Joseph Leahy

Reporter

Leahy anchors St. Louis Public Radio's weekday afternoon newscasts and produces news on local and regional issues. He previously produced and reported news for WERS 88.9 FM in Boston and is a former correspondent for the Boston Globe’s online news section, "Your Town." He holds a master's degree in print and multimedia journalism from Emerson College in Boston.  

Born in Kansas City, Mo., Joseph grew up migrating almost annually with his family between two disparate homes: rural Missouri and sprawling Los Angeles. He attended the University of California before transferring to the University of Missouri to complete a bachelor's degree in English.

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Public Transportation
4:44 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

More riders take the Metro

Bus service sees greatest gains.
Metro Transit - St. Louis

Warmer weather, a sunnier economy, and higher gas prices are driving more riders to public transportation in St. Louis. Overall Metro ridership was up 8 percent in the last half of 2011 compared to the previous year. 

Dianne Williams is Metro's director of communications.

"Twenty-three million times someone stepped on a metro bus, a metro train, or a metro caller ride. That's up about 2 million boardings from the same period last year," Williams said.

Outer Space
3:38 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

St. Louis meteorite dealer helps police nab thief

The 20-pound Sikoht-Alin meteorite landed in Russia in 1947.
Tim Heitz Midwest Meteorites

A New Mexico man is in custody for stealing a meteorite that turned up in St. Louis on Christmas Eve. 

St. Louis meteorite dealer Tim Heitz says a man called him Dec. 21 with a meteorite for sale.

“The man told me that it belonged to his father and his father was a rock collector," Heitz said.

"He said he knew it was worth a lot more, but he needed the money to buy Christmas presents for his wife and his kids.”

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Prostate Cancer
6:25 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Study: prostate cancer rate unusually high in St. Louis County

Diagram showing the anatomy of the prostate, a gland of the male reproductive system that produces fluid for semen. A recently released study found that the prostate cancer rate is unusually high in St. Louis County.
(National Cancer Institute)

Spikes and dips in cancer rates are not uncommon in public health statistics, but explaining why they occur and deciding what to do about them can often be as difficult as treating the disease itself. St. Louis Public Radio's Joseph Leahy takes a look at St. Louis County where the prostate cancer rate is unusually high. 

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Levees
5:47 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Council warns Corps over delays in Metro East levee project

A levee in Granite City, Ill.
St. Louis Public Radio

The Southwestern Flood Prevention District Council says too much is at stake for any more delays in fixing levees in Metro East. 

Les Sterman, the project's supervisor for the Council says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has so far taken too long in approving plans to work on the levees.

He said their latest plan approval was six months late.

“Essentially we're doing our part," Sterman said. "All we're asking is for the federal agency to do its part in helping us get this project moving.”

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East St. Louis
1:47 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Durbin shares plans to boost security in East St. Louis public housing

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is touting new measures to increase security for public housing residents in East St. Louis. The federally-funded plan includes installing cameras at six high-rise properties and hiring a new security coordinator.

"We're going to be putting up lighting and fencing," Durbin said. "We're going to move forward to try to make sure the almost 4,500 residents of public housing in East St. Louis have a safer place to live."

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Senate Redistricting
6:12 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Redistricting stalls in fight for Missouri Senate seats

Senate Apportionment Commission member Nick Meyers (left) listens to redistricting concerns at a public hearing in St. Louis.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Time is running out for a bipartisan commission tasked with agreeing on a new Missouri Senate district map. The filing period for senate candidates begins next week, but without definitive district boundaries, they won't know exactly which district they would be running to represent. 

The commission's chairman Doug Harpool says if seven of the ten commission members fail to agree on a map, a federal judge will be appointed to determine the district boundaries.

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Black History Month
5:27 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Lambert Airport honors black pilot pioneers

Former Tuskegee Airman Christopher Newman's portrait is included in the mural "Black Americans in Flight" at Lambert Airport.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public)

Lambert Airport is honoring African American pilots who broke color barriers in the sky with a re-dedication of its mural “Black Americans in Flight.”

Solomon Thurman, one of the mural's co-artists, said the five-panel mural depicts the aviation achievements of African Americans from WWI to the NASA shuttle mission. 

"St. Louis is the only place where you can see an encapsulated story of the Tuskegee Airmen," he said. "There are many Tuskegee paintings around the country and perhaps around the world, but none tell the cohesive story."

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Farmers' Markets
9:22 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

County health director proposes longer farmers' market permits

St. Louis County Health Director Dolores Gunn says the new permit ordinance will be a better deal for local vendors.
Joseph Leahy St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County is considering changing farmers’ markets ordinances to make it easier for food venders to do business. Instead of a $35 permit which lasts two weeks, the new permits would last seven-months, and cost $75. 

St. Louis County Health Department Director Dolores Gunn says the seven-month length – as opposed to a year – is intended to prevent abuses of the system.

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Preserving the past
11:29 pm
Sun February 12, 2012

Roll it away: Rock Hill residents fight to save historic church

Rock Hill residents hold a candle-light vigil at the Rock Hill Presbyterian Church.
Joseph Leahy St. Louis Public Radio

Some residents in the St. Louis suburb of Rock Hill are fighting to save the historic church their town is named after. The Rock Hill Presbyterian Church on the corner of McKnight and Manchester Roads is slated for demolition to make way for a gas station this spring.

Linda Lemen is among a group of citizens seeking to relocate the limestone structure. 

“It may be radical," she said, "but you have to choose your battles in life and you have to choose what is important.”

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Rebuilding Joplin
5:03 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Missouri sports organizations team up to build homes in Joplin

Governor Jay Nixon (left) outlined his challenge to Missouri sports teams to help rebuild Joplin.
Joseph Leahy St. Louis Public Radio

Governor Jay Nixon is putting Missouri's athletic organizations to work in helping to rebuild Joplin.

Teaming with the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, Nixon is challenging members from the St. Louis Rams and Cardinals among other teams across the state to build 35 houses by June.

 "When people know that these sports teams are coming, and when they see the players and the other folks, it really really helps," said Nixon.

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