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

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Senator Claire McCaskill says after a month of traveling to Missouri businesses she’ll introduce legislation to better enforce U.S. trade laws.

The Democrat says too many foreign companies are engaging in unfair trading practices, such as mislabeling products to avoid paying duties.

McCaskill says her bill will require all importers to have a physical address to ensure easier tracking and new shippers will be required to pay cash for duties instead of posting bonds that sometimes go unpaid.

(via Flickr/Meagan)

Updated at 3:47 p.m. following a press conference with McCaskill

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says federal funding for Joplin is not in jeopardy.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said last week that funding for some long-term projects in the tornado-ravaged town would be put on hold because of Hurricane Irene.

McCaskill said she was worried initially (see earlier story below) but says she got a better explanation over the weekend.

(via Flickr/srqpix)

This summer, fewer young people in the U.S. are employed than at any time since the government began keeping track.

On Wednesday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report that found just 48.8 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds had jobs in July.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman spoke with Michael Saltsman, a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute, about what the numbers mean.

(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.

(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.

(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.

(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.

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. 

(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.

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.

(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.

(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.

(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.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Thousands of spectators are expected in Boonville, Mo. this weekend for the 150th anniversary of one of the Civil War’s first battles.

The Battle of Boonville took place June 17, 1861 as Confederate-leaning Missouri Guard members met Union troops.

Boonville, a town of about 6,400 is expecting 700 re-enactors and 10,000 to 20,000 visitors.

Bill Greenblatt / UPI

Missouri’s budget for next fiscal year includes $1.1 million more for oversight of dog breeders.

Governor Jay Nixon highlighted the funding at a press conference Tuesday at the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis.

The move comes after the governor helped craft a compromise bill this spring that toughened state oversight of dog breeders but scaled back some provisions of the voter-approved initiative Prop B.

Humane Society of Missouri president Kathy Warnick says the group has no regrets about the compromise.  

Flickr/USACEpublicaffairs

Minor Flooding Expected this Week in Mo.

Minor flooding is expected along the Mississippi River in Missouri this week. In St. Louis, the river is slightly above flood stage at 30.5- feet, and expected to stay that way for the next four days.

There is a flood warning in effect towns from Quincy, Mo., down to Chester, Ill. until Sunday. National Weather Service meteorologist Butch Dye says the flooding is expected to remain minor, barring significant rainfall.

(via Flickr/Paul Sableman)

The Board of Trustees for the Metropolitan Sewer District gave its initial approval last night to a multi-billion dollar plan to settle a Clean War Act lawsuit.

The state of Missouri and the EPA filed the suit in 2007, which the Missouri Coalition for the Environment later joined. It alleged, among other things that

(Missouri Department of Transportation)

Missouri transportation officials have approved a plan to cut positions, close facilities and sell equipment to bolster money for road and bridge projects.

The Highways and Transportation Commission approved the proposal today.

Under the plan, about 1,200 positions will be cut, 131 facilities will be closed and 740 pieces of equipment will be sold.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Carondelet Park Grand Stand burned to the ground today. A spokesman for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says it’s considered a total loss.

Built in 1898, the stand was used for Sunday concerts and rented out for picnics.

Firefighters got the call shortly after 2 p.m. There’s no word on the cause of the fire.

Updated 3:30 p.m. June 3 to include comment from MSD.

Updated at 9:55 a.m. June 3 to reflect that the State of Missouri has not signed on to the consent decree.

A lawsuit brought by the Environmental Protection Agency against the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District back in June 2007 could soon be resolved.

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