Kae M. Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Kae M. Petrin

Digital Reporter

Kae M. Petrin joined St. Louis Public Radio as a Digital Reporter in 2017; they write multimedia and web-based stories, with a sprinkle of radio. Previously, they worked for St. Louis Magazine and freelanced around Missouri and Illinois. Kae has reported on real life cyborgs, shady landlords, premiere tattoo artists, and the complications of everyday life. In their free time, they bake, play roller derby, game, and ride motorcycles.

Ways to Connect

Wow Air's inaugural St. Louis flight left to Reykjavik, Iceland, on May 17. Founder Skúli Mogensen stands in front of a Wow plane.
Wow Air

Carlye Lehnen has wanted to travel to Iceland since 2008, when the country underwent a banking crisis that made traveling there cheap. But when she looked for flights, they were too infrequent and expensive.

So when the 45-year-old heard that Icelandic airline Wow Air would start offering flights out of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, she leapt at the chance to fulfill a 10-year travel dream.

“As soon as it was announced, I had already booked my flight,” said Lehnen. She snagged the airline’s vaunted $99 fare.

Paul McKee on March 28, 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis alderwoman is pushing for state and federal law enforcement to investigate St. Louis developer Paul McKee, whose 1,500-acre redevelopment project in north St. Louis has received millions in development incentives.

The investigation would pursue allegations that McKee inflated property values to gain more state tax credits when he purchased buildings, Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, said. Spencer introduced a resolution Friday calling for the investigation.

Exterior of Nebula Coworking.
Nebula

Updated May 9 at 11 p.m. with comment from Sen. Claire McCaskill  — Last year, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality, a set of regulations intended to protect internet users. Now, leaders of eight St. Louis co-working spaces are calling on Missouri congressional lawmakers to join national efforts that could reverse the commission’s decision.

Their call came Wednesday as U.S. Sen. Ed. Markey, D-Mass., filed a petition that would force the U.S. Senate to vote on the future of net neutrality. The 2015 regulations bar internet providers from controlling internet speeds, among other things. The Senate must vote by June 12 on whether to allow or block the FCC’s repeal.

Fireworks, fourth of july, reflected, horizontal, arch
File Photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Fourth of July concerts and fireworks will return to the Gateway Arch for the first time in four years.

Fair St. Louis announced Tuesday that the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, pop artist Jason Derulo and country singer-songwriter Martina McBride will headline the three-day event. The artists will play on a main stage under the legs of the Arch.

High-speed internet is only available for residents living within the city limits of West Plains in south-central Missouri. September 2017
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri will soon open a state office devoted to helping rural communities get access to high-speed internet.

The Department of Agriculture and Department of Economic Development launched a joint broadband expansion initiative last week as part of a 16-point plan to address the needs of the state’s agricultural and rural communities.

Great Rivers Greenway

Boston-based design firm Stoss Landscape Urbanism will lead the design of the proposed Chouteau Greenway, a network of trails and green spaces that would connect Forest Park to the Gateway Arch. The firm beat three other finalists in an eight-month-long competition.

A MetroLink train
File Photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Serious crimes on the three-county MetroLink system have decreased in 2018, according to St. Louis and St. Louis County officials.

Violent crimes and thefts have decreased by 70 percent on MetroLink trains, stations and parking lots in St. Louis County compared to this time last year, according to St. Louis County Police Captain Scott Melies. And, he claims crime has decreased about “10 — 12 percent” in 2018 throughout the system, which stretches through St. Clair County, St. Louis and St. Louis County.

The City of Clayton has apologized to the 10 black Washington University students involved in the July 7 incident.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly a quarter of female undergraduates at Washington University in St. Louis experienced sexual assault after they entered the college, a 2015 estimate by a contracted research agency shows.

Student activists today say the administration has failed to protect people from sexual assault, and that they do not trust the school to investigate complaints.

MetroBus at North Hanley Transit Center on April 3, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Metro Transit's plan to overhaul bus service would make it difficult for people with disabilities and those with limited mobility to catch the bus, residents from throughout the St. Louis region told officials this week.

Under the agency's plan, less-traveled routes would lose stops, while more popular routes would come more frequently.

The Lincoln-Douglas Square in Alton commemorates one of the city's claims to fame. It also welcomes visitors to the town of almost 27,000 people. March 21, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

When Lauren Pattan and James Rogalsky started looking for a building to house their brewery, they didn’t plan to move from St. Louis to Alton, where they’d both grown up. But they found the perfect building on Landmark Boulevard, right near the riverfront and off Alton’s old Antiques Row on East Broadway, and it swayed them.

The downtown stretch of Broadway, Rogalsky said, had been “neglected for the last several decades.” But in the last few years, new businesses have opened on the street. Established food staples moved from the city’s traditional main street to Broadway. A tattoo parlor opened at the same intersection as beauty and art supply shops, and a self-serve craft beer bar cropped up.

Seattle recently replaced its docked bike share systems with several dockless options. One of the dockless companies, LimeBike (bike pictured in front), applied to offer bike share services in St. Louis. Seattle. March 27, 2018.
Jim Gates | KUOW

Updated on April 13 — On Monday, 1,500 bicycles will start to roll out across St. Louis, spotting the streets with yellow and green.

The city has granted two companies permits to operate “dockless” bike shares that city officials say will close gaps in public transportation routes, bring affordable transportation to low-income neighborhoods and give tourists a fun way to get around the city.

St. Louis is one of more than 50 U.S. cities to establish bike share systems since 2010, according to the National Association of City Transportation.

Jessica Mefford-Miller of Metro Transit (right) hands a rider a pamphlet on Metro's suggested service plans at an informational meetin. April 3, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Metro Transit plans to offer more frequent bus service, altered bus routes, text and email notification services and small vehicles along lesser-used routes in the St. Louis region.

Metro officials will revise the plan’s current draft in May, after seeking public comments throughout this month.

A bust of Martin Luther King sits in the Lyon square, where he spoke 52 years ago.
Lyon Municipal Library

Fifty years ago, the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis sparked grief and protests across the United States.

British newspaper the Guardian wrote two days after his death on April 4, 1968, that the world looked on in shock. “With his assassination,” it wrote, “America has moved one step nearer to chaos, and one step farther from community.”

The United States celebrates the Martin Luther King Jr. Day, observed around his birthday. But King’s legacy is also commemorated by street names, statues and exhibits around the world.

Historical papers and religious items dated back to 1896 filled the time capsule found under the Our Lady of Good Counsel Chapel. Photo from March 28, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

A hobby preservationist cracked open a time capsule from 1896 this morning to find a well-preserved collection of Catholic religious items and historic papers.

Jim Meiners found the copper box in the foundation of the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Counsel, which was demolished with the Clemens House after the property caught fire last year.

“It would’ve been put there when the building was built, and we don’t know what’s in it,” he said before cutting into the lead seal on the box.

Maplewood Richmond Heights students honor victims killed at a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month during a walkout Wednesday, March 14, 2018.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Thousands of people are expected to march through downtown St. Louis to protest gun violence on Saturday. They’ll walk a 2-mile route with March for Our Lives STL, one of hundreds of student-led rallies planned for this weekend.

Student organizers, survivors of gun violence and local leaders, including Rep. Bruce Franks, will speak at the event. City officials say they’re prepared to accommodate up to 10,000 marchers.

What is March for Our Lives?

The Rev. Starsky Wilson spoke at the Parents United for Change meeting Wednesday March 14, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Low-income families who live in public housing in East St. Louis are burdened by hidden fees that keep them trapped in debt, according to a survey conducted by the Stepping Out of Poverty campaign.

To help families escape the escalating debts, a group of East St. Louis parents is fighting the housing authority fees they say prevent families from moving and keep people impoverished. Parents United for Change have met with the East St. Louis Housing Authority to negotiate new policies that would limit the fees.

A child looks at one of two grizzly bear cubs at the St. Louis Zoo in September 2017.
File photo I David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:30 p.m. with additional information — The St. Louis Zoo Association is buying a 425-acre complex in north St. Louis County to breed endangered and at-risk animals, officials announced today.

The zoo is obtaining the land from the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 for $7.1 million. The purchase is funded through donations from two undisclosed philanthropists.

A portrait of Will Jordan, the executive director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council. February 2016.
File Photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s ability to investigate housing discrimination and enforce fair housing laws in rural areas could be at risk.

Donna Kaucic started the Secret Challenge to collect sanitary pads and tampons for donations to food pantries and homeless shelters in Jefferson and Franklin counties. Feb. 20, 2018
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Imagine that first you can’t afford to keep your water on, or your electricity. You’re already struggling to find or keep a job.

Every month, you have menstrual periods. One or more of your children might, too.

Where do you find room for sanitary pads and tampons in the budget? How do you focus on taking care of yourself, getting a new job or a more stable home? If you’re homeless, how do you find a way to get hygiene products without money?

That’s what Donna Kaucic started wondering as she worked with families at Jefferson Franklin Community Action Corporation, a non-profit agency that offers services to address poverty in Jefferson and Franklin counties.

A boutique apartment tower going up at Euclid and West Pine avenues received tax increment financing in 2015. It sits across from a Whole Foods, which is housed on the lower level of another apartment building that received TIF. (Feb. 21, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A coalition critical of the tax relief St. Louis awards developers wants lawmakers to make processes to grant tax incentives more transparent and more equitable.

When it started in 2016, Team TIF focused on education. But now that the public is more aware of how the city grants developers incentives, the coalition is pushing for policy changes, volunteer Molly Metzger said.

“The problems that we see in St. Louis and other cities — of racial segregation, of stark inequality — these are not created by markets alone. They are created by markets that were structured by governments,” said Metzger, a professor who studies housing policy at Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work.

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