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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Business
5:45 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Wehrenberg Theatres has new zero tolerance policy for cell phones

(via Flickr/number657)

Officials with Wehrenberg Theatres say when the announcement was made Friday some movie goers actually applauded.

The St. Charles-based company says as cell phone screens have gotten bigger, they’ve gotten more complaints.

Instead of blocking phone signals as some movie chains have done, Wehrenberg is asking patrons to put their phones on vibrate.

If they’re caught talking or texting, they’ll be asked to leave without a refund.

Spokeswoman Kelly Hoskins says they’re stepping up monitoring, and so are other movie goers.

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Education / Charter Schools in St. Louis
6:35 am
Fri August 12, 2011

The Charter School Choice: who holds charter schools accountable?

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay speaks at a July press conference celebrating new charter Better Learning Communities Academy. Alderman Freeman Bosley, Sr., on the left, with soon-to-be Kindergartener Carl Walker is on the right.
(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

There are 20 charter schools in the city of St. Louis, and when classes start Monday, four more will open their doors.

Charters get public funding, but they have more autonomy from the state.

The free schools are a draw for parents who want to avoid the unaccredited St. Louis Public Schools system.

But some charters are performing far below state standards.

And as St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports in the second of a two-part series, no one is holding them accountable.

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Education / Charter Schools in St. Louis
6:35 am
Thu August 11, 2011

The Charter School Choice: the effect on St. Louis Public Schools

South City Prep is one of four new charters opening in St. Louis on Monday. It will open to fifth and sixth graders this year. It will eventually serve students through senior high.
(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

Classes begin Monday in the St. Louis Public School District.

But four new charter schools also will be opening their doors.

Charters receive public funding but have more freedom with their budgets, staff, and curriculum than traditional public schools.

Many parents in St. Louis welcome the charter alternative and more than a quarter of the city’s students attend charter schools.

As part of a two-part series on charters, St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman looks at how that trend is affecting the city’s public school district.

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Battle of Wilson's Creek
6:35 am
Wed August 10, 2011

The Battle of Wilson's Creek: remembering the 150th anniversary

A cannon stands on what is now Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. The area was, 150 years ago on Aug. 10, the site of the Battle of Wilson's Creek.
(via Flickr/Jo Naylor)

"It's not the large, organized, and, later in the war, the drafted armies that you see on the East Coast. This is very personal. You know, you better know who your neighbor is, and where their sympathies lie, or they're going to be turning you in, so to speak."

- Connie Langum, National Park historian on the nature of Civil War battles in Missouri

Today marks the 150-year anniversary of the Battle of Wilson's Creek near Springfield, Mo.

It was the second major battle of the Civil War, after Bull Run, and the first major battle to take place west of the Mississippi River.

About 2,500 men died or were wounded at the site, which is now known as Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.

St. Louis Public Radio's Maria Altman spoke with National Park historian Connie Langum about what happened on that day a century and a half ago, and how it will be remembered this week.

Listen to their conversation above.

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St. Louis charter schools
6:22 pm
Wed July 20, 2011

Mayor endorses all four new STL charter schools

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay speaks at the opening of Better Learning Communities Academy. Carl Walker (seated next to the mayor) will attend Kingergarten at BLCA this fall.
Maria Altman St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis will have four new charter schools when school begins in a few weeks.

The mayor was on hand when the latest school, Better Learning Communities Academy, announced Wednesday it’s enrolling students.

Mayor Francis Slay has endorsed all four of the charters opening this year.

At the same time he says some of the St. Louis Public Schools are working. 

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MO Statehouse/Late-term abortions
1:14 pm
Thu July 14, 2011

Nixon will let late-term abortion restrictions take effect without signature

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 2:05 p.m. with comment from Nixon.

Updated 4:19 p.m. with comment from Planned Parenthood and Rep. Tim Jones.

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon says he will let a controversial measure that puts further restrictions on abortions performed after 20 weeks become law without his signature.

The state already bans late-term abortions unless the life or health of the mother is in danger. That includes mental health.

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hotel signs code
5:17 pm
Tue July 12, 2011

Hotel signs code to prevent sex trafficking

Sister Kathy McCluskey speaks at the signing of the ECPAT code at the Millennium Hotel St. Louis Tuesday. Hotel General Manager Dominic Smart stands behind.
Maria Altman St. Louis Public Radio

The Millennium Hotel St. Louis signed a code Tuesday to help prevent the sex trafficking of children.

The move came as nearly 900 Sisters of St. Joseph gathered for a three-day event at the Millennium.

Executive director of the Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph in the U.S., Kathy McCluskey, says they’re working to inform Americans about the issue of child sex trafficking.

"What we’ve discovered is when you do that people will recognize the horror of it and immediately want to learn what can be done to prevent it at every level," McCluskey said.

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Amtrak
5:54 pm
Wed July 6, 2011

Flooding extends Amtrak disruption in Mo.

An Amtrak traincar.
(St. Louis Public Radio)

Amtrak is extending the suspension of one its two daily round trips between St. Louis and Kansas City because of continued flooding along the Missouri River.

The suspension took effect July 2 and had been scheduled to expire at midweek. But the passenger train service said Wednesday the change remains in effect at least through Saturday.

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Amending the Arch
10:34 am
Mon July 4, 2011

Kiener Plaza could be first part of Arch redevelopment project

Kiener Plaza in St. Louis.
(via Flickr/Digital Sextant)

Kiener Plaza is likely to be the first portion of the Gateway Arch project to be completed.

Those familiar with the project say it's slated for completion in the fall of 2013.

The plan for the Plaza includes a performance pavilion, an eating venue, seating, and water features.

Walter Metcalfe with the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, the group that sponsored the design competition, said work on Kiener Plaza can move forward more quickly because it's not part of the National Park.

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Illinois Gambling
4:15 pm
Thu June 30, 2011

Measure to allow slot machines at Ill. racetracks awaits governor's signature

A horse and jockey enter the winner’s circle at Fairmount Park Racetrack on a recent Friday night. If Governor Pat Quinn signs a gambling bill approved by Illinois lawmaker, the track could put in slot machines.
(Robert Altman)

Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and horse tracks used to be the only options for legal gambling.

Then came riverboat casinos.

For years race track owners  in Illinois have asked lawmakers to allow slot machines at their tracks, creating so-called "racinos."

Now all it will take is a signature from Governor Pat Quinn.

But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports, it’s not a sure thing.

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