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Hundreds of volunteers donned stocking caps and work gloves Saturday to clean up empty lots and complete minor home repairs in University City.

Cold temperatures prevented workers from pouring concrete, but city residents and others from throughout the St. Louis region cleared brush, picked up trash, cleaned gutters and painted railings.

SixThirty Logo
SixThirty

The Chinese investor Fosun Group announced the investment in the financial tech company BondIT on Friday.

BondIT, based in Israel, has created a digital product to help investors in the bond market. The company took part in the St. Louis-based seed investor and accelerator SixThirty last year.

SixThirty Managing Partner Atul Kamra said it’s the latest company to attract follow-on funding.

Photographs taken during an investigation of fair housing compliance by the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council.
Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council

A fair housing advocacy organization has filed federal complaints against five new apartment complexes in the St. Louis area.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council claims the buildings do not meet accessibility standards for people with disabilities, further restricting an already limited supply of accessible housing in the region.

s_falkow | Flickr

The city of St. Louis has pledged to let most people charged with municipal offenses go home without having to pay bail.

These changes are part of a court order finalized earlier this month. They were prompted in part by a federal lawsuit from the MacArthur Justice Center over the way people protesting Jason Stockley's acquittal of first-degree murder were treated by the police and courts. That lawsuit has since been dismissed.

J. Samuel Davis (L) and Ron Himes (R) joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.
Alex Heuer, provided | St. Louis Public Radio

Actor and St. Louis native Robert Guillaume died at the age of 89 on Tuesday, October 24.

His role as the butler Benson won him Emmys for best supporting actor in a comedy in 1979 and best actor in a comedy in 1985, making him the first African-American to win either.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with members of the local acting community about how Guillaume influenced their careers.

Sidney Watson, the Jane and Bruce Robert Professor at Saint Louis University’s Health Law Policy Center
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Don Marsh talked with Saint Louis University health law professor Sidney Watson about the just released 2018 premiums for policies through the Affordable Care Act and discuss how Missourians and St. Louisans will fare.

This Behind the Headlines discussion was a follow-up to a conversation about what's happening with healthcare in the United States.

AT&T employees and T-REX members put together server stacks for the AT&T Open Source Lab at T-REX.
Photo provided | BJ Kraiberg | T-REX

AT&T is reaching out to St. Louis’ tech startup community with a new Open Source Lab.

The company is providing about $70,000 worth of servers, technology services and funding to create the lab, which will be located at the tech incubator T-REX in downtown St. Louis.

Jomo Castro, AT&T's regional director of external affairs, said it will allow for collaboration between startups, researchers and corporations.

Stephanie Snow, a staff attorney with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, standing in front of one of the panels that's part of an exhibit about Alexander Hamilton.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

An exhibit on display now at the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Louis features the life and work of Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton was one of the Founding Fathers, the first Secretary of the Treasury and a fervent advocate of a strong national government.

A nursing student practices taking a blood sample for a lead test on a volunteer in Jennings.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio.

When a child has an elevated amount of lead in their blood, it’s often up to Tammi Holmes to find the source.

Once, it was a packet of turmeric, brought home after an international trip. Another time, it was the metal letter on an apartment door, traced by a little girl every day as she learned the alphabet.

“We’re missing a lot of kids,” Holmes told a group of educators during a free-testing day at the Gary Gore Elementary School in Jennings. "Sometimes people don't think about things like that, until we have that conversation." 

LaShell Eikerenkoetter addresses police officers after protesters saw them use a Taser on a demonstrator.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The search for a new chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department — underway since Sam Dotson retired in April — is into its sixth month.  Applications were due on Thursday, and a new chief should be in place by January.

The final steps of the process are taking place with the department under a bright spotlight from protesters demanding more police accountability, and the scrutiny could impact the way the rest of the search plays out.

Sign at a homeless tent encampment on sidewalk in downtown St. Louis on Oct. 26, 2017.
Chelsea Hoye | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

For a group of homeless people who've been living in tents on a downtown St. Louis sidewalk, it's the end of the road. 

Thursday was the deadline imposed by the city for them to leave the site.

In an act of solidarity, community activists gathered Thursday morning near Tucker Boulevard and Biddle Street to hand out food, winter clothes, and bus tickets to people who are homeless.

City officials had earlier announced that those in the tents would have to vacate the sidewalk, citing safety concerns.

Movie poster image. Melissa Leo and Margaret Qualley star in "Novitiate," set to open in Los Angeles and New York Friday, Oct. 27.
Provided | Sony Pictures

Contemporary classical music fans all over the country have enjoyed original compositions by St. Louis' own Chris Stark. But he may have found his biggest audience, ever, in a new group: moviegoers.

Stark, a composer and a professor of composition at Washington University, recently finished scoring his first film, a Sony Pictures release, “Novitiate.” It’s the story of a woman who joins a convent.  Margaret Qualley plays the aspiring nun and Melissa Leo, the mother superior, in the film directed by Maggie Betts.

In our latest Cut & Paste podcast episode, Willis Ryder Arnold and Nancy Fowler talk with Stark about his work for a major motion picture.

Bob Brody (L) and Robin Feder (R)
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

The Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) in St. Louis has been serving deaf children throughout the country for more than one hundred years.

“It was founded in 1914 by an ear, nose, and throat doctor in St. Louis, Dr. Max Goldstein,” said Robin Feder, CID’s executive director who previously taught at the school. “He had gone to Europe and seen deaf children being taught to talk there and thought he wanted to bring that new educational philosophy back to St. Louis.”

CID is different than most schools for deaf children in that teachers do not teach sign language.

On Chess: The blueprint of a chess professional

Oct 26, 2017
Cristian Chirila at the 2017 Spring Chess Classic
Austin Fuller | Saint Louis Chess Club

Becoming a professional in chess takes years of practice, of course. But there are also some key skills that can help someone go from amateur to pro. Today, I'm going to give an outline of what those skills are.

Being versatile as a chess professional is probably one of the most important aspects of successfully managing and developing a career in this very competitive field.

Students listen to a book reading during a giveaway event at Koch Elementary School in Riverview Gardens School District on March 2, 2017.
File | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The Riverview Gardens School District is falsely boosting its attendance numbers under an orchestrated effort to regain full state accreditation, two district principals allege in federal lawsuits.

The principals, Danielle DeLoatch and Amanda Bell-Greenough, filed the suits on Tuesday against the north St. Louis County district, alleging that they faced disciplinary action and retaliation for objecting to changing attendance records.

Riverview Gardens, which is trying to return to good standing with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, denies the allegations.

The Citizen Advisory Committee, formed by Mayor Krewson to give input on the city's search for a new police chief, listens to public comments at a meeting Tuesday evening.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Candidates interested in being the chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department have until Thursday to submit their applications for the job.

The city has been looking for a chief for the last six months after Sam Dotson's resignation. Phone interviews with qualified candidates are set to start in early November, with final interviews intended for mid-December. City officials hope to have a new chief selected by the end of the year.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican now running for the U.S. Senate, said he fully supports President Donald Trump’s overall plan to cut taxes – and accuses Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill of opposing the idea.

“She has been unequivocally ‘no’ on the president’s blueprint,’’ Hawley said in a conference call Wednesday with reporters. “She has said ‘no’ to the proposal that the president has on the table.”

peter.a photography | Flickr

In a bid to boost pro-pot efforts statewide, St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Green has filed a bill to bar city police from enforcing federal or state laws against marijuana.

Green said she has at least six co-sponsors for her bill that would, in effect, allow people to use, sell and grow marijuana within the city’s borders.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Parks Department will dedicate a sculpture and plaza at the Powder Magazine Museum at Jefferson Barracks Park on Friday.

The centerpiece of the plaza is a bronze monument by St. Louisan Barbara “B.J.” Mungenast that pays tribute to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as The Old Guard. The sculpture is a duplicate of a monument that Mungenast has created for Fort Myer, Virginia, where the regiment is based.

Florence Pretz's original design for the Billiken, patented in 1908.
Saint Louis University Archives

If you walk through the Saint Louis University campus, you’ll almost certainly run into their unusual mascot, the Billiken, in some form. The Billiken is a pointy-headed, grinning imp covered in white fur, and it’s everywhere: banners, statues—even parking spaces outside the admissions office are reserved for future Billikens.

As SLU is in the midst of celebrating its founding 200 years ago, an in-depth look at the university's unusual mascot seemed timely.

What exactly is a Billiken?

A sampling of SLU students at the student center had a guess.

Michael Okello arranges his cassava harvest, untouched by viruses.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

To prove that a new-gene editing technology could be used to alter the cassava plant, scientists in the St. Louis suburbs zeroed in on a gene used to process chlorophyll. Before long, they had petri dishes full of seedlings that were white as chalk.

The plan is to use CRISPR — a cheaper, faster way to genetically modify crops — to grow cassava plants that are resistant to common plant viruses threatening food supplies in East Africa. But regulatory agencies have yet to finalize how they will treat the new crops.

“It’s only really been available for use in plants for three, four years,” said principal investigator Nigel Taylor, of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur. “Right now, it’s an experimental tool.”

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

Catholics and Lutherans are coming together in the spirit of reconciliation for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther in 1517.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Deacon Carl Sommer, adjunct professor of church history, registrar, and coordinator of assessment at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and Pastor Keith Holste, co-pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Webster Groves and co-director of the Lutheran School of Theology.

Dennis Sparger, music director and conductor of the Bach Society of Saint Louis.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

The Bach Society of Saint Louis is participating in a 500th anniversary commemoration concert drawing inspiration from the Reformation. The Reformation was a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther in 1517.

“I think [Luther’s] influence in the area of music was probably just as powerful as it was in theology,” said Dennis Sparger, music director and conductor of the Bach Society. “He praised music to the highest level and really encouraged us all to use all of our music to praise God.”

LaShell Eikerenkoetter and Rev. Darryl Gray have each been arrested during the Stockley protests.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The Rev. Darryl Gray marched alongside iconic civil rights figures, including Ralph Abernathy, who succeeded Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

More people are dying annually from overdosing on opioids compared to HIV, car accidents and gun violence. And Missouri is no exception.

“The opioid crisis is the biggest public health emergency of our lifetimes,” said Rachel Winograd, assistant research professor at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

 She said the clear hot-spots of deaths in Missouri are in the St. Louis area.

St. Louis Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, D-1st Ward, joins a wide-ranging coalition of groups on Oct. 24, 2107 to oppose Proposition P, a half-cent sales tax increase that will primarily fund higher pay for St. Louis police officers.
Chelsea Hoye | St. Louis Public Radio

A wide-ranging coalition is urging St. Louis residents to vote "no" on a proposed half-cent sales tax increase intended primarily for police officer and firefighter salaries.

If the measure passes in November, Proposition P would push the sales tax in some areas of St. Louis to nearly 12 percent. Opponents say it’s not fair to force already-struggling parts of the city to pay for policing that doesn’t benefit them.

Actor William Shatner
(via Flickr/Crosa, Creative Commons)

William Shatner is best known for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek: The Original Series. The television series ran for only three seasons, from 1966-1969, though the cultural influence of Shatner’s character and that of Star Trek overall endures.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Shatner about his upcoming one-man show, “Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It,” in Rolla this Sunday at the Leach Theatre.

There are still some traces of the Jamestown Mall in north St. Louis County. A deal to put all the property under control of the county port authority could help speed up the long-delayed redevelopment of the site.
Provided | St. Louis County

The entire site of the former Jamestown Mall is now under the control of St. Louis County. The county Port Authority has contracts for the final two sections of the property, which has become an eyesore since the mall closed in 2014.

Paul Curtman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Paul Curtman, a Republican from Franklin County, says he’s running for state auditor next year, after months of entertaining a possible bid for the U.S. Senate.

Curtman is touting his conservative credentials and his service in the U. S. Marine Corps in stops around the state to officially launch his campaign.

Missouri candidates for statewide and legislative offices are having to learn the ropes of Amendment 2, which imposes campaign-donation restrictions.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Just over a year away from what could be a crucial 2018 election, Missouri candidates are grappling with the new restrictions to campaign donations mandated by the voter-approved measure known as Amendment 2.

Close to 70 percent of Missouri voters approved the constitutional amendment in 2016, putting an end to the state’s 10-year status as one of only a handful of states without donation limits. But flaws in the new system are prompting the General Assembly and political activists to seek more changes.  

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