Hannah Westerman | St. Louis Public Radio

Hannah Westerman

News Intern

Hannah Westerman is a 2016 graduate of Colorado College where she studied creative writing and journalism. Before settling in St. Louis for the last 12 years, Hannah spent her childhood in Florida, Texas and Ohio. At Colorado College, Hannah pursued print journalism, becoming sports editor for the weekly newspaper, The Catalyst, and editor for the monthly alternative news magazine, Cipher. Since graduating, Hannah interned at Spoon University, an online food news/lifestyle resource, before joining St. Louis Public Radio as the Fall News Intern. Hannah enjoys skiing, listening to live music and binge-watching television.

What makes something news? It’s a question journalists ask themselves every day.

Whether it’s a breaking story or a scheduled event, news editors and managers have to decide whether or not to cover it.

After months and months of election coverage, Don Crozier was frustrated by what he saw as sensationalism and bias in the media. He worried that news had become too focused on entertainment or shock in the hunt for clicks and shares.

Crozier wanted to learn more about how news directors make decisions, so he turned to St. Louis Public Radio’s Curious Louis.

Hannah Westerman | St. Louis Public Radio

Nine people were arrested Monday in the Metro East as part of a state and federal public corruption task force operation.

Known as Operation Watchtower, the joint task force began this spring.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly announced the arrests at a press conference at the Illinois State Police Headquarters in Collinsville.

Kelly says his office has prosecuted a large number of public integrity cases but they still present a unique challenge.

The Biddle facility acts as an overnight emergency shelter. 11/29
Hannah Westerman | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is the recipient of a $1 million federal grant to combat homelessness.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is supplying the funds to rapidly re-house up to 150 people.

The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District

All major construction on the Delmar Loop Trolley has been completed.

Trolley construction began March 2015. The final path of the trolley circles more than two miles from the western end of The Loop and through Forest Park near the Missouri History Museum.

St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar joined Stenger on Wednesday in announcing the minimum standards proposal.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A measure to boost sales taxes to help law enforcement agencies may be going to St. Louis County voters.

The St. Louis County Council gave initial approval today for the ballot item. The one-half of 1 percent sales tax hike would partly go to the St. Louis County Police Department. The rest would go to St. Louis County municipalities.

Police chief Jon Belmar says funding raised by the tax would be distributed based on population and would go toward increasing hiring, salaries and access to technology like body cameras.

International Institute staff and volunteers serve a Thanksgiving meal to new refugees and immigrants to the St. Louis area on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.
Hannah Westerman | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 23 with corrected numbers – Thanksgiving came a little early for hundreds of refugees and immigrants who gathered for a meal with all the trimmings Tuesday afternoon at the International Institute in St. Louis.

The Institute, which serves as the region’s “Welcoming Center for New Americans,” said it has served more than 1,000 new refugees in the last year, from countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and Iraq.

“We’re pleased that it’s an all-American holiday that has meaning all around the world,” said President and CEO Anna Crosslin.

St. Louis Regional Business Council

An effort to raise money for north St. Louis County schools and businesses in the aftermath of the Ferguson unrest is now ending.

Members of the "Reinvest North County Fund" committee announced that the fund is closing at a press conference Wednesday held at the Centene Corporation – Ferguson Service Center.

The fund allocated $950,000 over the past two years.

Bills sponsored by Ald. Dionne Flowers, D-2nd Ward, would boost the age to purchase tobacco products in the city to 21
Drongowski | Flickr

Updated with first-round board approval Nov. 10 - Measures boosting the age to buy tobacco products in the city of St. Louis sailed out of the Health and Human Services committee on Thursday (Nov. 3).

The bills, sponsored by Alderman Dionne Flowers, D-2nd Ward, would bring the city in line with St. Louis County by making it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy tobacco products. The new requirement applies to both traditional tobacco products like cigarettes, and newer ones like electronic cigarettes.

Democrat Sheila Simon and Republican Paul Schimpf
From campaigns

In Illinois’ 58th district, it’s lieutenant governor versus lieutenant colonel in a race for the Metro East’s only open state senate seat.

Republican David Luechtefeld of Okawville is retiring after 22 years in office. He has endorsed Paul Schimpf of Waterloo, a former Marine and political newcomer. Schimpf is running against a familiar name in Illinois politics, former Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, a Democrat from Carbondale.

Maria Altman| St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on Oct. 27, to include contract vote approval - Schnucks union employees approved a new contract Wednesday night, avoiding a potential strike.

The members of the UFCW Local 655 voted 1,020 to 507 in favor of the three year agreement.

The original contract expired in May. Union members rejected a previous version in September. The union recommended a yes vote to the membership before last night’s decision.

In a statement emailed to St. Louis Public Radio, UFCW Local 655 President David Cook said, “Schnucks management listened to our concerns and worked with us to provide a significantly revised agreement that our membership supported with tonight’s vote. Our members deserve to be recognized for their sacrifices with a fair contract. The significant concessions from Schnucks show they understood that and came back to the table with a much better contract.”

Republican Mike Bost, left, and Democrat C.J. Baricevic are the main party candidates for the Illinois 12th Congressional District seat.
Campaign photos

On  Oct. 27, residents of the 12 counties of Illinois’ 12th Congressional District will get their only chance to watch the candidates face off. Lindenwood University-Belleville will host the debate among Republican Mike Bost, Democrat C.J. Baricevic and Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw.

Cortex Innovation Community

The Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis’ Central West End will undergo a major expansion over the next two years.

Developers announced plans Thursday for the district’s first hotel which will include a restaurant, apartments with over 200 studio, one and two bedroom units, approximately 20,000 square feet of street level retail, a new technology and lab building and an innovation hall to be used as a meeting space.

Don't use more than 330 px
The Foundry St. Louis

One of two groups that want to bring major league soccer to St. Louis will hold a public forum Tuesday night.

Foundry St. Louis is a group of mostly St. Louis residents attempting to secure an MLS Soccer franchise and stadium.

The group is offering people the chance to give their input on initial plans for a stadium that could possibly be built near the Saint Louis University campus in the city of St. Louis.

Foundry St. Louis President Nicholas Mahrt says St. Louis deserves an MLS team because of the area’s history with the sport.

Brian Ungles of Cushman & Wakefield announces expansion on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016
Hannah Westerman St. Louis Public Radio

Six hundred jobs are coming to St. Louis over the next four years.

Commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield on Friday announced the company’s $17.4 million expansion. The firm has signed a lease for a new 90,000-square-foot office in Town and Country.

The firm already employs 900 people in the St. Louis area. Cushman & Wakefield have been in St. Louis for 90 years.

Brian Ungles, market leader for the company, said St. Louis is a great location for growth.

St. Louis County Parks and Recreation

St. Louis County residents have several opportunities this month to weigh in on the future of area parks.

The County’s Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a series of open houses to discuss a master plan to guide the development and maintenance of parks and park facilities.

Project manager Gerry Biedenstein said residents should take this opportunity to share what they think is important.

Attorneys for Bruce Franks, Penny Hubbard, and employees with the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners examine absentee ballot envelopes during a court hearing on Sept. 1, 2016.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Area voter registration deadlines are fast approaching. Missouri voters must submit a completed application by the end of business on Oct. 12.

Stephanie Fleming, director of communications for Missouri's secretary of state says people can register in person, by mail or online.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar gives details of a shooting death of Officer Blake Snyder as a photo of the officer is shown during a press conference in Clayton. 10-06-16
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A St. Louis County Police officer has died following an early morning shooting on Thursday. Officer Blake Snyder was responding to a disturbance call when he was shot.

The suspect is an 18-year-old male who is being treated for gun shot wounds at a local hospital. He was shot by a second police officer.

Hannah Westerman St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly 200 pounds of narcotics are off the streets of St. Louis today.

The St. Louis division of the Drug Enforcement Administration has announced the results of a year and a half long operation that resulted in 36 arrests and the seizure of 190 pounds of methamphetamine as well as heroin, weapons and cash totaling more than $1 million.

The methamphetamine alone carries a street value of more than $3 million.

FDA | file photo

Updated Sept. 27, 1 p.m. to include county council approval - St. Charles County Council is the most recent local government to move forward with a prescription drug database.

Members Monday night unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance to establish the program, which would share information with similar initiatives in St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis.

Officials hope the program will be operational by Jan. 1.

A focus group moderator writes down participants' thoughts on racial and ethnic relations in St. Louis, after a meeting of the Ferguson Commission.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Seven St. Louis area residents have joined the board of Forward Through Ferguson, a successor organization to the Ferguson Commission.

The nonprofit group received 27 applications for the positions. Through what the group called an open, community-driven process, the committee selected “unflinching and unusual leaders” to work toward racial equity.