Holly Edgell | St. Louis Public Radio

Holly Edgell

Race, Identity and Culture Editor

Holly Edgell is the Editor of a four-station collaborative coverage initiative on race, identity and culture. Based at St. Louis Public Radio, she leads a team of four reporters in St. Louis, Hartford, Kansas City and Portland, Ore.

MORE: The Identity Blog

Holly comes to St. Louis Public Radio as a journalist with more than 20 years of experience. In addition to working as a television news producer in several cities, in 2010 she launched 12 St. Louis-area websites for Patch.com, the hyperlocal news initiative introduced by AOL.

Also in St. Louis, she took on a wide range freelance reporting assignments for news organizations such as The National Catholic Reporter and the New York Daily News.

In 2012, she was part of the leadership team that launched WCPO Insider (WCPO.com), the first local television news initiative to introduce an a la carte subscription model for exclusive, in-depth content that audiences could not find elsewhere.

She later served as Director of Digital media for KSHB-TV in Kansas City and WEWS-TV in Cleveland.

In addition to newsroom experience, Holly taught journalism at the University of Missouri and Florida A&M University. She was also a member of the first cohort of Google News Lab trainers. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists. Holly holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in media management from Kent State University. Born in Belize, Holly loves travel, true crime and history podcasts and crossword puzzles.

The U.S. Census Bureau hired more than 600,000 temporary workers for the 2010 census.
U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau officially announced its recruiting drive for the 2020 census on Monday. The bureau may face challenges finding enough qualified candidates to fill thousands of openings, including positions in Missouri and Illinois.

There is concern that there won’t be enough people looking to work on the census. In July, the U.S. Census Bureau published a blog post that sounded the alarm about the pool of candidates for 2020 jobs. Officials worry that the current low unemployment rate, around 4 percent, means the bureau won’t get the millions of applications it needs to fill the temporary positions.

The guitarist for St. Paul Minnesota band Hippo Campus bends to his Fender Telecaster and rocks out. The band brought their particular brand of dance rock to the main stage.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

LouFest isn’t happening. This is a huge blow to the thousands of fans who look forward to the music festival in Forest Park every year.

With the cancellation coming just a few days before the event, fans now have a gaping hole in their weekend plans. Here, in no particular order, are some other arts and entertainment doings that may help ease the pain of a lost LouFest.

Update: We're updating this list with new shows as we're scheduled. Check back for the latest bookings. 

St. Louis County's first chief diversity officer is Jack L. Thomas Jr.
St. Louis County

Hiring a chief diversity officer was a key recommendation of the recent disparity study commissioned by St. Louis County.

Jack L. Thomas Jr., a veteran of the workforce diversity and improvement profession, has been tapped to fill the position.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the process of developing a culture of inclusiveness within St. Louis County government, with the goal of growing sustainable minority- and women-owned business enterprises,” Thomas said in a statement.

Maplewood city attorney Craig Biesterfeld and City Manager Marty Corcoran look through the city code during a meeting with a reporter at Maplewood City Hall.
Jenny Simeone-Cases | St. Louis Public Radio

Maplewood’s thriving business district and respected schools are attractive to potential residents. But, aspiring residents must first apply and be approved for an occupancy permit. Even after such a permit is granted, the city’s public nuisance ordinance allows it to be revoked under certain conditions.

The ACLU of Missouri and the St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council on Wednesday are co-hosting what they bill as a “community discussion” about Maplewood's public nuisance ordinance. The event is intended to help residents understand the ordinance and their rights when it comes to enforcement.

The St. Louis region grew slightly in 2014, but the city dropped by about 1,000 people, according to new Census data.
U.S. Marine Corps Flickr page

Black residents are leaving the city of St. Louis in greater numbers than ever, according to 2017 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau released on Thursday. The statistics show more than 4,000 black St. Louis residents chose to live elsewhere between 2016 and 2017.

"Part of what’s driving this is that in parts of the city the quality of life has declined, where residents have decided that they are looking for other homes," said Onesimo Sandoval, a demographer at Saint Louis University. "Better access to schools, better access to opportunities such as jobs, resources."

Michelle Tyrene Johnson, a reporter at KCUR in Kansas City, conducted diversity and bias training for employers for more than 15 years.
KCUR

Starbucks stores across the country will be closed on Tuesday afternoon. The company announced it would use the half day to “conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores.”

Starbucks announced the move in April after video of police arresting two black men at a Philadelphia location went viral. An employee had called police because the men, who were waiting for someone, had not ordered anything and were refusing to leave. One of the pair had asked to the use the restroom.

Lotus Avenue in the Kingsway West neighborhood of St. Louis was mostly white until the "white flight" era of the 1960s and 1970s.
Holly Edgell | St. Louis Public Radio

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary George Romney once said a “white noose” encircled American cities, effectively trapping black families in neglected neighborhoods, while white families moved to thriving suburbs.

The phrase may be 50 years old, but it still fits. Housing discrimination and segregation persist in the metro St. Louis area, long after the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which signed into law a week after the assassination of Martin Luther King. 

Angela Lewis, left, listens while realtor Gail Brown explains how she arrived at a list price for the Lewis property in north St. Louis, in April 2018.
Holly Edgell / St. Louis Public Radio

Advocates concerned about persistent housing segregation in the region might question why promotional materials for the 2018 Fair Housing Conference use the word "celebrate" in reference to the Fair Housing Act.

"The reality is the racial segregation that we see everywhere in this country is the product of very explicit design by the federal state and local governments, intended to segregate the nation by race," said Richard Rothstein, ahead of Wednesday's meeting.

Rothstein, the keynote speaker, is the author of "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America."

Cardinal Ritter student leaders Deja Brown (left), senior class president, and Darius White, sophomore class officer reflected on Dr. King's legacy in April 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

On March 14, students Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School walked out of their school and through their Grand Center neighborhood in St. Louis, stopping on the steps of St. Francis Xavier College Church.

Among the Cardinal Ritter students who took part in the walkout, were two members of the school’s student council: Deja Brown, 17, is senior class president, and Darius White, 16 who is a sophomore class officer.

The region actually grew slightly from 2016 to 2017, but Baltimore and other cities gained more residents in the same period.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the St. Louis metropolitan area continues to lose ground compared to other cities.

Data released Thursday show the area, which includes St. Louis City and 14 neighboring Missouri and Illinois counties, dropped to the 21st most populous metropolitan area in 2017. Baltimore replaced St. Louis in the 20th position.

Sharing America editor Holly Edgell and reporter Ashley Lisenby talk with Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air on March 14, 2018.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio is taking the lead in a new public radio initiative called Sharing America.

Funded by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Sharing America includes reporters at public radio stations in four cities and an editor based in St. Louis.

The collaboration covers the intersection of race, identity and culture. Holly Edgell, the editor of Sharing America, along with reporter Ashley Lisenby were guests Wednesday on St. Louis on the Air.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

It's a startling number to consider, especially on International Women's Day, March 8.

According to the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Reportgender parity is over 200 years away. The report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress toward gender parity through four themes, including economic participation and opportunity.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. answers questions at a press conference before his speech at St. Louis University in 1964.
Saint Louis University

When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. visited St. Louis for a speech in early 1957, did he imagine Americans would still be grappling with the legacies of segregation and economic disparity more than 60 years later?

As Americans prepare to commemorate King's birthday on Jan. 15, it is worth noting that the civil rights leader made St. Louis a regular stop for at least a decade.

Eric and Sheena Greitens prepare to vote in the Central West End on Nov. 8, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ admission late Wednesday that he had an extramarital affair before he was governor bumped his second State of the State address out of the headlines. 

Just after the speech Wednesday evening, Greitens and his wife, Sheena Greitens, issued a statement saying “there was a time when he was unfaithful” in their marriage. The admission came as KMOV-TV prepared to air a report about the affair, featuring the man who said he was the ex-husband of the woman in question. 

Eric and Sheena Greitens hold their sons, Joshua and Jacob, while speaking to reporters after casting their ballots the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End. 2016
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Since Missouri voters elected Eric Greitens governor, his wife, Sheena Greitens, has been working on behalf of a group that doesn’t usually get much attention from high profile advocates: the 13,000 children in the custody of the Missouri Department of Social Services Children's Division.

The children include those placed with relatives, adoptive families, residential care and foster care.

Closures of popular and long-standing St. Louis businesses began in late 2017.
Barry Schwartz | Flickr

It’s hard to say goodbye. But in 2018, St. Louis-area residents will have to get used to several long-standing businesses not being around anymore.

Retail retirement

The bad news for loyal J.C. Penney shoppers: The retail chain is permanently closing its St. Louis store in the Hampton Village Plaza shopping center. After nearly 70 years in business, the store's last day will be Jan. 21.

The good news for bargain hunters: A liquidation sale will begin on Jan. 2.

This fall, U.S. Census Bureau workers will come to St. Louis to verify, using in part smartphones, the agency's address lists, compiled using a new method. Those lists will help the Bureau conduct the 2020 Census.
U.S. Census Bureau

Illinois got smaller. Missouri got bigger (slightly). And western states seem to have a pull on people looking to relocate. That’s according to the U.S. Census Bureau's annual population estimates that were released on December 20.

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UPS estimates it will handle about 750 million deliveries between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. That's up five percent from 2016.
UPS

They watch homes in your neighborhood, looking for packages left on stoops and doorsteps. Before you know it, porch pirates swoop in and swipe your holiday deliveries.

The widow of firefighter Marnell Griffin (her back to the camera) comforts a fellow firefighter's widow on Dec. 201, 2017. They, and the woman on the left, lost their husbands to cancer.
Holly Edgell | St. Louis Public Radio

When firefighter Marnell Griffin died in January 2017, it was not due to burns, smoke inhalation or any of the other hazards people associate with his line of work. Griffin, a 22-year veteran of the St. Louis Fire Department, died of colon cancer.

Officials and dignitaries used ceremonial shovels to symbolically break ground on the second phase of Ballpark Village on Dec. 14, 2016.
Holly Edgell | St. Louis Public Radio

The second phase of Ballpark Village got underway Thursday, and, at the heart of it all, will be a luxury apartment building. The St. Louis Cardinals and development partner, the Cordish Companies, are betting that people will pay top dollar to live at One Cardinal Way, at the corner of Clark Avenue and South Broadway.

A nearby office tower will be the first Class A office building constructed in downtown St. Louis since Metropolitan Square opened in 1989. At the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III announced that PriceWaterhouseCoopers will be the lead tenant.