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Courtesy Madison County Fair Association

Organizers of the Madison County Fair say the 120-year-old event will go on as usual this week, despite the ongoing lack of funding from the state of Illinois.

This is the second year for the state's budget impasse, which has held up funds earmarked for county fairs. Organizers from across the state have scrambled to make do, said Wayne Steiner, president of the Madison County Fair Association.

Jim Schroeder checks the grill outside the dome where the St. Louis Rams used to play. He tailgated with family and friends Saturday, July 23, 2016 before going to an exhibition game played by members of the 1999 championship team.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Rams fans had a chance to relive some memories from the team’s glory days Saturday.

Former Rams players, including members of the 1999 Super Bowl championship team, played a game of flag football in the Dome at America’s Center. It’s likely one of the last times Rams players, past or present, step foot on the Dome’s turf now that Stan Kroenke has moved his team to Los Angeles.

House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, leads the Democratic end-of-session press conference as state Rep. Karla May, D-St. Louis, looks on.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio |file photo

Updated July 23 with the nominee — Democratic committee members in St. Louis and St. Louis County have nominated House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, as their party’s candidate to replace former state Sen. Joe Keaveny.

Keaveny resigned as the state senator for Missouri’s 4th District after the 2016 legislative session to become an administrative law judge.

Provided by Bi-State Development Agency

Updated Friday, July 22 at 5:07p.m. with statement from Ameren Missouri — Ameren Missouri and the Sierra Club reached a $2 million settlement Thursday in U.S. District Court over the utility company's alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.

Provided by University of Missouri-Columbia/Julianna Jenkins

According to surveys by scientists and avid bird-watchers, many songbird species are declining in the U.S. Losing the birds that provide a natural soundtrack in our backyards is a critical environmental issue, since they also serve to control insect populations and as pollinators.

William Bailey | St. Louis Planning Department |Provided

After a two-day delay, a new homeless shelter in St. Louis is back on track to being ready to operate.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment on Friday approved a $360,000 contract with St. Patrick Center, which will run the facility at the old Biddle Market north of downtown. Mayor Francis Slay and Comptroller Darlene Green voted to approve the funding; board president Lewis Reed maintained his opposition from Wednesday.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies covered the Republican National Convention last week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh looked back on this week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland and ahead to next week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

We were joined by:

University of Missouri-Columbia

If a candidate for the presidency of the University of Missouri asks interviewers about their priorities for the system and the themes that are part of the school’s vision, what should the answers be?

That was the topic of a meeting of the university’s Board of Curators in Kansas City on Friday. For anyone who has been following the up-and-down fortunes of the university in recent months, the list they came up with will look familiar:

St. Louis vocalist Erin Bode recently released her seventh album "Here and Now."
Erin Bode Group

In her recently-released seventh album “Here and Now,” St. Louis vocalist Erin Bode decided to try to something a little different.

“We’ve been getting requests for a few years now to do another record of standards, which goes back to the first album that I made,” she explained to St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter.

For “Here and Now,” Bode’s group recorded songs originally written by artists such as Frank Loesser, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin.

Clockwise from bottom, Gerard Craft, Dave Bailey, Kevin Nashan, Nick Luedde
Ashley Gieseking | Sauce Magazine

What makes us choose favorite restaurants?

On the latest edition of Sound Bites, Sauce Magazine’s art director Meera Nagarajan explained that diners look for consistency. In other words, we want to know that when we go to a restaurant, we’re going to have a positive, delicious experience.

In Sauce Magazine’s annual Reader’s Choice Poll, St. Louisans identified the top four restaurateurs in the area:

Democrats Judy Baker and Pat Contreras are each running for state treasurer.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

If you’re wondering why there’s a competitive battle for Missouri state treasurer, look no further than the innards of the Missouri Constitution.

If the Show Me State’s pre-eminent legal document didn’t restrict a state treasurer to two terms, it’s a good bet that incumbent officeholder Clint Zweifel would be running for re-election – and probably without competition from his fellow Democrats. But it does. And with Zweifel taking a hiatus of sorts from electoral politics, two Democrats – former state Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, and Kansas City native Pat Contreras – are seeking to capture the weighty, but slightly low profile, statewide office.

Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Roy Temple speaks at the Missouri Democratic Party convention in Sedalia. Temple will be leading the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

You could say Jimmy Loomis has accomplished a lot in a short period of time.

The 21-year-old Washington University student is president of the school’s College Democrats chapter. He’s also a Democratic committeeman in St. Louis County, which means he’ll get a say in who will follow state Sen. Joe Keaveny in the Missouri Senate.

But perhaps Loomis’ most impressive feat may have been besting dozens of people to become a national delegate for likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. That means he’ll get to go to Philadelphia next week with some of the Show Me State’s most prominent activists and political figures. And he’ll get to be an active participant in what’s been a historic presidential election.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Regardless of who they backed before, Missouri’s GOP delegates are leaving their convention committed to electing Donald Trump for president.

And his acceptance speech was a hit.

“He was confident, he was strong, he was energetic, enthusiastic’’ said delegate Chuck Williams of Town and Country. “He had the crowd fired up.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, speaks during a visit to NCADA's offices in St. Louis County. He leads a government task force to curb opioid abuse.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County could receive federal funds to establish a regional prescription drug monitoring database, under a new law passed by Congress that President Barack Obama has said he will sign.

The measure allows for local governments, not just states, to apply for federal grants to set up a database to alert physicians when a patient may be receiving too many opioid prescriptions. U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said she submitted the language in a motion because Missouri is the only state in the country without a statewide system.

The interior of 4562 Enright Ave. as it's being reconstructed inside the Pulitzer Arts Foundation
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Anyone who has been through some of St. Louis’ oldest areas, particularly in mostly black neighborhoods, is likely to have been struck by the number of uninhabited spaces.

The architects from the German firm raumlaborberlin certainly were. When they received a commission to examine the urban landscape of St. Louis, they developed a project that would draw attention to all that unused space.

With that in mind, the company dismantled the interior of a home in the Lewis Place neighborhood and is remaking it inside the Pulitzer Arts Foundation building in Grand Center. The foundation will open its exhibit on the interior of the house at 4562 Enright Ave. on July 29.

Brenda Nelson plays a card game with friends on Mullanphy Street during the street's last annual block party on Saturday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the third Saturday of July neighbors and former residents gathered in the 2300 block of Mullanphy Street in north St. Louis.

That’s when the annual block party always takes place.

But this would be the last one.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies covered the Republican National Convention last week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Bev Ehlen, a Missouri GOP delegate from Warren County, has long been a fan of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and had hoped he’d be the party’s nominee for president.

But now that Donald Trump has the nomination, Ehlen is upset that Cruz is opting against an endorsement.

“I was very disappointed’’ by Cruz’s Wednesday night speech, Ehlen said. “I’m probably the biggest Ted Cruz supporter you can find. I was expecting so much more because he’s such an articulate speaker. I was expecting a home run, and I didn’t get it.”

On Thursday, St. Louis on the Air’s Legal Roundtable returned to discuss pressing legal issues of the day.

We were joined in studio by:

  • William Freivogel, J.D., Professor, School of Journalism, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
  • Marcia McCormick, J.D., Professor, Saint Louis University
  • Mark Smith, J.D., Associate Vice Chancellor of Students, Washington University

Here are some of the issues they discussed:

Group of women speak to reporters under the spotlight of a video camera.
Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of mothers whose sons have been killed or wounded by police or others is calling for concrete action against racism in law enforcement and the justice system.

At a town hall meeting Wednesday during the National Bar Association’s annual convention, the mothers of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis, and Robbie Tolan decried the deaths of young black men at the hands of police, and deaths caused by others.

Treasure Shields Redmond and her book, “Chop: A Collection of Kwansabas for Fannie Lou Hamer"
Kim Love / Shields Redmond headshot

As a child in Meridian, Miss., Treasure Shields Redmond donned special shoes nearly every Sunday — a black patent leather pair that skipped after her mother as they walked to the Baptist church.

By high school, she’d traded her Mary Janes for Nikes, and hymns like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” for Public Enemy's “Party for Your Right to Fight.”

The daughter of East St. Louis Poet Laureate Eugene Redmond is now a poet and performing artist, and an English professor at Southwestern Illinois College.  In our latest Cut & Paste podcast, we talk with Shields Redmond about using language and song as tools for social justice and illuminating women’s lives.

U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield
Official portrait

CLEVELAND — Missouri U.S. Rep. Billy Long is arguably the state’s version of Donald Trump.

Long was a well-known auctioneer and radio talk-show host in Springfield, Mo., who emerged from a seven-person GOP field in 2010 to win the congressional seat that had been held by fellow Republican Roy Blunt until Blunt opted to make his successful shot for the U.S. Senate.

Long says he was impressed with Trump when he first met him in 2011, just months after Long arrived in Washington. The occasion was a charity event, and Long approached the billionaire businessman to thank him for his charity support.

Marty Murray, a candidate for 7th Ward committeeman, talks to Stacy Kistler while knocking doors in the Lafayette Square neighborhood of St. Louis on June 10, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated July 21 with additional Mobilize Missouri endorsements. — The biggest races in August are getting all the attention. But a group of seats on the St. Louis Democratic Central Committee could prove to be just as important in the long run.

Candidates from across the city have their sights on being committeemen and committeewomen, in an effort to push for change in the party now and at future elections.

Tony Rich, the executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, with junior champion Jeffrey Xiong.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

Due to the continuous effort of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, the U.S. Junior Closed Championship has grown to be one of the strongest and most prominent junior tournaments in the world. The 2016 edition brought together 10 of the most talented players in the country, with a median rating close to 2550 USCF and an average age of only 16.

Family, friends and colleagues gathered outside Dunbar Elementary School to remember Jacara Sproaps.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Yellow and green balloons floated above a crowd gathered outside Dunbar Elementary School Wednesday as family, friends and colleagues clutched candles, held hands and remembered Jacara Sproaps.

Jacqueline Hutchinson, Co-Chair of the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance SLEHCRA coalition, discussed Tuesday a new report that indicates significant racial and income disparities in home purchase lending in St. Louis.
Wiley Price | The St. Louis American

Amid a long stretch of boarded-up store fronts in the Baden neighborhood, a coalition of equal-housing advocates rallied outside today to decry the mortgage lending disparities in the St. Louis region.

LeDiva Pierce with her daughters Alfreida (left) and Unique. Pierce is one of two charter school parents seeking to intervene as plaintiffs in St. Louis Public School's dispute with the state over funding.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated July 20 with judge's ruling: A federal judge on Wednesday rejected the efforts of two charter school parents to join a suit over whether charters should receive proceeds from a 1999 desegregation tax.

LeDiva Pierce and Ken Ross Jr. had wanted to join on the side of the charters the lawsuit that was filed by St. Louis Public Schools and the NAACP. The suit sought to recover from charters millions of dollars raised by the tax that they said were wrongly diverted from the city public school system. The parents said if the charters have to repay the money, the schools could go bankrupt and their children could be harmed.

Margo McNeil
Jason Rosenbaum I 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 state Rep. Margo McNeil to the show for the first time.

The Florissant Democrat was first elected to the Missouri House in 2008. She’s finishing her last few months in the General Assembly’s lower chamber, as she is unable to run for re-election due to term limits.

Kelly Moffitt, Wikimedia Commons

Everybody has that one song — that one song that immediately takes you back to a time, a place, a friend, a poignant memory. Now, try to imagine your life as told by a whole series of such important songs. That’s exactly what St. Louisan Dave Holmes, the runner-up in MTV’s inaugural “Wanna Be a VJ” contest in 1998, has done.

Missouri Department of Higher Education

When it comes to education, Missouri has no shortage of goals.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants the state to be in, as its slogan says, in the Top 10 by 20 – among the leaders in a variety of school measures by the year 2020.

Not to be outdone, the state’s Department of Higher Education has its sights set a little further out, on 2025. Nine years from now, it wants Missouri to have 60 percent of its working-age adults with postsecondary credentials, to be in the top 10 for investment in academic research and to rank among the 10 most affordable states in which to obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Wanda Trotter, 68, thought about her childhood as she watched a play at the Missouri History Museum depicting the experiences of African-Americans traveling Route 66 before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in public accommodations.

“I remember my parents packing our lunches and telling us that certain places you could not go to eat, or to use the bathroom facilities,’’ said Trotter. Her  family drove the famous highway from St. Louis to San Diego, Calif., in the early 1960s to visit her brother who was in the Navy.

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