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

St. Louis is unusual among American cities in having so many streets and places with French names.  Over centuries, its residents have also adopted some unusual ways of pronouncing them.

While these interpretations could make many modern French speakers cringe, some echo the original dialect of the city when it was still a part of New France. In other words – maybe we shouldn’t feel so bad about how we pronounce “Chouteau” these days.

 

 

St. Louis Public Radio Staff / St. Louis Public Radio

Metro is proposing to increase its bus and train fares this July, pending approval by the Board of Commissioners. The fare hikes are needed to offset rising operational costs, including fuel, vehicle parts and medical benefits for staff, said Communications Director Patti Beck.

"This fare increase will help financially support our existing Metro transit system and preserve plans for future service enhancements,” she said.

Metro is proposing three options in changing fares, to raise an additional $2.2 million. 

Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri has retaken its position as the number two beef cow producer in the nation. The USDA’s annual inventory shows the state surpassed Nebraska with a 63,000-increase in cows from 2012 to 2013.

Dry weather across the country had a lot to do with Missouri reclaiming the spot which it held from 1983 to 2008, said University of Missouri agriculture economist Scott Brown.

St. Louis County Assessor's Office

The St. Louis County Assessor’s Office will undertake a review of all tax-exempt properties in the county to confirm their owners still qualify for the tax break.

Exemptions have been granted to thousands of non-profit groups because their properties are used for charitable, religious or educational purposes, but some of them no longer qualify, said County Assessor Jake Zimmerman.

Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

Thousands walked above the icy Mississippi River Saturday as governors, senators and U.S. representatives from Illinois and Missouri cut the ribbon on the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

The $230 million, cable-stayed structure is the culmination of a decades-long effort to relieve congestion on the nearby Poplar Street and Martin Luther King Bridges.

Kristi Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

  • Construction began in April 2010.
  • The bridge cost came in at $670 million including land acquisition, utility relocation and construction
  • The total bridge span has 16.367 million pounds of structural steel and 12 million pounds of reinforcing steel.

Area residents will have a rare chance Saturday to see the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge up close before it officially opens to vehicle traffic on Sunday.

St. Louis Public Radio

Leaders of the multi-pronged plan to transform the Gateway Arch Grounds and surrounding streets downtown gave their fourth presentation in as many years Wednesday about the progress and challenges faced so far on the $380 million project.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

The Food and Drug Administration has a plan in the works that may affect your appetite. It wants to ban partially hydrogenated oils -- the major source of artificial trans fats in the U. S. food supply.

How will that impact St. Louis area bakeries, donut shops and grocery stores?

Like many mom-and-pop donut shops in St. Louis, the Donut Stop in Lemay fries with partially hydrogenated shortening – good for glaze retention, shelf life, and mouth feel.

via Wikimedia Commons

After spiking in early January, cases of the flu appear to have subsided in the St. Louis area.

According to the St. Louis County Health Department, the 92 influenza-like illnesses recorded for the week ending Jan. 19 was 151 fewer than the first week of January. St. Louis City numbers for last week have yet to be released.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Thousands of St. Louis-area residents celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with ceremonies, music and marches over the three-day weekend.

Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis hosted readings on Monday of King's writings, sermons and speeches from the same pulpit where he once preached 50 years ago.

via Wikimedia Commons

Officials at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis say nine people have died from the H1N1 flu virus, also known as swine flu, over the past six weeks. Another 35 patients were sick enough to be treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit, although, many were transported from outside the area.

Infectious Disease Physician Steven Lawrence says those who died ranged in age from their mid-20s to their mid-60s.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated Jan. 13, 2014:

The legal back-and-forth over the release of the names to the plaintiff continues. The state Supreme Court today blocked the Archdiocese from having to comply with Dierker’s order until further notice.

Updated Jan. 10, 2014:

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis City officials are mobilizing to protect the city's homeless population as an arctic weather front is forecast to plunge the region into sub-zero temperatures late this weekend.

The National Weather Service says a winter storm could dump nearly a foot of snow on the St. Louis area by Sunday evening. The overnight low temperature on Sunday is forecast to reach -8 degrees with daytime highs on Monday peaking near -2 degrees.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

The Transportation Security Administration is clearing more than a quarter of the nation's commercial passengers for expedited screening as it expands its PreCheck program. Nationwide, the number of airports participating in the program has expanded from about 40 last year to more than 100 today.

During a press conference at Lambert Airport Tuesday, Federal Security Director William Switzer said travelers can now find separate screening lines at all concourses.

via Flickr/Michael R. Allen

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is preparing for a surge in visitors as the busy travel period surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Day begins Friday.

Public Relations Manager Jeff Lea says the airport is expecting a 15 to 20 percent increase from normal passenger traffic at peak travel times over the next two weeks.

“The biggest travel day prior to Christmas for air travel is going to be Friday,” he said.

In addition, he adds that holiday travelers can expect to be flying with a significant number of men and women in uniform as well.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio and The Beacon

Ed Lammering wore his top hat to a groundbreaking last month beside the Gateway Arch, but left his horse, Lukes, at the St. Louis Carriage Company’s stable on the other side of Busch Stadium.  He held a sign which read, “Where do we stand? – carriage drivers.”

The carriage company is among several businesses that have concerns about the impact of the $360 million CityArchRiver 2015 project. Work will include expanding the Arch grounds over Interstate 70, carving out a new central entrance for the underground museum and numerous other major improvements.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A state representative in the Metro East wants to stiffen the punishment for random assaults often referred to as the 'knockout' game. The so-called 'game' involves punching an unsuspecting person in the head with the goal of rendering them unconscious.

.bobby | Flickr

The NCAA is bringing eight sports championships to the St. Louis area over the next five years. The collegiate athletic association announced a package of playoffs Wednesday that St. Louis will host between 2015 and 2018.

The St. Louis Sports Commission prepared the city’s successful bids. Vice President of Events Chris Roseman says NCAA athletes will be competing at numerous venues across the metro area.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Department of Commerce is giving nearly $1 million to promote minority business enterprises, or MBEs, in the St. Louis region.

The $900,000 grant announced Tuesday will establish a business center to provide minority entrepreneurs and business owners with contract and financing opportunities, bonding services and executive training.

John R Kahrhoff / IBEW Local 1

A local union is protesting a sub-contractor working on St. Louis’ new police headquarters.  Local 1 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers opposes Thomas Ruzicka who has been convicted of embezzling more than $100,000 from former employees.

The union's business manager Frank Jacobs says Ruzicka is a license holder for R E Contracting that is handling about $1.2 million worth of electrical work for the downtown building. 

Flickr/Rob Lee

East St. Louis has paid off more than $20 million in bonds it’s owed Illinois for nearly two decades.

Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. says the $21.4 million it borrowed 19 years ago helped bail out the city in a time of crisis, but paying them off has been a financial burden ever since.

“This is a huge deal,” he said. “What it does is send a message that East St. Louis has handled its responsibilities to the state of Illinois and we have never defaulted on our loan from the state of Illinois in terms of refinancing the bonds.”

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

An effort to improve safety and access between the Gateway Arch and the riverfront has begun. City leaders and developers kicked off construction Thursday afternoon on the second phase of redeveloping the Arch grounds.

The $33-million project, centered along Leonor K. Sullivan Bvld., will elevate the corridor by nearly three feet to reduce flooding as well as add bike paths, walkways, better lighting and landscaping.

Missouri Humane Society

The Humane Society of Missouri seized more than 250 domestic and farm animals from a property in Franklin County Tuesday for "deplorable" living conditions. In 2010, the organization removed 158 animals from the same property for being mistreated.

Animal Cruelty Task Force Director Mike Perkins says the rescued animals included 192 rabbits, as well as goats, cats, chickens, dogs and one duck.

Joseph Leahy

Salutes fired in downtown St. Louis this morning at the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in honor of the sacrifices made by U.S. armed service members for their country. Parades, ceremonies and speeches in the St. Louis area over the three-day weekend marked the 95th anniversary of the end of WWI, known previously as Armistice Day.

Cast a Line / Flickr

Many state officials have been receptive to a fresh proposal to overhaul the state’s school accreditation system, but the plan would take years to implement and won’t help the districts facing bankruptcy over student transfer and tuition costs.

(Kate Essig/St. Louis Public Radio)

Nearly 100 activists rallied for immigration reform outside the federal courthouse in St. Louis this morning, calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to vote on a new immigration reform bill (HR 15.)

The bipartisan bill passed the Senate this summer and includes a pathway to citizenship and tougher border security, but has yet to be brought to a vote in the House. 

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Senator Blunt | Flickr

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says the federal government's difficulty launching Healthcare.gov this fall is not really what's wrong with the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama's administration has struggled to address a myriad of problems with the site since launching Oct. 1, including users being unable to create accounts and load web pages.

Blunt cautions residents not to consider the website as a measure of whether or not the President's signature health care plan is working.

(via National Drought Mitigation Center)

Extreme drought conditions in Missouri have worsened even though nationwide the total area affected by this year’s severe dry weather has decreased slightly. That’s according to this week’s report from the US Drought Monitor.

The portion of the country facing any level of drought decreased a point to about 63 percent. Meanwhile, about 93 percent of Missouri is in an extreme to exceptional drought.

(Campaign Photos/Provided)

Missouri’s Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor is by far the most crowded race in the state this election cycle. The eight candidates running represent a range of experience from across the state.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Joseph Leahy reports, splitting the ballot eight ways means a winner could emerge with less than 20 percent of the vote.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder is asking the State Emergency Management Agency to explain why the St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton has not received $500,000 in FEMA funds to help it recover from the 2011 Good Friday tornado.

Kinder chairs an interim legislative committee on disaster preparedness, response and recovery, which agreed today to give SEMA 48 hours to respond.  

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