Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Lara Hamdan

Talk Show Intern

Lara Hamdan started at St. Louis Public Radio as the news intern in May 2017 and became the interim online producer for "St. Louis on the Air" in October. She is now the talk-show's production intern. She’s reported on the Trump administration’s travel bans, Stockley protests and St. Louis’ activist community. She enjoys traveling, food and keeping up with the latest Netflix Originals.

Ways to Connect

Stacie Lents, Rachel Tibbetts and Christopher Limber talk about artistic approaches to rehabilitation for incarcerated women.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A creative collaboration between a nationally known playwright and a group of women incarcerated in Vandalia, Missouri, is bringing new voices and stories to St. Louis theater-goers with the production “Run-On Sentence.”

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the initiative, which is a partnership between Prison Performing Arts and the award-winning SATE Ensemble.

The effort aims to move and entertain audiences and extend public awareness, particularly about the effects of incarceration and innovative, artistic approaches to rehabilitation.

On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” international journalist and St. Louis native Daniel Estrin (at left) talked with host Don Marsh in front of a live audience at St. Louis Public Radio.
Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

Like other journalists based in Jerusalem and the region surrounding the ancient city, Daniel Estrin is often associated with one overarching, ongoing news headline: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He’s covered many of the latest developments within that continuing story during his time reporting in the Middle East. But there have been many other stories for him to tell over the course of that decade, too.

“Every day surprises me there,” the NPR correspondent and St. Louis native said Wednesday on St. Louis on the Air. “You meet so many different voices and so many different perspectives … and oftentimes you’ll hear, ‘The Israelis think this, the Palestinians think that.’ But actually there are so many different perspectives among Palestinians. There are so many different perspectives among Israelis. And that’s the kind of texture that I like to bring out in my reporting.”

Benjamin Ola Akande talked about his new task to bring Washington University's various research and projects in Africa under one umbrella.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In April, Washington University appointed Nigerian-born Benjamin Ola Akande as senior adviser to the chancellor and director of the Africa initiative. He has been tasked with bringing the university’s various research and projects in Africa under one umbrella.

Anne Geraghty-Rathert talked about the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On June 4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds.

For Friday’s Behind the Headlines, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh talked to Webster University legal studies professor Anne Geraghty-Rathert about the implications of that decision and what it may or may not mean for the rights of same-sex couples.

Switch’s “The Gateway Green – A Hole-in-One for STL” installation at the Sheldon Art Galleries.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

There are many art galleries and exhibits in St. Louis, but none combine the classic game of mini-golf with art like the Sheldon Art Galleries’ current exhibition, "Golf the Galleries: Artist-Designed Mini Golf."

“[Golf the Galleries] brings together design aspects and play – so art and fun,” Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, director of the Sheldon Art Galleries, told St. Louis on the Air producer Alex Heuer as they putted their way through the gallery on Friday’s program.

(L-R) Corinne Melançon, Steve Isom and Andrew Kuhlman talk about Stages St. Louis' “I Do! I Do!” production now showing through July 1, 2018.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

New York meets St. Louis in the cast for Stages St. Louis’I Do! I Do!” production now showing at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood. The play delves into the ups and downs of the universal proclamation of union – marriage. The two-character musical consists of a rotating cast of actors from New York and St. Louis.

Set in the years 1895 to 1945, the play follows the relationship of Michael and Agnes as they go through the motions of falling in love, marriage, childbirth, parenthood and settling down. They depict tough moments in long-term relationships such as the end of the honeymoon phase and having frank conversations on divorce.

Host Don Marsh (left) and author Jon Meacham talked about Meacham's latest book, "Soul of America" at the St. Louis Public Library on May 25.
Kara Smith/St. Louis County Library

“American history is defined by the phrase ‘and yet …,’” author and historian Jon Meacham told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh May 25, before an audience of 900 people at the St. Louis County Library.

“We promised equality to all, and yet, we didn’t extend it to all,” Meacham said, citing other examples of former presidential actions that they later contradicted. His latest book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” compares and contrasts today’s political climate to historical events.

Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

“Bitten by radioactive bagpipes” 10 years ago, the Wee Heavies are a local, mostly a cappella group dedicated to performing Celtic music. Band members Jay Harkey, Peter Merideth, Steve Neale and Aaron Schiltz joined St. Louis Public Radio contributor Charlie McDonald for a conversation on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Tonight, Eric Greitens will step down as Missouri governor, with Lt. Gov. Mike Parson replacing him. In exchange for his resignation, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner agreed to drop Greitens’ tampering charges.

(L to R) Legal experts Bill Freivogel, Michael Wolff and Mark Smith discussed the legal implications of Gov. Greitens' resignation.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the political and legal fallout surrounding Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' resignation.

Joining him was St. Louis Public Radio statehouse reporter Marshall Griffin and several legal experts.

Along with the Greitens saga, the legal panel also touched on several other current issues pertaining to the law.

On the panel:

Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The modern two-party system has dominated U.S. politics for decades – but it’s also led to deep-seated divisions among American voters. Mickey Edwards, former Republican Congressman from Oklahoma, said political parties are “undemocratic,” citing the American Founding Fathers’ warnings about the rupture political parties can cause among U.S. citizens.

“George Washington’s farewell address said, ‘don’t create political parties.’ He begged us not to create political parties. The founder James Madison said that; James Monroe said that, and we did it – and now we’re paying the price for it,” Edwards said.

Edwards, vice president of the Aspen Institute, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Tuesday for a conversation on the structure and function of political parties and party leadership. Also joining the discussion were St. Louis 8th Ward alderwoman Annie Rice and Wally Siewert, director of civic engagement at FOCUS St. Louis.

John Ellis of Belleville is profiled in WBEZ's report on  inadequate housing options for prisoners with disabilities in Illinois.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

A report by Chicago public radio station WBEZ recently revealed how the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) keeps prisoners with disabilities in prison beyond their release date.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with WBEZ criminal justice reporter Shannon Heffernan about how the state of Illinois regularly keeps prisoners with disabilities because of inadequate options for housing.

Provided | St. Louis Science Center

This Memorial Day weekend, the St. Louis Science Center's Omnimax theater will be screening a film that gives audience members a close-up look at one of the most important weapons in America’s military arsenal – nuclear powered aircraft carriers.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with writer, director and producer Mark Krenzien about the IMAX film “Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas,” which takes place on the heavily restricted USS Ronald Reagan.

(L-R) Nisar Syed-Power, Mojda Sidiqi and Faizan Syed talked about their observation of the holy month of Ramadan.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For the month of Ramadan, Muslims in St. Louis and across the world are counting down the days left of the holy month marked by daily fasting, increased religious observance and self-reflection.

But also added in the practice is refraining from smoking, bad behavior, such as cursing, gossiping or fighting, and impure thoughts. It’s a time for people to reflect on their habits and rekindle a practicing relationship with God, as well as build self-discipline.

(L-R) Rodrick Burton, Marylen Mann and Paul Weiss talked about how to meet the needs of aging Americans.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The month of May is designated as Older Americans Month. It also marks the 36th anniversary of the founding of the Oasis Institute – a local organization that aims to meet the needs of aging Americans and keep them engaged by offering learning programs, health education and volunteer opportunities.

Marylen Mann founded the organization that serves older adults aged 50 and older. But she said “aging is just a state of mind.”

St. Louis Public Radio's newsroom drone.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio data and visual journalist Brent Jones joined host Don Marsh to talk about how the station is using a drone to enhance news coverage.

“For journalists, we like to think of [drones] as tools because we can use them to help tell the story in the best way that we know to tell it,” Jones said.

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

In the aftermath of the media frenzy following his appearance at the 2016 presidential debate at Washington University, Ken Bone, a.k.a the “red sweater guy,” has managed to have more than his so-called 15 minutes of fame.

As an undecided voter, Bone asked candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump a question about energy policy, but it was his appearance and red sweater that caught the nation’s attention.

Wade Rakes (left) and Colleen Starkloff (right) talked about efforts designed to inspire high school students with disabilities to explore vast career options.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In its efforts to “make the world a better place for disabled people,” the Starkloff Disability Institute is organizing a summer camp designed to inspire high school students with disabilities to explore vast career options, Colleen Starkloff, co-founder of the organization, said.

She joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Wednesday to talk about the organization’s upcoming program, Dream Big Career Camp. Wade Rakes, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Centene Corporation also joined the conversation to talk about how companies are partnering in the effort.

Dozens of Palestinians and supporters, including Hadeel Salameh, marched in downtown St. Louis to commemorate Nakba Day.  May 15, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A planned local observance of Nakba, the day Palestinians commemorate their displacement following Israel’s establishment in 1948 and the Arabic word for "catastrophe," took on greater significance for a group of St. Louis activists and business owners Tuesday.

River Styx editor Jason Lee Brown (at left) and writer Adrian Todd Zuniga discussed the magazine’s 2018 Literary Feast on Friday’s show
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

River Styx, St. Louis’ oldest literary magazine, will release its 100th issue this summer. And while that’s a big milestone on its own, the 43-year-old organization has lots to celebrate even beyond the long existence of the biannual publication itself.

That’s according to River Styx’s new editor, Jason Lee Brown, who took the reins back in November.

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