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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson delivers remarks after being sworn in on Friday, June 1.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:54 p.m. with the hiring of Parson's chief of staff - Mike Parson kicked off his first full week as Missouri’s governor by meeting with the state’s cabinet members, all chosen by his predecessor, Eric Greitens.

The meeting was held Monday in private, inside the governor’s office, but Parson did briefly meet with reporters beforehand. He said he has no intention of replacing any of Greitens’ chosen agency heads.

Host Don Marsh (left) and author Jon Meacham talked about Meacham's latest book, "Soul of America" at the St. Louis Public Library on May 25.
Kara Smith/St. Louis County Library

“American history is defined by the phrase ‘and yet …,’” author and historian Jon Meacham told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh May 25, before an audience of 900 people at the St. Louis County Library.

“We promised equality to all, and yet, we didn’t extend it to all,” Meacham said, citing other examples of former presidential actions that they later contradicted. His latest book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” compares and contrasts today’s political climate to historical events.

Sen. Rob Schaaf, former Sen. Jim Lembke and Sean Soendker Nicholson
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes Sean Soendker Nicholson, Sen. Rob Schaaf and former Sen. Jim Lembke to the program to talk about a ballot initiative known as “Clean Missouri.”

Clean Missouri is a multi-faceted ethics proposal that seeks to curb lobbyist-paid freebies, make it more difficult for lawmakers to become lobbyists, tweak campaign finance laws and, perhaps most notably, overhaul how state legislative districts are drawn.

Dr. Lannis Hall, right, looks at scans before meeting with patients at a Siteman Cancer Center satellite site in St. Peters. May 31, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For years, clinical trials were focused in academic medical centers such as the one below oncologist John DiPersio’s office at Siteman Cancer Center, high above the Washington University medical campus in the Central West End. Historically, most participants in clinical trials have been white men.

To help increase diversity in its cancer studies, Siteman bringing the science to people’s neighborhoods, with smaller centers in traditionally underserved areas, far away from the big medical campus. It most recently started clinical trials at its newest location in north St. Louis County, 12 miles north of the Central West End.

Gabrielle Cole is a co-director for the Fit and Food Connection. They will move the food pantry to Believers Temple in the Castle Point area.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

The Fit and Food Connection now has a permanent location in north St. Louis County to offer food and exercise options for low-income individuals and families.

The non-profit organization is partnering with Believers Temple, a church in the Castle Point area. The partnership will use the building’s fitness center and kitchen to teach members healthy eating habits and preparation, workout routines and to offer healthy food options.

Demonstrators marched north along Grand Avenue in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood on June 2, 2018 to call more attention to issues of gun violence.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Hundreds of St. Louis-area residents took to the streets on Saturday to call attention to gun violence.

The demonstrators took part in a silent march along Grand Avenue through the JeffVanderLou neighborhood, carrying signs that read “we can end gun violence” and “life is precious.” The event coincided with Wear Orange Weekend, an annual campaign against gun violence held nationwide.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs paperwork after taking his oath of office. June 1, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Lt. Gov. Mike Parson set forth on a new chapter in Missouri political history by becoming the state’s 57th governor — promising to stabilize a state government rocked by departing-Gov. Eric Greitens’ scandals.

Parson, 62, took the oath of office shortly after 5:30 p.m., Friday.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks during a news conference after the end of the 2017 legislative session. Greitens used this opportunity to compare lawmakers to third graders for not passing enough bills.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

While movers were emptying out the executive mansion, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was busy during his final day in office clearing off his desk.

And that includes signing at least 77 bills into law.

He also issued pardons for five people in prison and commuted the sentences of four others to prison time already served. Pardons wipe the crime off a person’s record, while commuted sentences remain — even though the person is freed.

Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“Bitten by radioactive bagpipes” 10 years ago, the Wee Heavies are a local, mostly a cappella group dedicated to performing Celtic music. Band members Jay Harkey, Peter Merideth, Steve Neale and Aaron Schiltz joined St. Louis Public Radio contributor Charlie McDonald for a conversation on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Gov. Eric Greitens walks back into the Civil Courts Building in downtown St. Louis after delivering a statement to reporters. May 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann reflect on Gov. Eric Greitens’ decision to resign from office.

The move marks a stunning end to what appeared to be a fast-rising political career that began with presidential ambitions and ended with a wave of scandal.

Tonight, Eric Greitens will step down as Missouri governor, with Lt. Gov. Mike Parson replacing him. In exchange for his resignation, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner agreed to drop Greitens’ tampering charges.

Manager Cordell Lewis manages a team of 18 at the Ferguson Starbucks, which opened in 2016.
Starbucks

Updated June 1 with "St. Louis on the Air" segment – St. Louis Public Radio reporter Ashley Lisenby joined the show to talk about her locally focused reporting around implicit bias as Starbucks conducted company-wide training earlier this week.

Original story from May 30:

Employees at thousands of Starbucks stores went back to work Wednesday after a half-day seminar on Tuesday focused on company policies and discrimination.

A map that indicates the location of the Old American Zinc Plant Superfund site in Fairmont City, Ill.
Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

The Environmental Protection Agency plans this month to start removing toxic waste from 50 residential yards near a Metro East Superfund site.

The Old American Zinc Plant, which discontinued operations in 1967, contaminated hundreds of properties with high levels of lead, arsenic, zinc and other heavy metals that are known to cause cancer and a variety of diseases. The site is located in Fairmont City, next to Cahokia Mounds.

Andrew Stenson as Private Danny Chen, in the new opera "An American Soldier."  6/1/18
Ken Howard | Opera Theatre of St. Louis

U.S. Army Private Danny Chen died at his guard post in Afghanistan in 2011 — not in combat, but from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after enduring racially motivated hazing by his fellow soldiers.

A new opera opening at Opera Theatre of St. Louis on Sunday looks at Chen’s life and death. The creators of “An American Soldier” say it asks basic questions about the nature of identity and belonging in this country.

This rendering provides an idea of what the Gravois Park artists housing development will look like.
SPACE Architects + Designers + Builders

Many St. Louis artists struggle to make a living and pay the rent.

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation wants to help by buying 25 properties and developing affordable artists’ homes and studios. Most are in the Gravois Park area, bound by Jefferson Avenue, Chippewa Street, Grand Boulevard and Cherokee Street.

The city’s Land Reutilization Authority will let the foundation buy the properties for $30,000. Many of the 12 existing buildings and 13 vacant lots have been neglected for decades. The Kranzberg Foundation plans to renovate the dilapidated buildings and construct new homes on the vacant lots before offering them for sale to artists. The work will begin this fall.

Shannan Muskopf | flickr

States are raising the bar of academic standards for measuring students’ learning, according to a report from federal education researchers — but that bar often varies from state to state.

To complicate things more, states, including Missouri, have changed which tests they use several times in recent years.

The National Center for Education Statistics — the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education — released a report Thursday that compares each state’s academic proficiency. The level at which states are considered proficient has gone up, and the gap between high and low bars is narrowing, researchers said.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner speaks to the Ways and Means Committee on May 31, 2018.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner told the city’s budget committee Thursday that her decision to charge Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens with two felonies did not take away from her office’s ability to fight violent crime.

Gardner was the final city department head to speak to the Ways and Means committee, which will start making changes to the next year's $1.1 billion budget  on Monday. It must get final approval by June 30.

Granite City steel plant on July 20, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Steelworkers are about to start making steel again at U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works — and they’re throwing a street party on Saturday to celebrate.

In March, U.S. Steel announced that it was restarting one of its two blast furnaces at the plant and would recall about 500 steelworkers. They were laid off in December 2015 when the company idled its steelmaking facilities in Granite City.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson in his office on Wednesday, May 30, 2018; on Friday, he'll become the state's next governor.
Harrison Sweazea | Missouri Senate Communications

Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson will officially leave his old job and become the state’s 57th governor when he is sworn in at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

His low-key events, closed to the public but open to the press, include a 4 p.m. prayer service at the First Baptist Church in downtown Jefferson City. A public reception will be held at a later date, a spokeswoman said.

Emily Webb (1976-2018) began clogging as a young girl in St. Charles, Missouri. Family members and fellow cloggers joined “St. Louis on the Air” this week in remembrance of her love for the American folk dance.
Thunder & Lightning Cloggers

About three months ago, Emily Webb and her six children were traveling along Route 3 in Columbia, Illinois, when a large truck struck their SUV, killing 41-year-old Webb and leaving a huge void among her family and friends.

She is remembered as a beloved wife and mother. She was also a big part of the St. Louis region’s clogging community and an active member of the Thunder & Lightning Cloggers of Southern Illinois.

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