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. 

Renovating the Eads Bridge involved sandblasting nine coats off old paint off and replacing more than a million pounds of steel.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The historic Eads Bridge is now fit to carry MetroLink and motor traffic over the Mississippi River until at least the year 2091 with the completion of a four-year, $48 million rehabilitation project.

East-West Gateway Council of Governments

St. Louis County will be chipping in to study a possible light rail expansion that would run south from Ferguson through downtown St. Louis to the Meramec River.

MetroLink train at station
Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

A new initiative is asking St. Louis-area residents to re-imagine the role of three MetroLink stations as vibrant public spaces where visitors can do more than just catch a train.

Map of major watersheds in the St. Louis area.
Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District

The "cloud burst" that drenched a mid-section of St. Louis County with nearly four inches of rain early Monday morning is only part of why local streams and creeks swelled their banks, flooding businesses and several busy streets.

Forecasters called it a 25-year rain event, but similar flooding took place just eight months ago and to many county residents it's also reminiscent of flooding in 2008.

A red, white and blue light rail car stops at a MetroLink station.
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

The St. Louis Parking Commission is putting up $2 million to study a possible north-south MetroLink expansion. Members voted unanimously Thursday to spend funds from the Parking Division’s unrestricted reserves to re-examine the 17-mile route that would connect St. Louis’ downtown to north and south St. Louis County.

The director of Missouri’s Center for Education Safety wants the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to require all schools to have plans for responding to active shooters and other emergencies.   

Jacara Sproaps became principal of Dunbar Elementary School in July 2013.
Provided | St. Louis Public Schools

Updated July 15 with suspect’s name, charges — St. Louis Public Schools has lost a second educator to violence in less than a year. Dunbar Elementary School Principal Jacara Sproaps was killed Wednesday night in south St. Louis.

Police said Thursday Sproaps, 38, was shot and killed outside her home in the Gravois Park neighborhood by a man angry with her over their past relationship.

Her boyfriend, Maurice Partlow, was also killed, and her 18-year-old son is in critical but stable condition at an area hospital.One of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers who responded to the scene was grazed in the shin by a bullet.

Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is touting progress in the city's efforts to employ teenagers and young adults over the summer.

STL Youth Jobs launched nearly four years ago as a collaboration between the city and civic partners to offer paid positions and training opportunities for at-risk youth.

Missouri History Museum Photograph and Print Collections

It has been 100 years since a lavish downtown restaurant closed, signaling the end of an era in St. Louis.

On June 30, 1916, Tony Faust’s Oyster House and Restaurant gave its final last call, after four decades of serving as St. Louis’ social epicenter — for the rich and famous and working class alike. 

Faust’s restaurant at Broadway and Elm Street was renowned for extravagant meals, rooftop dining and being the first in St. Louis to offer electric lighting.

iPhone displaying UberX partner app.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio / Uber, MTC

Thousands of UberX drivers continue giving rides in St. Louis and St. Louis County despite efforts by the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission to ticket them for doing so.

The MTC announced last March it would begin citing the ride-hailing company’s drivers for failing to have a vehicle-for-hire license, which requires a fingerprint background check under state law. So far, MTC enforcement agents have issued about 18 citations, said Executive Director Ron Klein.

View of North Gateway construction site.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

The Gateway Arch is clearing space for more foot and bicycle traffic by making most motor vehicles park off site.

A worker uses a leaf blower to clear an updated section of the riverfront along Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to transform the Gateway Arch grounds and surrounding areas downtown have reached a major milestone along the Mississippi River. The public is invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon to mark the completion of a $33 million central riverfront redevelopment project. The work finished along a 1.5 mile stretch of Leonor K.


Public support could help pay for some finishing touches to the massive redevelopment project below the Gateway Arch.  

A campaign by the National Trust for Historic Preservation is offering $2 million in grants for 20 National Park sites in need of improvements. The money will be divvied up based on which sites gets the most votes online.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

State and federal law prohibits businesses from discriminating against people based on race, religion, sex, ancestry, or disability. But, denying service based on age is fair game and the St. Louis area boasts dozens of bars and lounges where the minimum for entry is at least 30 years old.

K9 Inspector Jasmine Bourne and her partner, Eette, screen a traveler's luggage at Lambert Airport.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Bomb-sniffing dogs will begin screening travelers for explosives at Lambert Airport in the next few weeks.  

The Transportation Security Administration announced plans Tuesday to expand its canine program in St. Louis.

The presence of the dogs among passengers does not mean the airport faces any new danger, said Missouri’s TSA Security Director Jim Spriggs.

Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Paul McCartney will return to St. Louis this summer, 50 years after the Beatles’ first rocked old Busch Stadium. 

The St. Louis Cardinals are planning host McCartney’s One on One tour Aug. 13 in the new Busch Stadium.

Map of Metro's reconfigured bus service in north. St. Louis County
Metro Transit

Dozens of Metro bus drivers are tracing new routes through north St. Louis County starting this week. The service changes stem from the new North County Transit Center that opened Monday in Ferguson to serve one of the area’s fastest growing markets. 

Updated March 10 at 6:22 p.m. with Metro opening ceremony--Metro transit is celebrating the completion of a new bus center in North St. Louis County.

The $10.3 million facility in Ferguson opens on Monday and will correspond with a redesigned service plan for the north county area. The center includes an indoor waiting area, public restrooms, concessions and free parking.

East-West Gateway Council of Governments

The number of minority-owned businesses in the St. Louis region has shown substantial growth in recent years, expanding faster than any of the other 50 most populous metro areas in the country.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says a drug registry would save lives.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is renewing her call for Missouri legislators to pass a bill monitoring the sales of prescription drugs. Missouri is the only state that has no such database in place.

McCaskill, a Democrat, contends that failure to pass such a law has contributed to Missouri’s epidemic of people abusing opioid prescription drugs and heroin. She blamed Missouri’s lack of monitoring on “a few legislators who believe this system would violate people’s privacy.”

Horizontal photo of a cracked and fading yellow road stripe in St. Louis.
Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Driving in the metro area can be difficult when motorists have trouble seeing the lines on the road, especially at night when it’s raining. The issue prompted scores of respondents to our Curious Louis project to wonder why more reflective paint isn't used on local streets. We looked into their concerns and found it’s mostly a matter of rough winters and tight budgets.

Wikimedia Commons | throwawaysixtynine

Updated 4:46 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, with a response from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

St. Louis residents don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their own homes under a body camera pilot program of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

The Gateway Arch soars 630 feet. Traveling to the top takes four minutes; traveling back down takes only three.
Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

There are just a few days left to take a tram to the top of the Gateway Arch before it closes for at least two months. The trams and underground visitors’ center have remained open throughout CityArchRiver’s massive $380 million renovation project at the Arch grounds, but they’ll have to close on Jan. 4 for museum upgrades and other improvements.

gift card generic
Mike Mozart | Flickr

Thousands of Missourians have leftover gifts to reclaim from the state treasurer’s office this holiday season.

According to Treasurer Clint Zweifel, the state is holding nearly $9 million worth of gift cards and gift certificates that have been dormant for at least five years.

“We all know what it’s like during the holiday season. You get gifts; you get gift cards. You set them aside; you might forget about them,” he said. “Or you might lose them in the travels that you have. We’ve returned $145,000 this year alone in gift cards.”

Kelly Moffit | St. Louis Public Radio

An animal rights group plans to protest Wednesday night at one of St. Louis County’s largest holiday light displays.

A small candlelight vigil at Tilles Park’s “Winter Wonderland” will honor a carriage horse named King that died while giving rides there on Dec. 21, 2013, said St. Louis Animal Rights Team attorney, Dan Kolde.

“We think that that occurred because the industry was allowed, unlawfully, to become unregulated by the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission,” he said.  

File photo | Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Metro Transit is disputing a recent study that suggests its operations in the St. Louis area are financially unsustainable.


A key component of CityArchRiver’s redevelopment project is now complete. Luther Ely Smith Square and an adjacent land bridge spanning Interstate 44 opened to the public on Wednesday.

The upgraded greenspace is designed to better connect the Gateway Arch grounds to the rest of downtown. Improvements include more than 300 feet of benches, new lighting and 220 additional trees.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ first Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator plans to start collecting data on bicycle traffic as the city ramps up its efforts to improve alternative modes of transportation.

Traffic engineer Jamie Wilson began his new post with Street Department Oct. 5. According to Wilson, his work will rely on existing data provided by the city police department and the new data collected on bicycles to focus investments and improvements where they’re needed most in the city.

The Gateway Foundation had to negotiate for some time with the U.S. Parks Service before it could illuminate the Gateway Arch.
Jan-Erik Finnberg | Flickr

St. Louis, the Gateway City, is also known worldwide as the "Gateway to the West." But before the federal government erected the Gateway Arch 50 years ago this week, some historians say that Kansas City had a strong claim to the title.  

Originally published in St. Louis Globe-Democrat / Courtesy St. Louis Mercantile Library

For 50 years, the Gateway Arch has drawn visitors from around the world to downtown St. Louis. From presidents and pop stars, to school kids and church groups, millions of people each year have come to marvel at the monument.  But exactly how many people have visited in five decades? That depends on how they’re counted.