Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Lara Hamdan

St. Louis on the Air Producer

Lara Hamdan joined St. Louis Public Radio as the news intern in 2017. A year later, she became a producer for “St. Louis on the Air.” A St. Louis native, Lara graduated with a degree in journalism from Webster University. She is a cat-mom to Sali and Sami, a lover of traveling, fluent in English and Arabic – and in eating falafel sandwiches and veggie burgers. She enjoys discovering new people and gems in the city throughout her work at St. Louis Public Radio.

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Producer's note: Chamber Music Society of St. Louis executive director Marc Gordon announced on May 4 that Leonard Slatkin had to cancel his May 21 appearance due to unexpected heart bypass surgery. On May 8 Gordon reported the surgery was successful and Slatkin is expected to make a full recovery. However, since Slatkin is such an integral part of the Gala program, it has been postponed until the Fall when he can participate. Those who hold tickets for the original May 21 date are invited to a free concert. 

When Leonard Slatkin left his position as music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1996, he still retained many ties to the city he had called home for more than two decades. In his role as conductor laureate he has returned regularly to conduct the symphony.

He also serves as a board member of the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis, has appeared on several of its programs and has advised the organization on educational activities.

Kate Reese (left) and David Young (right) discussed housing needs in the region and the role the St. Louis Housing Partnership plays in meeting them. Bruce Dorpalen joined the conversation by phone to provide statistics on national housing efforts.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Buying and owning a home can be daunting even for those with plenty of resources. But for low-income people, the challenges may seem insurmountable. The nonprofit St. Louis Housing Partnership provides a number of services that help those with low to moderate income obtain and keep their homes or obtain appropriate rental housing.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Kate Reese, executive director of St. Louis Housing Partnership, David Young, Director of Capacity Building of Housing Action of Illinois, and Bruce Dorpalen, executive director of National Housing Resource Center. They discussed housing needs in the region and the role the St. Louis Housing Partnership plays in meeting them.

Legal experts (from left) William Freivogel, Mark Smith and Brenda Talent touched on developments in the cases involving the Missouri governor as well as other matters pertaining to the law.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the two felony charges facing Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens as well as other items of local interest pertaining to the law.

Three legal experts joined the conversation, which started with a look at the latest developments in the invasion-of-privacy case against Greitens. One focus of the discussion had to do with the judge’s ruling that the woman who was involved with Greitens must turn over her phone for a forensic investigation.

Courtesy of U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay’s office

In 2016, a painting by St. Louis high school student David Pulphus appeared in the U.S. Capitol alongside hundreds of other winning art competition entries. About seven months later, after pressure from a group of Republican lawmakers with backing from law enforcement, the artwork was removed from display.

Jacqueline Hudson (left) and Michael Morrison (right) joined host Don Marsh in studio to discuss disparities between mental healthcare needs and access to care in Missouri.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

new report by the Missouri Federation of Behavioral Health Advocates shows concern for the significant disparities between mental health-care needs and access to care in Missouri. On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the report’s findings and how they might be addressed.

Gibron Jones founded HOSCO eight years ago to help provide training, education and expand urban farming food operations.
Ashley Gieseking | Sauce Magazine

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about urban agriculture and food justice in the St. Louis region for our monthly Sound Bites segment in partnership with Sauce Magazine.

Sauce Magazine managing editor Catherine Klene, HOSCO Foods founder Gibron Jones and Missouri Coalition for the Environment farm and food director Melissa Vatterott joined the discussion to talk about urban farming in St. Louis.

Jason Purnell (left) and Will Jordan (right) discuss current housing inequities in the St. Louis region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. But how far has equitable housing come in St. Louis? The Delmar Divide is among the most noticeable forms of housing segregation in the area.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about a new report on segregation in housing in the St. Louis region. On April 25, the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council and the For the Sake of All partnership will address the issue at the Fair Housing Conference held at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL).

McCluer North High School students Dacia Slater, Dylan Bozeman and Payton Woodruff sang an original piece about Thomas Paine in front of 3,900 students and the touring Hamilton Cast at the Fox Theatre on April 11.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Outside the Fox Theatre in St. Louis on April 11, lines of students and teachers eagerly awaited to watch the hit Broadway musical, “Hamilton.”

They were among students from 42 schools across the region participating in the Hamilton Education Program created by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The program, also known as EduHam, allows public high schools from lower-income areas the opportunity to see and learn American history through "Hamilton."

Dr. John Constantino (left) and Steve Houston (right) talked about understanding autism and the latest research in the diagnosis and treatment of it.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

April is National Autism Awareness Month. On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about the prevalence of autism and discussed the latest research in the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

Jeff Clements (left) and Alderwoman Megan Green (right) discussed a nation-wide campaign thats calls for a 28th amendment to limit campaign contributions.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

A series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission struck down long-standing campaign finance laws. The rulings determined that the use of unlimited money to influence the outcome of an election by individuals, corporations, unions and other entities is free speech protected by the First Amendment.

The organizations American Promise and American Constitution Society have launched a national town hall tour to garner support for election financing reform which could result in a proposal for a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

William Freivogel (left) and Shula Neuman (right) discuss the implications of Sinclair Broadcast Group's requirment for local stations to read their recent statment regarding "fake news."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of local television stations in the country, recently required its news anchors to read a scripted statement that accused other media outlets of disseminating "fake news."

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went behind the headlines to discuss the issues raised by the statement that had led to public outcry. The broadcast company faces backlash from media critics for the conservative slant of their stations' news reporting and other programming decisions.

Madalyn Painter Talla started a Thanksgiving Day tradition with her family where she cooks biryani, a time intensive rice dish.
Madalyn Painter Talla | St. Louis Public Radio

India is one of the most populated and diverse countries – and some of its nuances are reflected in its cuisine.

Joining host Don Marsh to discuss the diverse flavors, styles and recipes of Indian cuisine was Sauce Magazine’s art director, Meera Nagarajan, and her mother Revathy Nagarajan. They focused on the food varieties in north and south India and dispelled common misconceptions about the cuisine. They stressed that curry is not only a spice, but rather a number of dishes, and that not all Indian food is spicy.

(L-R) Mark Smith, Jennifer Joyce and William Freivogel discussed current issues pertaining to the law.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Former St. Louis circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce joined our Legal Roundtable on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, alongside recurring guests Mark Smith, associate vice chancellor of students at Washington University, and William Freivogel, journalism professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Waters continue to rise around I-55 near Butler Hill on Wednesday morning. May 2017
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Due to heavy rain in the St. Louis region, multiple streams throughout eastern and central Missouri are being monitored by the National Weather Service. The agency has issued several flood warnings for this evening. 

Flood warnings are indicative of when rivers are expected to exceed the flood stage, where human impact begins.

Sisters Sadia (left) and Yusra (right) Ali talked about CAIR-MO’s annual art exhbit showcasing various local Muslim talent.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Sisters Sadia and Yusra Ali are Muslims who’ve grown up in Ballwin, Missouri, sharing a love and appreciation of fine arts. In their circles, such creative pursuit is fairly uncommon.

“We’re always looking for the most secure line of work, the most unique line of study, the most secure relationship,” Sadia Ali said of her community. “And art is a challenge for security.”

Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis’ Carol Emmerich (left) and Mike Roberts (right) talked about how people can deal with feelings of grief.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When a person nears the end of their life, feelings of grief can increase and unaddressed matters often add to the complications.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about how people can deal with those issues. Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis’ Mike Roberts, public relations and communications manager, and Carol Emmerich, director of hospice care, joined him for the conversation.

J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami (left) and Rabbi Jim Bennett (right) talked about being “pro-Israel and pro-peace” in the 21st century.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

There is a divide in the fundamental beliefs among supporters of Israel regarding the future of the Israel-Palestine conflict. For Jeremy Ben-Ami, pursuit of peace is something he considers critical to the security and survival of the State of Israel in the 21st century.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with the J Street president about his organization and his appearance this week at Congregation Shaare Emeth. Rabbi Jim Bennett also joined the conversation about being “pro-Israel and pro-peace.” 

Ken Cooper (left) and Bing Dempewolf (right) talked about different ways to address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Even with more awareness and updated policies surrounding the issue of sexual harassment, offensive advances and interactions in the workplace have not gone away. But have employers overlooked other ways to deal with the matter?

Ken Cooper, corporate trainer and author of "Stop It Now: How Targets and Managers Can End Sexual Harassment," thinks so. He said workplaces need to address the matter beyond the legal ramifications and introduce behavioral trainings once.

Students at Maplewood Richmond Heights remember the victims of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
File Photo| Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the fatal shooting of students in Florida in February, many young activists have organized walkouts, rallies and calls to action. On March 24, young people all over the country will take to the streets again in a nationwide rally they’re calling “March For Our Lives.”

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with local students involved in myriad causes they are passionate about to discuss youth’s role in activism.

Most Broadway actors relax on their Monday days off. But on Monday, April 16, "Hamilton" star Mandy Gonzalez will come to St. Louis to help raise awareness and funds for St. Louis’ december Magazine. She stars as Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway hit.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Gonzalez about her career and upcoming performance in St. Louis, as well as with Gianna Jacobsen, the publisher of december Magazine, a non-profit literary journal headquartered in St. Louis.

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