Brent Jones

Data Visual Specialist

Brent Jones is a journalist who works with data and design. He joined the St. Louis Beacon after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2007. In the past five years, he has shot photos of the Pevely Dairy fire and flooding in Cairo, Ill.; compiled data on St. Louis' hottest days and whitest Christmases; edited a 30-minute video on music in Iraq; designed a 150+ page ebook; and produced audio from an improv show and more than 100 Beacon Roundtables. Jones lives in St. Louis, where he has completed a half- and full marathon and sings in a 16-member a capella madrigal ensemble.

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Throughout this presidential election year, St. Louis Public Radio has been assessing the political mood of likely voters.

In a recent query — What is your political mood, now? — we learned that voters still have very strong — and mostly negative — emotions. A review of the reasons behind those moods shows that among those who responded to a Public Insight Network query, many were equally unhappy with the Democratic and Republican nominees.

What do you want to know about St. Louis?

Maybe you've seen a local custom that is quirky, or a legend that is mysterious. Our question generator below is meant to get your creativity going by helping you think of things you're curious about in our region.

Watch the words roll by, or lock in one or both words to try different combinations. When you've thought of a question, fill in the form below to submit your question, and maybe one of our reporters can track down the answer.

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.

A silver number 5 on a grey background.
Flickr | Stephan Mosel

St. Louis continues to lose population, according to current city population estimates for 2015 released by the U.S. Census. Between 2014 and 2015, more than 1,500 residents are estimated to have left the city.

Here are five takeaways from the data released today.

1. Cities in our area are part of the national picture, both positively and negatively.

St. Louis' loss of population was the 7th largest in the country. Detroit and Chicago were No. 1 and No. 2.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

There were few surprises in the 2015 crime numbers.

Three neighborhoods – Jeff/Vander/Lou, The Greater Ville, and Wells-Goodfellow – accounted for nearly a quarter of the city’s 188 homicides. In 2014, Wells-Goodfellow topped the homicide count at 14, though Dutchtown, on the city’s southeast side, was second that year with eight.

Though homicides were down in Dutchtown in 2015, it saw 122 people shot – more than any other neighborhood.

Grace Kenyon walks her dogs, Lhenny and Brown, near the Ashley Street Power House, a city landmark that developers have said could become a team store in the proposed stadium plan.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As debate continues over the proposed riverfront football stadium, those who live and work within the planned footprint have obvious reasons to pay attention.

A few of the area’s historic buildings, including the Ashley Street Power House, are set to be spared. But others face uncertain fates if the new stadium actually becomes a reality.

Are these buildings worth saving? As expected, opinions differ.

As homicides continue to tick up in St. Louis, many officials say gun violence should be approached as a public health issue.
Tony Webster | Flickr

The nationwide debate about gun control, mass shootings, and violent crime was once again jump-started in the wake of recent massacres at a county center in California and at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado that left several people dead.

But here in St. Louis, officials are concerned with a different type of gun violence — the kind that happens almost routinely and usually takes one life at a time.

University of Missouri-Columbia

The activist group Concerned Student 1950 has vowed to keep pushing for change in the wake of resignations by both the University of Missouri system President, Tim Wolfe, and chancellor of the Columbia campus, R. Bowen Loftin.

The Ferguson Commission Report is out, with 44 signature recommendations. The commission divided their calls to action into three groups: Justice For All, Youth at the Center, and Opportunity to Thrive.

Because everything can't be priority one, we want to ask: What would YOUR priorities be from these recommendations?

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

Financial disclosures aren’t just for political candidates. New data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that Missouri doctors received at least $71.9 million from medical device and drug companies in 2014 and the latter half of 2013. Illinois doctors pulled in $104 million during that same time period, many of whom hail from the Chicago area.  

The St. Louis region grew slightly in 2014, but the city dropped by about 1,000 people, according to new Census data.
U.S. Marine Corps Flickr page

St. Charles County continues to lead the region in growth, increasing by about 1.5 percent since 2013 to nearly 380,000 residents in 2014. Its increase of more than 5 percent since 2010 leads the region and ranks 5th in the state. That's according to the newest population estimates released by the U.S. Census.

The region as a whole — Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Louis and Warren counties as well as St. Louis city in Missouri, and St. Clair and Madison counties in Illinois — grew slightly, but is still just over 2.6 million as it has been since 2010.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

An NPR report shows Missouri's high school graduation rate increased five percentage points  between 2011 and 2013, good enough to rank 10th in the country. But that number may not tell the whole story.

The Truth About America's Graduation Rate looks at factors affecting the graduation rate around the country, and why the national rate of 81 percent — an all time high — may not be as good as it seems.

Detours for drivers using interstates to get around downtown St. Louis this weekend
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

MODOT will close sections of I-55 and I-44 south of downtown this weekend. For more details, our original report follows:

Some drivers headed into downtown St. Louis are in for a complicated route beginning this weekend.

The St. Louis region grew slightly in 2014, but the city dropped by about 1,000 people, according to new Census data.
U.S. Marine Corps Flickr page

The latest U.S. Census Bureau data shows the St. Louis region has grown little in population since 2010, but also has remained fairly stable.

Maryland Heights resident Dan Hyatt speaks before the Ferguson Commission about his experience dealing with the municipal court system in Breckenridge Hills.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Seventy-nine municipal courts give the small towns and cities of St. Louis County significant autonomy in judging minor infractions as such speeding tickets, tall weeds or zoning violations. The judges and prosecutors work part time — in smaller jurisdictions, just two or three times a month for a few hundred dollars per each municipal court session.

Found to be in critical shape, MoDOT closed the I-44 Outer Road bridge over the Gasconade River in Laclede County back in December due to deterioration.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Transportation

Thirty-eight bridges in the greater St. Louis area are just "a step or two from being closed" due to deterioration, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

They are among the nearly 600 bridges statewide that officials say are currently rated in poor to serious condition, but aren't funded in the state's five-year plan for improvements. 

Climatron 2014
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

So you have relatives in town, kids that need to get out and about or you just need to stretch your legs and decompress.

The Garden Glow Light Exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden has been a favorite with members of our staff. It is not open Christmas, but is Dec. 26-Jan. 3 – though not New Year’s Eve -- from 5:30-9:30. A recommendation: Get tickets in advance.

How many lights?

600,000 -- that's almost 100,000 more than last year

Worried about cold?

Santa's Arrival, an illustration for Clement Clarke Moore's poem.
Public Domain

You hear them year-round but can you identify the people behind the microphone?

We’ve taken Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” most commonly known as "The Night Before Christmas," and had a different St. Louis Public Radio voice record each of the 14 verses.

Can you guess who they are in this multiple choice quiz?

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Detail from one map view
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Our new map compiles information about the protests and violent unrest that erupted last week. The actions began Monday, Nov. 24, after St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown to death.

In the following week, protests continued in Ferguson, Clayton, St. Louis and various other locales, including several shopping centers.

Grand jury evidence

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch released more than 5,000 pages of testimony, forensic evidence and investigative reports after announcing that there would be no indictment of officer Darren Wilson.

We've spent the past few days combing through the documents and found several things that raised our eyebrows.

1. In the initial investigative report, Wilson said he only shot once in the car. He told the grand jury it was twice.

Look here for grand jury testimony released by St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch after the jurors decided not to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson August 9. 

Steve Stenger, Democrat, left, and Rick Stream, Republican, are running for St. Louis County executive.
Photos courtesy of the candidates

If it weren’t for voters in north St. Louis County, Democrat Steve Stenger wouldn’t have won the tight Nov. 4 contest for county executive.

Stenger lost most of his home turf in south St. Louis County to Republican Rick Stream. 

Stenger carried north county strongly, but the percentage was far less than County Executive Charlie Dooley's performance in 201o. Even so, Stenger's north county showing -- despite opposition from north county Democrats -- proved crucial to victory.

Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio.

Lobbyists have paid for more than $130,000 worth of Cardinals tickets and baseball snacks for Missouri lawmakers since 2007, according to our analysis of the data. Here are the top five post-season games they went to, as well as who has received the tickets, and who has paid for it.

Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau releases an annual survey of population characteristics for metro areas throughout the United States. Because sample sizes are limited, each data point included here will have a margin of error. You can peruse the data yourself here.

St. Louis is Getting Older, and Life is More Expensive

When Missouri Has Injected Midazolam

Sep 10, 2014
via Wikimedia Commons

Missouri prison officials said under oath that they would not use midazolam in executions. But a St. Louis Public Radio investigation revealed last week that the state has used it in nine executions since 2013.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Read an analysis of the latest school report cards.

Normandy's annual performance score sank even lower than before, down to 7.1 percent of the possible points scored, lowest in the state.

State education officials have been working in the district for weeks, putting into place new techniques designed to improve academic achievement in the district, which was taken over by the state on July 1.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

While the killing of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson happened in a community of 20,000, it and the conversations and events it touched off have affected the entire region, the nation and the world. Here, we recap the events since the shooting and give you the context on a map. Though we can't answer why these events occurred, here's the when and the where of Ferguson.

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is now in full swing. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, let us know.

Up this week: Griffin & the Gargoyles at Jungle Boogie, Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers at Lafayette Park and Hudson and the Hoo Doo Cats at Carondelet Park. But they aren't the only performers at these neighborhood concerts coming up in the next few days. So check out what's coming this week:

Ferguson By The Numbers

Aug 12, 2014

Here's a quick look at some demographics and numbers from Ferguson, Mo. For context and comparison, we've also provided numbers from St. Louis County.

Ferguson's population is 21,205. St. Louis County's is 999,147.

All of these numbers are from the American Community Survey 5-year estimates from 2012.

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