Maria Altman

Reporter

Maria is a reporter at St. Louis Public Radio, specializing in business and economic issues. Previously, she was a newscaster during All Things Considered and has been with the station since 2004. Maria's stories have been featured nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition, as well as on Marketplace.

Maria has won numerous awards, including from the Illinois Associated Press, the Missouri Broadcasters Association, the Missouri Bar Association, and the Missouri State Teachers Association.

She came to St. Louis from Dallas, where she worked at KERA. Maria has also worked at WUIS in Springfield, and WSIU in Carbondale, Ill. She received her M.A. in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois-Springfield and a B.A. in journalism from the University of Iowa.

In her spare time she serves as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Maria lives in St. Louis with her husband and two kids.

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Economy & Innovation
5:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Report On Rise Of Innovation Districts Highlights St. Louis

Credit (Courtesy Cortex)

A new report out released Monday by the Brookings Institution on "innovation districts" prominently features St. Louis' Cortex.

The Rise of the Innovation District: A New Geography of Innovation in America looks at several of these areas in both Europe and the U.S. It defines the districts as "geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators."

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Food festival
10:43 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Horseradish Roots Run Deep In The Metro East

Farmer Jeff Heepke stands in a horseradish field near Roxana, Ill. His great-grandfather brought roots from Germany.
(Mary Delach Leonard, St. Louis Public Radio)

There's a pretty good chance that the jar of horseradish you have in the refrigerator has its origins in farms located just across the river from St. Louis.

St. Clair and Madison counties in Illinois produce the lion's share of horseradish in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just 16 growers in Illinois harvest horseradish from 1,779 acres, accounting for about 60 percent of the nation's horseradish. Nationally, only about 3,100 acres are in horseradish production.

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Economy & Innovation
10:20 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Monsanto Data Farming Unit Suffers Security Breach

Credit (Flickr)

Monsanto Corporation has reported a security breach in its Precision Planting unit, putting some farmers’ credit card and tax information at risk.

The world’s largest seed company sent a letter to the attorney general of Maryland, according a report by Bloomberg News. Monsanto said personal information of 14 residents may have been accessed.

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Economy & Innovation
5:06 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

New Agreement Between St. Louis County And Sewer District Promises More Business

The agreement between MSD and St. Louis County could result in construction projects — such as the new building for the Reinsurance Group of America in Chesterfield — moving forward more quickly.
Credit / Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It's being billed as another way to spur economic development in the region.

St. Louis County and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District announced Wednesday a new agreement to share software that will track and manage construction permits.

Officials from the two entities said having one system for permitting will be more cost-effective for both governmental agencies. It will also speed up the process for those seeking permits.

Speed is important when businesses are choosing between cities, said Joe Reagan, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

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River Management
12:58 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Water Resources Reform Passes Including Projects Here

Credit (Flickr/Brian Hillegas)

The U.S. Senate passed the first legislation authorizing infrastructure upgrades on the nation’s waterways since 2007, including improvements to locks and dams along the Mississippi River.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act passed 91-7 Thursday, sending the bill to the president. The House passed the measure Tuesday on a 412-4 vote.

The 34 projects authorized by the omnibus legislation will cost an estimated $12.3 billion. Missouri's and Illinois’ senators all voted for the bill. It includes several projects that directly affect this area.       

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Economy & Innovation
1:23 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Arch Grants Board Announces 2014 Class

The winners of the 2014 Arch Grants competition pose after Wednesday's announcement.
Credit Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)

All but a handful of the 20 Arch Grants winners will be making a move, some farther than others.

While six companies already are based in St. Louis, two of the startups are coming from London, England, and another from Cali, Colombia. The rest will relocate from Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Columbia, Mo.

The global startup competition gives each winning business $50,000 and free support services, in exchange for moving to St. Louis for at least a year. The clock will begin ticking July 1.

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Economy & Innovation
1:06 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Arch Grants: Attracting and Keeping Entrepreneurs In St. Louis

Dheeraj Patri, one of three co-founders of FoodEssentials. In the startup's downtown St. Louis office, employees get to ring a gong when a project is completed.
Credit Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)

(This story aired Tuesday on NPR’s Morning Edition.)

FoodEssentials has the typical startup vibe.

The company gathers and organizes food label data for retailers and brands, like which products are gluten free or are heart healthy.

But co-founder Dheeraj Patri says they still need to figure out just where to put a foosball table and bar.

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Economy & Innovation
4:28 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Steelworkers Rally Against Unfair Foreign Trade

Credit (Flickr/Paul Sable)

The price of steel pipes and tubes are at the center of a rally in Granite City Friday afternoon.

It's one of six rallies planned around the U.S. this spring. The goal is to bring attention to what steelworkers and steel companies say are unfair trade practices by companies in nine countries.

The products are Oil Country Tubular Goods, used in natural gas and oil exploration, an industry that has boomed in the U.S. in recent years.

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Patriot Coal
4:51 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Two Patriot Coal Miners Killed

Credit (Flickr/Paul Sableman)

Patriot Coal, headquartered in Creve Coeur, confirmed Tuesday that two of its miners in West Virginia were killed in a "severe coal burst."

Eric Legg, 48, and Gary Hensley, 46, were working in Brody Mine No. 1, about 50 miles south of Charleston, W.VA., when the accident occurred just after 8:45 p.m. Monday.

"We express our deepest sympathies to Eric's and Gary's families, friends and co-workers," said Mike Day, Patriot executive vice president of operations.  "We are fully cooperating with state and federal mine regulatory agencies to investigate this incident."

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Economy & Innovation
4:35 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Protesters Arrested Outside Peabody Meeting

Judy Kellen, from Rocky Branch, Ill. addresses protesters outside Peabody Energy's annual shareholder meeting.
Credit (Molly Gott.)

Peabody Energy is getting protests from all sides.

More than 50 people gathered outside the corporation’s annual meeting Thursday in Clayton, including Washington University students, St. Louis activists, rural southern Illinoisans and  American Indians from Black Mesa, Ariz.

Ten protesters were arrested outside the Ritz-Carlton, where the meeting was held.

The complaints they expressed were as different as their backgrounds, but the group is unified in its opposition to coal.

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