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Contractors start to prep the Confederate Memorial for removal on June 19, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis can’t take down the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park for at least two weeks, a judge ruled Monday.

The Missouri Civil War Museum sued the city last week, arguing it is the rightful owner. And St. Louis Circuit Judge Robert Dierker ruled there were enough questions about who owned the statue that work needed to stop. The case is scheduled to go to trial July 6.

Stephen Lord, retiring music director at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, joined St. Louis on the Air on Monday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Stephen Lord has been coming to St. Louis for 37 seasons of Opera Theatre Saint Louis in some sort of role with the company. For the last 25 years, he’s been music director, but after this season closes at the end of this month, he’ll step down from that position.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

June’s arrival heralded a new era for elections in Missouri, one in which voters are expected to show identification before filling out a ballot.

Any new law stirs up questions — especially when similar measures in other states make headlines again and again.

Nermana Huskic, right, and Diana Mrzljak, 15, set out watermelon before lunch at Gateway 180 June 18, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Because Islam puts a special focus on charity during the holy month of Ramadan, many Muslims St. Louisans are taking extra time to serve others.

This year, Ramadan began May 27 and ends June 25.

Sunday a couple dozen people from a nonprofit organization called RukaNade served lunch at the Gateway 180 homeless shelter in St. Louis’ Carr Square neighborhood.

Jackson County Committeeman Jalen Anderson speaks to a group of Pike County Democrats last week in Bowling Green.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

BOWLING GREEN, Mo. — After Missouri Democrats were routed in rural areas last year, the party’s leaders promised to be more aggressive in fielding candidates for the legislative districts ceded to Republicans.

Accomplishing that goal may require them to promote and fund House and Senate aspirants with socially conservative views on abortion — a strategy that makes some uneasy in a party that largely supports abortion rights. The talk also comes as the legislature holds a special session to strengthen abortion restrictions in Missouri.

Olivia Stevens pauses for a photo with her brother Alex at her high school graduation May 2017.
Provided

A scholarship founded in 2015 to support rural Missouri LGBTQ youth has announced its 2017 scholarship recipients.

The Missouri Courage Scholarship is being awarded to 11 students this year, including six from the St. Louis area. Four of the six are sponsored by Pride St. Charles.

A worker adjusts a lift after the removal of the top piece of the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park last week. (June 8, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 6:35 p.m. to correct headline — The Missouri Civil War Museum may sue St. Louis if the city challenges the museum’s ownership of the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park, the organization said Friday.

Beating the heat
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

With high temperatures expected in the St. Louis region on Saturday, the heat index — a measure of temperature and humidity — could break 100, according to the National Weather Service. That means it’s a good time to take precautions against dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Twenty-five people died of heat-related causes in Missouri last year, including an 85-year-old woman who died while sunbathing at her St. Louis County retirement home. Seniors, children, and people with chronic medical conditions are at the highest risk for heat stroke.

Jazz St. Louis Executive Director Gene Dobbs Bradford
File photo | Dennis C. Owsley

The Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis will honor two performing arts advocates with lifetime achievement awards during the 2018 St. Louis Arts Awards.

David Baron, the author of "American Eclipse," discussed the upcoming total solar eclipse that will pass over parts of St. Louis on Aug. 21.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Author David Baron is not kidding when he says he’s been looking forward to the total solar eclipse that will occur on American soil on Aug. 21, 2017, for the past 19 years. In 1998, he saw his first total solar eclipse. He’s now seen five different total solar eclipses around the world … but never one over his homeland of the United States.

The Rev. Ken McKoy of the Progressive A.M.E Zion Church organizes NightLIFE walks three times a week in two north St. Louis neighborhoods.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of local clergy and community organizers will hold a “Fathers Peace Walk” for the first time after dark Friday, throughout some of St. Louis’ most dangerous neighborhoods. The event, held two days before Father’s Day, aims to confront high levels of crime in the area.

Fathers will lead the walk, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in front of West Side Missionary Baptist Church, 4675 Page Blvd., in north St. Louis, while mothers lead prayers inside the church.  

FBI and ATF agents enter the the home of James T. Hodgkinson, the man identified as shooting a Republican member of congress, in Belleville, Illinois on June 14, 2017.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, we went Behind the Headlines and the headlines this week reached all the way from Alexandria, Virginia, to Belleville, Illinois. We focused this week’s segment on the local connection to the shooting, which was perpetrated by a 66-year-old man from Belleville, James T. Hodgkinson.

Bombus balteatus, commonly known as the golden-belted bumblebee, pollinates a sky pilot in Colorado.
Candace Galen

When  a native bee received federal protection under the Endangered Species Act for the first time earlier this year, it drew an attention to a growing public concern.

Many  bee species in the United States have become threatened or have declined sharply in the last couple decades. Since native bees are crucial to pollinating crops, scientists are making a major push to keep track of them.

Researchers at Webster University and the Saint Louis Zoo are inviting residents to help the effort by leading a bee photo survey in Forest Park this Saturday. Images taken at the St. Louis Bee Blitz will help scientists better understand the abundance of various native species that live in the area.

Maplewood city attorney Craig Biesterfeld and city manager Marty Corcoran look through the city code during a meeting with a reporter at Maplewood City Hall.
Jenny Simeone-Cases | St. Louis Public Radio

Nuisance ordinances have been commonplace across the U.S. for at least a century. They are used to crack down on everything from overgrown grass to large-scale drug dealing. In the city of Maplewood, that extends to excessive calls to the police.

Maplewood's nuisance ordinance, last updated in October 2006, is the subject of two lawsuits, which allege the policy and its enforcement are discriminatory. How the city handles nuisance complaints is hailed by some as a way to keep the community safe, and reviled by others who believe it’s a way to regulate residents’ behavior and push out people of color, people with disabilities and survivors of domestic violence.

State Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Republican lawmakers pushed an abortion bill through the Missouri Senate this week, but were unable to secure many of the provisions they wanted.

Democrats are happy with a watered-down bill, but unhappy with having to deal with another attempt to further restrict access to abortion and that it came during a special legislative session.

June 12 marked the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, the deadliest terror attack on American soil since September 11, 2001. Forty-nine people died in the shooting and 53 people were injured in the attack.

The Rev. Carlton Lee, right, speak at a rally in 2014 with Michael Brown Sr., left, and Lezley McSpadden, center.
File Photo |Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

“God is not going to judge you by your behavior in heaven. He’s going to judge you by what you did on earth,” The Rev. Al Sharpton said at the funeral for Michael Brown in August of 2014 at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

“He will say, ‘when Michael Brown, an 18-year-old boy, laid out in the streets of Ferguson — what did you do? What did I require of you?”

The Rev. Carlton Lee, senior pastor of The Flood Christian Church, was among the first to take action after Brown was fatally shot by a police officer.

On Tuesday, June 13, Lee died suddenly from an apparent heart attack. He was 34.

A view inside Olive + Oak, which is located in Webster Groves.
Sauce Magazine

Sound Bites is produced in partnership with Sauce Magazine, our monthly installment exploring cuisine in the St. Louis area.

In this year’s Sauce Magazine Readers Choice Awards, two local dining favorites became clear: Olive + Oak in Webster Groves and Katie’s Pizza & Pasta in Rock Hill.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
File photo | WUIS Radio

Illinois legislators will come back to Springfield for a special session in order to work out a budget deal, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Thursday in an attempt to end an impasse that's approaching its third year and running up the state's deficit. 

The Republican governor's announcement, done via a Facebook video and statement, came the same day that the multi-state lottery association overseeing Powerball and Mega Millions games will leave Illinois by the end of this month if there is no budget. 

More than 200 supporters wait for Gov. Eric Greitens to arrive at an anti-abortion rally at the Missouri Capitol.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 6:30 a.m. June 15 with Senate passing abortion bill — Missouri senators passed legislation early Thursday that would require annual health inspections of abortion clinics and enact other new restrictions on the procedure.

After a long day of closed-door meetings, the Senate eventually voted 20-8 in favor of the measure, which was sponsored by GOP Sen. Andrew Koenig of Manchester and now heads to the House. A competing bill filed by Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, had been considered the main vehicle before Wednesday.

The action at the Grand Chess Tour in Paris in 2016
Chess Club and Spectrum Studios

The third annual Grand Chess Tour, arguably the top chess tour in the world, is right around the corner with none other than Magnus Carlsen headlining the event. Another treat for both the players and chess fans is the addition of the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament following the Sinquefield Cup. With quicker time control events and inclusion of more players, the 2017 tour promises to be unforgettable.

Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri.
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The new leaders of the Missouri Department of Corrections say they’re working to shake off the negative image due to numerous lawsuits filed in the last five years by current and former corrections officers, who alleged widespread harassment, intimidation and retaliation.

Gov. Eric Greitens made a brief call to reform the agency after he took office and brought in a new director, Anne Precythe. And last month, a House subcommittee released a list of recommendations to address the agency’s issues. But some corrections officers say things won’t change until some of the current supervisors and high-ranking officers are fired.  

Republican Josh Hawley won the endorsement of the Missouri Farm Bureau for attorney general.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri is the only state in the U.S. using consumer-protection laws to pursue a website that’s accused of advertising illegal sexual activity such as human trafficking, Attorney General Josh Hawley says.

Hawley’s office says it has filed a lawsuit Thursday in state court in St. Charles as a way to try to force Backpage.com to turn over documents that Hawley contends may be helping traffickers evade prosecution in the state and elsewhere. It’s the second time Hawley has sought court intervention in recent weeks.

FBI and ATF agents enter the the home of James T. Hodgkinson, the man identified as shooting a Republican member of congress, in Belleville, Illinois on June 14, 2017.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The Belleville man who authorities say opened fire Wednesday as Republicans practiced for the annual Congressional Baseball Game was distressed about the changing political climate of the country under GOP leadership.

James T. Hodgkinson, whom the FBI identified as the gunman, had been living in Alexandria, Virginia, for the past two months, his wife, Suzanne Hodgkinson told ABC News. He left behind his life in Illinois, where he had occasional run-ins with law enforcement and frequently criticized Republican fiscal policies in letters to the editor. 

He also belonged to anti-Republican groups, including one called “Terminate the Republican Party,” the Belleville News Democrat reported.

Hodgkinson, who volunteered for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, once wrote in a letter to the newspaper, “‘I have never said life sucks, only the policies of the Republicans."

De Nichols, a local artist and community organizer behind "Sticky Note to Self" and a variety of other community-focused projects, joined St. Louis on the Air on Wednesday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Can a reflection jotted on a sticky note spark social change? Can it help community activists feel less alone? Those are questions local artist and activist De Andrea Nichols is answering with her project “Sticky Note To Self.”

“From any path you take always get back to happy,” reads one sticky note. “There are lessons in our losses,” reads another. You can see them all on the Facebook page for the project here.

Jeanette Mott Oxford and Leslie Yoffie discussed hunger in the St. Louis reigon with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Wednesday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It may be hard to believe, but some 42.2 million Americans go hungry each day. That’s more than one in eight people in the country. That’s according to Michelle Stuffmann, director of outreach and communications for MAZON, a Jewish Response to Hunger, whose exhibit is slated to travel to St. Louis in July.

A total solar eclipse seen from Australia in November 2012.
Romeo Durscher | NASA

This August, people in parts Missouri will be able to see a total solar eclipse, an event that has not been visible in the area since 1442. The next isn’t expected to take place until the year 2505.

To prepare the public for this once in a lifetime event, local astronomy groups have organized the St. Louis Eclipse Expo this weekend. The event will feature about 80 exhibitors, vendors selling astronomy equipment, photography workshops and talks on the history and science of eclipses.

James Hodgkinson of Belleville protests outside of the United States Post Office in downtown Belleville in this file photo from 2012.
Derik Holtmann | Belleville News Democrat

 

Updated June 14 at 1:10 p.m. with comment from lifelong acquaintance -  Metro East residents are coming to terms with the notion that one of their neighbors has been identified as the shooter at a Congressional Republican baseball practice Wednesday morning in suburban Washington, D.C.  

Many national media outlets are quoting unnamed federal law enforcement officials as saying the gunman was James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville.

A worker adjusts a lift after the removal of the top piece of the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park last week. (June 8, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Getting the Confederate Memorial out of St. Louis' Forest Park will take at least a week longer than expected, according to the mayor's office.  

Koran Addo, spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson, said Tuesday that the company tasked with taking down the 32-foot-tall granite and bronze statue needs to bring in more equipment to lift the biggest piece, which weighs about 45 tons. 

How can you protect yourself from the spate of spams targeting older Americans?
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

One in three Missourians are over the age of 60. That number is only set to increase in coming years. There’s also been a recent increase in the number of cons targeting older Americans – scammers fooling the group of people out of billions of dollars per year (yes, you read that right), often aided by digital technology.

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