Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Alex Heuer

Senior Talk Show Producer

Alex Heuer joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2012 and is a senior producer of St. Louis on the Air. Alex grew up in the St. Louis area. He began his public radio career as a student reporter at Tri States Public Radio in Macomb, Illinois and worked for a few years at Iowa Public Radio.

Alex graduated summa cum laude from Western Illinois University with a degree in history and earned a teaching certificate in 6 - 12th grade social studies. In 2016, he earned a Master of Public Policy Administration with a focus in nonprofit organization management and leadership from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has won local and national awards for reporting and producing and his stories have been featured nationally on Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

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Timothy O'Leary concludes ten years of leadership at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Timothy O’Leary, general director of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, is concluding a 10 year run in St. Louis as head of the city’s premier opera theater company.

“I’m getting very nostalgic about St. Louis and how much I love it here,” O’Leary told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

O’Leary is heading east to lead the Washington National Opera, an organization that’s part of the Kennedy Center and that enjoys more than twice the budget of OTSL.

Bourbon, Missouri, native Taylor Louderman stars in the Broadway musical "Mean Girls." Louderman is nominated for a Tony Award.
Joan Marcus

The recollection of near-daily, hour-long van rides from Bourbon, Missouri, to St. Louis and back is etched in Taylor Louderman’s memory. Also present is the memory of her younger twin sisters screaming in the back of the Toyota Sienna because the sun was in their eyes.

“My family and I, my family mostly, had to make a lot of sacrifices for my career, and I felt like we were all able to celebrate together,” Louderman said just prior to a recent rehearsal for this year’s Tony Awards that are Sunday night.

St. Louis/East St. Louis native Harry Edwards is a renowned sociologist, specializing in sports protest.
Wikimedia Commons

The NFL on Wednesday announced that it would require players to stand during performances of the national anthem or remain in the locker room.

The announcement stems from a protest that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started in 2016, when he kneeled during the anthem. Other players followed suit.

Protests during sporting events, however, are a decades-long tradition.

Augustus Tolton was born into slavery in Missouri in 1854 and is considered to have been the first African-American priest in the United States. He ministered in Quincy, Illinois.
Wikimedia Commons

A diverse group of people were once parishioners under the ministry of Father Augustus Tolton in Quincy, Illinois, during the late 19th century. That is until the African-American priest was advised to get out of town. Tolton, who would eventually return to be buried in Quincy, suffered much controversy and isolation in his day.

“Through it all, he kept open arms for everyone, white or black,” Joseph Perry, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, said during St. Louis on the Air, “and was kind of mistreated because of that openness and accused of creating a situation of integration that society and the church was not ready for.”

Elena Araoz and Tom Ridgely joined host Don Marsh to talk about this year's Shakespeare Festival St. Louis production.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The tragedy of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet is a timeless tale and one of English playwright William Shakespeare’s most popular works.

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is bringing the classic play back to Forest Park June 1 to 24.

Scientist and inventor Temple Grandin is the author of "Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor." She joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Temple Grandin is an accomplished scientist, inventor and author. She is also an expert in autism research and is one of the most well-known adults with autism.

“I want to get kids interested in making things,” Grandin told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday.

St. Louis author Curtis Sittenfeld was a guest on St. Louis on the Air Monday. | May 14, 2018
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A few years ago as a guest on St. Louis on the Airauthor Benjamin Percy described Curtis Sittenfeld as “St. Louis’ literary warlord.”

Though she doesn’t proclaim command over the St. Louis region’s nearly 3 million residents or the authors who call it home, Sittenfeld’s residence here is a point of pride as is her authority over the English language in writing compelling stories. The bestselling author of five novels including “Prep,” “American Wife” and “Sisterland” has just released yet another book of fiction – and this one is a collection of short stories.

News crews sit outside the Civil Courts Building during the first day of jury selection in Gov. Eric Greitens' felony invasion of privacy trial. May 10, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Defense attorneys for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens say an examination of his phone has turned up no evidence of the photo at the center of his felony invasion of privacy trial.

Greitens is accused of taking a partially nude and nonconsensual photo of a woman with whom he was having an affair.

The governor’s attorneys said in court Friday that a third party reviewed 16,000 images and saw none connected to the woman. Furthermore, they said a technician found no evidence that a photo was deleted.

Rosetta Watson says she was kicked out of Maplewood because she called police too many times seeking help because of her abusive ex-boyfriend.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Public nuisance laws are one tool that city governments use to expel residents who are deemed a problem by city officials. Some housing advocates say officials in Maplewood are using these laws against poor people, people of color and victims of domestic abuse.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with We Live Here co-host/producer Kameel Stanley about the newest episode, concerning how Maplewood officials are responding to the allegations.

The Chase Park Plaza is in St. Louis' Central West End neighborhood.
Paul Sableman | flickr

The topic of development incentives is one that’s complex and controversial.

Are incentives such as tax abatements and tax increment financing (TIFs) fair? Would building or renovation projects typically awarded such incentives get built if they weren’t offered?

Those are just two of the questions explored in Jack Grone’s recent reporting. Grone is the editor of McPherson, an independent journalism startup in St. Louis.

Katrina Brundage, David Karandish and Sam Charrington joined host Don Marsh on Monday.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has long been known as a hub for the use and development of biotechnology. Gaining steam, however, is the activity surrounding artificial intelligence (AI).

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about the use of AI in St. Louis and with those involved in it. An AI conference is Tuesday at the Eric P. Newman Center at Washington University.

Angela da Silva discussed the many ways in which racism, segregation and prejudice showed up at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition that took place in St. Louis at the beginning of the 20th century.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s debate about some of the stories associated with the international event that had St. Louis buzzing more than a century ago, such as whether the 1904 World’s Fair was really the point at which ice cream and other treats were invented.

But one thing that historians do know for sure about the seven-month-long spectacle is that it was marked by blatant racism.

Chris Bay, Rory Kennedy and Tom Kroenung joined host Don Marsh to talk about the digital divide.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Smartphones, tablet computers and other internet-oriented devices fill today’s digital age, and yet access to these common technologies is not universal.

A full quarter of Americans were still without broadband as of about a year ago, according to TIME, and many U.S. young people experience what has become known as the digital divide on a daily basis in their schools throughout the country.

Stephanie Powell Watts is the author of "No One is Coming to Save Us," this year's choice in the One Book, One Kirkwood program.
Stephanie Powell Watts

Largely absent from the canon of American literature are the experiences of African-Americans who live in economically disadvantaged regions of the country and who experience the last effects of segregation.

In her 2017 novel, “No One is Coming to Save Us,” Stephanie Powell Watts focuses on an extended African-American family and sets her story in a rural North Carolina town that has seen its furniture manufacturing largely evaporate.

City officials in Maplewood, Missouri forced Rosetta Watson from her home using a public nuisance ordinance. Watson is suing the city in federal court and her story is featured in the latest episode of We Live Here.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

We Live Here, the national-award winning podcast about race and class from St. Louis Public Radio and PRX, debuted its fourth season Thursday.  

The show, born out of the emotional turmoil and cultural upheaval of the Ferguson uprising, will break new ground this year.

Hosts Tim Lloyd and Kameel Stanley will spend the entire season exploring the intersection of race, class and housing in St. Louis, one of the nation's most segregated regions.

Left Bank Books

On Tuesday's St. Louis on the Air, we aired host Don Marsh's conversation with St. Louis-based journalist and author Sarah Kendzior that was recorded April 17 at Left Bank Books.

Kendzior is the author of “The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America.”

Hannibal native Melissa Scholes Young is the author of "Flood."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri native Melissa Scholes Young has fond memories of growing up in Hannibal.

“It is a welcome community, it is a place where I’m really proud to be from,” Young told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday. “It is what I still consider my hometown even though I left there when I was 17. I always return to my roots and I’m very aware of the way that being raised in a place with hardworking people ... how that has affected where I’ve gone in the world and the way I live my life.”

Cuzin Grumpy's Pork Chop Revue is among the new acts featured in Circus Flora's 2018 season.
Circus Flora

For more than 30 years, Circus Flora, a one-ring circus that makes St. Louis its home, has offered a circus show that’s best described as live theater. It’s an intimate setting that is in stark contrast to the images some people might conjure of the large Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus which performed for the last time 10 months ago.

Two things are significantly different about this year’s Circus Flora season.

St. Louis Symphony music director David Robertson spoke about the 2015-16 season with "Cityscape" host Steve Potter.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

On May 6, David Robertson will raise his baton for the final time as music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Coming to a close is Robertson’s 13-year tenure, highlighted by Grammy Award-winning recordings, national and international tours, and hundreds of concerts at Powell Hall.

Howard Weissman and Nichole Dawsey of NCADA
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The number of opioid-related deaths in the St. Louis region is poised to once again break a record.

Opioid-related deaths include overdoses on prescription painkillers, heroin and, increasingly, fentanyl - a prescription drug more potent than heroin that is often mixed with other substances.

In 2016, 712 people died due to opioids. That number is expected to be about 750 people in 2017, explained Howard Weissman, executive director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA).

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