Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Evie Hemphill

St. Louis on the Air 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.

The latest episode brings the voices of the descendants of J.D. and Ethel Shelley to listeners as they share the story of their family’s place in American history.
The Copeland Collection

There’s no shortage of people who remember the 1948 U.S. Supreme Court decision Shelley v. Kraemer and can talk about how it changed housing practices across the nation – plenty of historians and legal experts, for instance. But when the producers of St. Louis Public Radio’s We Live Here podcast decided to take another look at the pivotal case, they opted for different voices: those of the Shelleys’ descendants.

“There’s a certain kind of human truth that can only really be found by talking with family members who have this story that’s passed down generation to generation,” co-host/producer Tim Lloyd said Thursday on St. Louis on the Air. “It was a great episode for us – we really enjoyed putting it together.”

Matt Grawitch (at left), director of strategic research for SLU’s School for Professional Studies, and Dena Bubrick-Tranen, a therapist with Middle Way Counseling and Consulting, offered insights on dealing with difficult work environments.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Ever felt stuck in a problematic job situation? You’re not alone.

The #MeToo movement has led to increased awareness and empowerment around issues of sexual harassment and assault in all sorts of industries. But other forms of mistreatment can crop up in the workplace as well, and employees sometimes feel trapped in difficult environments.

“People do need their jobs, and the more toxic the environment, the harder it can be to leave,” local therapist Dena Bubrick-Tranen said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Several years ago, when Aretha Franklin (at left) was planning her birthday party in New York City, she gave Denise Thimes a call and asked the St. Louisan to sing for her.
Courtesy of Denise Thimes

Denise Thimes was still a young girl when she first interacted with Aretha Franklin in St. Louis during the late ’60s. But even then the Queen of Soul made a big impression on Thimes, who is now an accomplished vocalist herself.

“I emulated her a lot and never had a chance to, as a little girl, sing for her – which is what I wanted to do when she would come to our home,” Thimes told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “But to have done her birthday party [a few years ago] and to stand there and watch her watch me sing – Don, I had to fight back the tears the whole time.”

After enduring two cesarean sections and other challenges as a teen mom herself, Ferguson resident Tru Kellman started Jamaa Birth Village in 2015 to provide a community-driven solution to a national health issue.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“Considerable” is the word that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses to describe the racial disparities that currently surround pregnancy-related mortality rates in the U.S. With African-American women roughly three times more likely to die in childbirth than their white peers, “startling” might be another fitting descriptor.

And the difference “all boils down to systematic racism in varying degrees,” according to Tru Kellman, executive director of Jamaa Birth Village, a nonprofit pregnancy resource center that has served more than 300 women over the past three years.

A new Belleville News-Democrat investigation challenges common perceptions about how safe MetroLink is.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Early Tuesday morning, the Belleville News-Democrat published an in-depth investigation into just how safe the St. Louis region’s MetroLink light-rail system is, ultimately concluding that it “isn’t as dangerous as you think” and that crime rates have declined.

Hours later, a man was shot and killed at the South Grand Boulevard Metro station during an argument between two other people. He was an innocent bystander waiting for a bus.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led an on-air discussion prompted by this juxtaposition.

The Delmar Loop in 2017
Flickr/TedEngler

Rachelle L’Ecuyer grew up right near the Delmar Loop, so becoming its first-ever executive director earlier this month felt a lot like coming home. Still, she’s been looking at the area with fresh eyes.

“I was walking down Delmar yesterday, and I was taking a picture of the Tivoli sign, and two young men walked up to me and I said, ‘I love it!’” she said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And they looked at me and I said [again], ‘I love it.’ And I pointed from bottom to top, and they said, ‘Oh, I love it: The Tivoli spelled backwards is ‘I love it.’ And we ended up having a pretty long conversation about the Loop.”

Melody Walker, St. Louis Public Radio’s economic development reporter, offered analysis of the ongoing airport-privatization effort on Monday’s talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

With the potential privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport still “up in the air,” as host Don Marsh put it on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Melody Walker joined the show to offer analysis of the latest developments.

“Privatization is one of the most polarizing words I think we’ve had in quite a while here in St. Louis, and it’s a little bit of a misnomer,” said Walker, who is the station’s economic development reporter. “I think when people hear ‘privatization,’ we think, ‘We’re going to sell the airport off to some private company.’ Well, that’s not what’s happening.”

Aaron Addison is the director of data services at Washington University.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The digital age has ushered in many advancements and fresh possibilities – and also new concerns. One of those has to do with the need to protect vital scientific and public data resources from disappearing or even being intentionally suppressed.

While many libraries in the U.S. have long served as repositories in an effort to back up and preserve government information, that work has new urgency under a presidential administration that has expunged certain information related to topics such as climate change.

“These things [removing data] have gone on for a long time,” Washington University’s Aaron Addison said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, offering the missing Cook County, Illinois, data from the 1960 U.S. Census as one example. “[But] here we have a case where it’s not happening in a vacuum – it’s in concert with all these other decisions that the administration is making. And so it adds, certainly, to the concern.”

Geoffrey Soyiantet, Sally Gacheru and Gracemary Nganga compare their Kenyan beed bracelets. Several teens from the St. Louis area are now in their home country of Kenya for about two weeks through Soyiantet's Vitendo4Africa organization.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Aug. 20 with follow-up conversation: On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with St. Louis Public Radio education reporter Ryan Delaney upon his return from travels in Africa, where he caught up with some fellow St. Louisans.

Listen to their conversation:

Protestors against dark money make their presence known in Washington.
Dark Money, a PBS Distribution release

With a growing lack of transparency clouding money’s influence on politics around the United States, a new film digs into the issue by zooming in on one state in particular: Montana.

Why Montana? The choice of setting came down to three factors: the presence of whistleblowers, diligent enforcers of campaign-finance law and a watchdog press.

“We could actually tell the story there,” the documentary’s director, Kimberly Reed, said Friday on St. Louis on the Air.

Tazewell Thompson, at left, is a trustee with the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. He has served as a mentor to Shaun Patrick Tubbs, the stage director for the production that opens Friday.
Union Avenue Opera

Contrary to any stuffy misconceptions, opera isn’t something one simply observes or sits through – especially not an opera like “Lost in the Stars.” That’s according to American theater director Tazewell Thompson, who is guiding Union Avenue Opera’s upcoming production of the still-timely masterwork.

“Opera in general, and this opera in particular, is a living, breathing organism, and … it packs an emotional wallop,” Thompson said this week on St. Louis on the Air. “And I think the audience will walk away transformed and changed … they’ll find that this is an opera of great hope – reconciliation, man’s capacity for change, man’s capacity to forgive. And the music will not be washed over the audience. The music will actually penetrate the hearts of those who watch ‘Lost in the Stars.’”

Stephanie Lummus (at left) is the veterans advocacy project attorney for St. Francis Community Services’ Catholic Legal Service Ministry, and Michael-John Voss is co-founder and special projects director of ArchCity Defenders.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When Stephanie Lummus first entered nonprofit legal work, she didn’t expect that her efforts to represent homeless people and help them exit poverty would so often revolve around child support. But she estimates that at least three-quarters of her homeless clients are dealing with that issue – and it’s not a simple one.

“The enforcement mechanisms in place in the state of Missouri for those folks that have resources and just don’t feel like supporting their children are usually appropriate … [but] what we’re talking about is the vulnerable and the disenfranchised,” Lummus said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, “the folks that have run into difficulty or catastrophe in life and need modification, and they can’t get it.”

Alan Lambert directs Washington University’s Attitude and Social Cognition Laboratory.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Conspiracy theories are nothing new – but they are in the news a lot these days, and they seem to particularly plague the digital age.

“I don’t think they’re more common, but they spread much more quickly now because of the internet,” Alan Lambert said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “We hear about them faster.”

Lambert, who is an associate professor of psychology at Washington University, joined host Don Marsh for a close look at why conspiracy theories persist.

Jason Kander traveled to St. Louis on Monday to promote his new book, “Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage.”
Getty Images and Twelve Books

For a 37-year-old, Jason Kander’s job experience really runs the gamut – from Army captain, to Missouri secretary of state, to president of Let America Vote, an organization he founded last year to combat what he considers to be a dramatic increase in voter suppression.

Now the rising political star has logged another career accomplishment with the release of his new book, “Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage.” And he’s hoping to add one more job title to his resume in the months to come as he runs for mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.

Wesley Bell is an attorney, municipal-court prosecutor and Ferguson city-council member – as well as a former public defender. Soon he’ll become St. Louis County’s first African-American prosecutor.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Wesley Bell – just two days after his victory in the Democratic primary against longtime incumbent St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann reported earlier this week, Bell is now set to become St. Louis County’s first African-American prosecutor.

Asked what to make of his resounding win in a mostly white county, Bell said he expected to draw diverse support, but he was still “even more pleasantly surprised” by the large amount of support he received all over the county.

Forward Through Ferguson catalysts (from left) Yinka Faleti, Karishma Furtado and David Dwight discussed their organization’s newly released assessment of progress toward racial equity in the St. Louis region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For members of the Forward Through Ferguson team, the past few years have been full of work that feels important and exciting – and also excruciatingly slow.

The organization this week unveiled its “State of the Report,” a tool that aims to quantitatively track progress toward racial equity in light of the initial Ferguson Commission, and in only five of 47 key areas does the data suggest significant change thus far.

“There’s definitely frustration in [the ongoing work] and always a hope that things can be more urgent,” David Dwight, senior strategy and partnerships catalyst, said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “At the same time, I think we’ve had to find excitement in those who are implementing the calls to action from the report [and] to see the way that our region has taken on racial equity.”

Smartphone-based GPS tracking systems allow people in the St. Louis area to locate, unlock and ride the scooters recently launched by rival companies Lime and Bird.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“What is it – people just don’t want to walk anymore?”

That’s how host Don Marsh opened Tuesday’s lighthearted St. Louis on the Air conversation with the Riverfront Times’ Daniel Hill, who joined the show to discuss the many electric scooters that have recently appeared in St. Louis.

Hill, who responded by describing the new scooters from rival companies Lime and Bird as “clearly the future of walking,” recently ran a sizeable sample of the two-wheeled contraptions through “extensive tests,” as described in his investigation.

Steve Stenger, who has served as St. Louis County executive since January 2015, hopes to serve another four-year term.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Affton native and incumbent Democratic candidate for St. Louis County executive Steve Stenger has held the position for nearly four years and is looking to serve for another four. His name will appear next to political newcomer Mark Mantovani’s on the Aug. 7 ballot. 

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Stenger joined host Don Marsh and St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies to discuss his campaign to keep his seat as county executive.

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay is seeking to serve a 10th term in the House of Representatives.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay (D-University City) joined host Don Marsh to discuss his campaign to serve another term in Congress. St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jason Rosenbaum also participated in the conversation.

Clay, who was first elected to national office in 2000, currently faces a primary challenge from Cori Bush to represent Missouri’s 1st Congressional District. Both Bush and Clay’s names will appear on next week’s Democratic primary ballot.

Clay fielded a wide variety of questions from Marsh, Rosenbaum and listeners during the show. Here are 10 of those exchanges.

Florissant resident Cori Bush is an ordained pastor and registered nurse – and is currently running to become a congresswoman.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Cori Bush joined host Don Marsh to discuss her campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jason Rosenbaum also participated in the conversation.

Bush, who lives in Florissant, is challenging incumbent Rep. Lacy Clay (D-University City) in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District. Both Bush and Clay’s names will appear on next week’s Democratic primary ballot.

Bush fielded a wide variety of questions from Marsh, Rosenbaum and listeners during the show. Here are 10 of those exchanges.

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