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Deb Lavender, May 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | 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 state Rep. Deb Lavender to the program.

 

The Kirkwood Democrat has served in the Missouri House since 2015, representing the 90th District, which takes in portions of Kirkwood and Glendale.

 

Lavender is a physical therapist who garnered a reputation for persistence, running for the House  in 2008, 2010 and 2012 and losing each time to then-incumbent Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood.

House Budget chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, speaks during the 2017 Missouri legislative session.
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

Updated at 3:20 p.m. with Department of Correction comment — Missouri’s state budget for the 2018 fiscal year arrived at Governor Eric Greitens’ desk late Thursday night — several hours ahead of the deadline, despite the recent delays and arguments in the Senate that threatened to derail progress.

The new Republican governor has until June 30 to sign the $27.8 billion spending plan, roughly two-thirds of which involves money from the federal government, and decide how much, if anything, he’ll cut or temporarily withhold.

Major battles were waged earlier in the process over K-12 funding, higher education funding and in-home care. In the bill that’s headed to Greitens, elementary and secondary schools will be fully funded, all of the state’s four-year universities will see a 6.6 percent cut and 8,000 elderly and disabled residents will lose home health care services.

Revelers crowd Cherokee Street at a Cinco de Mayo celebration in 2016.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

“It was the wildest Cinco de Mayo party I have ever experienced,” recalled Angel Jimenez-Gutierrez remembering his first May 5 in Missouri.

It was 2002 and he was working at a Mexican restaurant in Rock Hill. Jimenez-Gutierrez had just moved to the United States from Mexico where Cinco de Mayo has never been widely celebrated.

Trish Nguyen works on a graph in a second-grade class at Confluence Academy South City on April 28, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Gateway Science Academy wants families to be satisfied. City Garden Montessori is aiming for racial equity. Neither are unique goals for charter schools in St. Louis.

 

Most of the city’s 17 public charter school systems have their own definition of success, including academic growth, family involvement and personal development. But they’re also required by Missouri law to take the state’s academic standards into account.

 

And without a definitive way to measure success, parents have to trust that the schools are doing right by their children.

Ongoing rain and the threat of more flooding kept downtown Eureka business owners from removing piles of sandbags Thursday morning, as planned. (May 4, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Sharon Wasson, a Eureka resident and retired high school physical education teacher, treats her basement as her sanctuary. It’s where her office is, where she watches the news and where she decompresses after a long day.

But severe flooding this week along the lower Meramec River has transformed her basement into a source of stress. 

You know what they say: You can’t spell Cut & Paste without “u.”

OK, go ahead: groan. We're groaning with you. We know that no one says that.

But seriously, we want to know what you want to hear in Cut & Paste, our arts and culture podcast. Not necessarily “who,” but what kinds of conversations and experiences do you want to be in on?

Waters continue to rise around I-55 near Butler Hill on Wednesday morning. May 2017
Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 4 at 7 p.m. with information about West Alton — Officials with the Rivers Pointe Fire Protection District are urging residents east of Highway 67 in West Alton who plan to evacuate, particularly those who are elderly or have a disability, to do so immediately. Those planning to ride out the flooding, officials said in a Facebook post, should secure provisions.

Alex Donley and Kevin Nashan show off their newly-earned James Beard Foundation Awards.
Catherine Klene | Sauce Magazine

Earlier this week, the St. Louis dining scene was lauded with two more feathers in its cap: the James Beard Foundation awarded Sidney Street Café’s chef/owner Kevin Nashan with the coveted Best Chef: Midwest award and Gioia’s Deli was heralded with an America’s Classic award.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Nashan and Alex Donley, the co-owner of Gioia’s Deli on the Hill, alongside Sauce Magazine’s Catherine Klene, joined host Don Marsh to discuss the awards, their impact on the St. Louis dining scene and upcoming restaurants to keep an eye out for.

This is a mock-up of what the new riverfront stadium with a professional soccer team.
Courtesy of HOK

Almost $1.3 million went into this year’s failed attempt to persuade St. Louis voters to help fund an MLS stadium, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday.

The report, posted on the Missouri Ethics Commission website, shows AspireSTL raised just under $1.2 million for their failed quest to pass Proposition 2 in the April 4 election.

On Chess: Have you thought about summer chess camps?

May 4, 2017
Students eagerly participate during summer camp at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center in 2016.
Austin Fuller | Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

Having served as Resident Grandmaster for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis for the past three weeks, I have had the opportunity to interact with many children who demonstrate a passion for chess. Between school field trips, family visits, lectures and competitions, the club attracts a diverse range of players.

Leanne Magnuson Latuda, Rachel Ebeling and Lydia Ruffin joined St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter to discuss an upcoming performance of the Women's HOPE Chorale.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

“I never thought it would touch my life in the way it did,” said Rachel Ebeling, the co-founder and executive director of the Angel Band Project.

Ebeling is referring to the issue of violence against women. In 2009, Ebeling’s best friend Teresa Butz was killed after she was repeatedly raped by a man who broke into her home in Seattle.

St. Louis' Civil Courthouse - May 2017
Maria Altman / St. Louis Public Radio

Businesses in St. Louis will have to pay their employees at least $10 an hour starting Friday, rather than the state's minimum of $7.70.

A circuit court judge lifted an injunction against a city ordinance on Thursday, a little over a week after the Missouri Supreme Court declined to reconsider its February ruling upholding the law

6 North in the Central West End.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Jane Jones was overwhelmed when she first visited the 6 North Apartments building in the Central West End.

Built in 2004, it’s the nation’s first building constructed entirely under the universal design concept, which incorporates features that allow people with disabilities to live in the space. It can be defined as "the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design."

Jones, who is blind, moved there in 2012. She couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

The Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, 2014
vinwim | Flickr

The Missouri Senate sang, talked about fist fights and criticized each other this week. What they haven't done is pass any bills.

As of Wednesday, just seven working days remain in this year’s legislative session. Plus, the spending plan for the coming fiscal year must be delivered to Gov. Eric Greitens by 6 p.m., Friday, otherwise, they’ll need a special session.

Dr. Richard Eells House in Quincy, Illinois
(Courtesy Arts Quincy)

The Mississippi River town of Quincy, Illinois, was a major stop on the Underground Railroad as slaves attempted to make their way from Missouri to a free state.

Quincy’s role in the Underground Railroad – a network of often secretive locations used to help enslaved people escape to free states and Canada – is highlighted in the events that took place at the home of Dr. Richard Eells and his wife, Jane, during the mid-19th century.

Busch Stadium in Downtown St. Louis.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis police are investigating how a fan at Tuesday’s St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium was hit by a stray bullet. Experts say it’s not as far-fetched a scenario as you might expect.

Police said it was the first time such an incident had happened at the stadium, which opened in 2006. The 34-year-old woman was not seriously injured.

On June 14, 1897, Lt. James Moss, U.S. Army, led his bicycle corps of the 25th Infantry, from Fort Missoula, Montana, up a wagon trail and Indian path, to St. Louis, arriving  on July 16, 1897.
Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

More than a century ago, in 1897, U.S. Army soldiers road bicycles 1,900 miles, from Fort Missoula, Montana to St. Louis.

The 20 soldiers who made the trip were part of the 25th Infantry, a racially-segregated group known as Buffalo Soldiers. The term refers to black soldiers who served west of the Mississippi River in regiments initially formed in 1866, after the end of the Civil War.

“It was a very exciting event,” Angela da Silva, a historian and adjunct professor at Lindenwood University, told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.

Arnold residents pile sandbags over a manhole to try to prevent sewage from mixing with floodwater. May 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A second round of heavy rain rolled through the already soaked and flooded St. Louis metro area Wednesday, leading to longer school closures and heightened worries among affected residents.

Up to 4 inches of rain is expected through Thursday evening, further frustrating travelers who rely on two major interstates in the area. Even so, rivers in the area are forecast to crest Wednesday.

A screenshot of the newly released Your STL Courts website May 2017
Screenshot | yourstlcourts.com

The St. Louis County municipal court system has a new website that developers believe will help reduce arrests of people who don’t show up to court, but detractors say more access to that kind of information doesn’t necessarily make officers’ ticketing proclivities more fair.

Students working in a classroom of Gateway Science Academy in April 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been nearly 20 years since charter schools took root in Missouri, bringing independently operated but publicly funded education to St. Louis and Kansas City.

Often touted as a means of allowing parents flexibility when it comes to their kids’ education, “school choice” expansion is growing in favor among Republican politicians, including U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

In the coming months, St. Louis Public Radio will detail the world of charter schools. But, as any teacher would tell you, an introductory lesson is the first place to start.

A pharmacist at Crider Health Center in Wentzville.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, Missouri transferred the state-run health coverage of about 240,000 low-income adults and children to managed care plans run by three companies: WellCare, Centene Corporation and United Health Group.

The move is part of an increasing privatization of Missouri’s Medicaid program, MO HealthNet. Legislators call it a cost-saving measure that improves efficiency in health care. Critics say the transfer happened too quickly, putting patient health at risk.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

Updated, 7:40 p.m. with statement from Washington University —

About 120 full-time faculty members who aren’t eligible for tenure at Washington University will be able to decide whether to unionize before the end of the school year.

Beth Huebner, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at UMSL, joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss recent research about fines, court fees and surcharges at play in the criminal justice system.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed research about the role fines, court fees, surcharges and more play in the criminal justice system. The issue gained prominence in the St. Louis area after Michael Brown’s shooting death in 2014.

Brewmaster Stuart Keating, seen in a May 1 photo, stands in the excavated cellar below the taproom of Earthbound Brewery. It contains eight groin-vaulted arches, supported by a trio of three-foot limestone pillars..
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis beer drinkers will soon be able to toast the return of a cherished brewery tradition.

Earthbound Brewery is moving into a 150-year-old building that once housed a brewery built above a natural cave system along Cherokee Street. Recently, workers hauled 600 tons of debris from one cellar beneath the old building. It took 20 people and $40,000 to complete the job, said Stuart Keating, the owner of the microbrewery.

Earthbound Brewery's new taproom is scheduled to open this month.

Jennifer Morrow | Flickr

Updated 5:45 p.m., May 2, 2017, to correct headline and story that there is no 20-week ban amended to the underlying bill — The Missouri House approved an amendment Tuesday that would give Missouri a first-in-the-nation parental consent for minors provision and a ban on donating fetal tissue for research.

The abortion restrictions came in the form of an amendment to an underlying bill, which now goes to the House fiscal review committee for an estimate of how much it'll cost with the new amendments. A full vote could come Thursday.

Carrie Houk and Richard Corley discussed the second annual Tennessee Williams Festival in St. Louis on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It is well documented that playwright Tennessee Williams did not look kindly on his childhood spent in St. Louis, Missouri. Born in Mississippi into a “bucolic atmosphere” near his grandparents, the author of “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” was uprooted at age eight when his alcoholic father was transferred to International Shoe Company in St. Louis.

File photo | Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt for years wasn’t shy about his disdain for the Affordable Care Act, condemning it on the Senate floor, in town hall meetings and during interviews.

Then came Tuesday, when the Republican said fixing President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law doesn’t hinge on whether Congress takes action this week to do away with it entirely.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway, right, slammed Carpenter for "mismanagement" -- and criticized her response to the audit.
File Photo | Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri state auditor is the only official who examines how every other statewide office and most taxpayer-funded institutions —large or small, county governments and municipalities included — spend their money.

As a result, it’s often the auditor who shows up on the news when there’s evidence of misused or missing money, which explains why you’ve heard from Nicole Galloway recently. One of her high-profile reports brought to light that top officials in the University of Missouri System were receiving pricey bonuses, which have since stopped.

The Fenton Water Treatment Plant was knocked offline due to historic flooding.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The Meramec River is expected to crest at 40 feet on Wednesday, posing a threat to low-lying communities, including Valley Park, Eureka, Fenton and Kirkwood. 

As water levels rise along the same communities that were badly impacted by flooding in early 2016, some local environmentalists say that levees are responsible for the severe floods residents in the St. Louis area have experienced in recent years.

Dan Lauer, Allison Bischoff and Brian Dixon joined St. Louis on the Air to talk about entrepreneurship in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

A new business accelerator program seeks to put entrepreneurs on a fast track to advancing innovative energy solutions.

The application deadline to the competitive Ameren Accelerator program is May 12th.

Each year for the next three years, five to seven recipients will receive office space in the Cortex Innovation Community and $100,000 in exchange for 8 percent equity in the company – all told, about $1 million in perks and benefits that are part of the highly structured 12-week program.

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