why sidewalks are often so few and far between in St. Louis County.

Courtesy of U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay's office

Updated at 12:50 p.m. — The fight over a St. Louis student’s painting that has been repeatedly removed or re-hung in the U.S. Capitol is now in federal court.

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-University City, filed suit Tuesday in Washington. It challenges officials' decision last month to remove the painting, named "Untitled #1" and done by former Cardinal Ritter student David Pulphus. It was among the winners in an annual congressional art contest.

The painting focuses on the unrest in Ferguson following the 2014 police shooting that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. 

Legal Roundtable returned on St. Louis on the Air on Monday with Daniel Epps, William Freivogel and Mark Smith.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis on the Air

On Monday, St. Louis on the Air’s monthly legal roundtable returned to address pressing issues of the law. 

Chris Koster thanks supporters at his November 2016 election night watch party at the Chase Park Plaza after conceding to Eric Greitens. Koster would have almost certainly vetoed "right to work."
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Former Attorney General Chris Koster is headed back to the private sector.

The Democrat, who lost to Republican Eric Greitens in last year's gubernatorial race, is joining Centene as a senior vice president for corporate services. Centene is a Clayton-based health care company that’s become increasingly involved in managing Medicaid services in Missouri and throughout the country.

St. Charles County executive Steve Ehlmann, Mayor Francis Slay, and St. Clair County executive Mark Kern (right) at the State of the Region breakfast on January 12, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In what turned out to be his final inauguration speech in 2013, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay described St. Louis County as a place that “we confidently expect to re-enter in this decade.”

The Democrat might have been a bit overconfident, as it’s 2017 and there’s still strong opposition to the idea of a merger throughout St. Louis County. No one really knows what an actual merger would look like, either: Would St. Louis become a county municipality? Or would St. Louis and St. Louis County coalesce into one big city like Indianapolis did in the 1970s?

Still, the lack of headway hasn’t kept the topic from being a prime talking point in the St. Louis mayoral race. Proponents of a merger believe that combining jurisdictions creates some cost savings — and makes it easier to bring in big-ticket development projects.

Rici Hoffarth / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s political power just got a big boost, even if he wasn’t aware of it.

That’s because the Missouri Ethics Commission just declared that candidates can spend money on, say, political ads for or against other politicians as long as there’s no direct coordination with a campaign. Since municipal and county candidates can take donations of an unlimited size, they could be used as a pipeline to help or hurt other candidates.

Artwork designed by organizer Charles Purnell for the St. Louis artists event depicts the words not my presidents day laid over official portraits of United States presidents with an X over Donald Trump's face.
Provided by Charles Purnell

It’s rare that people find comfort in admitting their fears.  It’s even more unusual to admit those  fears to a group of strangers.

But finding strength in fear, frustration and confusion in a starkly divided nation is one of the aims of This Is Who I Am Now: Artists on Politics,” which takes place today at The Monocle, 4510 Manchester Ave., in St. Louis.

“That’s been one of the biggest things for me, being able to say I’m scared and I have no idea what I’m going to do in the next couple years," organizer Charles Purnell said. "I don’t know what’s going to change, I don’t know what’s going to happen — and knowing that’s OK. It’s OK to be afraid and to admit that.”

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth / St. Louis Public Radio

Increasingly, college life is less about walking across the quad or stopping at the dining hall before sitting in a big lecture hall, and more about flipping open a laptop at home.

Take Royal Witcher, a St. Louis native and Army veteran who lives in Belmont, Mississippi. He completed most of his bachelor’s degree through the University of Phoenix, a fully online institution, but often felt like just a number.

When it was time for his MBA, the 45-year-old did his research — lots of it — and decided on Maryville University, which has a campus in suburban St. Louis. But he didn’t return to Missouri, instead taking advantage of an online degree.

Fifty affordable townhomes and garden apartments will replace several empty buildings in the southern part of the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.
Courtesy of Rise Community Development

Washington University’s medical campus in St. Louis will be getting a lot of new neighbors in the next couple of years, thanks to a new mixed-income development plan nearby.

The $27-million project will include 150 units of housing to buy and rent for both low- and middle-income residents in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. It aims to continue in the southern part of the area the revitalization seen in The Grove’s shopping and entertainment district to the north.

St. Louis area high school juniors Connor Ouchi (left) and Shawnee Boswell work on an exercise about making tough decisions during Youth Leadership St. Louis' Diversity Day on Sat., Feb. 18, 2017.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Clusters of St. Louis area teens dotted the atrium of the Nestle Purina headquarters on Saturday as the 70-odd students intently debated several mature issues that challenge many adults.

Racial diversity. Transgender identity. Religious tolerance. New Americans and immigrants. Despite taking on different topics, the groups had one thing in common: intense, but civil discussions.

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.”

Mayor Francis Slay signs the benchmarking ordinance in Feb. 2017 that will require buildings that are at least 50,000 square feet to track and share their energy use.
Photo provided by Office of Mayor Francis Slay

A new ordinance requires owners of St. Louis buildings of at least 50,000 square feet to track their energy use. The practice, called benchmarking, is expected to save local residents and businesses nearly $8 million annually in energy costs by 2025.

It could also address the city's contribution to climate change, removing greenhouse gas pollution that's equal to what 15,000 cars would emit. 

"Seventy seven percent of our [carbon] emissions are coming from buildings," said Catherine Werner, the city's sustainability director. "So why not target those buildings to reduce those emissions?"

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:

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