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

Courtesy Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center

Ok folks, it’s a good weekend for a road trip. We’ve got Superman, French Heritage and a celebration of Route 66.

strawberries for sale at Mahabaleshwar
Tarun.real | Wikipedia

Last week we touted the Red Berries and Bluegrass Festival in Illinois, so naturally we want to check out the Strawberry Festival in Kimmswick this weekend. The website promises, “If it is made with strawberries you will find it at this festival.” We’re willing to bet, however, that as with last week, the music will be more bluegrass than red hot.

Jabari Asim
Provided by Mr. Asim

If you didn’t know Jabari Asim was from St. Louis, a quick look at his first novel, “Only the Strong,” makes it clear. An Arch dominates the cover of the book, which is set in “Gateway City.”

The fictitious name lets him add details such as a destructive race riot after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  And it means he doesn't have to worry whether streets or places exist where they are placed in the book. Still “Only the Strong” is true to St. Louis. The action takes place in North Gateway circa 1970. Delmar is very much a dividing line, though corporate interests are recognizing the need to have partners on both sides of that street and the Central West End is somewhat integrated.

Photo Flood Photographer Jeni Kulka's September 20th Image in Tower Grove Park
Photo Flood Photographer Jeni Kulka

With the way the weather has been going on the weekend, just pick what you're interested in and head out. The rain seems to come for a bit but not necessarily wipe things out. Hope that statement isn't a jinx.

Cleopatra, left, and Antony, second from right, battle Rome and, at times, each other.
Provided by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

The evening was crisp. Chairs and blankets were spread out as feasts appeared from baskets. On one hill, Juggling Jeff escaped from a straightjacket. On another, young players trod literal boards previewing what was to come. And in the second act was a tribute to a heroine and the performing arts in St. Louis in the summer: “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety.”

cello bridge
Turidoth | Wikipedia

Memorial Day weekend is one of those times that St. Louisans can expand their ethnic heritage. Check out the St. Louis County Greek Festival at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 1755 Des Peres Road in Town and Country. Of course it has music that you can listen to for free, as does the St. Louis African Festival at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. Ditto the Mississippi River Irish Festival  in Frontier Park, St. Charles.

VonDerrit Myers' mother, Syreeta Myers, speaks with reporters following the announcement that charges will not be filled against the officer who killed her son.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

 St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has released her report in the fatal shooting of VonDerrit Myers Jr. by an off-duty police officer. It concluded “that Mr. Myers produced a firearm on the evening in question," and that “Given all the available facts, witness statements, physical and forensic evidence and for reasons outlined in the detailed report, prosecutors have determined a criminal violation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Joyce said although the circumstances were tragic, the incident did not constitute a crime under Missouri law. 

Protesters disrupt opening day of Missouri legislature 2015
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio / politics

In a year that is more likely to be remembered for text messages and parliamentary maneuvers than legislative accomplishments, some bills were passed. Going in, the leadership (Republican) was determined to pass the state's budget bills early so that the governor (a Democrat) couldn't veto measures and then use the summer to campaign on issues raised in the fiscal plan.

generic funnel cake photos
Ann Fisher | Flickr

While we want to make certain you know about the Big List of summer concerts that we have available, we also want to alert you to some of the other ways to get out and enjoy St. Louis – ways that have music.

New this year is the St. Louis Swap Meet at the old Lemp Brewery at the east end of Cherokee Street by the Chatillon DeMenil Mansion. Playing at 10:30 a.m. will be the alt country band Trophy Mules.

East-West Gateway Council of Governments

A commute through St. Louis will get more challenging this summer. Kingshighway will be closed between Shaw Boulevard and Vandeventer Avenue starting July 6.

Traffic will be rerouted onto Vandeventer for two years, as the 75-year-old Kingshighway bridge will be demolished and rebuilt.

Lucrecia García, soprano, sings the title role in Aida.
Provided by the St. Louis Symphony

Our live broadcasts of the St. Louis Symphony's 2014-2015 season end this weekend, and you can be right there with us from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 9.

On select Saturday evenings, St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts the Symphony's performance over the air, bringing you a live classical music experience wherever you are. 

Here's what's planned for you this weekend:

VERDI Aida (1871)

(1813-1901)

Javier Mendoza
File Photo | St. Louis Beacon

Here’s hoping the weather cooperates this weekend because lots of festivals are planned — as well as opera al fresco.

With the calendar turning to May, the outdoor concert season will be heading into full swing. While the big list, which is at the end of the article, is made up of free series, we’ll try to point out some other free musical events that St. Louisans may enjoy.

A police officer is silhouetted against Ferguson's police department and municipal court building, during nighttime protests on November 26, 2014.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Police and protesters returned to West Florissant Avenue Tuesday night.

People came together near the former Original Reds BBQ in Ferguson around 8 p.m., as demonstrations continued in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray.

Missouri Governor Mansion
Wikipedia

An audit of the Missouri governor's office finds that Gov. Jay Nixon is still using money from other state agencies to cover some expenses from his office, despite prohibitions by lawmakers from doing so.

Hikaru Nakamura
Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis | File Photo

The Webster University challengers provided excitement in this year’s U.S. chess championships, but in the end the top ranking players — GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Irina Krush walked away with the titles.

(photo illustration via Flickr user Tim Hamilton)

The birthday cakes are disappearing from St. Louis streets, and the Missouri History Museum’s 250 in 250 closes up shop this weekend. But here's a one-stop place to find — at any time — the stories inspired by St. Louis' big anniversary about what makes our area special.

We had fun with history

AIA website

Updated after the St. Louis Society vote -- In what one member called a “hotly divided” decision, the Archeological Institute of America - St. Louis Society narrowly voted Tuesday night to retain its board, even though that could allow the national organization to revoke the chapter’s charter.

The controversy stems from the local group’s sale of items it had owned for decades.

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?

Michael Brown's Normandy High School graduation photo
Provided by UPI

Since Aug. 9 when 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, St. Louis Public Radio reports have been digging into many facets of what happened and the aftermath.

Below you will find all of our articles divided into topics. We also have been running a live blog that pulls in tweets and articles of interest.

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