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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Morning round-up
9:24 am
Mon November 21, 2011

Morning headlines: Monday, November 21, 2011

2012 Proposed St. Louis County Park Closures, explore full map via the link in the story below.
(via St. Louis County website)

Committee to meet today to review St. Louis County's controversial proposed budget

County Executive Charlie Dooley wants to cut $10 million in spending in part by closing 23 parks and laying off 175 employees. During a public hearing last week on the budget the council chambers was filled with residents, mostly opposed to closing parks. Several of the council members, including Mike O'Mara, the chairman of the special budget committee, suggested the cuts can be avoided.

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Developing: Occupy St. Louis
4:23 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Arrests made in Occupy St. Louis march to MLK bridge

Gary Elliott, president of the LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) Local 110 is arrested during an Occupy St. Louis protest in St. Louis near the Martin Luther King Bridge on Nov. 17, 2011.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

This is a developing story. We will update it with more information as we know it.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. with quotes from Elliott and march organizer.

Update 5:05 p.m.: Among those arrested this afternoon was Gary Elliott, president of LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) Local 110, according to a press release distributed by Progress Missouri.

In an interview during the march, Elliott said it was time for him to put his words into action.

"It's one thing to say you feel sorry for people," Elliott said. "It's another thing to actually go out and actually take a little bit of risk to get the things that this country needs."

The march route took protestors past the local headquarters of Bank of America and the Federal Reserve. Johnathan McFarland, an Occupy St. Louis organizer, called it symbolic of America's misplaced priorities.

"We need to rebuild our infrastructure," he said. "And people need jobs rebuilding the infrastructure as opposed to bailing out banks that don't really provide jobs."

Most marchers returned to Kiener Plaza after the arrests, though a few continued on toward the City Justice Center, where the arrested protesters were taken.

Update 4:42 p.m.: Via our reporter Rachel Lippmann:

14 people have been arrested this afternoon and the march of Occupy St. Louis protesters is making its way back to Kiener Plaza.

Update: 4:36 p.m. via the Associated Press: At least a dozen Occupy St. Louis protesters were arrested after their attempt to block the entrance to a Mississippi River bridge on the two-month anniversary of the Occupy movement.

Police were waiting on several hundred protesters when the throng arrived at the Martin Luther King Bridge shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday. About 15 to 20 protesters then sat down cross-legged, with their arms locked.

Officers moved in and arrested them when they refused to move.

They offered no resistance.

The crowd of protesters included labor unions and other sympathizers who marched from Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis to the bridge.

Members of Occupy St. Louis had camped in the plaza for several weeks before early Saturday, when police took down the tents and arrested demonstrators for curfew violations.

Via our reporter Rachel Lippmann:

About a dozen Occupy St. Louis protesters have sat down at the entrance to the MLK bridge.

St. Louis police are moving in now to arrest them and telling those nearby to move away or they’ll face arrest as well.

Hundreds more protesters are nearby.

They marched from Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis to the bridge, as part of a nationwide effort to mark the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Movement.

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Tyler Dasher
3:33 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Affton mother charged with second degree murder of 13-month-old son

Shelby Dasher has been charged with second degree murder of her 13-month-old son, Tyler Dasher.
(via St. Louis County Police Department)

Update 5:26 p.m. (adds more information, replaces 3:27 p.m. update):

Just a little over 24 hours after reporting her son missing an Affton woman has been charged in the child’s death.

Twenty-year-old Shelby Dasher faces a second-degree murder charge.

She’s accused of killing her 13-month-old son Tyler Dasher, then disposing of his body near a cemetery.

St. Louis County Police chief Tim Fitch says skilled investigators and interviewers helped bring the case to a head quickly.

“One of our first supervisors on the scene yesterday was a very experienced lieutenant who used to for most of his career handle child abuse cases,” Fitch said. “So he recognized rather quickly that this wasn’t just a missing person. That there was a lot more to this than just a baby missing out of his bed.”

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Morning round-up
9:43 am
Wed November 16, 2011

Morning headlines: Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tyler Dasher.
(via Facebook)

One person in custody in connection to 1-year-old Tyler Dasher's murder

St. Louis County police detectives have taken one person into custody in connection to the death of 1-year-old Tyler Dasher. The death has been ruled a homicide. St. Louis County spokesman Rick Eckhard says the person has not yet been formally booked or processed.

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MSD - St. Louis Sewers
6:35 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Inside the St. Louis sewer system, Part 2: paying to fix a messy problem

Workers have been putting in new cement pipes and storm drains in St. Louis’ Tower Grove South neighborhood in an effort to stop basement backups.
(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District has resolved a lawsuit with the Environmental Protection Agency with promises to fix its aging system.

But the consent decree, which still must be signed off on by a federal judge, comes with a huge price tag, an estimated $4.7 billion over 23 years.

In the second of a two-part series on the overhaul of the sewer district, St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman explains MSD’s rate payers will be picking up the tab.

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Missouri & The Civil War
6:35 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Bringing the Civil War in Missouri to life

Six-year-old Jimmie Johnston served as a Union “powder monkey” on a gunboat during the Civil War.
(The Midland Montly Magazine, 1865)

The Missouri History Museum is opening a new exhibit Saturday called “The Civil War in Missouri.”

There’s a lot of ground to cover in a state that was bitterly divided by the war and saw more than 1,200 battles and skirmishes.

But the museum, founded just one year after the Civil War ended, has a treasure trove of artifacts from the era that bring the conflict to life.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman got a sneak peak.

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China Hub Tax Credits / Deer Hunting
5:44 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Nixon mum on plans for China hub tax credits during hunting program event

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon encourages local deer hunters to donate venison through the Share the Harvest program during a visit to the St. Louis Area Food Bank on Nov. 1, 2011. Nixon also answered questions regarding trade relations with China at the event.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

While in the St. Louis region Tuesday for a press conference on the Share the Harvest program (which you can learn more about below) Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon called his trade trip to China productive - however, he had little to say about whether he wants to renew efforts to get tax credits for a China hub.

The Democrat said his week-long trip resulted in $4.6 billion in export agreements between Missouri and China.

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2011 World Series
5:00 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Getting "Red-y": St. Louis anticipates Game 7 of the World Series

The fountain at Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis runs red on Oct. 28, 2011 in recognition of the St. Louis Cardinals' appearance in the 2011 World Series. Game 7 of the series is tonight.
(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

In Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis Friday afternoon locals mixed with out-of-towners taking pictures of the red fountain.

Those on their lunch break, including Missi Wood and Kerry Anne, admitted they were a bit tired from the late night Game 6 World Series win over the Texas Rangers.

But Anne says she never doubted the Cardinals would pull it off.

“I was calm the whole game,” Anne said. “They were like, ‘last out’, and I was like, ‘we’re going to win.’”

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2011 World Series
8:19 am
Wed October 26, 2011

World Series cash brings relief to St. Louis

A crowd gathers outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis before Game 1 of the World Series on Oct. 19.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Our own Maria Altman did a story for NPR's Morning Edition on the economic impact of the World Series on St. Louis. Here's the summary of her story as stated on NPR.org (below) and, of course, you can listen to her story here.

Summary:

The Texas Rangers are leading the World Series 3 games to 2 going into Game 6 Wednesday in St. Louis. The fact that the Cardinals will be playing at home is good for both the team and the town. The game will bring a welcome infusion of cash. As St. Louis Public Radio's Maria Altman reports, the unexpected sales tax revenues have already allowed the city to cancel expected furloughs for its employees.

Morning round-up
9:28 am
Tue October 18, 2011

Morning headlines: Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon (L) welcomes China's Ambassador to the United States, Zhou Wenzhong during a state dinner last year. Nixon says Mo. officials expect to finalize billions of dollars of export agreements during an upcoming trip to China.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Nixon to announce details of China trip

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says state officials expect to finalize billions of dollars of export agreements during an upcoming trade trip to China. Nixon plans to announce more details of the trip today during a visit to a Cargill soybean processing facility in Kansas City.

The governor said Monday the trip will allow the state to sign export agreements with Chinese agencies and provide a chance for numerous Missouri businesses to close deals with Chinese customers.

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