Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Ways to Connect

Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

The National Urban League Conference will be in St. Louis this summer.

The event will be held July 26-29 at the America’s Center.  

President and CEO Marc Morial said on Friday that St. Louis proved itself back in 2007 when it first hosted the national conference. But he said this year’s conference, with the theme “Save Our Cities,” is coming back in part because of the challenges African-Americans face in St. Louis.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

While St. Louis voters decide among mayoral and aldermanic candidates in the city’s primary election next Tuesday, they’ll also answer a question about short-term lenders.

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Contractors move the house north on Jefferson Avenue on Sunday morning. (Feb. 26, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Charlesetta Taylor was a 10-year-old when she and her family moved into the home at 2530 North Market St.

That was back in 1945.

But now, it's her house that's moved, not the octogenarian. 

"It's crazy to see any house move," Taylor said Sunday as she stood outside watching her three-story brick home roll up Jefferson Avenue to its final destination at 2200 St. Louis Ave. 

Vacant buildings owned by the Land Reutilization Authority in the 4000 block of Evans Avenue. February 2017.
File Photo | Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ Land Reutilization Authority has nearly 12,000 parcels of vacant land and buildings and just eight and half employees.

That’s far below the ratio of employees to property in other cities, according to a year-long assessment of the LRA released on Thursday. Urban planning firm Asakura Robinson, which conducted the yearlong study, recommends the agency hire four more employees in the next one to three years.

The International Institute in St. Louis helps immigrants to get settled, find housing and find jobs. Feb 2017
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

The International Institute of St. Louis is highlighting a new report that delves into the numbers behind immigrants in the United States.

The national organization New American Economy released the report “Map the Impact” on Tuesday. The report breaks down not just the number of immigrants in each congressional district, metropolitan area and state, but also looks at what they provide in taxes, spending power, education and entrepreneurship.

Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Mexico purchased $2.56 billion in Missouri goods in 2016.

That’s second only to Canada, Missouri’s top export partner, which spent $5.2 billion last year.

“Exports are important for a variety of reasons, and in terms of our manufacturers it’s critical,” said Ann Pardalos, the head of the state's International Trade and Investment Office.

A part of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Pardalos’ agency works to help small manufacturers and service providers look at global markets. One way they connect businesses to international markets is through trade fairs, including the Expo Manufactura held in Monterrey, Mexico, last week.

Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District could spend up to $13.5 million demolishing abandoned buildings in the city.

MSD’s board approved an agreement on Thursday with the city’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority. The move was long in the making. MSD has already demolished about 220 vacant building through a pilot program started back in 2010, and in 2015 the district announced it would do more.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway announced Tuesday that her office will audit two Community Improvement Districts in the St. Louis region.

Those include the BaratHaven Community Improvement District in St. Charles County and the North Oaks Plaza Shopping Center in north St. Louis County.

(courtesy M Properties)

Northside Regeneration’s plans for the old Pruitt-Igoe site became public this week, including a $72 million complex of medical buildings, commercial and office space and two hotels.

Developer Paul McKee’s company bought the 34-acre site from the city for $1 million last summer. Northside Regeneration had held the option for several years, and McKee previously received state approval to build a three-bed urgent care facility within the former federal housing site.

Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

South Grand Boulevard is known for its many international restaurants.

“We have 14 countries represented here within our six blocks,” said Rachel Witt. "That’s more than Epcot in Disney World.”

Witt is executive director of the South Grand Community Improvement District, one of the early CIDs in St. Louis. 

Atomation CEO and co-founder Guy Weitzman speaks a press conference on Friday morning.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Atomation is a startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel, but the company will soon have an office in St. Louis.

The two-year-old tech startup has developed an IoT (internet of things) platform that connects physical objects to the internet. CEO and co-founder Guy Weitzman said the company is already working with four customers in the St. Louis region, including Ameren.

St. Louis Outlet Mall
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Erica Holliam used to love shopping at the St. Louis Outlet Mall, or what used to be called the Mills Mall.

That was before all of her favorite stores closed.

“This was my row,” she said pointing to a line of empty stores, tastefully hidden behind colorful curtains. “I used to shop at the Banana Republic and then on the other side there was another store. But obviously I can’t do that anymore.”

St. Louis Public Radio

A federal bankruptcy judge in St. Louis denied a motion Thursday to give shareholders in Peabody Energy an equity committee that would represent their interests during the coal giant’s bankruptcy.

Judge Barry Schermer delivered his ruling after the hearing, and said the cost of creating an equity committee was not justified if there was no equity to offer shareholders.

Peabody’s reorganization plan, released in December, calls for zeroing out shareholders’ equity.

Protesters gathered outside a downtown St. Louis Hardees on Thursday in opposition to Donald Trump's selection for Labor Secretary
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, is getting criticism on his home turf.

The St. Louis native is CEO of the company that owns Hardees and Carl’s Junior, CKE Restaurants.

About 50 protesters gathered outside Hardees headquarters in downtown St. Louis on Thursday, questioning whether the fast food CEO would really represent workers’ interests. They then walked a couple of blocks to stand in front of a Hardees restaurant.

(courtesy Project Connect)

The city of St. Louis officially owns all the land of the proposed new $1.75 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency facility.

The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority closed on the last of the 551 parcels this month.

Soon the LCRA, the NGA and the Army Corps of Engineers will sign an options agreement for the land. Once they do, the city will have exactly one year to prepare the site.

Peabody describes itself as the world's largest private-sector coal company
Peabody Energy

Peabody Energy is mapping out its plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection next spring.

The coal company has filed a financial reorganization proposal with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis that calls for shedding more than $5 billion in debt and eventually issuing new common stock. Current shareholders would not receive anything and might oppose the plan.

Autoclave at new Boeing commerical airline parts facility in St. Louis
Maria Altman| St. Louis Public Radio

Boeing will move its defense unit from St. Louis to Arlington, Virginia. A spokesman Tuesday confirmed the decision, which was made by senior management. Boeing's defense headquarters have been in St. Louis since the 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas.

Monsanto shareholders approve sale to Bayer

Dec 13, 2016
Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Monsanto shareholders have approved Bayer’s roughly $65 billion acquisition of the seed giant.

The company said 99 percent of shareholders present Tuesday morning in Chesterfield voted in favor of the $128 per share deal and that 75 percent of all shareholders attended the special meeting.

“It was overwhelming support,” said Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant in a phone interview with St. Louis Public Radio.

City Foundry

Two major redevelopment projects in St. Louis’ midtown got approval from an aldermanic committee on Wednesday.

City Foundry covers about 14 acres just east of IKEA. The Midtown Redevelopment, spearheaded by Saint Louis University, includes nearly 400 acres along Grand Avenue.

The City Foundry is a being developed by Cortex and the Lawrence group in four phases that could cost up to $340 million. The plan includes food, retail, office space and apartments.

provided | Cardinals

A St. Louis aldermanic committee approved a $56 million tax incentive package for Phase II of the Cardinals’ Ballpark Village on Wednesday in a meeting that also delved into larger economic development issues in the city.

Flickr Creative Commons | Mike G

The day after Black Friday is getting a bit more buzz.

The National Federation of Independent Business reports Americans spent about $16 billion at local merchants on Small Business Saturday last year.

August 22, 2007 Pfizer groundbreaking in Chesterfield.
File Photo | Bill Greenblatt

St. Louis County is getting another big business development.

Pfizer is partnering with Clayco and CRG for a new $200 million facility in Chesterfield. Clayco and its real estate subsidiary CRG will construct and own the building, while Pfizer will have a long-term lease.

The biopharmaceutical company has 450 employees at two facilities in the St. Louis region, and plans to create 80 new positions for the new facility.

Provided by the Cardinals

The next phase of Ballpark Village would change the look of downtown St. Louis.

The Cardinals, along with development partner Cordish, plan to build a 29-story apartment building at the corner of Clark Avenue and Broadway Avenue, just north of Busch Stadium.

Startup Connection | provided

The St. Louis region will celebrate its entrepreneurial community Wednesday evening with Startup Connection.

The event will bring together more than 70 startups, along with investors, sponsoring companies, entrepreneur support organizations and community members. The startups will each give a 60 second elevator pitch as they compete for $250,000 in cash and prizes.

Startup Connection’s managing director Phyllis Ellison said the event highlights what’s happening among the region’s startups.

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center | provided

Researchers at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center are working on a device that  they hope to eventually sell to farmers.

The PheNode can monitor a variety of crop conditions, such as wind speed, humidity, soil nutrients, even air quality, and it can take pictures. Researchers and farmers could then get that information sent to their mobile devices as often as they choose.

courtesy PayIt

St. Louis residents can now pay their property tax, water and trash bills from their phone or other mobile device.

The city’s Collector of Revenue office is among the first to work with PayIt, a mobile technology startup based in Kansas City. The app went live this week.

Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly said convenience is important, especially when getting people to pay their taxes.

A team competes during GlobalHack IV in June 2015. GlobalHack VI takes will take place at Chaifetz Arena over three days. More than 1,200 people are expected to take part.
courtesy GlobalHack

GlobalHack VI is all about solving a software problem and bringing attention to St. Louis’ tech scene.

This software competition is focused on helping the St. Patrick Center, a local non-profit that serves the homeless.

The $1 million in cash prizes is helping attract software engineers, graphic designers and other technologists from a wide area. GlobalHack executive director Matt Menietti said earlier this week that 1,200 people had signed up from 33 states and five countries.

He said he hopes they’ll get to know St. Louis a bit more.

An artist's rendering of the Green Leaf Market and ZOOM Store to be built at Tucker Boulevard and 13th Street. April 2016
courtesy Northside Regeneration

The St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment will allow the release of a $2.8 million tax increment financing note for developer Paul McKee’s planned grocery store and gas station.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Two years ago BioSTL set out to put St. Louis on Israel’s radar.

The non-profit, founded in 2001, helped develop the support system for St. Louis bioscience startups. Then, a few years ago, president and CEO Donn Rubin started hearing that Israeli startups were expanding into other U.S. cities.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street.
NGA

St. Louis’ Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority has authorized issuing up to $120 million in revenue bonds.

The money will be used by the city to acquire and prepare the north St. Louis site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new $1.75 billion facility.

LCRA’s commissioners approved the move at a special session on Tuesday.

The bonds will help the city pay back $33 million in loans to purchase the land, the latest of which is a $10-million loan taken from the Missouri Development Finance Board this month.

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