Joseph Leahy

Reporter and afternoon newscaster

Joseph Leahy began his career in broadcast journalism at St. Louis Public Radio in 2011. He moved to Delaware in 2012 to help launch the state’s first NPR station, 91.1 FM WDDE, as a general assignment reporter, afternoon newscaster and host. Leahy returned to Missouri in 2013 to anchor St. Louis Public Radio’s local newscasts during NPR’s All Thing’s Considered and produce news on local and regional issues. His education includes a master’s degree in print and multimedia journalism from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Missouri. He graduated high school at Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge, California and grew up migrating almost annually with his family between rural Missouri and sprawling Los Angeles. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1982. 

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Ikea's newest blue and yellow box store that opens Wednesday on Vandeventer Avenue in St. Louis is the biggest sign yet of a building boom that’s transforming what was once a relatively sparse neighborhood into a bustling part of town.

Tower Grove Park

A new director is getting settled at Tower Grove Park in St. Louis for the first time in 28 years. St. Louis Public Radio’s Joseph Leahy spoke recently with Bill Reininger about his choice not to live at the director’s residence and his ideas for bringing new technology to the historic park.

Missouri Department of Transportation

A fuel tax increase now has more support than a sales tax increase to help pay for Missouri’s roads and bridges.

The Missouri Department of Transportation’s most recent survey finds 24 percent of Missourians favor raising taxes on fuel — an increase of 9 points since 2013. Meanwhile, raising the sales tax has lost support, falling four points to 17 percent.

Front entrance to the Illinois Veterans' Home-Quincy. Seven have died in an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease.
Jason Parrott | Tri States Public Radio

Illinois has confirmed three more deaths from Legionnaires' disease at a Quincy veterans' home, increasing the number of fatalities from the outbreak to seven. 

Officials have so far diagnosed 39 people with the disease and tests are pending for other residents. The veterans' home is working with the state and county health departments as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find the source.

(photo by Tim Tolle via Flickr Creative Commons)

Two days of celebrations are planned for the Gateway Arch’s 50th anniversary this October.

According to organizers with the CityArchRiver Foundation and Great Rivers Greenway, citizens and dignitaries will gather on Wednesday, Oct. 28, near the Old Courthouse to commemorate the moment when builders set in place the landmark’s crucial keystone. The Missouri History Museum is also hosting an exhibit and panel discussion that day.

committee crowd at microphone
Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

A coalition of activist groups is planning a series of events this week to commemorate the first anniversary of Michael Brown Jr.’s fatal police shooting on Aug. 9, 2014.

Nearly a dozen groups are participating in the so-called “United We Fight” activities that begin Friday morning and culminate with a day of civil disobedience on Monday. 

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission postponed voting Wednesday on proposals that could clear the way for UberX and other transportation network companies to operate in the city and county.  

Uber staff help potential drivers with the ride-sharing company's application process during recruitment event in the Central West End.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

UberX says it will recruit 2,000 new drivers in the first year after local regulators permit the company and other smart-phone-based ride services to operate in St. Louis.

To spread the word and garner support, Uber has teamed up with St. Louis branch of the NAACP, the St. Louis Agency of Training and Employment (SLATE) and the employment initiative Ferguson 1000.

Jamie Bockenfeld-Parrott

(Updated at 1:00 p.m., on Friday, July 17)

Quincy city officials say that the state of emergency will be lifted at noon on Saturday. All streets are now passable and Ameren Illinois reports that nearly everyone's power has been restored.

(Updated at 4:30 p.m., on Wednesday, July 15)

Ameren Illinois reports nearly 10,000 customers remain without power in and around Quincy following Monday night’s powerful thunderstorm that choked the city’s roadways with toppled trees and downed power lines.

Quincy’s mayor Kyle Moore says 70 percent of the city’s streets are now passable and he expects power for most residents to be restored by  Wednesday night.

Garbage and recycling services are suspended for the rest of the week to allow crews to focus on clean up. The mayor says the city’s parks were hardest hit and some may take years to restore their tree canopies.  

(Our original story)

The city of Quincy is recovering after a powerful thunderstorm toppled trees and knocked out power for tens of thousands of area residents Monday night.

Many streets remained blocked by fallen branches and utility poles as of Tuesday afternoon and power is expected to remain off for thousands of homes until at least Wednesday, said Mayor Kyle Moore.


Water levels on the Mississippi River rise to flood stages underneath Eads Bridge.
Sarah Kellogg

Most of the major waterways in the St. Louis region have crested or are near their crests following the wettest June on record.  More than 13.1 inches of rain fell last month, nearly an inch more than the previous record set in 2003.

High water levels on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers are declining and the Missouri River at St. Charles is forecast to crest at about four feet above flood stage Saturday afternoon.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Metro Transit is adjusting policies for its Call-A-Ride service that some disability advocates had claimed were unfair.

Starting July 1, the service’s so-called “no-show” policy will base suspensions on a percentage of a rider’s overall Call-A-Ride usage rather than a fixed number. Riders will also be permitted five minutes, instead of three, before they’re penalized for being late for pick up.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

A new bridge over the Missouri River is opening Monday morning, underscoring how much St. Louis and St. Charles Counties have grown together over the past three decades.

State and local officials gathered Thursday to cut a ceremonial ribbon on the new eastbound span of the I-64 Daniel Boone Bridge.

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann told an audience of about 50 people that the bridge is the 7th river crossing built between the two counties in the last 37 years.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

The ride-sharing service UberX has yet to persuade local regulators why its drivers don’t need government background checks and drug tests to begin offering rides in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Metropolitan Taxicab Commissioners met Tuesday to consider the pros and cons of revising its vehicle-for-hire code to permit UberX and other such transportation network companies (TNC).

About two dozen people attended the meeting to show their support or opposition including representatives from the local taxi companies and independent entrepreneurs.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

About 25 protesters rallied outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis Friday afternoon, demanding Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce convene a “town hall” meeting to push for reforms in police tactics and the municipal justice system.

Deputies from the St. Louis Sheriff’s Department outnumbered the group of peaceful demonstrators, lining up along the granite stairs of the courthouse’s main entrance on Market Street.  

St. Louis County Crisis Intervention Team officers respond to as many as 60 calls per week involving a person with a mental health issue, according to Sgt. Jeremy Romo.
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Updated 6:20 p.m. June 2

Missouri state officials are under pressure to respond to a report that shows disparities between blacks and whites in traffic stops are the worst they've been since the state began collecting data 15 years ago.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s General Assembly adjourned this month without addressing a projected budget shortfall that transportation officials say will devastate the state’s roads and bridges over the next few years.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Some local mayors and transportation officials are supporting a legislative proposal to add two cents to the state’s gas tax that they say is critical to maintaining area roads and bridges.

To illustrate the problem, officials from the St. Louis County Municipal League, the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council and MoDOT gathered Friday near an overpass at Interstate 270 and New Florissant Rd.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

The outcome of East St. Louis’s mayoral election next month could play a major role in the city’s efforts to boost economic development and public safety. One key issue in the race involves the operating hours of the city’s late-night clubs and liquor stores.

Two-term incumbent Alvin Parks Jr. wants to allow the businesses stay open until at least 6 a.m. to generate extra tax revenue. Parks' name has been taken off the ballot by a court, but he's still running.

St. Louis Scottish Games

The world championship of Scottish athletics is coming to Chesterfield this fall. The sporting event, Masters World Championship (MWC), is coordinating this year with the annual St. Louis Scottish Games and Cultural Festival.

The success of the local event, held in Forest Park since 2001, has helped in drawing the global competition to the area, said St. Louis’s Scottish Games spokesman Mark Sutherland.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed its long-awaited rules for commercial drone flights in US airspace. If approved, they could open up the sky in the St. Louis area for a variety of unmanned aircraft.