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Ethical Society of Police president Sgt. Heather Taylor speaks to a forum on disparities in the St. Louis police and fire departments on July 7, 2016. Her organization has called on chief Sam Dotson to resign.
File photo | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

The union that represents officers of color in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department wants to know what the public wants to see in a new police chief.

The Ethical Society of Police is hosting the first community forum Thursday night at Vashon High School beginning at 6 p.m. Its president, Sgt. Heather Taylor, said the society plans to schedule at least one more forum, and conduct a survey.

Amanda Mohl, Dr. Rumi Price and Carmen Guynn, all advocates in the area of human trafficking, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the issue in the region.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In this month’s issue of The Atlantic, author Alex Tizon writes of a woman who spent 56 years in his family’s household as a slave. “My Family’s Slave,” which has inspired copious dialogue and backlash about the author’s intent, uncovered a side of human trafficking we rarely talk about.

Richard Cohen, Vivian Anderson Watt and Cecilia Nadal discuss "Between Worlds" with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Later this week, Gitana Productions will debut a production that utilizes acting, poetry, music and dance to get across a point that we share common history and similarities between people. The production is called “Between Worlds: An American Journey,” and opens tomorrow night.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by three people involved with “Between Worlds.”

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

As promised, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is calling lawmakers back to Jefferson City — for the second time — to target organizations and local governments that support abortion rights.

The session begins next Monday. “I'm pro-life, and I believe that we need to defend life and promote a culture of life here in the state of Missouri,” the governor said in his announcement on Facebook.

St. Louis-based Express Scripts has announced a new initiative to combat opioid abuse. June 7, 2017
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-based pharmacy benefits management company Express Scripts is tackling the opioid crisis.
 
The company announced an initiative Wednesday to more than 600 clients gathered in Dallas for an annual Express Scripts conference. The program focuses on limiting exposure to the painkillers and gives patients access to specialty-pharmacists to make sure the drugs are used properly. 

Stéphane Denève will be the St. Louis Symphony's next music director.
Photo by Drew Farrell | Courtesy of St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony has named Stéphane Denève as its next music director.

Denève, music director of the Brussels Philharmonic and principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, will serve as music director designate during the 2018-2019 season. His three-year term begins with the 2019-2020 season.

Customers line up outside Crown Candy Kitchen, which sits across from 2720 N. 14th Street. (June 5, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Some lucky St. Louisan is one step closer to winning a free restaurant space in the Old North neighborhood, across from Crown Candy Kitchen.

The Fantasy Food Fare Business Competition has announced its top 10 finalists for a package worth $100,000. Lynette Watson of the St. Louis Small Business Development Center said the list represents a wide variety of concepts. (See the full list below.)

“We have everything from French fusion, all the way to desserts and soul food,” Watson said.

Western harvester ants create tunnels in a gel farm in a laboratory at Webster University.
Provided by Webster University

A study at Webster University has revealed that Monsanto's weed killer Roundup can significantly change ant behavior.

Researchers began two years ago to study how ants are affected by man-made contaminants, including Roundup. The product has become controversial recently due to allegations that its key ingredient, glyphosate, causes cancer in humans.

The ant study hasn't been published yet, but student researchers noted that the herbicide significantly affected western harvester ants.

Entrance to Harris Stowe State University, April 2013
Paul Sableman (cropped image) | Flickr

A white professor at a predominantly black university in St. Louis was fired "because of the color of her skin," a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Their decision affirmed a 2015 jury verdict that awarded nearly $5 million to Beverly Wilkins, a former professor at Harris-Stowe State University. 

Edward McPherson, author of "The History of the Future," joined St. Louis on the Air on Tuesday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“St. Louis is a city of gates that do not normally swing wide,” writes author and Washington University English professor Edward McPherson in “The History of the Future,” a book of essays reflecting on American places which was released earlier this spring.

This week marks the 21st annual Twangest, a local music festival celebrating Americana music at Old Rock House.
Twangfest

This year marks the 21st for Twangfest, a local music festival drawing national and local bands to Off Broadway in south St. Louis to celebrate Americana music.

For organizer John Wendland, this year’s festival (featuring bands like Black Joe Lewis, Chuck Prophet and Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards) feels like it has finally matured.

“You know, it took a while, but here we are,” Wendland told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter.

Dan Buck, the CEO of Big Sports Properties LLC, updates the Chesterfield City Council on his POWERplex project on June 5, 2017. A missed deadline means the complex won't be built in the city.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A proposed $55 million indoor-outdoor sports complex in the Chesterfield Valley, billed as the largest in North America, won’t move forward because the developer failed to meet a June 1 deadline to secure funds from St. Louis County for water and sewer lines.

St. Louis Public Radio reported last week that the deal for the POWERplex was in jeopardy because Big Sports Properties LLC, run by Dan Buck, had not provided given Chesterfield officials the required documents. Rather than negotiate a new deal, Buck said Monday night that he’ll take the project — and its estimated $6 million in tax money a year — elsewhere.

The intersection of Collinsville and St. Louis avenues in East St. Louis is where a mob of white rioters first gathered before they rampaged through the city, seeking out and killing black residents.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Andrew Theising was sitting behind the steering wheel of his car, pointing out the pathways of city streets that vanished long ago beneath a parking lot in downtown East St. Louis.

“This is where the homes were burned,’’ he said, solemnly. “This is where African-Americans were hung from the streetlights. This was the height of the violence and the bloodshed.’’

File photo: St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed said it would be unfair to appoint a poet laureate until the controversy is settle.d
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The delay in naming a new St. Louis poet laureate may soon be over.

in December, a poet laureate task force recommended local poet and educator Jane Ellen Ibur. The next step was up the Board of Aldermen, which oversees the position. But a dispute about whether the task force followed regulations has delayed the board’s vote for five months.

Board President Lewis Reed now says he believes Ibur will be offered the position. But first, he wants a board committee to look into the way task force chair Aaron Williams handled its affairs.

Obinno Coley is the entrepreneurship teacher at Normandy High School.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Obinno Coley’s first day as a student teacher at McCluer North, his supervisor had to leave when his wife went to the hospital to have a baby.

“He gave me a book and said: ‘you’re on your own,'” Coley told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Monday. “I worked with that book for the next three months and at the end of it I said ‘wherever I go, I will bring this with me.’”

David Noble, Kimberly McKinney and Gary Newcomer discussed the state of housing affordability in the region on Monday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Homeownership is associated with a slew of positive outcomes: better health, higher likelihood of sustained employment, safer communities, self-sufficiency in families and more. And yet, the dream of homeownership is becoming further out of reach for many families in the St. Louis region.

Biddle Housing Opportunities Center. Biddle is partly run by the St. Patrick Center, a homeless service provider. Biddle is not only an emergency shelter, but also provides help for homeless, including finding housing. May 5, 2017
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

David Perry is a tall and muscular-looking guy. He has a construction job. His appearance and circumstances might not reveal it, but Perry is homeless.

For nearly six months he has been on the waiting list for housing at the St. Patrick Center, an organization that works with the city to end homelessness. 

Greitens' Cabinet appointees shown clockwise from top left: Sarah Steelman, Chris Chinn, Anne Precythe, Carol Comer, Joel Walters, Chlora Lindley-Myers, Randall Williams, Charles "Drew" Juden
Credits listed clockwise from top left / Jason Rosenbaum; Dept. of Agriculture; Tim Bommel, House Communications; Office of Gov. Eric Greitens; Linkedin; City of Sikeston

Updated June 6 to correct that the Department of Mental Health's director is appointed by a commission. Original story from Feb. 22, 2017:

With new administrations come new agency directors, and it’s up to the governor to choose those people. Most of  Republican Gov. Eric Greitens’ Cabinet positions have been approved by the Missouri Senate, while three still must be vetted.

Here’s a who’s who behind the major state agencies:

Gregg Keller, June 2017
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 welcome back Gregg Keller for the second time.

Keller is a St. Louis-based, Republican consultant who runs his own firm, Atlas Strategy Group. He’s worked for a number of Missouri’s prominent GOP officials, including former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent.

Fast food workers take part in a protest organized by Show Me $15 outside a McDonald's on Natural Bridge Road in St. Louis on March 15, 2017. They want the city's $10 minimum wage increase to be enforced immediately.
File photo | Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Even though the Missouri legislature has passed a bill that essentially blocks the city of St. Louis from raising its minimum wage, economists are weighing in on how the region could be affected by increasing that rate to $10 an hour.

The legislation is awaiting Gov. Eric Greitens signature and St. Louis Federal Reserve Regional Economist Charles Gascon has co-written a research paper in an attempt to examine several questions, including exactly how many city residents would be directly affected by allowing the city's minimum wage to go up.

Supporter Steve Stepanek of St. Louis waves his Confederate flag at the Confederate Statue in Forest Park on June 3, 2017, in St. Louis.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Tensions are high after more than a week of demonstrations and counter protests over whether to remove the Confederate memorial in Forest Park.

A rally at the monument Saturday featured both shouting matches and moments of dialogue.

The event was organized by Peggy Hubbard, a black woman who wants the monument to stay.

Former St. Louisan Lynn Cohen plays Grandma in the film "The Pickle Recipe."
Provided | Jewish Film Festival

The St. Louis Jewish Film Festival is celebrating 22 years of cinema that explores historical and modern-day Jewish themes.

One of the 16 movies in this year’s schedule features an actor who influenced a generation of St. Louis theater professionals — and is also known for her role in “Sex in the City.”

Kansas City native Lynn Cohen stars in a comedy about the quest for a grandmother’s secret pickling formula.  Festival organizer Zelda Sparks said some St. Louisans may recognize Cohen from the local Jewish Community Center, where she directed youth theater in the 1970s.

Attendees wave the peace sign as Jamie "KP" Dennis performs Sat., June 3, 2017, at the St. Louis rally for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis area politicians and organizations rallied against gun violence this weekend, joining a national movement, amid a run of gun-related deaths in the area.  At least seven people have been shot and killed in the city of St. Louis since Thursday.

Activists with Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence wore orange and held a rally Saturday in Tower Grove Park. Several dozen people attended the event to mark Friday's National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

University of Missouri President Mun Choi, shown here in November 2016, detailed cuts across the UM System campuses.
File photo | Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

The University of Missouri System will cut more than 470 positions across its four campuses, President Mun Choi said Friday.

More than half of those will be at the flagship Columbia campus, while the University of Missouri-St. Louis will see 30 positions eliminated. However, UMSL spokesman Bob Sample said, 25 jobs will be added in new areas.

Public schools and other institutions in Missouri that receive state money likely won’t see any last-minute cuts before the fiscal year ends June 30, budget chief Dan Haug said Friday.

That’s even with the state’s income collections running slightly behind estimates used to craft the current budget.

Mayor Lyda Krewson addresses reporters on Fri., June 2, 2017, after a violent week in St. Louis left seven dead and 13 injured by gunfire.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Mayor Lyda Krewson said Friday that she’s “beside herself” over a rash of gun violence in St Louis this week that killed seven and injured 13 others, including a 7-year-old girl.

But even as she pledged more money for police officer salaries, Krewson seemed at a loss for how to bring the spiraling violence under control.

Eddie Roth, the director of human services for the City of St. Louis, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the state of services for the homeless in St. Louis.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s “Behind the Headlines” with St. Louis on the Air, we took an in-depth look at a top news story of the week.

This week, host Don Marsh was joined by Eddie Roth, the director of Human Services for the City of St. Louis. We discussed the current state of services for the homeless in St. Louis. 

"The Trial" will have its American Premiere with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on Sunday, June 4.
Kelsey Nickerson | Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ 42nd season started last month with a production of “Madame Butterfly” and runs through the end of June. This Sunday, it adds the American premiere of famed minimalist composer Phillip Glass’ opera “The Trial.”

Poet Jane Ellen Ibur, seen here in a May 1, 2017 photo, has enjoyed a storied career. For nearly 20 years, she co-produced and co-hosted the local radio show "Poet for the Halibut."
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis poet Jane Ellen Ibur is certainly a character. She's appeared before a class of children wearing a cape and carrying a magic wand. She sometimes wears two pairs of glasses at a time — one for distance, a second for close-up.

Tisha and Branden Brooks look over their daughter Avery's second-grade writing journal at their home in the Shaw neighborhood as son Alex (partially hidden) looks on. May 2017
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

As President Donald Trump’s administration explores ways to expand charter schools across the country, parents in national surveys and those in St. Louis point to academic quality as their highest priority in selecting a school.

Research suggests that parents often don’t have a way to accurately compare the public education options. And there are several factors that parents take into account — including word-of-mouth and proximity to one’s home — though more often than not, they choose a charter school or district school based on their child’s current and future success instead of the school’s overall performance.

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