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Flickr | Mike Mozart

Missouri voters will be asked in November to increase the state’s gas tax by 10 cents a gallon.

The Missouri House approved the proposal Friday, in the final hours of the legislative session, after the Senate had tacked it onto another bill.

The increase would be phased in over 10 years, and would be used to pay for road and bridge projects, and underwrite some of the costs for the Missouri Highway Patrol.

“We just can’t keep putting this off,’’ said state Rep. Kathie Conway, a Republican from St. Charles. “We need the money.”

Gov. Eric Greitens walks away from reporters after making a statement outside the Circuit Court building. May 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Rachel Lippmann and Jo Mannies detail a dramatic week in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal and political saga.

This was supposed to be the first week of Gov. Eric Greitens’ trial for felony invasion of privacy. But as jury selection trudged along at a glacial pace, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office shocked many observers by dropping the case.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen Friday delayed a final vote on changes to the city’s residency requirement for workers and the number of aldermen.

Supporters of reversing a 2012 public vote that cut the number of wards from 28 to 14, and of eliminating the residency requirement for most city employees, did not have the votes to send the measures to Mayor Lyda Krewson. She had already pledged to veto the ward reduction reversal.

St. Louis Public Radio's newsroom drone.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio data and visual journalist Brent Jones joined host Don Marsh to talk about how the station is using a drone to enhance news coverage.

“For journalists, we like to think of [drones] as tools because we can use them to help tell the story in the best way that we know to tell it,” Jones said.

Gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens looks at his ballot before sitting down to vote at the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson announced he will not charge Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens for filing false campaign finance reports.

It’s a situation that stems back to April 2017, when Greitens signed a consent order with the Missouri Ethics Commission about a matter that may become a major rationale for his potential impeachment.

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

In the aftermath of the media frenzy following his appearance at the 2016 presidential debate at Washington University, Ken Bone, a.k.a the “red sweater guy,” has managed to have more than his so-called 15 minutes of fame.

As an undecided voter, Bone asked candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump a question about energy policy, but it was his appearance and red sweater that caught the nation’s attention.

Paul McKee on March 28, 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis alderwoman is pushing for state and federal law enforcement to investigate St. Louis developer Paul McKee, whose 1,500-acre redevelopment project in north St. Louis has received millions in development incentives.

The investigation would pursue allegations that McKee inflated property values to gain more state tax credits when he purchased buildings, Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, said. Spencer introduced a resolution Friday calling for the investigation.

Lily Dayan, left, and Devin Corley, right, take part in a walkout at Kirkwood High School to protest gun violence on March 14, 2018.
Devin Corley

Kirkwood High School freshmen Devin Corley and Lily Dayan decided they were going to make a change, starting with themselves and other local teens.

At Corley and Dayan's instigation, students from across the region are set to participate Saturday in a Black Lives Matter Youth Protest at the Aloe Plaza in downtown St. Louis. 

Ronald Jones greets a client's son at his funeral home 2161 E Fair Ave. (May 16, 2018)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Growing up, there were three people in the community Ronald Jones says people respected: the preacher, the barkeeper and the undertaker.

 

After spending nearly every day in church as a child, Jones decided being a preacher wasn’t an option. Then there was the barkeeper, but Jones says he was turned off by the taste of rotgut whiskey.

Missouri Capitol on April 24
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated Friday, May 18, to reflect change in corporate tax rate)

The Missouri General Assembly has approved significant cuts in income-tax rates for individuals and is expected to do the same for businesses before it adjourns Friday.

But the exact impact on the state’s finances is not quite clear.

State Rep. Elijah Haahr, a Republican from Springfield, is chief sponsor of the bill that drops the individual income-tax rate from 5.9 percent to 5.1 percent over several years. The first rate cut goes into effect next year.

Gov. Eric Greitens, at top, faces a state House committee investigation. The panel members are shown in clockwise order: Rep. Jay Barnes, Rep. Don Phillips, Rep. Kevin Austin, Rep. Jeanie Lauer, Rep. Gina Mitten, Rep. Tommie Pierson Jr, Rep. Shawn Rhoads.
Office of Missouri House of Representatives, File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens has sued two political groups connected to the governor demanding they turn over documents.

“The Chair of The Committee, as a member of the House of Representatives, ‘has an absolute right to have a subpoena issue(d) to obtain evidence concerning an offense over which the House of Representatives has jurisdiction,” attorneys for the committee wrote in the suit, filed Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City. “The impeachment of an executive officer of Missouri, including a governor, is an offense over which the House of Representatives has jurisdiction.”

Joining Don Marsh (at left) for a conversation about pool safety this week were (from center left) Emily Wujcik, Stephe McCormick, Birch McMullin and Lisa McMullin.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Many years have passed since one of Lisa McMullin’s children tragically drowned during a family pool party on a warm September day back in 1982. Yet her memory of what occurred is still vivid.

“Nicholas got up from his nap – all the kids but one were out of the pool – and somehow he fell in,” she recalled on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “There were adults there, there were children there, but if there’s not a designated person to watch, you can have a situation like that all too easily. And it happens very fast. It happens silently, almost invisibly, and so I feel very strongly about sharing that story in order to help other parents avoid that situation.”

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks Thursday in Jefferson City to a group of mostly farmers and students about what he called "rip-off" artists who were out to get him.May 17, 2018
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Standing in a light rain in the shadow of the state Capitol, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens blamed “rip-off artists” in the state’s low-income housing program “who thought they ran Missouri” for many of his legal troubles and the threat of his impeachment.

But recalling his past as a Navy SEAL, Greitens declared Thursday that they won’t succeed because he was taught to never quit.

Will DeWitt says his goal with this competition is to help "the next big sound" emerge from St. Louis.  5/18/18
Jeremy D. Goodwin

Does St. Louis have talent?

OK, it’s clear the answer to that is “yes.” But an upcoming competition offers a chance for local musicians who are trying to break into the music business to have their work heard by industry insiders and maybe even get that big break.

St. Louis Sound, a music competition modeled on TV shows like “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice,” is headed for The Sheldon Concert Hall on June 7. Bands and solo artists are invited to submit one song for consideration, with 10 finalists taking the stage the night of the event to perform and receive critiques from a panel of judges.

Scientist and inventor Temple Grandin is the author of "Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor." She joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Temple Grandin is an accomplished scientist, inventor and author. She is also an expert in autism research and is one of the most well-known adults with autism.

“I want to get kids interested in making things,” Grandin told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday.

St. Louis board puts off vote on contract to explore privatizing Lambert

May 17, 2018
lambert300.jpg
St. Louis Lambert International Airport

The vote over a contract to start looking into whether the city will privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport has been postponed.

The contract to hire a three-organization team was first approved by a city selection committee back in January. That committee approved an amended contract on Wednesday, but the Board of Estimate and Apportionment held off giving its final approval after a lengthy meeting Wednesday afternoon.

A forest in Gray Summit, Missouri.
Great Rivers Environmental Law Center

A group of Franklin County residents have halted plans to build a concrete plant near the Shaw Nature Reserve. 

Concerned residents appealed a 2016 Circuit Court decision that would have allowed Landvatter Ready Mix to build its plant at a proposed site in Gray Summit. The Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled Tuesday that the Franklin County Planning and Zoning Commission should have given residents a chance to comment on the project.

Amy Sherald, "What’s precious inside of him does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence (All American)," 2017.  5/15/18
Amy Sherald and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald built a reputation in the art world for painting highly stylized portraits of what you might call ordinary people. But she became a household name in wider circles this year for her portrait of a rather extraordinary subject: the first African-American First Lady of the United States. 

 

An exhibition of Sherald’s work is at Contemporary Art Museum, where it remains on view through Aug. 19.

Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana and a large number of media outlets attended the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz tournament last year. May 16, 2018.
St. Louis Chess Club and Spectrum Studios, published with permission

The U.S. and U.S. Women’s Chess Championships recently concluded at the St. Louis Chess Club. During the tournament, the Chess Club played host to a number of journalists from publications from around the world. Many of the articles resulting from these visits will become part of the World Chess Hall of Fame’s  collection of periodicals related to chess history.

Many of these publications are chess-centered periodicals such as Chess Life, Chess Review, American Chess Bulletin and New in Chess. However, the collection also contains many magazines that show chess’s broad appeal. Among these are general interest magazines like LIFE and Sports Illustrated, which translate the events of the game to a wider audience.

Members of the Regional Business Council and Civic Progress present a $900,000 check to provide job training opportunities for youth programs. The investment aims at improving public safety.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council will provide $900,000 dollars to several local organizations in an attempt to bolster public safety.

The announcement made Wednesday aims at increasing job training opportunities for at-risk youth in St. Louis. 

Five organizations will receive investments, including the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Better Family Life, Inc., STL Youth Jobs, The Little Bit Foundation and the North Side Community School. Each organization has programs aimed at young people for job training or education.

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