News | St. Louis Public Radio

News

Julie Russell, Dayna Stock and Mark Tranel joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss a new report from the United Way and UMSL.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A recent report by the United Way and the Public Policy Research Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis found that 43 percent of all St. Louis metropolitan area households (encompassing 16 counties) do not have the monthly income to meet their basic living expenses. Basic living expenses include housing, food, transportation, taxes, health care and child care.

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 4:30 p.m. with specific date by which federal crime victims money must be used — Missouri legislators have three weeks left to get the state’s $27.8 billion budget for the next fiscal year across the finish line, and aren’t moving as quickly as they did in 2016.

The 13 budget bills currently reside in the Senate’s budget committee, which worked on several of them in the past week. Here’s the breakdown of the changes they’ve made compared to the House budget and what they’ll look to finish next week:

A media advocacy group and the ACLU are asking Missouri's highest court to settle whether the state's prison officials must publicly reveal the source of the drug used to execute prisoners.

The nonprofit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs wrote in a filing Wednesday with the Missouri Supreme Court that that court can resolve the issue that's produced conflicting rulings.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to law enforcement officials Friday morning at the Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. (March 31, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been more than a week since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he wanted to review all agreements between the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and local police departments — a move that could have a major impact in Ferguson.

If the consent decree that came after the August 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown goes away, there would be no independent monitor to oversee the significant changes to the police department’s training and operations, including a new use-of-force policy. It’s not clear who would pick up the accountability baton.

Kat Reynolds is pictured in a file photo of a self-portrait shown recently at The Militzer Art Gallery in St. Louis.
Provided | Kat Reynolds

Photographer Kat Reynolds is having a moment.

In the past few months, Reynolds has exhibited at five St. Louis venues. She was named this year’s Emerging Artist by the local Visionary Awards, a prize she’ll accept April 24 at the Sun Theater in Grand Center. She’s also wrapping up a residency program at Paul Artspace, north of Florissant. Her work primarily features young people of color, friends, people she encounters on the street, or people she finds through social media.

Reynolds works all these activities around a full-time customer relations job. In our latest Cut & Paste podcast, we catch up with this busy artist, who strives to genuinely connect with her subjects.

Lethal doeses of heroin, left, and fentanyl, right. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller, is up to 50 times more potent than heroin.
provided by the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Lab

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller, made up almost half of drug overdose deaths in parts of the St. Louis region last year, according to county coroners in Missouri and Illinois.

The drug is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, and inhaling just a few grains can be lethal.

“If I can be blunt, it’s scary as hell,” said Brandon Costerison, a spokesperson for the anti-addiction group NCADA's St. Louis chapter. “And we don’t really have anything to indicate it’s subsiding yet.”

Gene Jackson started his professional performing  career at 15 when his mom signed a waiver allowing him to perform at the Midnight Lounge on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in the mid-1970s.

Older musicians took him under their wings, showing him the ins and outs of St. Louis’ rhythm and blues, and initiating him into a fellowship of performing musicians determined to keep soul music alive.

Roland Johnson entered the scene years earlier, started his career singing with groups at sock hops and youth dances before entering the realms of bars and clubs.

2017 U.S. Chess Championship winner Wesley So and 2017 U.S. women's champion, Sabina Foisor.
Lennart Ootes | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

Between March 29 and April 10, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis hosted the 2017 U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, two of the most exciting events in the American circuit. This year, the events were stronger than ever, with three players out of the world’s top 10 participating in the open section, making it the strongest national championship in the world.

U.S. Championship

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The leaders of St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Clair County say they are working with law enforcement to make it safer to ride MetroLink.

After meeting privately for more than an hour Wednesday, St. Louis Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said they have a framework to improve security along the light-rail line that connects the three counties.

A cautionary sign at a fence around the West Lake Landfill Superfund site, which contains World War II-era nuclear waste.
File photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

A bill to create a buyout program for homes near the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in Bridgeton has been overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate. 

Under the proposal, residents of the Spanish Village subdivision near the site could apply to sell their homes to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. As many as 91 families could have the option to move away from the World War II-era radioactive contamination at the West Lake Landfill, which sits about 600 feet from the underground smoldering fire at the Bridgeton Landfill. Many residents have expressed concern about the potential health risks of living there.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill answers questions after the Democrat held a town hall event Wednesday in Jefferson County.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill was prepared Wednesday for a repeat of the hostile reception she received at her last town hall in politically volatile Jefferson County in 2009.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to Republican supporters in East Alton on April 12, 2017.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner made a stop Wednesday in East Alton as part of a statewide push against the state’s epic budget impasse, which has led to underfunding of social services in the Metro East.

 

The Republican’s re-election campaign paid for the tour, which comes more than a year before he’s up for another term in 2018. He expressed frustration to the crowd of primarily GOP activists about how he hasn’t been able to reach a budget deal with Democratic-controlled legislature for nearly two years.

David Carson, photojournalist with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss drone journalism.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Last month, with the launch of the aptly-titled “Weatherbird One,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch made a foray into a new newsgathering realm: drone journalism.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the ethics of drone journalism with David Carson, photographer with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel with the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA).

Here’s a glance at what that looks like: 

Esther Shin, the new president of Urban Strategies, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss what the non-profit is working on in neighborhood revitalization.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded a $29.5 million grant to a team of developers to revitalize and transform the Near North Side neighborhood, which encompasses an area directly north of downtown St. Louis. The area runs from the riverfront to Jefferson Avenue on the west side and Washington Avenue on the south side to St. Louis Avenue near the Old North neighborhood on the north side.

new stadium, St. Louis Rams
Courtesy HOK | 360 Architecture

The saga of the Rams' decision to leave St. Louis is not over. The city, St. Louis County and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority are suing the National Football League and all of its member teams over the Rams' move to Los Angeles.

The suit was filed Wednesday in St. Louis Circuit Court. It accuses the NFL and Rams' officials of violating the league's relocation guidelines. The relocation guidelines, according to the lawsuit, "bind the NFL, NFL team owners, and NFL teams to follow certain procedures before allowing them to relocate."

Patricia McKissack
Photo provided | The St. Louis American

With the death of Patricia McKissack on Friday, the world lost the surviving partner of one of the most prolific duos in literature.

McKissack suffered a heart attack and was taken to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was 72.

Patricia McKissack and her husband, Fredrick McKissack embarked on their collaborative literary lives nearly 35 years ago, with the intention of being the change they wanted to see. The couple decided that little black boys and girls deserved positive images of themselves and a broad scope of their people’s rich history as they turned the pages of books.

Travis Fitzwater, April 2017
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Travis Fitzwater to the program for the first time.

 

The Holts Summit Republican represents the 49th House District, which covers parts of Callaway and Cole counties in central Missouri. Before running for office, Fitzwater worked for the Missouri Pharmacy Association, first as the marketing coordinator, and, later, chief operating officer.  

 

 

 

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens delivers his first State of the State address last week in Jefferson City.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:45 p.m. with Greitens' office comment Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has set up a task force that’s meant to examine which of the state’s hundreds of boards and commissions are necessary and which ones are not.

Last week, ProPublica and Consumer Reports released a first-of-its-kind analysis of car insurance premiums in California, Illinois, Texas & Missouri showing some minority neighborhoods pay higher auto insurance premiums than white areas with similar risk.
Gateway Streets | Flickr

Last week, ProPublica and Consumer Reports released a first-of-its-kind analysis of car insurance premiums and payouts in California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri. Following a nearly year and a half investigation into premiums in those states, ProPublica found that residents of minority neighborhoods, on the whole, had to pay more for their car insurance premiums compared with white areas with similar “riskiness.”

Jack Speer, a newscaster with NPR, joined "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh on Tuesday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, NPR Newscaster Jack Speer joined host Don Marsh to discuss his career, reporting from Washington D.C. post-election and how things are going at NPR.

Speer, who prior to joining the newscast unit in 2007 worked for NPR’s business desk since 1998, has covered the nation’s top business and economic news.

Dozens of cannabis clones grow under high-intensity lights at BeLeaf's growing and processing facility in Earth City, Missouri.
File photo | Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

For the third year in a row, the Missouri House passed a bill that would legalize the growing and production of hemp for purposes like soap and rope. But its fate is likely to be the same as before: A slow death in the Senate due to the short time left in the 2017 session and the bill’s low priority for Republicans running the chamber.

The Missouri Farm Bureau also strongly opposes House Bill 170, and sent individual letters to every member of the House before Monday night’s 126-26 vote.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth I St. Louis Public Radio
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth I St. Louis Public Radio

In a region as fragmented as St. Louis, there’s one commonality uniting scores of towns and cities: high sales taxes.

Dipstick the goat chomps away on honeysuckle at Willoughby Heritage Farm in Collinsville. April 2017
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

“What can we do about the massive spread of bush honeysuckle? It spreads greatly and destroys ground-level wildflowers.”

That was the question the Rev. James Brobst of Belleville recently put to Curious Louis.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated April 11 with accusations from Black Caucus over the bill sponsor — The Missouri General Assembly's Black Caucus is attacking a bill that makes it harder for fired workers to prove discrimination, citing a racial discrimination lawsuit that's pending against the measure's Senate sponsor.

Mild weather and moderate rainfall predicted for this summer could boost corn and soybean yields.
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri corn and soybean farmers may see higher yields this year, as scientists from the University of Missouri-Columbia forecast mild weather and moderate rainfall this summer. 

Meteorological records show that dry, mild winters typically are followed by average to slightly more than average rainfall in the spring and summer. 

"The reason why that would be is just a switch in the jet stream pattern and now is the time of the year when we expect there to be wetter conditions in April and May," said Tony Lupo, a professor of atmospheric science at Mizzou. 

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, photographed on April 4, 2017 in St. Louis Public Radio's studios, one week before leaving office as St. Louis' longest-serving mayor.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by St. Louis’ longest-serving mayor, Francis G. Slay. This interview happened during Slay’s last week in office, after his 16-year tenure at the helm of the city.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Outrageous.

That’s the word Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway used over and over to describe her office’s findings after an audit into the state’s 205 Transportation Development Districts.

“The average citizen is getting taken advantage of here,” Galloway said Monday at a news conference to release the report. “It’s outrageous that there’s almost $1 billion in project costs that taxpayers are on the hook for. They don’t know about it and they didn’t vote for it.”

A view of the outside of the Peabody Energy building in St. Louis.
St. Louis Public Radio

Peabody Energy has emerged from bankruptcy with less debt and a shift in focus. The St. Louis-based coal company spent roughly a year under Chapter 11 protection and some of the same industry-wide challenges remain – government regulation and cheaper energy producing options, such as natural gas.

In a release when Peabody emerged from bankruptcy earlier this month, Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kellow sounded upbeat.

Gina Walsh, April 2017
Carolina Hidalgo 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 back Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh.

 

The Bellefontaine Neighbors Democrat is the leader of Senate Democratic Caucus, which has shrunk in recent years to nine members after Republicans took over scores of seats in outstate Missouri. Even though Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate, the minority party can still use the filibuster to block or force changes to legislation.

 

Updated 11:55 a.m. April 14 with comments from MassResistance — Parents and students say an organization identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center is involving itself in a school district in west St. Louis County.

MassResistance Missouri opposes the Parkway School Districts’ sex-education curriculum, which includes lessons about contraception, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pages