Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Evie Hemphill

Talk Show Producer

Evie Hemphill joined the St. Louis on the Air team in February 2018. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 2005, she started her career as a reporter for the Westminster Window in Colorado. Several years later she went on to pursue graduate work in creative writing at the University of Wyoming and moved to St. Louis upon earning an MFA in the spring of 2010. She worked as writer and editor for Washington University Libraries until 2014 and then spent several more years in public relations for the University of Missouri–St. Louis before making the shift to St. Louis Public Radio.

When she’s not helping to produce the talk show, Evie can typically be found navigating the city sans car, volunteering for St. Louis BWorks or trying to get the majority of the dance steps correct as a member of the Thunder & Lightning Cloggers of Southern Illinois. She’s married to Joe, cat-mom to Dash and rather obsessive about doubt, certitude and the places where refuge and risk intersect.

Local college students (from left) Dre Williams, Ryan Bieri and Daniel Redeffer discussed the ongoing budget crisis in higher education and its impact on the public institutions where they are pursuing degrees.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Public colleges and universities throughout the U.S. are relying more and more on student tuition and fees to make ends meet, and institutions in the St. Louis region have been no exception to that trend.

Just in the past few weeks, money squabbles within the Southern Illinois University System have made headlines, as did a University of Missouri­-St. Louis committee report that recommends investing in some academic areas while eliminating others, including theater, anthropology and more.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the impact of higher education’s ongoing budget crisis on those at the heart of the whole matter: the students.

Local residents (from left) Heather Silverman, Jami Dolby and Kara Wurtz recently ran for city council seats in Creve Coeur, Chesterfield and Kirkwood, respectively.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“Last year I marched, but this year I run,” Kara Wurtz told her friends and family this past January 21, the day she launched her campaign as a city council candidate in Kirkwood, Missouri. She’s among an increasing number of women getting involved in politics all across the country and the region.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Wurtz and two other women who recently ran for their respective city councils in Chesterfield, Creve Coeur and Kirkwood, Missouri, about what prompted their candidacies and how they hope to engage in their local communities going forward.

Bill Nye is making a keynote appearance at the St. Louis Climate Summit.
Bill Nye

On this week’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio science reporter Eli Chen spoke with Bill Nye ahead of his keynote appearance Monday evening as part of the three-day St. Louis Climate Summit at Saint Louis University.

Their conversation touched on how the Science Guy seeks to engage audiences of all ages around topics such as climate change as well as the importance of critical thinking and storytelling.

Gary Gackstatter (at left) composed "Symphony Chaco: A Journey of the Spirit." Choral director Jim Henry  (at right) and renowned Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai are helping him bring the piece to the Touhill stage next week.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Jim Henry has yet to visit New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, the hallowed, high-desert landscape once home to ancestral Pueblo tribes. But the choral director has already fallen in love with the place, as have his music students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

That’s due to a new symphony inspired by Chaco from local composer Gary Gackstatter, who is a music professor at St. Louis Community College-Meramec. On Monday, April 23, about 200 singers and instrumentalists from UMSL and from STLCC will perform the symphony during a free concert at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.

“When I [first] played this piece for my students, they just could not wait to get on the stage,” Henry told host Don Marsh this week on St. Louis on the Air.

Carl Kasell throws out the first pitch on April 14, 2010, at Busch Stadium.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

In tribute to NPR’s Carl Kasell, who passed away earlier this week, Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air included a segment in remembrance of the longtime newscaster and much-beloved radio personality.

The broadcast featured portions of a 2006 conversation between Kasell and St. Louis Public Radio host Steve Potter. During the interview, Kasell reflected on his decades in the radio business and the growth of NPR since he first joined the organization in 1975.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson was sworn into office a year ago, on April 18, 2017.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday marked the first anniversary of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s time in office. The first woman elected to lead the Gateway City, she joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh for a conversation both reflecting on her first 12 months in the role and looking ahead.

In addition to saying she will sign current aldermanic legislation that would, respectively, give subpoena power to the Civilian Oversight Board and increase workforce inclusion goals, Krewson touched on the effort to create a buffer zone around St. Louis’ Planned Parenthood facility in the Central West End.

She also responded to a wide variety of other questions from Marsh and from listeners. Ten of them are included below – along with the full conversation here:

Beth Maynor Finch

Edward O. Wilson’s long career has been marked by enormous contributions to the field of biology, with an impact on global conservation efforts that is difficult to overstate. All of it grew out of his close attention years ago to something relatively small: the behavior of ants.

Wilson recalled one of his earliest interactions with the insects, a memory from his boyhood in northern Alabama, on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air in conversation with host Don Marsh.

Elsa Hart’s third historical mystery featuring librarian-turned-detective Li Du, titled “City of Ink,” is set for release this August. A fourth novel is also in the works.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When Elsa Hart moved to St. Louis and set out to earn a law degree from Washington University, becoming a novelist wasn’t at the top of her agenda. But then neither did Li Du, the protagonist of her since-published historical mysteries, expect to morph into a detective.

Trained as an imperial librarian in early 18th-century China, the fictional character winds up solving crimes in the midst of an ancient eclipse of the sun and other unexpectedly fraught adventures. Li Du is the central character in both Hart’s debut, “Jade Dragon Mountain” (2015), and its sequel, “The White Mirror” (2016), and still more surprises await him and his associates.

Harvard University’s Jonathan Walton will discuss “Religion at a Conversation Starter! Embracing King’s Political Philosophy of ‘Somebodiness’” on Tuesday, April 17, at Wash U.
Jeffrey Blackwell | Harvard University

Religion and politics don’t always pair well, and both have a reputation as conversation stoppers. But so much of the work of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. occurred at the intersection of those two often-avoided topics, and his efforts were part of a tradition that lives on.

“I’m thinking, for example, of folks here in St. Louis, names like Rev. Traci Blackmon, Rabbi Susan Talve,” said Lerone Martin, a Washington University faculty member who joined St. Louis on the Air on Thursday for a discussion of King’s legacy. “And even more broadly in the U.S. we can think about someone like Rev. [William] Barber, who’s trying to plan a poor people’s campaign in a similar tradition and vein.”

Saint Louis University faculty member Cara Wallace offered ideas for why – and how – people can broach important topics related to end-of-life care.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air included the sort of conversation that often doesn’t happen as often or as early as it should among loved ones – the kind about planning for the end of life.

Joining host Don Marsh for the discussion was Cara Wallace, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Saint Louis University.

Her research focuses on overcoming barriers to end-of-life care as well as improving quality of life, and she also educates health-care students, professionals and the general public about facing issues surrounding death, illness, loss and grief.

UMSL criminologists Lee Slocum (at left) and Finn Esbensen discussed a variety of safety issues that students and teachers deal with daily.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Mass shootings in U.S. schools continue to occur and make headlines. Other types of school violence, typically affecting one or two students at a time, garner less attention and more often end in suicide than homicide.

That’s according to University of Missouri–St. Louis criminologist Finn Esbensen, whose recent research in St. Louis County schools alongside colleague Lee Ann Slocum suggests that many young people struggle with school attendance out of fear for their safety.

SLU soccer stand-out Saadiq Mohammed (at left) and local attorney Javad Khazaeli talked about how they’ve been impacted by recent shifts in U.S. policy.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has been home to Saadiq Mohammed for about three years now – ever since he fled Somalia to seek safety and education in the United States. But along with college coursework and soccer at Saint Louis University these days, Mohammed has something else weighing on his mind on a daily basis: whether his request for asylum will be approved.

“It’s really tough,” he told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh during Monday’s show. “Every day I think about it a lot … When you wake up, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Immigration scholars (from left) Jorg Ploger, Adriano Udani and Florian Sichling discussed the incorporation of immigrants and refugees into their respective communities.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Thousands of miles separate St. Louis, Missouri, from Dortmund, Germany, but when it comes to immigration and refugee resettlement, the two cities aren’t so far apart.

Among the most pressing debates that link them are the “politically contradicting messages about the purpose of immigration,” as Florian Sichling describes the issue.

Jessica Mefford-Miller has taken the lead on Metro Transit’s draft plan outlining a new approach to public mobility in the region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Despite increased use of public transportation among young adults, overall ridership numbers in the St. Louis region have been on the decline the past four years. And that trend is part of the motivation behind Metro Transit’s newly unveiled hopes for its MetroBus service.

“That’s one of the reasons we need to take a fresh look at our system and make some changes to ensure that we’re providing service that meets the needs of our customers and provides a quality, fast ride,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, assistant executive director for transit planning and system development.

Catherine Werner is the director of sustainability in the mayor’s office.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Within a global context of climate change, individual attention to butterfly gardens, light bulbs, recycling and other efforts can sometimes seem rather futile. Catherine Werner is familiar with that notion – and with persuading people that such relatively small things do in fact matter.

“You think, ‘Oh, well, what can I do, and what’s one little light bulb going to do to make a difference?’” Werner said during Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “But if you do your whole apartment or your whole home, and then you tell it to your neighbor and they do it next door, it really does add up and can make quite a difference.”

Longtime St. Louisans (from left) Mike Jones, Jamala Rogers and Virvus Jones joined Wednesday’s show to reflect on the impact of what occurred on April 4, 1968.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Mike Jones remembers being “shocked but not surprised” when he heard that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered.

The assassination of the civil rights leader occurred a half-century ago this week in Memphis, Tennessee, when Jones was a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“The forces in America that have been against black progress have always taken black lives,” Jones said during a St. Louis on the Air conversation marking the 50-year anniversary of King’s death. “Black lives have always had less value in America. And men and women who actually fight for that kind of change usually do not live to be old men or old women, so no, you wouldn’t be surprised.”

Sonja Perryman has found her niche at the intersection of storylines and public health.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Sonja Perryman’s love for storytelling developed early in life, along with her sense of its potential to impact lives. She has vivid memories of reading “The Baby-Sitters Club” books as a girl and telling her father about one particular character in the series.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, she has diabetes, and she’s always thirsty and always hungry,’” Perryman recalled in a conversation this week on St. Louis on the Air. “And I remember my dad’s face going pale – well, as pale as it could go, but he looked like he saw a ghost – and he was like, ‘What were her symptoms again?’”

Anna Quindlen fields a question from Don Marsh during last week’s event.
Photo courtesy of St. Louis County Library

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, listeners heard host Don Marsh in conversation with bestselling novelist Anna Quindlen. She was in town last week for a book-signing event presented by St. Louis County Library, and Marsh interviewed her on stage before an audience of more than 200 people.

Among many other topics, the discussion touched on Quindlen’s decision to give up a Pulitzer Prize-winning career in journalism to become a full-time novelist.

A painting of William H. Gass hangs in Washington University's Olin Library. (Detail; oil on canvas, 1995, Marion Miller)
Image courtesy of Washington University

The writings of the late author and philosopher William H. Gass have a reputation for being cerebrally intimidating to some would-be readers. But when Joel Minor opened one of Gass’ books for the first time years ago, he was pleasantly surprised by a sense of accessibility.

“I found his work very approachable,” said Minor, who now oversees the Modern Literature Collection where Gass’ literary archive is housed. “‘Middle C’ is, I think, a very engrossing, approachable book. If you go into it knowing it’s not going to be a strictly linear narrative from start to finish, you’re going to be able to follow it and really appreciate his ability to work the language in a unique way in this character’s perspective.”

Busch Stadium in 2014.
OAKLEYORIGINALS | FLICKR | HTTP://BIT.LY/1QD8RZX

This week brought the start of the Major League Baseball season and the first defeat for the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost a 9-4 opener to the New York Mets. But the Redbirds have 161 games yet to go this year, and longtime sports writer Rob Rains says the team is looking stronger than it was a year ago.

“I like the young pitchers,” he told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Friday. “I really think they’re probably still a year away from being a really good team because of the youth of the pitchers.”

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