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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Homeless
6:03 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

St. Louis officials urge homeless to stay hydrated, seek shelter

The heat wave is to blame in three more St. Louis-area deaths.
(flickr/Jack W. Reid)

As this year’s heat wave wears on, St. Louis city officials are stepping up their efforts to keep the death toll among the area’s homeless population from rising.

Department of Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff  says people living on the streets can be at greater risk for heat-related illness and death. 

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Homelessness
5:39 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Rice: Belleville not dealing with homeless, closing shelters

Rev. Larry Rice spoke with reporters outside the Belleville Municipal Building Tuesday.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Rev. Larry Rice directed about 20 homeless persons to a mall in Fairview Heights on Tuesday to underscore the lack of shelters in St. Clair County.

Rice says many homeless persons seeking refuge from the triple-digit temperatures wind up across the river at his shelter downtown. 

“Belleville represents what we see in so many municipalities," Rice said. "Where people just aren’t dealing with the homeless. They’re closing shelters. We saw a shelter close here – the Salvation Army – in 2009. They made no other arrangements for the homeless.”

Saint Louis Zoo
11:20 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Zoo: Seals in transport died due to 'multiple factors,' stress of trip

via Flickr/Derringdos

St. Louis Zoo officials say the deaths of three harbor seals in transit from Canada to St. Louis last month were due to exertional myopathy, or a disease of the muscles. The disease was likely brought on by the stress of travel.

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Heatwave
3:12 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Local church leaders tackle hot spell from the pulpit

Rev. C. Jessel Strong, president of the Clergy Coalition of Greater St. Louis, (right) called for area congregations to assist elderly and disabled residents during this year's heat wave.
Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Some St. Louis church leaders are taking to the pulpit in an effort save lives as the death toll from this year’s heat wave continues to grow. Persistent high temperatures that began late last month have been blamed for 23 deaths in the St. Louis area so far.

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Firefighter Pensions
5:20 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Board of Aldermen greenlights firefighter pension reform

Alderman Stephen Conway argues Friday for passing a comprehensive overhaul of the St. Louis's firefighter retirement system.

Mayor Francis Slay scored a decisive victory Friday in his months-long battle to rein in firefighter pension costs. In a 17 to 10 vote, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved major reforms to the department’s retirement system, cutting benefits, raising payments, and preventing full retirement until age 55.

Slay’s office estimates the changes will save the city $8 million a year in pension costs that have more than quadrupled in the last five years.

Mayor Slay’s Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford says the reforms are necessary and protect taxpayers. 

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Capital Punishment
5:55 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Missouri's new execution drug: no silver bullet

(Propofol: Wikimedia commons, Gurney: via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis, Needle: Flickr via prashant_zi)

Missouri is the first state in the nation to change its protocol for executing prisoners from a three-drug cocktail to the single drug Propofol. The switch is due to a shortage of a key drug, which has stalled lethal injections across the country.

Other states may eventually follow Missouri’s lead, but as St. Louis Public Radio’s Joseph Leahy reports, the drug known recently for killing pop star Michael Jackson is no silver bullet either.

"I just thought it was a good idea"

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Claire McCaskill / Health Care
6:10 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

McCaskill hails Supreme Court health care ruling

US Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. outside the St. Charles Coordinated Campaign office on July 5, 2012.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

US Senator Claire McCaskill is speaking out for the first time in the St. Louis area on the Supreme Court's health care ruling

The Missouri Democrat told supporters today at a party campaign office in St. Charles that she stands firm in her support of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

She also says the solutions for fixing health care offered by her Republican opponents would be a burden to seniors.

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Kingshighway flood
6:12 pm
Wed July 4, 2012

Busted water main by Barnes-Jewish Hospital blocks roads, affects hospital power

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:29 a.m. July 5:

A Barnes-Jewish Hospital release says that no surgeries were canceled today, even though power is still intermittent to Queeny Tower. Full power to the building is anticipated to return today.

Most of the patients who were moved to other areas of the hospital are also expected to return to their original rooms Friday. 

Original story:

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Heat wave
5:16 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Heat prompts city house calls to vulnerable residents

St. Louis mayor Francis Slay visits with a city resident on July 3, 2012. The mayor helped in going door-to-door to check on vulnerable residents who had not responded to calls from his office.
(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis city officials are going door to door to check on some of the city’s most vulnerable residents as high temperatures persist across the region.

About 60 city staff members are following up with nearly one thousand residents who haven’t responded to robo-calls from the Mayor’s office.The elderly and disabled residents are listed on the city’s Functional Needs Registry.

The house-to-house effort even included Mayor Francis Slay, who was out knocking on doors Tuesday.

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No Child Left Behind waiver
9:36 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Missouri gets approval to leave No Child Left Behind, behind

comedy nose | Flickr

The US Department of Education is waiving all No Child Left Behind requirements for Missouri schools.

The federal law requires students to meet proficiency standards in reading and math by 2014. Missouri applied  for a waiver after roughly 18 percent of districts in the state failed to meet yearly academic goals.

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