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.

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File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday, a St. Louis grand jury indicted Gov. Eric Greitens for felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman without her permission. Greitens was arrested Thursday afternoon, but was released without having to post bond.

Here’s a roundup of what’s happened so far and what’s ahead:

Gov. Greitens' booking photo from Feb. 22
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Feb. 22, 2018

Updated Feb. 23 at 9:10 a.m. with  additional comments from Kim Gardner — A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Gov. Eric Greitens for felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman without her permission. Greitens was arrested Thursday afternoon, but was released without having to post bond. 

One of his attorneys, Edward Dowd, said in a statement that he plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges.

“In forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this. The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent,” he said.

I-64 W traffic highway
Paul Sableman | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1rzN9Hd

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2019 could bring big infrastructure changes to Missouri, but local engineering and commerce experts say it could be hard for the state to compete for federal dollars.

The budget promises to “generate $1 trillion in infrastructure investment” by dedicating $200 billion over 10 years to projects like improving roads, expanding internet access in rural areas, and developing creative approaches to transit, energy, water and building. Of that, $100 billion would be awarded as competitive grants to states and local governments who pursue projects “demonstrating innovative approaches” to infrastructure.

The West Lake Landfill, seen from St. Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 5 with new public comments deadline  The Environmental Protection Agency has released the full details of its proposal to remove radioactive waste from the West Lake Landfill. The agency will make a final decision after a public comment period.

A group gathers to watch horror film commercials before Late Nite Grindhouse's January 20 showing.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Once a month, the Moolah Theatre and Lounge in Midtown St. Louis slowly fills with moviegoers wearing punk gear and movie poster T-shirts. Screams ring out past the theater doors, and the screen casts neon green light on the seats.

The words “Late Nite Grindhouse,” written in font that looks like oozing snot, splash across the screen.

After a year of box-office wins and award nominations, horror films are receiving more mainstream recognition. But the Late Nite Grindhouse film series has honored the genre for years, taking people back to the gorey worlds of midcentury horror films — some classic, others forgotten.

The West Lake Landfill, in the distance, sits adjacent to the Bridgeton Landfill.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on March 5 to note new deadline for public comments  — The Environmental Protection Agency has released its plan for cleaning up radioactive waste at West Lake Landfill.

But officials say they still want to hear from community members on all the proposed remedies, not just the one the agency selected.

The EPA asked for feedback on three elements of its plan: Does the EPA’s proposed excavation plan address public concerns regarding the thoroughness of the removal? How should excavation differ between waste areas? And, where should the radioactive material go after it’s removed? Access all the plan’s documents on the EPA’s website.

Residents who live near West Lake Landfill gathered at John Calvin Presbyterian Church in Bridgeton after the EPA announced its remediation plan. (Feb 1, 2018)
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

When the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced its plan to remove much of the radioactive waste from the West Lake Landfill, some activists and residents celebrated.

But many residents expressed frustration and disappointment that only some of the waste would be removed before the site is covered. They said they’re still concerned about groundwater contamination, which might not be prevented by a partial removal, and worried that they might not be able to move away if the government doesn’t come up with a buyout plan. Some still don’t trust that the EPA can deliver on its promises.

The West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, seen from St. Charles Rock Road.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3 p.m. to clarify how much waste would be removed and with additional reaction  — The Environmental Protection Agency has decided on a partial removal of World War II-era radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill, in northwest St. Louis County.

The EPA proposed a remedy that would remove “the majority of the radioactive material” and construct a cover system to “best protect the community of Bridgeton over the long term,” the agency said today in a news release.

Every day is an exercise in tight decisions for Corey Robinson. “If you only make $8.50, you gotta use your money wisely,” he said. “Do you feel like eating today, or do you feel like getting on the bus?”
Kae M. Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

On his first job out of college as a corrections officer for St. Louis County in 1984, Perez Maxwell noticed that no black men had social work roles. When he sought a promotion to social worker two years later — a position he said he had the education and training to win — he hit a wall.

That was just the first of several jobs where Maxwell observed that he and his black colleagues lost out on leadership roles that went to white counterparts with similar education.  

He can’t help but think that helps explain why many black people in St. Louis continue to be paid much less than white people. Black households made 49 percent of what white households made in St. Louis, based on median incomes in the most recently available census data, which detailed how the nation changed in 2016.

Flares at the Bridgeton Landfill are used to burn off smelly underground gases.
File Photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to soon announce its plans to clean up the waste in West Lake Landfill. For people who live near the landfill in north St. Louis County, the decision couldn’t come soon enough, as the waste sits approximately 600 feet from an underground smoldering fire.

The landfill has been on the EPA’s National Priorities List since 1990. Eighteen years later, the EPA under the administration of President George W. Bush recommended capping the landfill. The waste has sat at the site since its former owner, Cotter Corporation, dumped it there in 1973.

EPA officials may decide to remove the waste entirely, remove it in part, or cap the site.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 22 — Federal employees will return to work Tuesday, after hundreds of thousands of federal workers were not on the job because of a government shutdown.

Congress on Monday passed a stopgap spending bill and sent it to President Donald Trump.

The shutdown occurred after Republican lawmakers in Washington failed to pass a short-term spending Friday and continued to disagree over the weekend on funding for immigration proposals, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, natural disasters and other priorities.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner met with business owners in Edwardsville, Illinois on January 16.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner pledged Tuesday to help small business owners by addressing “punishing” high property taxes and “too many” regulations.

Calling taxes and regulations burdens that drive small businesses to the neighboring states of Missouri and Indiana, Rauner said he wants to curtail them to bring businesses back.

“Every challenge we face in Illinois could be overcome if we have faster economic growth,” Rauner said after speaking to business owners in Edwardsville.

27% of individual Missouri tax refunds were late in 2016
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Thousands of Missourians could receive their income tax refunds late in 2018, if past years are any indication. Based on the Department of Revenue’s current interpretation of state law, taxpayers will receive little if any interest on the delayed payments.

And Missourians have been waiting longer for their refunds each year, according to report by state Auditor Nicole Galloway.

Sign at a homeless tent encampment on sidewalk in downtown St. Louis on Oct. 26, 2017.
File photo | Chelsea Hoye | St. Louis Public Radio

Local community organizations are teaming up to collect and distribute donated items for homeless people who’re suffering in the dangerous cold.

A Winter Homeless Outreach event coordinated through Facebook has attracted more than 4,000 interested users. It’s a collaboration between Let’s Help The Homeless, CDDB Community Charity and Just For Kidz. Outreach services for veterans will also join the event. 

via Flickr/pasa

After a week of below-zero temperatures, with some nights hitting lower than zero, people in the St. Louis region are struggling to keep warm.

For some, that’s because they just can’t afford the cost of heat.

“We thought this was going to be a normal, quiet Christmas,” said Heatupstlouis.org founder Gentry W. Trotter, whose organization helps pay utility bills of people in 16 counties in Missouri and Illinois. But the temperature dropped, and since Christmas Day, more than 900 people have asked the organization for help.

At each of six intersections along Compton Avenue in south St. Louis, 16 of these balls now sit in the road, narrowing lanes.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Some south St. Louis residents have encountered a new obstacle on their morning commute: concrete balls.

The spherical barriers were installed last month at the corners of intersections along Compton Avenue to calm traffic and increase public safety. But some residents are worried they’re causing more problems than they will solve.

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Chief John Hayden said police believed the rash of killings over the weekend  to be drug related in a press conference on Monday.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Updated Dec. 28 at 2:45 p.m. with additional comments on Hayden's promotion — St. Louis Police Maj. John Hayden is the next chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

People gather in the Central West End to protest the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley in September.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the last week of 2017, St. Louis Public Radio is looking back at more than 1,500 stories that the newsroom covered over the past 12 months.

It was a year of big changes: a new president, a new governor and a new mayor in St. Louis. Our reporters reflected on those transitions and explored how national news was relevant to the St. Louis region.

Our readers certainly don’t have tunnel vision: The stories they shared covered science, legislature, race, the death penalty, and mental health. Readers saw our reporters follow unions as they mobilized to block a state law, travel to the southern Illinois towns at the Dakota Access Pipeline’s conclusion, and observe the Stockley protests that unsettled the region.

Paul's Market

It can seem daunting to find the ultimate gift that captures St. Louis’ charm and convinces your family to explore the region.

Whether you’re showing loved ones around the city or just bringing the Midwest back home, here are five ways to bring the food, pastimes and St. Louis pride to Christmas with you.

Kae M. Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

The owners of Reedy Press are fighting to recover from a Nov. 15 fire that gutted the warehouse containing all the publisher’s printed books.

An estimated 200,000 books burned, nearly all the unsold copies. The publisher is coordinating with dozens of authors to reprint the books.

“The misery of this — if you want to go that far — is having to do everything over again,” Co-owner and Publisher Josh Stevens said. “I’ve spent the last few weeks looking for a more permanent warehouse, buying warehouse equipment that I already bought once upon a time. I joke to people that it’s like groundhog day.”

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