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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Morning News Round-up
9:35 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Morning headlines: Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A view of Forest Park in St. Louis.
(via Flickr/pasa47)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Slay authorizes $64 million in bonds for St. Louis parks

Funding for St. Louis City parks will no longer be siphoned into other capital improvement projects, following a bill signing by Mayor Francis Slay Monday night.

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Other News
3:44 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

St. Louis veterans honored 67 years after Battle of the Bulge

Harold Mueller (left) and Donald Green were among many WWII veterans honored on the 67th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge.
Joseph Leahy

St. Louis veterans who fought in the Battle of the Bulge are being honored today for their sacrifices 67 years ago.

At a memorial ceremony today in south St. Louis County surviving veterans saluted the 20 thousand American soldiers who died during the six-week battle.

Donald Green of south St. Louis County was an 18 year-old Private in the 106th Infantry Division the first time he saw a Tiger 1 German tank.  

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Roy Blunt
3:59 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Blunt blames Democrats for failed balanced budget amendments

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
(via Flickr/Senator Blunt)

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says the failure of two balanced-budget amendments today shows Senate Democrats aren’t serious about dealing with the deficit.

The defeat of both bills – one from Democrats, one from Republicans – ends the current push to force a yearly balanced budget from Congress.  Blunt, who voted for the Republican-backed bill, says the fact that neither party could pass their amendment speaks to the heart of the Senate’s disfunction. 

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Claire McCaskill/Earmarks
5:42 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

McCaskill report concludes US House members circumvented earmark ban

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

A report issued Monday by Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri concludes that US House members circumvented a ban on earmark spending more than 100 times. (read full report here)

House Republicans banned earmarks last fall for two years to curb government spending. But, McCaskill's report finds that the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee used tricks to allow more than $800 million in earmarks be inserted in the 2012 Defense authorization bill.

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University of Missouri Board of Curators
3:33 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

U. of Mo. Curators choose new system president, chairman supports raising tobacco tax

Warren Erdman, current chairman of the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

The University of Missouri has chosen its next president and expects to announce its decision next week.  Board of Curators chairman Warren Erdman says a search committee began with a pool of more than 100 candidates from academic and non-academic backgrounds alike.

"We had four interviews and we worked our way down to a couple second interviews," Erdman said. "Then there were a few telephone follow-ups.  In the end, the committee recommended a single finalist."

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County budget deal
8:45 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Revised St. Louis County budget saves parks, reduces layoffs

A tour group in Fort Bellefontaine County Park. A compromise budget reached by the County Council last night will keep Fort Bellefontaine and 22 other parks open and reduce layoffs.
(via Flickr/Trailnet)

Members of the St. Louis County Council have reached a budget deal that avoids the closure of 23 county parks.

The two sides announced the compromise at a County Council meeting Tuesday night. The new 2012 budget keeps open all 50 of the county parks, and reduces the number of job cuts from 173 to about 40. It also maintains plowing in unincorporated areas that receive less than two inches of snow.

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Foreign Trade Zone
4:58 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Area Foreign Trade Zone expanded to all of St. Louis City, County

St. Louis mayor Francis Slay at a press conference regarding the expansion of the region's Foreign Trade Zone to include all of St. Louis and St. Louis County.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis city and St. Louis County officials say they've gotten federal approval that will help local companies compete in the global market. The area's Foreign Trade Zone has expanded to include all of St. Louis County and City.

The expanded zone will allow more local manufacturing and distribution companies to import goods duty-free and avoid other customs fees.

Mayor Francis Slay announced the expansion at Sunset Transportation in south St. Louis. Slay says the approval from the US Department of Commerce also streamlines the time it takes for businesses to qualify.

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Forest Park / Controlled Burn
5:06 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Controlled fire burns new life into Forest Park

A staff member of DJM Ecological Services monitors a controlled burn of an area of Forest Park on Dec. 2, 2011.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

About 14 acres of Forest Park burned today as part of a new effort to naturally maintain its wildlife areas.

Clouds of white smoke wafted above Kingshighway as fire consumed acres of dry grass and brush in a north-east area of Forest Park.  Peter VanLinn, a park ecologist says this is the first controlled burn in the park's 135-year history.

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Poplar Street Bridge / St. Louis Traffic
4:54 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

MoDOT to close nearly all lanes of I-64 off Poplar St. bridge this weekend

(via Flickr/Zahlm)

The Missouri Department of Transportation will be closing nearly all lanes of Interstate 64 leading on and off the Poplar Street Bridge Saturday.

Expect extra drive-time, says MoDOT engineer Deanna Venker, if you're driving over the Poplar Street Bridge this Saturday. Venker says all westbound and two eastbound lanes on I-64 will close between I-55 and Jefferson Ave.

"We are doing bridge deck repair, we will also be doing seismic retrofitting at the western edge of the bridge and we are replacing bearings on the eastern side of the bridge," Venker said.

Mississippi River Bridge
5:22 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Metro East Black Contractors file racial discrimination suit against IDOT

The Mississippi River Bridge under construction. The Metro East Black Contractors Organization is suing the Illinois Department of Transportation for racial discrimination.
(via Missouri Department of Transportation)

The new Mississippi Bridge Project  is facing a new obstacle. The Metro East Black Contractors Organization is suing to stop the Illinois Department of Transportation from handing out more contracts on the $760 million project until discrimination issues are addressed.

The organization says they aren't getting their fair share of work on the project. The group's attorney Eric Vickers says in addition to an injunction on awarding more contracts, the new lawsuit calls for IDOT to pay $650 million in damages.

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