State unemployment
1:21 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Unemployment Rate Down Again In Missouri

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Missouri's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest point in nearly four years - good news for incumbent Jay Nixon with the election three weeks away.

The state Department of Economic Development announced this morning that the rate is 6.9 percent - down three-tenths of a point from August, and nearly three points below its recession-era peak in August of 2009.

The state says companies added 2,500 jobs in September, bringing the total number of new jobs this year to 24,700.

Nixon applauded the numbers in a statement:

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Charter Schools
12:56 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

State: 4 of 5 'Financially Stressed' Mo. Charter Schools Are In St. Louis

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The state says five Missouri charter schools are financially stressed.

Four of the schools are in St. Louis - Carondolet Leadership Academy, Grand Center Arts Academy, South City Preparatory Academy and Jamaa Learning Center. The fifth is Pathway Academy in Kansas City.

This is the first time the state has declared schools financially stressed under a new state law that requires more supervision of the publicly funded but independently run schools. The designation is based on ending balances in two key funds.

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St. Louis Public Schools
12:01 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

St. Louis Public Schools Get Provisional Accreditation After Unanimous Board Vote

Mo. State Board of Education members on Oct. 16th, 2012, listen to a presentation on the St. Louis City School District before voting to restore provisional accreditation.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:57 p.m. with comments from DESE's Margie Vandeven; Peter Herschend, State Board of Education President; and Chris Nicastro, Mo. Education Commissioner.


St. Louis schools are no longer unaccredited, following a unanimous vote today by the State Board of Education. The struggling district, which has been under state control for five years, will now have provisional, but not full, accreditation.

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11:39 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Symphony's Robertson Guest On NPR's 'On Point'

Lead in text: 
St. Louis Symphony music director and conductor David Robertson was on NPR's On Point today as they celebrated the 150th birthday of composer Claude Debussy. Explore their conversation via the link.
Flutes and fauns, dreams of the sea, Clair de Lune, and more. We're celebrating the 150 th of composer Claude Debussy. Claude Debussy composed in the time of the impressionist painters. His music can call to mind that dreamy state. A storm at sea. A faun at play. Moonlight on water.
2013 Primary
11:18 am
Tue October 16, 2012

New Campaign Finance Reports Show Continued Fundraising Edge For Slay

New campaign finance reports show Mayor Francis Slay retains a huge lead over his March 2013 challenger, Lewis Reed.
(via City of St. Louis websites)

Updated to note that Slay filed multiple reports, and thus raised and spent more than quarterly report reflected.

The latest quarterly reports are in for the 2013 mayoral primary in the city of St. Louis, and incumbent Mayor Francis Slay continues to hold a huge fundraising advantage over challenger Lewis Reed, the Board of Aldermen president.

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River Study
8:14 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Study Examines Missouri River After Last Year's Flooding

Aerial views of the Missouri River in the Bismarck-Mandan, North Dakota area June 8, 2011. The upstream Garrison Dam was releasing water into the Missouri River at a flow of 140,000 cubic feet per second.
(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Photo by Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk)

A Corps of Engineers study says more research and monitoring are needed to reduce the likelihood of damage along the Missouri River in future floods.

The study released Monday focuses on remaining vulnerabilities after the Missouri River rose to record levels last year. The flooding began after the corps released massive amounts of water from upstream reservoirs filled by melting snow and heavy rain.

Most repairs to damaged levees in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri are expected to be finished before next spring. Work on the river's dams expected to take longer.

Governor Race
8:05 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Large Gap In Nixon, Spence Remaining Campaign Budget

(Nixon: via Missouri Governor’s website, Spence: courtesy Alpha Packaging)

Gov. Jay Nixon entered the final month before the November elections with three times as much campaign cash as his Republican challenger.

Finance figures released Monday show the Democratic governor had $4.9 million in his campaign account at the start of October, compared with $1.5 million for St. Louis businessman Dave Spence.

Foreclosure Mediation
6:04 am
Tue October 16, 2012

The Battle Over Foreclosure Mediation In St. Louis County

(via Flickr/taberandrew)

Casandra Sheperd is about to be evicted from her home in north St. Louis County.

On a recent afternoon, the soft spoken woman with an easy smile is standing in a room with 20 years’ worth of possessions stacked to the ceiling.

“Every box is hard, you know, because everything has a memory,” Sheperd says. “You know, you pack, you stack, you cry, but you keep moving."

Sheperd lost her job at an insurance company a couple of years ago and started getting behind on her mortgage payments.

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Julie Rose has been reporting for WFAE since January 2008, covering everything from political scandal and bank bailouts to homelessness and the arts.  She's a two-time winner of a national Edward R. Murrow Award for radio writing. Prior to WFAE, Julie reported for KCPW in Salt Lake City where she got her start in radio.  Before that, she was a nonprofit fundraiser and a public relations manager in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It took a few career changes, but Julie finally found her calling in public radio reporting because she gets paid to do what she does best – be nosy. She's a graduate of the communications program at Brigham Young University and contributes frequently to National Public Radio programs. 

Peter Kenyon is NPR's international correspondent based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Prior to taking this assignment in 2010, Kenyon spent five years in Cairo covering Middle Eastern and North African countries from Syria to Morocco. He was part of NPR's team recognized with two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University awards for outstanding coverage of post-war Iraq.

In addition to regular stints in Iraq, he has followed stories to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria, Morocco and other countries in the region.

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