Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Lara Hamdan

Interim Online Talk Show Producer

Lara Hamdan started at St. Louis Public Radio as the news intern in May 2017 and is now the interim online producer for "St. Louis on the Air." 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 her favorite shows — Rick and Morty and Stranger Things being her latest obsessions.  

Luzena Adams / Contributed Photo

When St. Louis native and comedian Kathleen Madigan did a show in St. Louis a while back, her family bought out the bar’s Bud Lights and Budweisers.

“Look, they’re not going to drink non-union beer,” she told the bartender. “You’re going to need to get in a car, and go to Schnucks or Kroger, whatever is open, and buy all the Bud Lights that they have.”

Madigan looks forward to performing in front of friends and family again at her upcoming standup show at The Peabody Opera House on Nov. 11 — as part of her national Boxed Wine & Bigfoot Tour.

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

None of former International Space Station commander Scott Kelly’s life experiences would have happened had he not read Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff.”

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Kelly about his new memoir, "Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery,” and a new PBS film, "Beyond a Year in Space."

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis American was founded in 1928 and played a critical role in publicizing civil rights struggles in St. Louis, among other black press outlets.

The mainstream press did not cover relations that mattered in African-American communities. Due to the lack of coverage, black newspapers filled the void missing in their communities.

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

The Climate Change Theatre action put theater and advocacy together to bring awareness to the harmful environmental impacts of climate change. The action began on Oct. 1 and runs through Nov. 18 – involving over 225 events in 40 countries.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about a local production of short plays inspired by climate change and the current attitudes towards science.

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

Gateway Media Literacy Partners is hosting its 12th annual Media Literacy Week. The events of the week encourage community conversations to help audiences evaluate what they see or hear in the media.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Gateway Media Literacy Partners members Mary Pat Gallagher, founder and executive director of Lolly’s Place, and Natasha Casey, professor of English and Communications at Blackburn College, about the importance of media literacy and issues of inclusion.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Treasurer Tishaura Jones is calling on St. Louis residents to vote against Proposition P on Nov. 7 – a half-cent sales tax increase that will fund public safety efforts.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Jones, who said sales taxes are regressive and disproportionally affect the poor.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis voters will decide on Nov. 7 whether to increase the city’s sales tax by a half cent to fund increased public safety efforts.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, who endorses the ballot measure Proposition P.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Addressing police aggression and unequal policing are among Judge Jimmie Edwards’ top issues to address as the new public safety director for the city of St. Louis.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Don Marsh talked with Edwards, a former St. Louis circuit court judge embarking on a new role that oversees the police and fire departments.

Garrison Keillor
(photo provided)

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with long-time host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” Garrison Keillor. 

A best-selling author, he’s received Grammy, ACE and Peabody awards, as well as the National Humanities Medal and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Using his unique blend of wit, wisdom and humor, Keillor will share stories on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Fox Theatre about growing up in the Midwest, the people of Lake Wobegon, and late-life fatherhood.

 

Related Event:

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

Traditional dresses and music, symbolic foods and colorful decorations are all part of a celebration of life — and death.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about a local observance of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday indigenous to Mexico and Central and South American countries. The holiday began October 31 and ends on November 2.

Elisa Bender, board member of the Hispanic Festival, Inc., said Día de Los Muertos is a celebration of life.

Sidney Watson, the Jane and Bruce Robert Professor at Saint Louis University’s Health Law Policy Center
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Don Marsh talked with Saint Louis University health law professor Sidney Watson about the just released 2018 premiums for policies through the Affordable Care Act and discuss how Missourians and St. Louisans will fare.

This Behind the Headlines discussion was a follow-up to a conversation about what's happening with healthcare in the United States.

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

Catholics and Lutherans are coming together in the spirit of reconciliation for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther in 1517.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Deacon Carl Sommer, adjunct professor of church history, registrar, and coordinator of assessment at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and Pastor Keith Holste, co-pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Webster Groves and co-director of the Lutheran School of Theology.

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

More people are dying annually from overdosing on opioids compared to HIV, car accidents and gun violence. And Missouri is no exception.

“The opioid crisis is the biggest public health emergency of our lifetimes,” said Rachel Winograd, assistant research professor at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

 She said the clear hot-spots of deaths in Missouri are in the St. Louis area.

Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

People don’t always understand or are easily able to define the term “white privilege.” Those who do not understand it might also take offense to it. But now there’s a journal to help change that.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke to Tom Schweizer, a retired business executive who created a journal to help guide discussions and promote personal reflection about race and white privilege.

The Keystone Exhibit will include a replica of the observation deck with a live-stream video from atop the 360-foot Arch.
Provided | Gateway Arch Park Foundation

When the renovated Jefferson National Expansion Memorial reopens next summer, it will connect the Gateway Arch to the city it represents.

The $380 million CityArchRiver project will include a west-facing entrance that links the museum and visitor center to downtown. The five-year project aims to make the park more accessible and interactive, said Ryan McClure, director of communications at Gateway Arch Foundation.

“You’ll have a welcoming, connected experience,” McClure said. “You’ll be able to enter through the Arch visitor’s center from Fourth Street to the Arch, to the river. There will not be a stair step or intersection in your way.”

A student works on an assignment in an introductory English language course at the International Institute of St. Louis. About 1,100 immigrants and refugees take English courses at the institute.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Maryam Bakhtari trained to be a doctor in Afghanistan. She never thought there would be a time when she couldn't practice gynecology. But as a new immigrant to the United States, her chosen field is beyond her. These days, she's focusing on a different kind of learning.

Bakhtari takes English classes at the International Institute of St. Louis. She’s among the approximate 1,100 adults who take the classes every year. The International Institute has the largest English for Speakers of Other Languages program in the St. Louis region. 

The Rev. Linden Bowie holds his hands up for six minutes on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, to mark six years between the death of Anthony Lamar Smith and the acquittal of ex-St. Louis officer Jason Stockley during a vigil and march downtown.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

On the fifth day after the Jason Stockley verdict was announced, protesters mostly rested Tuesday while faith leaders converged on downtown St. Louis to call for change. And near the city’s jail, a half-dozen people are committed to camping out until everyone who was arrested Sunday night is released.

Supporters of immigrants who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program held a rally Friday at the federal courthouse in St. Louis.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Updated at 4:50 p.m. Tuesday — Immigration lawyers in St. Louis are studying a Trump administration decision to end the Obama-era DACA program that permits some unauthorized immigrants to remain in the United States.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the administration will phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials said they are processing renewal requests for DACA recipients whose benefits expire between now and March 5.

Matt Ridings | Flickr

 

Tower Grove Park in south St. Louis will see some renovations and improvements over the next few years. Park officials are unveiling a 20-year master plan on Wednesday.

The park’s new master plan includes expanding and enhancing some of the more popular areas of the park, including the farmer’s market.

The park’s executive director, Bill Reininger, said more than 200 people attended an open house in January and over 1,200 people have made suggestions for the park’s renovations through an online survey.

Joyetta White looks up at the partial eclipse with classmates at Long International Middle School in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

People gathered at schools, a rural airport and downtown St. Louis on Monday seeking a good view of the total eclipse. The celestial event reached totality (when the moon completely covered the sun) at about 1:15 p.m. St. Louis time, darkening the skies except for what looked like a very bright headlight overhead.

A Southwest Airlines jet in St. Louis
St. Louis Lambert International Airport

The St. Louis branch of the NAACP is calling on Southwest Airlines to address complaints by African-American employees of discrimination at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis branch, said Thursday that the NAACP wants Southwest to provide information on who the company had hired, fired, disciplined or transferred in the last seven years, by race and gender.

Michael Brown Sr. places roses along Canfield Drive before the start of a moment of silence for his son, Michael Brown.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

There were tears shed, prayers said and more than four minutes of silence observed Wednesday at the site of Michael Brown’s fatal shooting in Ferguson three years earlier.

Michael Brown Sr., who is encouraging people to also support other organizations that help local kids during this memorial week, was there at the Canfield Green Apartments in Ferguson.

“Aug. 9 will always be hard, because it’s in memory of Mike Brown Jr. and just remembering what happened to him,” the elder Brown said during the gathering. “But moving forward, we’ll be doing a lot of positive things in memory of his name.”

Hundreds of participants marched along  Vandeventer Avenue on Sunday evening following a rally at the Transgender Memorial Garden in support of transgender rights. July 30, 2017
Brit Hanson | St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump’s tweets announcing his plan to prevent transgender Americans from serving in the U.S. military fueled another rally in St. Louis.

On Sunday, several hundred advocates of LGBTQ rights, including some veterans, gathered at the Transgender Memorial Garden on 1469 S. Vandeventer Ave. to rally in support of transgender members of the military. Participants waved both transgender and American flags, and held signs that read “love makes a family,” “trans rights are human rights,” and “this is not OK.”

 

 

The Trump administration’s latest federal budget blueprint proposes less spending for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Advocacy group Empower Missouri estimates there will be at least $7.4 billion cuts in federal investments for housing for low-income people.

That concerns supporters of affordable housing and community development in Missouri. Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of Empower Missouri,  said she finds the effects from the suggested budget on Missouri’s low-income housing options worrisome.

Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

 

As tensions rise in the Old City of Jerusalem, hundreds of people gathered on Delmar Boulevard in University City Sunday evening to show their support — some for Palestinians and others for the Israeli government.

Alaa Alderie, a Syrian refugee, is the owner of Cham Bakery in St. Louis.
File photo | Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Alaa Alderie sought refuge in the United States several years ago, not long after Syrian authorities started looking for him because of his involvement in political demonstrations against President Bashar Al-Assad.

In 2012, he and his parents came to St. Louis, where his brother had arrived earlier, finding success in their new home. Alderie, who is Muslim, considers himself a “lucky refugee.” 

The Rev. Ken McKoy of the Progressive A.M.E Zion Church organizes NightLIFE walks three times a week in two north St. Louis neighborhoods.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of local clergy and community organizers will hold a “Fathers Peace Walk” for the first time after dark Friday, throughout some of St. Louis’ most dangerous neighborhoods. The event, held two days before Father’s Day, aims to confront high levels of crime in the area.

Fathers will lead the walk, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in front of West Side Missionary Baptist Church, 4675 Page Blvd., in north St. Louis, while mothers lead prayers inside the church.  

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