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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(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Supreme Court has affirmed the murder conviction for Gregory Bowman, but reversed the sentence that put him on death row.

The court ruled today that St. Louis County jurors should not have heard about Bowman's two prior murder convictions during sentencing because those convictions were overturned.

Ulysses S. Grant
(via Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Library of Congress)

Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation is trying to raise money for a driving trail exploring Ulysses S. Grant's path through the state in the first year of the Civil War.

The group is hosting a fundraising dinner next Wednesday at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.

Foundation president Gregory Wolk says they're working on a segment of the Grant Trail in St. Louis County and in talks with other counties about future projects. 

(Wikimedia Commons/Online Congressional Guide)

Missouri Congressman Russ Carnahan says the stalemate in Washington over the budget has more to do with ideology than numbers.

A government shutdown will begin at midnight if Congress is not able to reach an agreement on the remainder this year's budget.

Carnahan says Republicans are targeting Planned Parenthood, the EPA, and public broadcasting as part of their proposed cuts.

"Certainly people are entitled to their own opinions about that,” Carnahan said. “But this is not the way to do it."

(via Leslie Hindman Auctioneers)

A signed photo of notorious Missouri outlaw Jesse James sold at auction Tuesday for $51,240.

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago had estimated the photograph would sell for between $20,000 and $30,000.

(via Flickr/ FiredUpMissouri)

Extended unemployment benefits will end this Saturday for thousands of Missourians after the state Senate failed to reauthorize participation in a federal program.

St. Louis County senator Jim Lembke led the effort to block the 20-week extension of federal unemployment benefits, filibustering the legislation along with three other Republican senators.

Lembke said he did so in order to send a message to Washington that the federal government needs to rein in its spending.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

On Tuesday, voters in St. Louis and Kansas City will have their first change to determine the future of their cities’ 1 percent earnings taxes, which are imposed on the wages of everyone who lives or works in the cities.

It’s on the ballot following statewide approval last November of Proposition A.

The lead-up to the vote has been very different in the two cities.

Today, we have two reports.

Maria Altman will look at how quiet the campaign has been in St. Louis.

But first, Maria Carter of KCUR reports that things have been much more heated in Kansas City.

(via Leslie Hindman Auctioneers)

The only known signed photo of Jesse James, the notorious outlaw from Missouri, will go to auction next week in Chicago.

The photo shows James with slicked back hair and gazing away from the camera at an angle. It’s signed J.W. James. (His middle name was Woodson).

Mary Williams with Leslie Hindman Auctioneers says she was skeptical until she saw the signature first-hand and noted its similarity to a letter James is said to have signed.

(via Flickr/ahisgett)

DNA testing confirms that a tuft of hair left on a fence in south central Missouri belonged to a mountain lion.

A man reported he saw the cat cross the road near Rover, Mo. and get caught momentarily in a barbed wire fence.

Missouri Department of Conservation officials retrieved a tuft of hair the size of a cotton ball and sent it for testing.

(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

Missouri is one of 24 states where citizens who gather enough signatures can put a question on the ballot.

They’re called voter initiatives.

While voters have the ability to enact laws in Missouri, those laws can be changed or even overturned by legislators.

This year, two voter-approved laws, one on puppy mills, the other on the minimum wage, have been targeted at the state capitol.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports.

(UPI/Missouri Department of Corrections)

A St. Louis police officer has been implicated in taking and releasing a photo of a suspect killed in a shoot-out with law enforcement officials.

Carlos Boles shot and killed a federal marshal, injured another marshal and a St. Louis police officer as they attempted to take him into custody on a warrant earlier this month.

(via Flickr/pasa47)

An environmental group is urging St. Louis voters to approve Proposition E in the April election.

The proposition asks voters whether the city can retain the 1 percent earnings tax, which generates about one-third of the city’s budget.

The Sierra Club is encouraging St. Louisans to vote yes.

John Hickey says the earnings tax is the main source of funding for the city’s parks.

Despite a campaign ad attacking the practice, Governor Jay Nixon says he has no plans to scale back his air travel.

Earlier this week the Missouri Republican State Committee began airing radio spots criticizing the Democratic governor’s air travel, dubbing him “Air Jay.”

Governor Nixon also has come under fire from the legislature and the state’s auditor, for billing state agencies for his trips on state planes, about $400,000 over two years.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri’s exports grew by 35 percent last year, and the state’s governor is visiting several businesses today to spread the news.

Governor Jay Nixon stopped at Volpi Foods this morning, a family-owned business on The Hill in St. Louis, which exports dry-cured Italian meats to several countries.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri's Republican State Committee is taking aim at Governor Jay Nixon already.

There's no Republican candidate yet in the 2012 race for Missouri governor.

But the GOP committee is already running a radio spot that lambasts the Democratic governor's air travel expenses, referring to him as "Air Jay".

Nixon has come under fire for billing state agencies $400,000 over two years for his air travel around the state.

St. Louis residents pay for the city’s police force, but the state controls it.

While St. Louis’ mayor sits on the Board of Police Commissioners, Missouri’s governor appoints the other four members.

It’s been that way for 150 years, since the outset of the Civil War.

In recent years, the drumbeat to bring local control back to the city has been growing louder.

As part of St. Louis Public Radio’s continuing Bound By Division series, Maria Altman reports the reasons for and against local control have changed since the Civil War, but it’s still an issue that pits the city against the state.

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War begins in April.

There were some 1,200 battles and skirmishes fought on Missouri soil. Only Virginia and Tennessee saw more clashes.

Missourians were often fighting their own neighbors, or even family members, as the state’s residents split between the Union and Confederacy.

One hundred fifty years later, Missourians still are not unified in how they remember the war or even what to call it.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports, some hope the sesquicentennial will change that.

Washington University in St. Louis, named for the first American president, announced this President’s Day, the discovery of a tie to another president.

The university recently learned that its libraries have a collection of books originally owned by Thomas Jefferson.

The 28 titles, including 74 volumes, were donated to Washington University in 1880, with no mention of their provenance.

The Jefferson County Council is holding the first of three public hearings tonight on red light cameras.

Last fall Jefferson County's three member board of county executives signed a five-year deal with American Traffic Solutions for a handful of red light cameras.

It now appears those cameras will not go up.

A newly elected seven-member county council is beginning a process to repeal a law that allows traffic cameras.

The city of St. Louis today marked the halfway point in its ten-year effort to end chronic homelessness.

A five-year report released today shows a 20 percent drop in the city's chronically homeless since 2005.

Chronic homelessness is defined as those homeless for a year or more or four times over a three-year period.

The report also states that the overall homeless population also decreased, from about 1,500 in 2005 to about 1,300 last year.

The updated plans for the Gateway Arch were revealed at a public meeting last night as well as the possible cost of the project.

The preliminary figure is $578.5 million.

Walter Metcalfe, Jr., who has headed up the CityArchRiver foundation that sponsored the design competition, says completing a vision is worth the price:

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