Vinita Park Mayor James McGee waits his turn to speak at least week's St. Louis County Council meeting. McGee opposes a measure establishing standards on local police departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s pretty difficult to find two municipalities that differ more than Florissant and Glen Echo Park.

Florissant is one of St. Louis County’s largest and oldest cities – and possesses a fairly sophisticated police department. The roughly 160-person strong Glen Echo Park is one of the county’s smallest municipalities with a land area consisting of a whopping 0.03 square miles. It contracts with Normandy for police service.

But leaders of the two cities share a commonality: They’re both strongly opposed to St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s push to establish standards on municipal police departments.

Athrasher | Flickr

St. Louis area banks are becoming more accessible to low-income and minority neighborhoods. That’s according to a new report released by the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance.

In a survey of 23 banks, the alliance found that St. Louis banks have added at least seven branches in low-income or minority neighborhoods in the past three years. The banks have also made at least $2.4 billion in development loans and investments since 2012, earmarked for people and communities that don’t have much money.

Rams fans line up with letters made by Jill Bauer of Columbia, Ill. on Sat. Nov. 14, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The plan to build a new football stadium in St. Louis continues to bring passion to the forefront. Rams fans and St. Louis residents took turns pleading their cases to the city’s Ways and Means Committee for three hours Saturday at an outdoor venue within the footprint of the proposed stadium. The aldermanic committee is considering a bill to help fund its construction.  

Tef Poe at civilian review board hearing 1.29.14
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

This week a couple of hip-hop musicians released tracks tackling current political issues. Tef Poe’s "Devils" follows Poe’s template of using his ire for a specific politician, in this case Ben Carson, to address systemic issues he sees in the political structure. For Poe, it’s full steam ahead.

LaVell Monger
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

As president of the Associated Black Collegians at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, LaVell Monger is well versed on issues facing minorities on campus.

But when the recent furor erupted over the president of the University of Missouri system, Monger admits the name Tim Wolfe didn’t exactly ring a bell.

(all photos via Missouri Department of Conservation)

Though it's generally well run, the Missouri Department of Conservation has had trouble following directions.

That is the conclusion of a report released Friday by auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat.

Gary Pinkel is the winningest football coach in Mizzou history, and will retire at the end of the 2015 season.
Courtesy MU Tigers

Mizzou head football coach Gary Pinkel will retire at the end of this season.

According to a statement from the University’s Athletics Department this afternoon, Pinkel’s decision is "health-based." Pinkel, the winningest coach in Mizzou history, was diagnosed with lymphoma in May, but was able to continue his coaching duties as he was being treated.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Soulard Fine Arts Building is celebrating 25 years of housing a community of 17 different visual artists in its walls. The occasion will be commemorated with an exhibit at the Regional Arts Commission about the building itself. Over 15 artists’ works will be shown as part of the exhibition.

Meera Nagarajan | Sauce Magazine

Maybe you’ve recently patronized a restaurant that lists the farms their food came from on the menu. Or maybe you read that Vanity Fair article lambasting chefs who prioritize where food comes from over taste. But is that what the farm-to-table movement is really about in St. Louis? On this month’s Sound Bites, St. Louis Public Radio’s partnership with Sauce Magazine, we get to the bottom of it.

Our guests:

Ameren's coal-fired power plant in Labadie
Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

The Sierra Club is appealing to Ameren shareholders in an attempt to prompt the utility to move away from coal-based energy.

The organization has submitted a resolution to shareholders calling for at least 30-percent wind and solar sourced energy by 2030 and at least 70-percent by 2050.

Big Muddy Dance Company

A lot of things have changed in the past five years for Big Muddy Dance Company, but one thing has not: the dedication of the group’s original core members, most of whom are still performing with the company. That’s pretty inspiring, mostly because the group has completely changed the tone and tenor of its dance style over that period of time.

Sabina England, Priscilla Block and Denise Thimes
Photos of England and Thimes from their websites; Block from UMSL

A popular vocalist, a well-known activist and an up-and-coming filmmaker and playwright are among six women honored with a 2016 St. Louis Visionary Award.

The awards, which began in 2003, returned last year after a one-year hiatus and reorganization.

East St. Louis City Manager Alvin Parks leans over the city council table Thurs. Nov. 12, 2015 to speak to Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks.
File Photo |Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 20 to clarify current layoff numbers-East St. Louis City Manager Alvin Parks has notified two more city employees that they are losing their jobs. Tuesday, Nov. 24 will be the last day of work for the public safety director and the superintendent of streets.

Parks said Thursday the positions are being eliminated in order to reduce the city’s millions of dollars of debt. He previously laid off eight police officers and six administrators. He also eliminated one unfilled administrative position.

Members of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment conduct a silent protest during a public hearing on municipal court reform on Nov. 12, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the working group created to study and propose reforms to municipal courts in Missouri heard from three main camps at a public hearing on Thursday, which stretched for nearly three hours.

One believes the system is fine, and many of the problems identified are being addressed. Another acknowledges there are problems, but wants to keep reforms local. The third, and largest by far, wants the Supreme Court to force the consolidation of municipal courts.

Richard Ryffel, head of the appointed Normandy school board, listens to a small group discussion at the district's public hearing.
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

State education officials praised the Normandy school district Thursday night for the progress it has made over the past year.

Then the superintendent asked for ways the district could move even faster toward its goal of accreditation.

Elizabeth Herring leads the girls in St. Louis' Juvenile Dention Center through the five ballet positions.
Nancy Fowler / St. Louis Public Radio

What does a dancer and former debutante born in 1926 have in common with teenagers at St. Louis’ juvenile detention center?

A lot, as it turns out, according to Elizabeth “Bunny” Herring.

Herring, 89, sees striking similarities between herself and the young women in the ballet classes she teaches inside the locked facility, as part of the Prison Performing Arts (PPA) program.

First Amendment
Robin Klein | Wikipedia

Republican presidential candidates and anti-racism protesters at Mizzou don’t agree on much. Yet both made news recently by confronting journalists. Intentionally or not, they raised similar, significant questions about press freedom — and responsibility.

For journalists, it’s tempting to conclude that if you’re being criticized from opposite sides, you must be doing things right. It’s not that simple. Let’s break down the issues and look at what’s at stake — for reporters and for the public we are supposed to serve.

Two area organizations are looking to further their missions by honoring the legacy of Cesar Chavez, even though the labor organizer and Latino rights activist only briefly visited the state. 

The Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates Coalition (MIRA) is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a series of events that look to explain how the organization fits within the history of immigration rights reform. This weekend the organization helps launch an exhibit focused on Chavez facilitated by the Hispanic Arts Council at the St. Louis Public Library .  

Dave Peacock of the St. Louis stadium task force testifies on Thursday before the Board of Aldermen's Ways and Means Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Dave Peacock didn’t mince any words about how important it is to get a stadium financing plan through the Board of Aldermen.

“We don’t have a plan if they don’t,” said Peacock, one member of Gov. Jay Nixon’s two-person stadium task force.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

When Stefan Bradley, Ph.D, asks black students, “Do you love your university?” he says the answer is often “No, I don’t.”

“That needs to be the goal of these university officials: finding a way for all of the students to have an affection for their university and to walk away with the kind of experiences that we read about in the alumni magazines,” Bradley said on Thursday’s “St. Louis on the Air.” The show focused on campus protests shaking institutions of higher education across the nation, including the Columbia campus of the University of Missouri.