News

The phenomenon of murmuration.
James West | St. Louis Public Radio

This interview will be on "St. Louis on the Air" at noon on Wednesday; this story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.

This weekend, Murmuration Festival will make its debut in the Cortex Innovation District. On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from the festival’s founder, Brian Cohen (who also founded, and later sold Loufest), about what to expect from the festival.

Here’s what you should know:

Bruce Franks Jr. poses with a cape given to him by a supporter.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bruce Franks looked a political machine straight in the eye. He didn’t back down. He didn’t give up. And last Friday, he won.

Big.

Franks’ landslide victory over state Rep. Penny Hubbard could resonate far beyond last Friday’s unusual special election. In beating Hubbard, a three-term representative, by more than 50 percentage points, Franks sent a thunderbolt of sorts through the St. Louis political community.

Bruce Franks
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Bruce Franks to show. The St. Louis Democrat won a landslide victory last week in a special primary election over state Rep. Penny Hubbard. He will have a Republican opponent, Eric Shelquist,  in November.

A art piece by Kelley Walker depicting a civil rights-era protest is splattered with melted dark, white, and milk chocolate.
Kelley Walker, Black Star Press | Paula Cooper Gallery

Walk into the Contemporary Art Museum today and you will be greeted with brick paintings, light boxes, laptop sculptures, and a 4-by-4 chocolate disco ball. It’s Kelley Walker’s first U.S. solo museum show, Direct Drive.  

Walk deeper into the main galleries and you’ll see works from the Georgia-born artist’s past shows, most notably Black Star Press, and Schema. They include a floor-to-ceiling print of the model and rapper Trina scantily clad on the cover of KING magazine coated in digital scans of smeared toothpaste. Another uses a 1963 image of Birmingham police and dogs attacking a civil rights protester. The print is splattered with different shades of chocolate. Both works have garnered Walker, who is white, a reputation for commenting on race in America — and fierce criticism of his use of the black body.

The historic Goldenrod Showboat is currently docked near Kampsville, Ill.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Six months after a preservation group bid the Goldenrod Showboat a final farewell, the St. Louis landmark has again avoided the salvage yard, and there's a new plan to disassemble and rebuild the historic vessel on land.

The nonprofit Historic Riverboat Preservation Association had been working to buy the Goldenrod from the owners of the dock where it has been moored on the Illinois River. Volunteers with the group gave up on that effort after the century-old showboat was damaged by flooding in 2015, and they expected that the Goldenrod would be scrapped or burned.

Todd Swanstrom, Jorg Ploger and Sandra Moore.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis looks to the future, it is worth a peek into the not-too-distant past to understand how other cities have overcome declining population and aging infrastructure. Researchers recently studied efforts to revitalize older industrial cities in Europe — and local officials are looking at the lessons that they might learn to design urban strategies for St. Louis.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sept. 20 with high court ruling – Within the past 24 hours, the Missouri Supreme Court has taken actions guaranteeing that two disputed ballot initiatives will go before voters in November.

The most recent action came Tuesday afternoon, when the High Court unanimously ruled in favor of Amendment 3, which would raise Missouri's cigarette tax by as much as $1.27 a pack.  It would use the proceeds to fund early childhood education programs, and would bring in an estimated $300 million a year.

The Fantasy Food Fare Business Competition winner will be open a restaurant at this location at St. Louis Avenue and 14th Street in St. Louis' Old North area.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis contest is offering an unusual prize: a nearly fully-equipped restaurant.

Three local organizations are holding a competition in which the winner gets two years of free rent at a restaurant space catty-cornered from Crown Candy Kitchen, on St. Louis Avenue in the Old North area. The prize is a nearly finished 4,464-square-foot space equipped with walk-in freezers, food-prep areas, a ventilation system and even the kitchen sink. The package is worth up to $100,000.

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

Students from low-income students in Missouri and Illinois will be getting money from Washington to help pay for taking Advanced Placement tests.

Under a program announced Tuesday by the federal Department of Education,  a total of $28.4 million will go to 41 states and the District of Columbia to help defray the costs of taking tests that can lead to students getting college credit for high school courses.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio intern | File photo

A three-year effort to limit the amount of money flowing into city elections took a small step forward at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Tuesday.

The city's Legislation committee, on a 9-0 vote, approved Alderman Scott Ogilvie's, D-24th Ward, measure capping contributions at $10,000 to each candidate every four years. A similar bill Ogilvie introduced in 2013 never received a vote.

Monsanto
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Senior executives with Bayer and Monsanto are defending the German company’s proposed $66 billion acquisition of the St. Louis agricultural giant. They were among the industry leaders who testified Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on agricultural consolidation.

The Bayer-Monsanto deal comes as other acquisitions in the agricultural sector are pending. Dow Chemical and DuPont are midway through the regulatory process, while ChemChina and Switzerland-based Syngenta also have a proposed deal.

2Pac (Tupac Shakur), Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson Sr.) and Eazy-E (Eric Lynn Wright).
Wikimedia Commons

St. Louis-based journalist and author Ben Westhoff has written for outlets such as Rolling Stone, Vice, NPR, and the Wall Street Journal. He also wrote for the Riverfront Times and is the former music editor of L.A. Weekly.

Clara Norise (seated) speaks to Nicolle Barton, the executive director of the Civilian Oversight Board, after the board's meeting on Sept. 19, 2016. Norise was the first person to file a complaint with the board.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

On May 12, Clara Norise made history.

On that date, Norise went to the office of the Civilian Oversight Board and became the first person to file a complaint with the board, which oversees internal affairs investigations. She alleged that a police SWAT team didn't have probable cause when it barged into her house on a drug raid earlier that month, and that it used excessive force in conducting the raid.

On Monday, the board voted not to do its own investigation of the case, and accept the punishment handed down by the Internal Affairs Division. Confidentiality rules prevent the exact nature of the punishment from being made public.

Chef Rob Connoley will open a St. Louis restaurant devoted to foraging in 2017.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Chef and James Beard Award Semi-Finalist Rob Connoley recently returned to his hometown of St. Louis after many years spent away in the southwestern United States. There, he became known for his skills in the art of foraging and preparing food from what he foraged.

Former Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee
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 are pleased to welcome former state Auditor Susan Montee to the program.

Montee is a former St. Joseph councilwoman and Buchanan County auditor who successful sought the office of state auditor in 2006. One of her selling points was the fact that she was both a certified public accountant and an attorney.

The Yield Lab, a St. Louis-based food and ag tech accelerator, is planning to expand into Galway, Ireland.

The incubator launched in 2014, investing $100,000 in startups and providing mentorship over a nine-month program. Managing director Thad Simons said part of the reason to create Yield Lab Galway is to gain access to both European startups and markets.

Cattle head to a barn.
Donna Korando | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

Owners of animals in Missouri that cause property damage are no longer liable unless negligence can be proven in court.

The new law took effect Wednesday when the House and Senate overrode Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.  Senate Bill 844 was sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, who's also running for lieutenant governor.

Kevin Dietl, left, poses with his mother in a family photograph.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

John Dietl knew that his son, Kevin, was experiencing depression. He pleaded with him to get help.

"He did. But he said under one condition; we’ve got to pay cash, and 'I’ve got to go out of town,'" Dietl recalled recently, as he sat at his kitchen table with his wife in Chesterfield. "[He said] 'I can’t let anybody know I’m struggling with this, because it’ll be detrimental to my career.''"

Kevin Dietl, a bright medical student with brown eyes and a passion for water sports, took his life last year, just weeks before he would have graduated from A.T. Still University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville. He was 26.

Jason Kander, left, and Roy Blunt
Carolina Hidalgo and Sen. Blunt's Flickr page

Democrat Jason Kander’s new TV ad, which shows him assembling an assault weapon blindfolded, already has been hailed by the Washington Post as the best campaign ad so far this year.

That’s just the latest evidence of the national attention – and money – that’s been pouring into Missouri for months to aid or attack Kander or the man he hopes to defeat in November, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

Doug and Drew Patchin mix paint to match Drew's skin tone before making a handprint at Temple Israel Sunday, Sept. 18 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A Jewish preschool in Creve Coeur is taking a proactive approach to talking about diversity.

Over the past few months teachers and parents with Temple Israel’s Deutsch Early Childhood Center have taken part in anti-bias workshops taught by the Anti-Defamation League.

The latest on Sunday brought the preschoolers into the mix.

Students from Jennings High School came to a bat survey at the Bellefontaine Cemetery on Sept. 12, 2016, to learn how to track bats using scientific equipment.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

The cemetery is an odd place to be at night. But for scientists who study bats, it's an opportunity to observe wildlife in an urban habitat. 

Last week, scientists and volunteers from the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis gathered at the Bellefontaine Cemetery to conduct a bat survey. The study continues the work some researchers started in 2014, when they looked for bats in a different section of the cemetery in a larger effort to catalog biodiversity there.

Christina Arzate, right, listens to a panel of community mentors talk about gun violence Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

About 30 Washington University students are competing for funds to develop projects to reduce gun violence this weekend.

It’s the latest effort in the university’s on-going gun violence initiative launched almost a year and a half ago.

“We want more student involvement in this public health issue. And also we want them to come up with innovative ideas on how we can solve gun violence since usually (the ideas come) from researchers,” said initiative coordinator Poli Rijos.

Bruce Franks Jr. speaks to his supporters after finding out he won the Sept. 16 special election for Missouri’s 78th District House seat.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10:45 p.m. with comments from Franks. -- The second time is the charm for Bruce Franks.

Franks, an activist and small business owner, defeated Penny Hubbard Friday night in a court-ordered re-do Democratic primary in the 78th House District.

Emily Davis (L) and Felicia Pulliam (R) are members of the Ferguson Collaborative.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

One year after the release of the Ferguson Commission’s report, members of the Ferguson Collaborative feel that change is happening too slowly and isn’t reaching those in the community who need it most. Two members of the Ferguson Collaborative, Felicia Pulliam and Emily Davis, spoke with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in advance of a town hall meeting on Sunday titled, “Re-envisioning Public Safety.”

State Rep. Kathie Conway
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome state Rep. Kathie Conway to the program.

The St. Charles Republican is in her third term in the Missouri House. She recorded Thursday’s show a little more than 24 hours after participating in the Missouri General Assembly’s veto session.

The jazz-electronica group Koplant No emerged several years ago at the University of Iowa.
Provided by Koplant No

When an emerging jazz band seeks to make a fresh statement, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that its musicians would embrace the modern sounds they grew up with.

That explains the path of Koplant No, a quartet that fuses intricate jazz composition with improvisation, electronica and elements of hip-hop to capture a listener’s imagination. The Midwestern group, which this weekend returns to Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis, has a light and airy sound that can sound a bit like a futuristic movie soundtrack.

For a while, even its members didn’t know how to precisely describe what they play, saxophone player Joel Vanderheyden said. But they've agreed on a description, perhaps after learning that some listeners feel that hearing the music is like taking a journey.

“Only in probably the last couple of years we sort of stumbled upon the label of cinematic electro jazz,” he said.

Benjamin Yates, right, works on a puzzle with his mother, Tracy Yates, and his brother, Nicholas, at their Webster Groves home.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

On a late summer morning, when most 6-year-olds have returned to the classroom, Benjamin Yates knelt on a blue mat in the living room of his family's home in Webster Groves.

He was working on a human body puzzle with his mother and his 3-year-old brother, Nicholas. And he was clearly having a good time, which echoed in his response to the simple question: What do you like about learning at home?

“I get to choose what I learn about, so it's more fun.”

Scott Ranft, Stephen Mausshardt and Brandon Weinrich work at Ranken Technical College's Programmable Logic Controllers Lab.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis area ITT Tech students have a decision to make if they want to continue their education now that their school has closed its doors.

The U.S. Department of Education is offering the students forgiveness on their federal loans, but if the students accept the offer they can’t transfer credits.

That means Missouri's estimated 700 ITT Tech students are most likely out either time or money, if not both.

Gov. Jay Nixon announces $57 million in temporary budget cuts one day after the legislature overrode vetoes of two tax break bills.
Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's current state budget is taking another hit.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that he's withholding $57.2 million from several state agencies and programs after lawmakers on Wednesday overrode vetoes he made on two tax breaks.

(courtesy Monsanto and Bayer)

Bayer and Monsanto executives are working to calm nerves in St. Louis regarding the planned $66 billion acquisition.

In Wednesday's announcement, Bayer said it will keep the combined company’s seeds and traits business in St. Louis, as well as its North American headquarters.

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