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The Christopher Columbus statue in Tower Grove Park is the site of controversy. The statue was dedicated in 1886.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

This Columbus Day, the fate of a monument to the explorer in St. Louis’ Tower Grove Park remains unclear.

A protest is planned at the base of the statue on Monday at noon. It comes as the park is looking into whether to remove the monument to Christopher Columbus, whose legacy has become increasingly controversial in recent years.

Hamiet Blueiett was known as one of the greatest ever to play baritone saxophone. 10/5/18
Courtesy of Dennis C. Owsley

The jazz world has lost a giant. World Saxophone Quartet founder Hamiet Bluiett died Thursday. He was 78.

A native of Brooklyn (Lovejoy), Illinois, Bluiett was an internationally admired innovator who frequently returned to the St. Louis region as a performer and educator. He was known as a master of the baritone saxophone.

His sound on the horn was unmistakable, said trumpeter George Sams, a friend for more than 50 years.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander greets supporters as they welcome him to the stage at The Pageant on Oct. 28, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies look at three things playing a big role in Missouri’s 2018 election cycle.

The first is debate over pre-existing conditions between U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her GOP opponent Josh Hawley. It stems from Hawley’s decision to be a part of a lawsuit seeking to upend the Affordable Care Act.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies (at left) and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jim Craig, director of UMSL's Veterans Studies program, joined Friday's talk show.
File photos | David Kovaluk and Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies talked at length with Jason Kander earlier this year, the former Missouri secretary of state seemed upbeat about his next political move: running for mayor in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

“More so than some other statewide Democrats who lost in 2016, Kander has been the one who’s really tried to forge a new path for himself – and did so pretty quickly,” Mannies said on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

So when the rising political star announced earlier this week that he was ending his mayoral campaign, citing a struggle with depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, it came as a surprise and “was shocking” to her.

The Webster Groves Arts Commission is honoring longtime actor Joneal Joplin with an award for lifetime achievement.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Joneal “Jop” Joplin has lost count of exactly how many roles he’s performed on St. Louis-area stages during his long acting career based in the region.

“I know that I’ve done something like 215, 220 shows in St. Louis – 101 at the Rep, 66 at the Muny,” he estimated Friday while talking with host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air.

Joplin, who will be honored Friday evening with the Webster Groves Arts Commission’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award, got his start as an actor in New York. But after traveling to St. Louis with his young family in 1972 to participate in just one show – a production of “Mice and Men” – he was asked to stay in town for another show.

Sandra Moore (left) and Joan Lipkin (right) helped organize various voter registration drives in St. Louis to boost voting participation.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Midterm elections are important. But Sandra Moore, managing director and chief impact officer at Advantage Capital, said what’s more important is “mobilizing folks to register and vote.”

“The vote is the most powerful individual thing we have to engage as citizens,” Moore explained. The former president of Urban Strategies joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday to talk about a voter education and registration drive that seeks to energize women in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County for the Nov. 6 election.

Harley Race poses for a portrait after responding to letters at his Harley Race Wrestling Academy office in Troy.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Harley Race, the pro-wrestler from Missouri once considered among the toughest in the world, has come full circle.

Or as they might say in the pro wrestling biz, full squared circle.

'Handsome Harley,’ as he’s known, has spent the past few years back in his home state guiding the next generation of pro wrestlers. He’s shifted from world champion grappler to wizened coach by running a training academy about an hour west of St. Louis in Troy.

Building boom and workforce shortage combine to create a crisis in construction industry
Melody Walker | St. Louis Public Radio

The workforce shortage in the construction industry is not going away.

A survey by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 80 percent of Midwest contractors report difficulty finding skilled workers. And, nearly half of the companies surveyed expect hiring is going to get harder over the next year.

 A photo of Oregon Avenue in Gravois Park neighborhood. The Regional Health Commission has identified the south St. Louis neighborhood as having a significant need for low-cost primary care.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

Low-cost health care centers are lacking in parts of the St. Louis region with the greatest medical need, according to a report from the St. Louis Regional Health Commission.

The growing need reflects the changing demographics of the region, Robert Fruend, the commission’s CEO said. North St. Louis was long considered the neediest part of the city. As a result, majority of the region’s low-cost health clinics are there. But “over time, over the last 20 to 30 years, that node of this concentrated circle of poverty and need that we had in our region has migrated outwards,” Fruend said.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Friday with a response from the attorney general’s office – A non-profit group set up to promote the agenda of then-Gov. Eric Greitens is asking a Cole County judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks records of its activities.

St. Louis-based attorney Elad Gross filed suit in June against A New Missouri. He said he took action after the Missouri House committee that had been investigating the former governor halted its probe after Greitens’ resignation from office. The committee was also seeking records from A New Missouri, including its financing.

RhonniRose Mantilla, wearing a red dress, rehearses Thursday night for an upcoming community production of West Side Story in July.
Monica Mileur | COCA

Famed Broadway lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim dismissed complaints that white actors should not be cast to portray people of color.

He made his remarks as a guest on Thursday’s episode of St. Louis on the Air.

The issue is freshly in the news with the cancellation last month of a student production of the 1957 musical “West Side Story” after Latino cast members complained that the director cast white actors to portray key Puerto Rican characters.

Hours before being honored with the 2018 St. Louis Literary Award, Stephen Sondheim spoke at length with "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh.
Provided by Saint Louis University

Stephen Sondheim hesitates to settle on a single beginning point from which his now 70-year-long career in musical theater took off. There were the piano lessons he began taking as a young child, something he acknowledges may have “infiltrated” him early on. Then there’s the show he wrote at age 15, a script family friend Oscar Hammerstein gave an unsparing critique. He also credits his enjoyment of films growing up.

“The music that most influenced me at first was movie music,” the renowned composer and lyricist said Thursday on St. Louis on the Air. “I was a big movie buff, so it was the scores of people like Franz Waxman and Max Steiner and Bernard Herrmann that got me going.”

Illinois 12th District Green Party candidate Randy Auxier Oct. 4, 2018
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Randy Auxier, the Green Party nominee in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast.

Auxier is running against incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Bost and Democratic nominee Brendan Kelly. Both Kelly and Bost recorded episodes of Politically Speaking previously.

Gemma New is the first woman ever to lead St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's opening night concert. 10/4/18
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

Opening night at the symphony has a special buzz and a once-a-year chance for the orchestra's artistic leader to welcome back the musicians and the audience. If an orchestra happens to be between leaders, the occasion also offers a plum spot on the calendar to invite a guest-star conductor with a pedigree.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra took a different route this year. With the seat of music director technically unfilled — French conductor Stéphane Denève takes over that job next season — the orchestra’s leadership turned to the rising star in its ranks.

Gemma New, 31, led the orchestra’s annual kickoff concert in Forest Park and then held onto the baton for opening night at Powell Hall. She made history on two fronts: as the first woman to lead SLSO’s opening night concert, and as the first resident conductor to do so.

One of Harry Benson's iconic photographs of Bobby Fisher in Buenos Aires, 1971. From the collection of Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield.
Harry Benson

Harry Benson, world-renowned photographer and International Photography Hall of Fame inductee,was the only person to have private access to Bobby Fischer during the 1972 World Chess Championship match in Reykjavík, Iceland. Benson captured intimate images of this time with Fischer and was the first person to deliver the news to Fischer that he had won the match.

Benson began photographing Fischer when on assignment for LIFE magazine in 1971. He was sent to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to cover the 1971 Candidates Match, and began to cultivate a relationship with Fischer, who was known for being notoriously camera-averse, guarded and socially awkward. Fischer defeated Tigran Petrosian at the Candidates Match, qualifying him for the World Chess Championship match.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport
Michael R. Allen | Flickr

A few dozen residents gathered in a hearing room at City Hall Wednesday for an unusual nighttime hearing on a proposed bill that would require a city-wide public vote on any deals to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

It was the first of three hearings held by the Board of Aldermen’s Transportation and Commerce Committee.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announces a plan to overhaul the America's Center Convention Complex on Oct. 3, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County are backing a plan that would steer millions of dollars to spruce up the America’s Center Convention Complex in downtown St. Louis.

It’s a bid that will be a sign of whether the region’s legislators want to invest more money to attract lucrative conventions and also a test of the political muscle of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

George Smith, a retired biology professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia
University of Missouri-Columbia

When retired biologist George Smith picked up the phone at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, he wasn’t expecting it to be the Swedish Academy.

“It’s kind of a common prank for your friends to put on a fake Swedish accent and tell you that you won,” Smith said. “I thought maybe it was a joke but the line was so scratchy and there was so much interference, I thought nah, it wasn’t one of my friends. They wouldn’t have such a bad connection.”

Through the phone call, Smith, a professor emeritus at the University of Missouri-Columbia, learned that he won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing a method called phage display in the 1980s. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. Smith used them to create a tool that would help identify antibodies, molecules in the body that identify invading pathogens, that would be the most useful for binding to molecules that are associated with certain diseases.

University of Missouri-St. Louis Provost Kristin Sobolik and Chancellor Tom George joined host Don Marsh. | 10/3/18
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is embarking on a five-year strategic plan.

“It reflects where we want to be and what we want to focus on,” explained Kristin Sobolik, the university’s provost and executive vice chancellor, who joined UMSL in May 2017.

The five areas of focus are: student success, research and creative works, community engagement and economic development, inclusive excellence, and planning, operations and stewardship.

Florissant teen and singer Kennedy Holmes is a strong contestant on the 15th season of NBC's The Voice – havung recieved approval by all four of the show's celebrity judges.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Within the local scene, Florissant resident Kennedy Holmes has performed at various venues, including the Muny and Busch Stadium. But the 13-year-old recently caught the attention of people across the country during her blind audition on NBC’s The Voice singing competition.

Holmes received a standing ovation and approval from the show’s four judges: Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and Holmes’ idol, Jennifer Hudson. Her audition clip went viral, with nearly 5 million views on YouTube.

“[Performing on The Voice] is absolutely the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” Holmes told host Don Marsh on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

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