Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Ways to Connect

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Missourians turned out to the polls Tuesday to reject the right-to-work measure, while St. Louis County voters ousted longtime St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch in favor of Wesley Bell and voted by a narrow margin to retain incumbant Steve Stenger for County Council executive.

St. Louis Public Radio has collected results for many of the key races in the St. Louis region. 

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School Illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Normandy and Riverview Gardens  received high enough state academic performance scores to get the north St. Louis County-based school districts in better standing with state education leaders.

Two districts in the region — St. Louis City and Ferguson-Florissant — saw their annual performance scores dip below the threshold the state considers to be fully accredited. Pattonville and Orchard Farms both received perfect scores.

No district in the state earned marks that would be considered failing in the Annual Performance Report, or APR, published Wednesday by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. APR is a key indicator on how well schools are educating students.

Police line up against the Workhouse fence to prevent protesters from shaking it. July 21, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday, St. Louis voters approved Proposition P, a half-cent sales tax increase intended to give police and firefighters a raise. Prop P passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

Its support primarily came from voters in the 12th, 16th and 23rd wards, in the southwest part of the city, which together accounted for more than a quarter of all the "yes" votes. Voters in the 8th and 15th wards, covering much of the Shaw and Tower Grove neighborhoods, cast the most "no" votes.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Next year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City will leave the individual health care marketplace in Missouri that was set up under the Affordable Care Act. And when it does, about 18,000 patients in 25 western Missouri counties will lose their health insurance. If those enrollees sign on to Healthcare.gov this fall to buy a replacement plan, they may have no options to choose from.

That's because those 25 counties could become "bare."

The number three
Tom Huesing | Flickr

According to estimates released by the U.S. Census, three local cities are among 10 in Illinois and Missouri that gained the most people between 2015 and 2016. The  numbers are estimates of the population for cities and towns across the United States.  

Wentzville, in St. Charles County, grew by more than 1,800 people, second only to Kansas City. O'Fallon, Missouri was 4th on the list, gaining about 1,400, and Clayton, in St. Louis County came in 8th, with an increase of around 750.

Lethal doeses of heroin, left, and fentanyl, right. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller, is up to 50 times more potent than heroin.
provided by the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Lab

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller, made up almost half of drug overdose deaths in parts of the St. Louis region last year, according to county coroners in Missouri and Illinois.

The drug is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, and inhaling just a few grains can be lethal.

“If I can be blunt, it’s scary as hell,” said Brandon Costerison, a spokesperson for the anti-addiction group NCADA's St. Louis chapter. “And we don’t really have anything to indicate it’s subsiding yet.”

Who's St. Louis' NFL team now?

Jan 26, 2017
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File Photo

Since the Rams went west (and south, if you count their record), who did St. Louis pay attention to in the NFL this season?

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.

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.

Mapped: Weekend detours downtown

May 28, 2015
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.

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