Donna Korando

Arts & Culture, Voices Editor

Donna Korando started work in journalism at SIU’s Daily Egyptian in 1968. In between Carbondale and St. Louis Public Radio, she taught high school in Manitowoc, Wis., and worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the copy editor and letters editor for the editorial page from 1973-77. As an editorial writer from 1977-87, she covered Illinois and city politics, education, agriculture, family issues and sub-Saharan Africa. When she was editor of the Commentary Page from 1987-2003, the page won several awards from the Association of Opinion Page Editors. From 2003-07, she headed the features copy desk.

She was part of the original staff of the St. Louis Beacon where she worked with features and commentary articles, combining her experience at the Post-Dispatch. Those areas remain her focus.

In addition to a journalism degree from SIUC, Donna earned a master of studies in law from Yale Law School. Her son and daughter took to heart her advice to go away to college and live far from St. Louis. Two cats rule the house.

Ways to Connect

Echo Bluff State Park
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Updated at 1 a.m. Nov. 9 with final results - The attempts to raise cigarette and tobacco taxes for roads or early childhood education went down to defeat.

Clockwise from upper left, Jay Ashcroft, Josh Hawley, Eric Schmitt and Mike Parson
File photos | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters have given the nod to Republicans running for secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and lieutenant governor. In congressional races, incumbents held onto their seats.

A collage of Missouri statewide and area congressional candidates on 2016 ballot
File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

As this election season finally winds down, St. Louis Public Radio is putting together a lot of the campaign coverage we did this year in the hope that readers can find the information they need before casting their votes. 

St. Louis Public Radio file images

Tomorrow's primary election is notable for the divisive and expensive ads (especially for the Republican races for governor and attorney general). But voters have a lot of choices to make all the way down the ballot.

In the months before the primary, all of the major candidates for statewide office appeared on our Politically Speaking podcast. For those who haven't yet discovered it, the podcast is a place where politicians talk about issues and introduce themselves to listeners in an informal setting. Below, you will find links to each of those podcasts and more

Staff, Flickr and Bill Greenblatt

Over the past 10 days, St. Louis Public Radio has presented articles on some of the issues before area voters this week. Most of the municipal elections were not reviewed. But we did look at county- and city-wide propositions, as well as tax issues within the city, some school districts and the municipal election in Ferguson.

(Photo: St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis NFL Stadium Task Force is firing back. In its response to the Rams’ application to move to Los Angeles, it bemoans the way owner Stan Kroenke besmirched the city’s reputation.

The task force noted that many details of the Rams' proposal were not available to it or to the public. But it did counter several points the team made.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

As Interstates 55 and 44 remain closed, area residents need alternate routes. Missouri drivers should check www.modot.org, and Illinois drivers should go to www.idot.illinois.gov/home/Comm/emergency-road-closures.

Volunteer opportunities are being coordinated through STLVolunteer.org

Check the Army Corps of Engineers website for river levels.

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Grand Glaize facility
Screenshot | Google Maps

Updated on Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 1:30 p.m. with information on more evacuations and road closures.

Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard on Tuesday to help rain-weary communities deal with near-record flooding.

Nixon said in a statement that the guard would provide security in evacuated areas and direct traffic around closed roads. Forty roads remain closed due to flooding in the Missouri part of the St. Louis region, out of 225 statewide.

Crime plan neighborhoods December 2015
Screen capture

Shortly before the St. Louis Board of Aldermen started to debate the city’s portion of a financial package for a new National Football League stadium, Alderman Antonio French, D-21st Ward and Mayor Francis Slay tweeted about a new comprehensive crime plan.

Though crime and the Rams are not logically connected, they have been linked. As St. Louis Public Radio reported last week, Alderman French voted to send the financing bill out of committee after an amendment was attached that provided a multi-faceted minority inclusion plan. And he said, "I am taking the mayor’s chief of staff at her word that we will complete our negotiations on a comprehensive [crime] plan before the final vote," French said.

Images from St. Louis International Film Festival

This year St. Louis Public Radio is reviewing films from The St. Louis International Film Festival that relate to prominent issues facing our city.

In this installment, St. Louis Public Radio looks at films that offer a multitude of perspectives on race as it affects culture on a local, national and international scale: "Four Way Stop," "Goodbye Theresienstadt," "Finding Bosnia," "My Friend Victoria," "Korla!" and "Aram, Aram."

Images from St. Louis International Film Festival

This year St. Louis Public Radio is reviewing films from The St. Louis International Film Festival related to prominent issues facing our city.

Yesterday we reviewed films that dealt with crime and crime prevention. Today we’ll provide reviews of select movies that tackle different perspectives on quality of life issues.

It's a broad topic, so it's a big list: "T-Rex," "The Invitation," Good Ol' Boy," "Keeping Rosy," "Unlikely Heroes," "Frame by Frame," "Radical Grace," "Echo Lake," "24/7/365," "Bounce" and "I Can Quit Whenever I Want."

Here at St. Louis Public Radio we know our listeners rely on us for to provide context, quality storytelling, and deep dives into the characters behind today’s news. We’re applying this approach to bring you reviews from this year’s St. Louis International Film Festival organized by the issues facing St. Louis and the surrounding area.

Each day reviews will be organized by issue as explored in select films from the festival. These categories are not literal representations of how these topics manifest in St. Louis but maintain a broader look into the various perspectives we use to address these concerns.

File Photo | St. Louis Cardinals

Every year for the past five, Cardinals fans have headed into October knowing all is right in the world: Post-season play is about to commence.

And yet each year, there seems to be a little more pushback against the Cardinals. As Will Leitch noted in 2013, “Over the last eight years, the Cardinals have ended the postseason dreams of the Mets, Tigers, Phillies, Brewers, Rangers, Nationals and Pirates. That's a lot of fan bases spitting in your general direction.”

Last year, we added the Dodgers.

The Ferguson Commission received $150,000 worth of donations from six groups. It also hired one of its members — Bethany Johnson-Javois — to be the commission's managing director.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

As the Ferguson Commission prepares to release its report Monday, looking back may be useful to put the work in context. Three hundred people responded to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s call to serve on the Ferguson Commission, which he said would have three main tasks:

Mark Hamilton | Flickr

Music has been a part of St. Louis Labor Day traditions from the bands at the union parade, to the Osuwa Taiko drummers at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Japanese Festival to the Big Muddy Blues Festival. But, except for the parade (starting at 9 a.m., Olive Street to Tucker Boulevard, to Market Street to 15th Street), these aren’t free.

A couple of weekend festivals have no admission charge — but do have plenty of ways to spend money on food and drink.

Karin Hagaman
Provided by Grand Center Inc.

Grand Center Inc., which oversees development in the Midtown arts district, will be led by Karin Hagaman starting in mid-September. Currently head of project development at Cortex Innovation Community, Hagaman has experience in planning and executing the large-scale developments there.

Festival of Nations International Institute Tower Grove Park
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | 2008

Those who are looking for something out of the ordinary run of entertainment in St. Louis have hit the jackpot this weekend. It’s time for the International Institute’s Festival of Nations

Food, games, craft demonstrations and, of course, music can be found in Tower Grove Park from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said police fired tear gas at protesters who blocked and refused to leave the intersection of Page and Walton.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19 with information on protests, police response - St. Louis police fired tear gas and made nine arrests Wednesday night after a couple hundred protesters gathered at Page Boulevard and Walton Avenue. Earlier near the intersection, police fatally shot Mansur Ball-Bey, an 18-year-old black man who, they say, pointed a gun at officers while fleeing from a house search.

The Festival of the Little Hills is taking place in St. Charles this weekend. For our family, that was the serendipitous festival.

Somehow, the day we would decide to go to St. Charles and check out Main Street would coincide with Little Hills. We never planned it. But here’s the alert so you can.

After Hours by Catharine Mage
Zepfanman.com | flickr

Grand Center is not only the home of St. Louis Public Radio (shameless plug) but a different approach to the free summer music concert format. As we noted in July, it is hosting music on three nights and only a small part of each night is outdoors.

The Cutlery Factory building is seen in the photo at left at 1:30 this afternoon. The photo at right was taken less than an hour later.
Used with permission. CityArchRiver webcam

The St. Louis Fire Department reports that they believe everyone escaped from a building at 612 North Second Street where the bricks on part of the south wall fell.

Capt. Garon Mosby, said a video on the social media platform Periscope, "There were five employees working on this floor at the time of the collapse. Very fortunate that they were not in this office room or at this end of the building and were able to make it out safely."

Enough of Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard is open to host a concert.
Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio

In looking around for new, free music events last week, I came across a series I hadn’t seen before: Walk to the Wharf. But before I pointed people to it, I wanted to check out the venue so I could make an honest recommendation.

Now, it’s not that I had never been to a concert on the Arch grounds (Waylon Jennings in 1991 counts, right?). But I had been told that the Arch grounds were torn up. What's more, Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard was not open the last time I drove that way from Laclede’s Landing.

The St. Louis Perfectos play in Lafayette Park.
Jazz St. Louis website

The Jazz St. Louis series “Swingin’ for the Fences” is coming to an end with a presentation by Washington University Professor Gerald Early tonight and an old-time baseball game and concert Sunday.

Early’s talk, “Jazz & the Negro Leagues – A Story of Black Urbanization,” is a 6 p.m.  July 30 at Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Ave. The lecture is free, but tickets  are required (and we fear they may be as scarce as the Cubs in the World Series).

NPR website

Tune in to St. Louis Public Radio at noon Saturday to hear the Ask Me Another show recorded at the Pageant in April.

You can hear Ophira Eisenberg make the obvious discovery that people in St. Louis smile more than they do in New York. The show’s local VIP is novelist Curtis Sittenfeld, the acclaimed author of “Prep,” “American Wife,” “Sisterland” and more. The last of those is set in the St. Louis area, where Sittenfeld has lived since 2007.

Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Tap takeovers, National Mead Day, beer and cheese, beer and brats, beer and chocolate, dim sum and beer, yoga and beer, burgers and beer, art and beer, popcorn and beer, and beer artfully paired with only the finest varieties of Doritos: Surely in all of this there must be music.

Marquise Knox at the Reykjavik Blues Festival in 2011
Olikristinn | Wikipedia

Grand Center is where you’ll find a variety of bands, beer tents, street art, food and drink specials and more Friday night.

This Music @ the Intersection Festival is one night in July, one in August and one in September. And it does not fit the pattern of the events in the Big List below. It has several bands each night in several venues.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio intern | File photo

A measure that would boost the minimum wage in the city of St. Louis for most workers got back on track Friday, following a contentious Board of Aldermen debate that lasted nearly an hour.

The bill appeared dead two weeks ago when the chairman of the Ways and Means committee, Alderman Joe Vaccaro, abruptly canceled all future meetings. He told reporters at the time he saw no way for anyone to achieve a "reasonable compromise" before aldermen went on summer break.

The main sponsor of SB5, state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, talks about the bill as Gov. Jay Nixon, right, looks on.
File photo by Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Amid continued concerns over the state’s response to last summer’s Ferguson unrest, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed what he calls “the most comprehensive and sweeping municipal court reform bill in Missouri history.”

The governor and a bipartisan cadre of the bill’s sponsors gathered triumphantly Thursday in a courtroom at the historic old St. Louis Post Office. The setting offered up a symbol of the changes that the bill – officially known as Senate Bill 5 – imposes on communities and their local courts.

Let them eat art logo
Maplewood website

Given the French heritage of St. Louis, one might expect Bastille Day to be a bigger deal here. Yes, the Chatillon-DeMenil House will host festivities from noon-3:30 p.m. July 12, including singing of “La Marseillaise.”  And Soulard is hosting a “Gathering of the Mob” on July 10 and “Bastille en Vogue” During the former, the rabble — “in our worst peasant attire” — will start a Howard’s on 13th and Lynch at 5 p.m. and end up at Pontiac Park. The latter is a fashion show — “from a point of historical whimsy” — at Franco. Tickets are required for that.

The big event is in Maplewood.

Bent or missing spear points are just a visible part of the problems with the fence around Lafayette Park.
Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio

The fence around Lafayette Park is an iconic symbol of the neighborhood: the fleur-de-lis of the spear points is in the Lafayette Square logo. Now part of that fence is on its way to Alabama.

Although the iron may appear sturdy, it is not.

"The only thing holding the fence together is the rust and the paint,” said Keith Houghton, an engineer who lives in the Lafayette Square neighborhood in south St. Louis. Bolts are missing; the fence sags or dips in places; some spear points are bent.

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