Bram Sable-Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Bram Sable-Smith

A curious Columbia, Mo. native, Bram Sable-Smith has documented mbira musicians in Zimbabwe, mining protests in Chile, and the St. Louis airport's tumultuous relationship with the Chinese cargo business. His reporting from Ferguson, Mo. was part of a KBIA documentary honored by the Missouri Broadcasters Association and winner of a national Edward R. Murrow Award. He comes to KBIA most recently from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.

This story was originally published February 6. It has been updated as of February 9 at 1 pm.

The Atchison-Holt Ambulance District spans two counties and 1,100 square miles in the far northwest corner of Missouri. The EMTs who drive these ambulances cover nearly 10 times more land area than their counterparts in Omaha, the nearest major city. 

When the hospital closed in rural Ellington, Missouri, a town of about 1,000, the community lost its only emergency room, too. 

That was 2016. That same year, a local farmer had a heart attack.

Sen. Caleb Rowden, center, was elected to the Missouri Senate in 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and KBIA’s Bram Sable-Smith welcome back Sen. Caleb Rowden to the show.

The Columbia Republican represents Missouri’s 19th Senatorial District. That includes Boone and Cooper Counties, which include the cities of Columbia and Boonville.

It’s a familiar story in rural America. Four years ago the Pemiscot County hospital, the lone public hospital in Missouri’s poorest county, nearly closed. What’s keeping it in business today has also become increasingly common in rural healthcare: relationships with a handful of local pharmacies.

For five years now, the Missouri legislature has considered legislation to create a prescription drug monitoring database that would allow pharmacists and physicians to look at their patient's prescription history for signs of misuse of narcotics. And for five years, Missouri pharmacists like Erica Hopkins have watched those efforts fail with disappointment.

$1.25 million.

That’s the size of the bill that could have shuttered the only public hospital in rural Pemiscot County, Missouri in August 2013.

For the hundreds of rural hospitals struggling to stay in business, health policy decisions made in Washington D.C. this summer could make survival a lot tougher.

In the current debates over health care, one topic rarely gets mentioned: dental health benefits. That’s because dental health has historically been separated from the rest of medicine. But today, that separation leaves many Americans with no way to prevent or treat debilitating dental health problems.

Author Mary Otto tells the story of the rampant disparities in dental health in the United States and how those play into other disparities of race, class and income in her new book, Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.

Every morning Pat Wilson walks down the hall from her office in the Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Education Center through the gym and into a part of the building not typically associated with a school nurse: the kitchen.

There, she checks a list—posted on the side of the stainless steel refrigerator—of all the students in the school with a food allergy.

“It’s constantly being updated,” Wilson says.

Missouri cattle farmer Greg Fleshman became so concerned about keeping his local hospital open that in 2011 he joined its governing board.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Board member Terry Artis voted "hell, no" as the Normandy school board voted to approve paying tuition for students who transferred out of the district. The 5-1 vote was made in front of a packed house of more than 80.

The vision of the river ring
Great Rivers Greenway

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Simply put, the Great Rivers Greenway District, referred to as the district or Great Rivers Greenway, is a publicly funded entity that oversees the planning and execution of a network of trails throughout the St. Louis region.

Then again, it often seems that nothing is simple about explaining the district. Here is basic information about the funding, governance, projects and partnerships of Great Rivers Greenway.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Bike St. Louis, the system of on-street bicycle routes throughout the St. Louis area, is about to receive a major face-lift.

Phase III of Bike St. Louis would upgrade 60 miles and expand the bike routes by 40 miles in the city.

Leona Meeks and Bob Hansman
Bram Sable-Smith | Beacon intern | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Just north of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, on the west side of Goodfellow Avenue, a tall white sign depicting a smiling young black woman welcomes visitors to Mom’s Kitchen. Inside, the considerably older and still recognizable woman chuckled as she hugged each of the 26 Washington University undergraduate students as they entered the restaurant recently.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Flu season has arrived and public health officials are encouraging residents of the St. Louis area to receive a flu shot as soon as possible.

“The earlier you get it, the better protected you are,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Communicable Disease Control Services for the St. Louis County Health Department.

Henry Goldkamp can take his typewriter anywhere.
Robert Rohe

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Henry Goldkamp was smiling as he paced the sidewalk outside of St. Agatha Church with his cell phone pressed to his ear. "Inquiries,” he would later explain.

St. Louis’ "Rogue Poet” has been receiving many of those since launching What the Hell is St. Louis Thinking (WTHSTL) in August.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When South Africa's Pharmacy Council announced an expanded pharmacy training program in 2010, the news was well received in a country with a chronic need for pharmacy skills. Now St. Louis College of Pharmacy is supporting the training efforts in South Africa with a year-long partnership with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Eric Button is no stranger to implementing new programs at St. Louis County Library. In 2011 Button, assistant director of branch services, helped the county library start “floating” collections:  Books recirculate at the library branch where they were returned regardless of where they were checked out. The concept helped the library manage an increased circulation in the midst of reductions in staff numbers. Button was recognized on Google's Government Transformers website for his effort.