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.

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Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says Missouri Baptist University will relinquish its sponsorship of four charter school systems in St. Louis.

The university’s sponsorship included six schools with the Imagine Academies that had come under fire for poor student performance and deficit spending.

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

The Missouri State Board will review Missouri Baptist University’s authorization to sponsor charter schools next month.

MBU holds four charters, which include six Imagine Academy schools in St. Louis.

The board will hold a public hearing April 16 in Jefferson City and is expected to a make a decision the next day.

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education spokeswoman Michelle Clark says the board has never revoked a sponsor or even held a public hearing.

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

St. Charles County caucus likely to be rescheduled

The Republican caucus in St. Charles County is likely to be rescheduled after a weekend dispute forced the caucus to be shut down.

The caucus in St. Peters on Saturday ended when tension flared between members of the crowd and the local Republican activists who were running it. St. Charles County was to have been among the biggest prizes in Missouri. The meeting adjourned without awarding delegates.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Mateusz Szymkiewicz)

Updated 5:26 p.m. with comment, more information.

St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church has won a legal battle with the St. Louis Archdiocese.

In a ruling handed down this morning a St. Louis circuit judge said the archdiocese has no legitimate claim to the historic Polish church's property.

St. Stanislaus has governed its own finances since the late 1800s, but in 2003 the archdiocese asked the church to give up that right.

Current St. Stanislaus pastor Marek Bozek says the ruling will allow the parish to continue its 120-year tradition.

(via Flickr/Alex Grant)

Updated 4:53 p.m. to reflect that at least five people have been reported as injured. Original reports stated three people, those airlifted, as the only injuries.

At least five people have been injured, three of whom were airlifted to a St. Louis hospital, after a school bus accident in rural eastern Missouri.

The accident happened this afternoon in Belgrade, Mo., about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

It involved a bus carrying students in the Valley R-6 School District in Washington County.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Good morning! Here are some of the starting headlines of the day so far:

Nixon to hold news conference Tuesday on proposed cut in state aid to the blind

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is taking his case to the public to try to reverse a proposed cut in state aid to the blind. The Democratic governor is holding a news conference Tuesday in Columbia with leaders from organizations for the blind to oppose a cut made by the Republican-led House budget committee.

(St. Louis Public Radio file photo)

Updated 4:08 p.m. with reaction from Harper Barnes, a former St. Louis Post-Dispatch cultural editor and critic.

Long-time St. Louis theatre, movie and food critic Joe Pollack died early this morning.

He was 81.

Pollack worked at the Post for more than 20 years until his retirement in 1995.

He then became host of the arts program Cityscape here at St. Louis Public Radio and later contributed movie and theatre reviews.

Harper Barnes, a former Post-Dispatch cultural editor and critic, says Pollack had a big impact on St. Louis.

(via Flickr/evmaiden)

For nearly 20 years Missouri has had a law on the books that allows students in unaccredited school districts to transfer to nearby accredited ones.

It’s a policy that makes sense on the surface.

Yet as of this year both the St. Louis and Kansas City public schools are without state accreditation.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports, the law would allow thousands of students to transfer into suburban districts at a huge cost to the urban schools.

(via Flickr/Congress of local and regional authorities)

Missouri is holding its presidential primary tomorrow, and turnout is expected to be extremely low. That is in part because the votes won't count, even though the primary will close taxpayers millions of dollars.

Check out our own Maria Altman's story for Marketplace Morning Report, which aired this morning.

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

Missouri's presidential primary tomorrow

Turnout is expected to be low for Tuesday's presidential primary. That's partly because the votes for the GOP candidates won't count.

Missouri has gotten little attention from Republican candidates this election year. Newt Gingrich isn't even on the ballot.

The Missouri Republican Party made the decision after the national GOP threatened to cut delegates from states that held their elections before March. Yet the head of Missouri's GOP, Lloyd Smith, is still encouraging voting in the primary.

Flickr/Betterthaneveryone

STL Mayor Chief of Staff: removing dome roof won't work

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission gave the Rams a plan Wednesday calling for $124 million in upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome. The lease with the team requires the Dome to be in the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums or the Rams can leave in 2015.

The CVC's plan includes a new scoreboard, replacing 1800 seats with 1500 club seats and installing windows to allow more natural light.

Dome deadline arrives

Jan 31, 2012
(via Wikimedia Commons)

The deadline for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission to give the Rams a plan for updating the Edward Jones Dome is Wednesday.

The Rams’ lease allows the team to leave in 2015 if the Dome isn’t in the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums.

But since the Dome’s construction in 1995 several impressive stadiums have been built such as the more than a billion dollar Cowboys Stadium.

Sports economist Patrick Rishe, a professor at Webster University, says it would take hundreds of millions of dollars get the Dome in the top tier.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Last year Governor Pat Quinn vetoed the salaries for the 44 regional superintendents.

This month, the Illinois State Board of Education has put the appropriation for the officials back into its proposed budget.

Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents president Bob Daiber says he's hopeful the General Assembly will keep the funding line and the governor will approve it.

"We certainly believe we're making our case as to why we are so important as the delivery system of state services to public schools," said Daiber.

(file photo)

Anti-smoking advocates want more smoking bans

Groups against smoking are urging the St. Louis County Council to make changes to the smoking ban that went into effect last year.

Currently, businesses whose food sales result in 25 percent of gross sales including food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are eligible for an exemption from the smoking ban. There are 145 businesses that currently allow smoking in the county.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

  • Listen to the oral arguments before the Missouri Supreme Court in this case

Missouri’s public defenders have argued for years that they have too many cases.

So in 2010 the public defender commission put a plan in place that allowed each of its districts to stop taking cases when its attorneys became too busy.

(Wikimedia Commons)

The St. Louis Rams had a tough football season, tying for the worst record in the NFL. This months' hiring of a new head coach, Jeff Fisher, created a sense of hope. But there are lingering concerns among fans about whether the team will stay in St. Louis.

Many there remember watching their original NFL team leave town in the 1980s. Now the Rams have the right to break their stadium lease if the city does not make major upgrades. And as our own Maria Altman reported for NPR's Morning Edition, it may be tough to compete with the Rams' old hometown of Los Angeles.

(Tim Bommel/Mo. House of Representatives)

State Representative Jamilah Nasheed announced Tuesday she's running for the state Senate.

The St. Louis Democrat is running against fellow Democratic incumbent Senator Robin Wright-Jones.

Following redistricting Nasheed's district now includes two other current state representatives, but she says that's not why she's chosen to run for a Senate seat.

“I'm running simply because I truly believe the city of St. Louis truly needs leadership,” Nasheed said. “Right now in the Senate under Robin Wright-Jones, the city hasn't had an effective voice.”

istockphoto

Last provision of Mo. law aimed at curbing auto extended service contract industry takes effect

Republican Senator Scott Rupp sponsored the legislation after he says he received lots of complaints about the businesses in his suburban St. Louis district. 

The last portion of the law to take effect requires the extended contract service providers, and their employees, to apply for a license with the Missouri Department of Insurance.

(Tower Grove Farmers' Market on Facebook)

As 2011 comes to a close, St. Louis Public Radio is taking a look back at the things and people that have had a good year. In the St. Louis region, local food--both the production and demand--makes that list.

(via Flichr/justj0000lie)

 

The Sears in Crestwood Court will be among the 100 to 120 stores the company is closing following disappointing holiday sales.

The company released a list Thursday of 79 Sears and Kmart stores to be shuttered across the country.

The company announced the closings Tuesday. It provided no timeframe.

No Kmart stores will be closed in Missouri. The only other Sears to close in the state is in Lee’s Summit.

All Sears and Kmart stores in Illinois will also remain open for now.

SLPRnews

Among the proposals that Missouri's legislature will consider next year is one that would eliminate the state's income tax.

State Senator Chuck Purgason is sponsoring the legislation. The Republican from Caulfield wants to see Missouri rely solely on sales and use taxes.

He says that would lure more businesses to the state and be a more fair way of taxing residents.

Stephen Cummings | Flickr

If the two companies cannot agree on reimbursement rates for drugs by the end of the year, those who carry Express Scripts will not be able to get their prescriptions filled at Walgreens.

With more than 7,700 drug stores nation-wide Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin says it could be a hardship for some customers.

(via Wikimedia Commons/kbh3rd)

New trouble for Ameren at Taum Sauk power plant

A recent memo to the Missouri Public Service Commission shows major problems for Ameren at its Taum Sauk power station.

Forest Park Forever president and executive director Lesley Hoffarth said public input will help guide future changes and upgrades at the city's most well-known green space.
(via Flickr/pasa47)

Good morning! Here are some of today's starting headlines:

Slay authorizes $64 million in bonds for St. Louis parks

Funding for St. Louis City parks will no longer be siphoned into other capital improvement projects, following a bill signing by Mayor Francis Slay Monday night.

M.L. Fuller (Image 336)/USGS

Mo. schools and residents to prepare for next big earthquake

It was nearly 200 years ago that the first in a series of massive earthquakes shook Missouri and much of the nation. Now, several Missouri school districts will take part in a drill to prepare for the next big one.

State officials say that nearly 100 districts and individual schools have registered for Missouri's second statewide earthquake drill at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7. Meanwhile, more than 146,000 residents are also registered for the drill, called the "Great Central U.S. ShakeOut."

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

Updated 9:18 a.m. Dec. 14:

As we mentioned Tuesday morning, the Missouri Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday on whether the state's public defenders can turn away cases.

(via Flickr/pasa47)

The owner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch announced today that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month.

Lee Enterprises, based in Davenport, Iowa, says it will allow the company to restructure its debt and exit bankruptcy within 60 days.

The company said in a press release that the filing would not affect employees, vendors and customers.

(St. Louis Public Radio/Screen Capture)

Some retailers in Illinois are lobbying for E-fairness nationally; a move to require online vendors to charge sales tax just like brick-and-mortar businesses.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association helped push legislation through in Springfield this year to force remote online retailers with affiliates in the state to charge sales tax.

President and CEO David Vite says 18 e-commerce businesses have registered with the Illinois Department of Revenue since then bringing in $1.5 million.

Vite says the effort in Illinois helped spur a push for a federal law.

The St. Louis Federal Reserve is part of a central bank system that includes 12 regional reserve banks and a board in Washington, D.C.
ChrisYunker | via Flickr

The latest report by the Federal Reserve finds that there was slow to moderate growth in all the Federal Reserve districts, except St. Louis.

What’s known as the Beige Book, or a summary of current economic conditions, is published by the United States Federal Reserve Board eight times a year.

(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

Senator Claire McCaskill says since the supercommittee failed to come to an agreement, Congress should follow through with the automatic budget cuts.

The $1.2 trillion in cuts would come from defense and non-defense spending, but would not affect Social Security or programs for low-income people such as Medicaid.

Already some Republican senators, including John McCain, have said Congress can reverse the cuts.

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