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

The small town of Alton, Ill. boasts of having the longest consecutive Memorial Day Parade in the country. The community has honored the sacrifices of its sons and daughters in uniform for 145 years. 

Korean War veteran Harry Kortcamp says he was a boy the first time he marched in Alton’s Memorial Day Parade.

“When they had victory in Germany, I marched in that parade," he said. "When they had victory in Japan, I marched in that parade as a member of the Alton Legion Drum and Bugle Corps.”

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Trayvon Martin's father returned to his hometown of East St. Louis Friday to honor the memory of his son and spread the message of peace.

Several hundred community members congregated at North End Missionary Baptist Church to hear Tracy Martin and Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, talk about ways to end gun violence.

Tracy Martin says many things have changed since he graduated from East St. Louis Senior High School in 1986.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

Updated at 5:50 a.m. Friday with additional reporting. Reporting from KRCU's Jacob McCleland was used in this story.

The anesthetic that caused the overdose death of pop star Michael Jackson is now the drug for executions in Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Corrections is switching from its longstanding three-drug method to a single drug, propofol, which has never been used in an execution in the U.S. That's causing a stir among critics lijke Death Penalty Information Center director Richard Dieter.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

A local church is taking a more low-key approach in its struggle with city officials to set up a homeless camp in St. Louis. 

Rev. Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center was arrested last week as he attempted to open a tent city called Integrity Village on a two-acre plot of private land at Vendeventer Ave. north of Interstate 44. City officials cleared the site and condemned the area as a health hazard. But Rice's son, Rev. Chris Rice, says they aren’t giving up.

(Johanna Mayer/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated 4:23 p.m. May 22 with name of person arrested, charges filed:  From the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office:

"Darick Stallworth has been charged with three counts of animal abuse and two counts of 1st degree animal neglect."

Here's a link to the probable cause statement related to the case.

Updated 8:30 a.m. May 22:

St. Louis police have arrested a suspect in an animal abuse case in north St. Louis.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Rehabilitation of the 138-year-old Eads Bridge is moving forward after two years of delays and ballooning project costs.

The project was to begin in 2009 with $24 million in federal stimulus funding, but labor disputes between contractors and unions, and the project’s pricetag, which inflated to $36 million, kept the bridgework from getting started.

John Nations, Metro’s President and CEO says the bridge’s age also made the bidding process difficult. 

Metro raises fares

May 18, 2012
St. Louis Public Radio

Metro Transit’s governing board voted Friday to increase the cost of passes and transfers starting in July.

According to Metro’s Chief of Planning and System Development, Jessica Mefford-Miller:

(via Twitter/courtesy @JosephHainline)

Will be updated.

A manhole cover was blown apart following a small underground explosion downtown St. Louis in an area near Lucas Ave. and 17th St. No one was hurt. 

Heath Borders says he was working at his desk when he heard the explosion about 50 feet away from his office at 17th St. and Washington Ave.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Plans to re-route Interstate 70 over the new Mississippi River Bridge are facing a roadblock from stakeholders in the Metro East. The $55 million project includes eliminating the east-bound ramp that connects Interstates 70 and 44 to the Poplar Street Bridge.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern told the East-West Gateway Council of Governments Wednesday that cutting access to the bridge would strangle an already struggling economy.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slays says Rev. Larry Rice’s plan to host a homeless camp on Vandeventer Ave.  north of Interstate 44 is a bad idea. 

Speaking today on "St. Louis on the Air," Slay said he’s concerned about the same safety and health problems that plagued the tent cities by the Mississippi riverfront.

“If they’re on the property without the proper permits – the occupancy permits and other things under the zoning laws – they will be asked to leave and if they continue to violate the law people will be moved,” he said.

Homeless St. Louisans displaced from three riverfront camps north of downtown will now have a new place to pitch their tents.

The Rev. Larry Rice yesterday unveiled his plans for "Integrity Village," which will be established today on two privately-owned acres near Interstate 44 and Vandeventer. Rice says the camp will be Christian-based and drug-free.

City officials say they won't permit this newest camp - but Rice says he'll be protected by the First Amendment.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis city work crews demolished tents and makeshift structures with heavy machinery at another homeless camp north of the Arch grounds downtown this afternoon.

Fewer than 50 homeless persons were living at the camp known as Hopeville. All were gone by the time bulldozers and debris bins arrived today. 

St. Louis Director of Human Services Bill Siedhoff says before leaving they were given federally-funded vouchers to cover the cost of permanent housing.

IndofunkSatish/via Flickr

Judge approves settlement in lawsuit over mental health care for the deaf

A federal judge has approved a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought against two Missouri state agencies on behalf of more than a thousand deaf residents.

Plaintiffs in the 2010 lawsuit alleged that the state departments of Mental Health and Social Services failed to provide adequate mental health care for deaf persons in crisis.

The departments were sued under the  Americans with Disabilities Act.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Police chief outlines plan to preserve patrol officers despite cuts

The St. Louis police chief says he’ll reduce the department’s command structure and turn some desk jobs currently held by officers over to civilians in an effort to blunt the impact of budget cuts.

Chief Dan Isom unveiled his budget plan to a Board of Aldermen committee yesterday.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Blues on the brink of new ownership

Two years to the month after being put up for sale for the second time in six years, the St. Louis Blues appear to have a new owner.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Fifteen start-up companies are getting a boost from St. Louis business accelerator Arch Grants. The winners of Arch Grant’s global business plan competition will each receive $50,000 to help them get started in the city.

Arch Grants co-founder and president Jerry Schlichter says the recipients were selected from more than 400 applicants.

“Arch Grants will be working hard to make these entrepreneurs a success," he said.  "And, we’re going to be working equally hard to try to continue to build Arch Grants to make it a true game-changing program for St. Louis."

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

The first of three homeless camps has been razed north of downtown near the riverfront. City clean-up crews removed about ten wood structures and graded the camp known as Dignity Harbor.

St. Louis Director of Human Services Bill Siedhoff says the vacated residents have been given federally-funded vouchers to cover the cost of permanent housing.

He says the camp was too dangerous to live in.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

About 150 activists marched outside Peabody Energy’s annual stockholder meeting in downtown St. Louis today.

The protesters decried an unfair tax code that they say allows  the energy company to dodge paying its fair share of taxes. For instance, they say Peabody paid $0 in federal income taxes in 2008 and 2009; and $0 in state income taxes in 2010.

Peabody Energy's Corporate Communications Director Meg Gallagher says, however, the group’s numbers are inaccurate.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission says that the Rams have submitted their alternative proposal to revamp the Edward Jones Dome.

The details of the club's plan, however, will remain confidential.

Today is the deadline for the Rams to submit their proposal.

A pair of statements released today indicates action in the process but gives little information on actual changes:

The CVC's statement:

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Counterproposal for Edward Jones Dome upgrades due tomorrow

The St. Louis Rams have until tomorrow to offer their own price tag for upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis.

The Rams' lease requires the Dome to be in the "top tier" of stadiums in the National Football League. That tems is not clearly defined, but it's generally meant within the top 25 percent. Otherwise, the Rams are free to depart St. Louis in 2015.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Protesters marched from the homeless camps north of the Gateway Arch to St. Louis City Hall today demanding city officials freeze plans to raze the encampments next month.

About 50 people live in the three riverfront camps that the city’s Department of Human Services has deemed a risk to public health and safety.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderwoman Phyllis Young is sponsoring a bill to cut the size of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen by more than half. Similar proposals have failed over the decades, but Young says this is the first time the call comes from inside the Board itself.

The bill so far has the support of 11 of the 15 aldermen needed to pass.Young says in addition to saving money, cutting the board from 28 to 12 will better reflect the city’s changing population.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Mayor Francis Slay and the St. Louis Police Department are working with Washington University design students to assist crime-prone properties.

About a dozen undergraduates studied local businesses and residences known for high incidences of crime and presented their findings Wednesday at Police Headquarters. 

St. Louis Public Safety Director Eddie Roth says working with students provides a fresh approach to fighting crime.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

MoDOT to work on I-64 double-deck for the rest of the year

The Missouri Department of Transportation is warning motorists that major work on the 1-64 double-deck structure in downtown will impact traffic until the end of the year.

MoDOT engineer Deanna Venker says at least one lane will be closed at all times on the structure that leads to and from the Poplar Street Bridge.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

The internet pervades almost every aspect of modern life and religion is no exception. From Facebook and Twitter, to live streaming services and online donations, churches across the country are redefining what it means to worship.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Joseph Leahy takes a look at how some local congregations are embracing the net to expand their missions online.

Including the "dot com"

During a livestreaming service on Easter Sunday, Pastor David Crank recalled the story of Jesus and the Adulteress -- adding one unusual detail:

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis hosted the kick-off to national Work Zone Awareness Week Monday, which is a campaign to prevent driving accidents at road construction sites. Missouri is the first state to host the event outside of Washington D.C.

At a road construction site in St. Louis County, state and federal transportation officials honored the 130 Missouri road workers who have been killed on the job since 1932.

Monica Slatten, whose son died while working at a MoDOT work zone in 2008, says no law or penalty can ensure responsible driving.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

A massive tornado tore through the St. Louis area a year ago this Sunday. Lambert Airport was hit particularly hard, but few signs of the damage remain today.  

Congressman Lacy Clay of St. Louis recalls seeing the airport just hours after the tornado struck on Good Friday.

“Once I got to the airport, I could not believe all of the glass that was blown out of the structure," Clay said. "And then looking at the parking lot: seeing the cars and vans that were on top of each other. It was just amazing.”

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis City officials says 80 officer positions must be cut from the city's police force to offset the department's rising pay, health care and pension costs. 

Police Chief Dan Isom and Mayor Francis Slay support eliminating the jobs through attrition. 30 positions, funded through federal grants, would end this year, when those grants are slated to expire.

Mayor Francis Slay says despite a 45 percent increase in police spending since he took office, spending for retirement benefits is out of control.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Occupy movement protesters blocked traffic outside Bank of America's regional headquarters Tuesday in downtown St. Louis. The group, including union workers, students, retirees, and clergy, staged a mock-game of dodge ball to protest how, in their view, corporations dodge paying their fair share of taxes.  

Zach Chasnoff, an organizer for the group, says the movement chose the IRS's filing deadline to call attention to an unfair tax system that favors corporations over citizens.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Tax Day can be a tough time for anyone, but it’s especially hard for seniors facing rising personal property taxes on a fixed income. That’s according to some local lawmakers who are asking the state to give seniors a break.

State Representatives Jill Shupp and Scott Sifton are pushing two bills in Missouri’s legislature to help seniors: