Kristi Luther

News Intern
(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

A  Midtown apartment building that was heavily damaged by a massive fire in July 2012 has re-opened.The fire at 3949 Lindell displaced several hundred people. There were no human fatalities, though several pets were killed. 

The cause of the fire was never determined, though officials do not believe it was suspicious.  City fire chief Dennis Jenkerson says the new building goes above and beyond fire code.

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Following a critical state audit of the Rockwood School District back in February, Missouri Auditor Tim Schweich said Wednesday that the district has made tremendous progress.  His previous audit found the district overpaid a construction company $1.2 million, which is one of   the few issues still unresolved. Schweich recommended a variety of reforms for Rockwood, from fuel usage and inventory policies to program management services. 

(via Flickr/Georgia National Guard)

New jobs await veterans and their spouses Tuesday. Over one hundred employers will meet with veterans and their spouses during a job fair at America’s Center

in downtown St. Louis.

The fair is a part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s small business conference for veterans, which lasts until Thursday.

The Hiring Our Heroes fair begins with an 8 a.m. workshop for mentoring, interview skills, resume help, and job search techniques.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

National and state leaders broke ground Friday on the first phase of the CityArchRiver 2015 plan to revitalize the Gateway Arch grounds.

Two members of President Obama’s cabinet—Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx—were present at the ceremony. The first project is a park to be built over Interstate 70 to improve accessibility between downtown and the Arch grounds. Senator Claire McCaskill praised local officials for getting to this point.

(via Flickr/andrewarchy)

Ready, set, shop. 

A new school year is approaching, and shoppers will head to stores this weekend for a tax-free holiday on school supplies, electronics and some clothing. 

John Mollenkamp, acting director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, says shoppers can save up to 8 or 9 percent if local governments also participate in the tax breaks.

UMSL associate professor of economics Lea Kosnik said such sales make people excited to run to the stores and spend money they may not normally spend.

(via Flickr/kla4067)

Pedestrians using Fifth Street in St. Charles may see more accessible streets in their future.

Three different proposals of the Fifth Street Gateway Project will be presented at an open house Wednesday evening at St. John United Church of Christ at 5 p.m. 

(via Flickr/solviturambulando)

Black bears can now be found in southern Missouri, thanks to a reintroduction program more than fifty years ago.

The University of Missouri has worked in conjunction with other researchers to trace the origins of the bears.

Researchers used genetic footprints and hair samples to identify which bears came from reintroduced groups in Arkansas, and which were indigenous. 

Washington University researcher Kaitlyn Faries did research on the bears at MU during initial studies in 2007.

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

On Monday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn paid a visit to the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge in East St. Louis.

Quinn said the bridge will reduce congestion and pollution and praised the jobs the project has created. He also hopes the project nurtures a positive relationship between Missouri and Illinois.

(via flickr/anaxolotl)

Handlebar. Lampshade. Walrus.

More than a list of random items, these are just a few of the mustache options for members of the American Mustache Institute, which you may not know is based in St. Louis.

This will all change soon, however, as the AMI relocates from under the shadow of the “world’s largest mustache” -- the Gateway Arch-- to Pittsburgh, in its first leadership change since 1989.

via Flickr/BluEyedA73

Twenty five same-sex couples want to see a quick verdict in their lawsuits regarding the Illinois gay marriage ban.

Attorneys representing the couples suing over the ban asked a judge Wednesday to rule through summary judgment. 

Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed a motion Wednesday for a judge to rule quickly in the couples’ favor.

(via Wikimedia commons/SSGT CHAD R. GANN, USAF)

Scott Air Force Base employees will take unpaid leave beginning Monday as a result of sequestration cuts.

The furloughs began Monday for approximately 4,500 employees. The leave will be implemented one day a week for 11 weeks; most employees will take off Mondays or Fridays. 

The furloughs will last until the end of the fiscal year in September, but spokesman Lieutenant Korey Fratini says there is no word if furloughs will continue into the next fiscal year. 

The focus right now, he said, is supporting employees and their families affected by the cuts.

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Just one day before the Fourth of July, St. Louis welcomed more than 50 new United States citizens.

The group took the oath of citizenship during an annual naturalization ceremony in the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. 

The immigrants came from 26 countries, including Vietnam, Nigeria, Nepal, Albania and Germany.

Congresswoman Ann Wagner of Missouri’s Second District was the guest speaker at the ceremony, which she said was her first.

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

The mass transit agency Metro says buses and trains will run as usual for Fair St. Louis this week, despite the possibility of a labor strike.

Vice president of marketing and communications Dianne Williams says Metro is monitoring negotiations with its union, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788.

"We do expect to be able to serve Fair St. Louis this week," Williams said. "We will, if we're able, have extra services out on the street. We do every year for Fair St. Louis to accommodate the crowds."

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Next week will mark the 33rd annual Fair Saint Louis, and two surviving Tuskegee Airmen will serve as honorary grand marshals of the 136th VP Parade.

Grand Marshal Bill Macon announced Friday that Lieutenant Colonel George Hardy and Major George Boyd will be a part of the parade, a central event during the fair.

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri drivers will not see their license fees double. Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have increased an array of fees at your local license office.

Under the bill, the costs of registering a vehicle would have gone up by $1.50. It also would have doubled the application fee for titles and obtaining or renewing a driver's license.

The bill was projected to raise $22 million annually, but Nixon in St. Louis Wednesday said it didn't specify the improvements that would be made using the money.

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri visited Mercy Hospital in St. Louis Monday to speak with healthcare workers about the implications of federal healthcare changes. He also received a tour of the hospital's Telehealth Services, often used to serve rural communities that don't have access to specialty or intensive care. 

Mercy SafeWatch is an electronic Intensive Care Unit(e-ICU) that serves Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Blunt learned how Mercy is able to provide an extra set of eyes and ears for doctors that can't always be there in person.

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

After 17 years, the giant, inflated event and exhibition space at the Saint Louis Science Center known as the "Exploradome" has come down.

What started as an experiment to test the need for such a space, the Exploradome was deflated on Monday to make way for a permanent exhibition structure with indoor and outdoor elements. The Science Center says the dome took just over 9 minutes to deflate.

Here's a time lapse of the deflation:

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

More than a thousand United Mine Workers of America members were back in St. Louis on Monday, the latest in a series of protests against Peabody Energy and its handling of their  retirement and health care benefits.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The relationship between the United States and China is important, as demonstrated by recent meetings between President Barack Obama and his counterpart, Xi Jinping.

A group of 37 Chinese students will begin arriving in St. Louis this week to attend Missouri Boys and Girls State, youth leadership programs held at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.