News

The John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Next week, in-person interviews will begin for a new director of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Health Care System in St. Louis -- for the ninth time in three years.

The challenges of finding a director who can make a long-term commitment aren't unique to St. Louis. Across the nation, the VA has had difficulty recruiting administrators, VA Under Secretary David Shulkin said Friday.

Cropped photo by Roy Cox

The St. Louis Symphony has named Gemma New the incoming resident conductor.

New’s responsibilities will include conducting various concerts through the season and acting as music director for the St. Louis Symphony’s Youth Orchestra. The New Zealand-born conductor also will assist Music Director David Robertson and guest conductors during rehearsals.

Updated Monday, June 6, with details on Eric Greitens' first TV ad — After raising money for months, or even years, it’s now time for many Missouri candidates to start spending it.

That’s particularly true in the state’s four-way GOP contest for governor, where the contenders are launching their final two-month sprint to woo voters for the Aug. 2 primary.

As of Monday, St. Louis area voters will start seeing more TV ads.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

A bill awaiting Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s approval would require hospitals to disclose cost estimates to patients within three business days.

State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, sponsored the bill. It links hospital costs to 17 other measures related to healthcare, including a provision that would charge Medicaid patients for using the emergency room during a non-emergency. Another would allow doctors to charge those patients for missing an appointment. Patient advocates say the latter goes against federal law.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson takes questions from Alderman Sam Moore (in hat), D., 4th Ward, at a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on June 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.

This week, we discussed public outcry about public safety in St. Louis, the NGA announcement and the Illinois budget situation after Illinois’ spring legislative session closed on Tuesday.

Here’s who joined us:

Nancy Anderson as Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
J. David Levy | Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

It has been a bloody two summers in Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park.

“The past two years have been a lot of death on stage,” said Rick Dildine, artistic and executive director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. “There is a high body count. Henry IV, Henry V, Antony and Cleopatra … I wanted something that ended with marriage and happiness.”

Edmund Lee
provided by family

The agency that runs the area’s school desegregation program says it has no control over admissions policies for charter schools, so it should not be the target of a suit filed by an African-American family whose son can’t continue at a charter school because of his race.

Andwele Jolly best donut
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Andwele Jolly is a trained physical therapist, an administrator at Washington University’s School of Medicine and an all-around doughnut connoisseur. In high school he could eat 12 doughnuts in a sitting. (Good thing that he ran track at the time.) Jolly has lived on two continents and in numerous states and has sampled doughnuts throughout the land. He says St. Louis’ love for the deep-fried delicacy stands out.

Quinton Reed eats a home cooked lunch and watches TV at his Garfield Commons Apartment. Reed was diagnosed with schizophrenia after years of struggling with homelessness.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Quinton Reed is one of the lucky ones. After struggling with homelessness for four years, he was diagnosed with  a mental illness and set up with treatment and a one-bedroom apartment in south St. Louis.

“I used to couldn’t watch TV or see my daughter or see my family or just relax. I was just out all day carrying big bags, going from shelter to shelter and sleeping outside,” said Reed, showing off the couch in his living room where he goes to relax and get away from the world.

St. Louis has won the effort to get the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.75 billion facility.

The final decision was not a surprise, even as Illinois officials continued to push this week for a location near Scott Air Force Base in the Metro East.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Local podcasting guru Adam Frick says that a podcast can be “really anything, these days.”

“They’ve been around for over a decade now,” Frick said. “The most common example would be something like an NPR show that gets distributed digitally. It’s like Netflix or anything else that you can time-shift how you want to listen to things. They range from 5-10 minutes to three hours.”

Flickr | Cardinal Rehabber

Cardinals are known for their bright red plumage, a color that gives birds an advantage when attracting mates. But what gives them this attractive hue?

It’s all in the genes, say scientists at Washington University in St. Louis.

Beth Huebner and Herb Bernsen are in the second year of a MacArthur Foundation grant to reduce the St. Louis County jail population by 15-19 percent.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a discussion about UMSL and St. Louis County’s partnership to reduce the county’s jail population by 15 to 19 percent over two years.

Beth Huebner, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at UMSL, is the lead researcher on a $2.25 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that makes this work possible. She joined the show alongside Herb Bernsen, the director of justice services for St. Louis County, to discuss how the project is going.

Wikimedia Commons

The classic lab mouse is black or white, eats a precisely measured diet to keep him lean, and is relatively young — probably a teenager or young adult in rodent years. His genes are nearly identical to the others around him, the result of generation upon generation of inbreeding for research purposes.

Those specs might help a scientist standardize her experiments, but they may also be holding some research back for one type of cancer drug, two St. Louis researchers argued in a recent review. Instead, they say that pre-clinical trials should include older mice, obese mice, and mice with different types of gut microbiota.

Dennis Ball-Bey, Mansur Ball-Bey's father, hugs Shonettda Ball, Mansur's cousin, on the steps outside St. Louis city court Thursday afternoon.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:15 p.m. with comments from the family and prosecutor Jennifer Joyce. - Two St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers will not face criminal charges for the August 2015 shooting death of a young man in the Fountain Park neighborhood.

Austin and Ryan Jacobs share the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Tim Carter is with Ryan on the right. Carter plays the role of Oberan.
J. David Levy

“What fools these mortals be!” Puck famously utters in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

St. Louis audiences may be fooled in Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' production that lets the spritely Puck be two places at once.  The secret?  Puck is played by identical twins, Austin and Ryan Jacobs, transplants from Houston.

The brothers, who just graduated from Webster University, join us for our latest Cut & Past podcast to talk about sharing the role in the play and a childhood on the stage. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” opens Friday in Forest Park.

Inside Amazon fulfillment center
Amazon.com

Amazon has announced plans to open two distribution centers in Edwardsville.

The company says the facilities are expected to eventually employ more than 1,000 full-time workers.

A worker uses a leaf blower to clear an updated section of the riverfront along Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to transform the Gateway Arch grounds and surrounding areas downtown have reached a major milestone along the Mississippi River. The public is invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon to mark the completion of a $33 million central riverfront redevelopment project. The work finished along a 1.5 mile stretch of Leonor K.

On Chess: Memoirs of a chess square

Jun 1, 2016
Tom Hackney, Chess Painting No. 71, (Marcel Duchamp vs. E.H. Smith, Hyéres, 1928), 2016, Gesso on linen, oak frame 16 ½ x 16 ½ in.
Courtesy of Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, New York

At the beginning of many prestigious chess tournaments, players sign their name on particular light squares of commemorative chessboards, often with no intent beyond the thought, “On which square will my signature appear most elegant?” or, “Which square is left to sign?” And yet, specific squares hold so many memories of sacrifices both successful and failed as well as nightmares of a sacrifice or in-between move.

Attorney General Chris Koster speaks a press conference Thursday in St. Louis with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri's Dan Glaizer.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants legislators to make an annual racial disparity data report more impactful. This comes as his latest report, covering 2015, continues to show big discrepancies in how often police stop black drivers compared to white drivers.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson takes questions from Alderman Sam Moore (in hat), D., 4th Ward, at a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on June 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Aldermen in charge of St. Louis' budget heard more requests Wednesday from department officials who say they can't do the jobs they should without additional staffing.

Representatives of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the circuit attorney's office and recorder of deeds Sharon Carpenter all asked members of the Ways and Means Committee to find the money for additional positions. The St. Louis Fire Department made a similar request last week.

Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) was started in 1944 by William Trent, Frederick D. Patterson and Mary McLeod Bethune. It was created to help raise funds for scholarships for 37 private historically black colleges and universities.

Now, funding has expanded for scholarships to non-HBCUs. The group predominantly provides scholarships to African American students, but also extends funding to other minorities as well.

Missouri farmers grow rice mostly in the state's Boo theel.
USDA

Gov. Jay Nixon is working to strengthen a trade agreement with Cuba to export Missouri goods. On Wednesday, Nixon returned from Cuba, where he led a delegation of the state's agriculture and business leaders.  

Dan Mehan of the Missouri Chamber testifies against the proposed constitutional amendment, saying it would have a negative economic impact on Missouri.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Legislation designed to expand the number of employee-owned businesses in Missouri is awaiting Gov. Jay Nixon's signature.

House Bill 2030 would give business owners a 50 percent tax deduction if their companies are at least 30 percent employee owned. It was sponsored by House Speaker Pro-tem Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg.

Lydia Adams speaks during the public comment section of the Ferguson Commission meeting. Adams was one of numerous speakers who spoke during Monday's meeting, which took place in Ferguson.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Foundation for Health has announced that it will donate $6 million to address health issues raised by the Ferguson Commission last year. The priorities include gun violence, food insecurity and toxic stress.

STL Youth Jobs will offer paid summer work to 450 young people over the next several months, but hopes to increase that number to 500.
STL Youth Jobs

STL Youth Jobs launched the first day of its 2016 summer work program Wednesday, while also announcing it has received a financial boost to fund more positions.

(Tim Lloyd)

Busch Stadium will again play host to an international soccer match this summer.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced Wednesday that Liverpool F.C., from England, will take on the Italian Club A.S. Roma on Monday, August 1, at 7:30 p.m.

sirmichael | Flickr | http://bit.ly/21qhnIM

The Sound Bites team at Sauce Magazine is back and ready to help you plan your nights out at St. Louis restaurants during the month of June.

Catherine Klene, the magazine’s managing editor, and Kristin Schultz, the magazine’s staff writer, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the openings and closings of restaurants you should know.

On their list?

Five Aces BBQ, 4000 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO

Originally built to house the Biddle Street Market, this city-owned building at 1211 N. Tucker Blvd. is slated to house the city's new 24-hour homeless shelter.
William Bailey | provided by the city of St. Louis

Updated on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, 2:00 p.m. to include the city's acceptance of a proposal - The city of St. Louis is one step closer to opening a homeless shelter on the near north side. Tuesday a city committee accepted St. Patrick Center’s proposal to run Biddle House with the help of Peter and Paul Community Services.

Human Services Director Eddie Roth said the next step is to negotiate a contract with the agencies.  

Felicia Davis, wife of the Rev. Jonathan Davis, helps a church member's son with his shoelace.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the same pulpit his father had preached from for decades, he clutched the microphone and spoke.

“You whispered a word.”

Beads of sweat dotted his face. He stretched out his vowels so his words became a song.

“You called him home.”

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