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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Proposition E
6:40 am
Wed March 30, 2011

Proposition E: examining the earnings tax in St. Louis and Kansas City

A sign promoting the passage of Proposition E in St. Louis.
(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.

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Jesse James Photo
4:07 pm
Tue March 29, 2011

Signed Jesse James photo expected to sell for at least $20,000

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

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Mountain Lion sighting
6:35 pm
Fri March 25, 2011

Testing confirms mountain lion sighting in Oregon County

A mountain lion.
(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.

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voter initiatives
6:15 am
Wed March 23, 2011

Legislators may get last word on voter initiatives

An interior view of the dome of the Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Mo.
(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.

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Crime Scene Photo
5:52 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

St. Louis police officer implicated in taking Boles crime scene photo, releasing it

The St. Louis Police Department has announced a police officer has been implicated in the release of a photo of the body of Carlos Boles. Boles (pictured) was killed in a shootout earlier this month in which a U.S. Marshal was also killed, at Boles' hand.
(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.

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St. Louis City Earnings Tax
6:14 pm
Thu March 17, 2011

Sierra Club urges St. Louis to retain city earnings tax

Forest Park in St. Louis is one of the places the Sierra Club says would be hurt by getting rid of the city's earnings tax in the upcoming April 5 election.
(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.

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Jay Nixon
5:56 pm
Thu March 3, 2011

No plans to scale back air travel for Nixon

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.

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Mo. Exports Increase
3:36 pm
Thu March 3, 2011

Missouri's exports jump by 35 percent

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon looks at some of the traditional dry-cured Italian meats, hanging in Volpi Foods, during a tour in St. Louis on March 3, 2011.Nixon used the setting to announced that Missouri exports grew 35 percent in 2010.
(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.

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Missouri Republican Party
9:51 am
Wed March 2, 2011

Missouri Republicans call Mo. Gov. "Air Jay" in radio spot

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon during his 2011 State of the State address.
(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.

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Local Control
7:02 am
Tue March 1, 2011

Bound by Division: Local Control of the St. Louis Police Department

The logo of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police displayed on a patrol vehicle. (St. Louis Public Radio)

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.

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