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
2:35 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Judge Approves Patriot Coal Settlement With Union

Retired coal miner Charles Whitlow of New Athens, Ill. shows the pills he takes each month. He is among 10,000 retired miners whose health benefits have been affected by Patriot Coal's bankruptcy.
Maria Altman St. Louis Public Radio

A federal bankruptcy judge approved a new labor agreement Tuesday between St. Louis-based Patriot Coal and the United Mine Workers of America.

Judge Kathy Surratt-States granted Patriot’s request for a new collective bargaining agreement.

About 1,800 UMWA members voted in favor of the agreement Friday, which would restore most of the wage cuts that Patriot had previously sought.

It also would put a VEBA, or Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, in place of the current health benefits that about 10,000 retired miners currently have.

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Other News
4:01 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Outside Experts Sought In Fixing Failing Missouri Schools

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The State Board of Education will vote on a plan Tuesday for an outside group to study unaccredited Missouri school districts and develop recommendations for improvement.

The move comes on the heels of some 2,600 children transferring from the unaccredited Normandy and Riverview Gardens school to neighboring districts.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is recommending the board vote yes.

DESE Spokeswoman Sarah Potter says failing schools face systematic challenges.

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Business
4:14 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

UMWA Back In St. Louis

UMWA members rally in front of Peabody's headquarters in St. Louis Tuesday.
Credit Maria Altman / St. Louis Public Radio

Members of The United Mine Workers of America were in St. Louis again Tuesday, rallying over miners’ retiree benefits.


The protest took place just one day after the union reached a tentative agreement with Patriot Coal.


But officials were turning their attention back to Peabody, which created the now bankrupt Patriot in 2007.


UMWA officials, including secretary treasurer Dan Kane, repeated at the rally in front of Peabody’s headquarters that the corporation is still responsible to its former employees.

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Business
4:43 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

UMWA Brings Protest To Arch Coal

Credit (via Arch Coal)

A fight over retiree health benefits landed in front of Arch Coal’s Creve Coeur headquarters Tuesday morning.


The United Mine Workers of America union argues Arch and Peabody Energy both bear responsibility for 10,000 miners’ health benefits jeopardized in another company’s bankruptcy.


St. Louis-based Patriot Coal was spun off from Peabody in 2007 and then bought a former Arch subsidiary in 2008.


The UMWA has filed suit against both Peabody and Arch in West Virginia claiming they purposely shed liabilities such as retirees’ health benefits.

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Science
6:15 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Danforth Plant Science Center To Grow

The Danforth Plant Science Center.
Credit (Courtesy of the Danforth Plant Science Center)

The Danforth Plant Science Center is adding another 79,000 square feet and eventually another 100 jobs.

The St. Louis research institute announced the $45 million dollar project Monday.

The center’s president, Dr. James Carrington, says the new space will be more flexible.

He says that that means cabinets and benches won’t be bolted down, giving room for new research that include automation and robotics.

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Crime
12:13 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Multi-State Partnership To Target Violent Crime Shares Initial Results

Stephen Wigginton, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, speaks at the podium at a press conference sharing results of a multistate effort against violent crime on July 11, 2013.
(Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated 12:39 p.m.

At a press conference Thursday morning, both local and federal officials gathered to share the results of a coordinated effort to tackle violent crime in St. Louis and East St. Louis.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Attorneys offices in both Southern Illinois and Eastern Missouri, along with state and local law enforcement began the push April 1.

Dubbed the “Violent Crime Reduction Partnership," it used undercover operations and other investigative tools to nab prior felons who continue to possess firearms.

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Economy
12:01 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Patriot Coal Denies Walking Out Of Talks With Mine Workers Union

UMWA President Cecil Roberts speaking earlier this year before a rally. Roberts has said he would not recommend miners agree to the terms approved by a federal bankruptcy judge in May.
Credit Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Updated 6:15 p.m.


UMWA tweeted this afternoon that they and Patriot have "agreed to return to the bargaining table next week."


Original Story:


St. Louis-based Patriot Coal officials deny that the company "walked out" of talks with the United Mine Workers of America earlier this week.

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Patriot Coal
5:11 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

United Mine Workers Union Says Patriot Coal Walked Out Of Negotiations

Miners from across the country marching down Market St. in downtown St. Louis on Jan. 29. They protested a Peabody Energy/Patriot Coal plan to cut pension and health care programs following Patriot's bankruptcy.
(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

The United Mine Workers of America say negotiators from St. Louis-based Patriot Coal walked out of talks Tuesday setting the stage for a possible strike.

The bankrupt company and the union were trying to come to an agreement even after a federal judge ruled in favor of a plan Patriot put forward to reduce costs.

UMWA spokesman Phil Smith says Patriot will now put that plan in effect July 1, including wage cuts for active miners and changes to health benefits for 23,000 retired miners and their families.

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School Transfers
2:42 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Supreme Court Says Missouri School Transfer Law Is Constitutional

(via Flickr/frankjuarez)

Updated 4:38 p.m. & 5:44 p.m.

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a state law that allows students to transfer from unaccredited districts to ones that are accredited.

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Politics
4:44 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

How The Income Tax Cut Issue Extends Beyond Nixon's Veto - And His State

(via Flickr/StockMonkeys.com)

Governor Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have cut Missouri’s income tax rates for the first time in 90 years.

The Republican-led General Assembly passed the bill in large part pointing to neighboring Kansas which already has slashed its personal and corporate income taxes.

But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman reports, the Democratic governor says the cuts would hurt Missouri education and other state services.

A 'Fiscally Irresponsible Experiment'

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