Marissanne Lewis-Thompson | St. Louis Public Radio

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson

Afternoon Newscaster

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson joined St. Louis Public Radio October 2017 as the afternoon newscaster and as a general assignment reporter. She previously spent time as a feature reporter at KRCU in Cape Girardeau, where she covered a wide variety of stories including historic floods, the Bootheel, education and homelessness. In May 2015, she graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism degree in Convergence Journalism. She's a proud Kansas City, Missouri native, where she grew up watching a ton of documentaries on PBS, which inspired her to tell stories. In her free time, she enjoys binge watching documentaries and anime. She may or may not have a problem.

Ways to Connect

Sterling Moody re-arranges shelves at Neighbors' Market, his new East St. Louis grocery store. April 6, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Neighbors’ Market, which promises to focus on healthy food options, is expected to open its doors in East St. Louis this month.

The market will be a full-service grocery store with a dairy and frozen food section, a robust produce aisle, and a butcher’s area for cutting fresh meats daily. The store has already employed its own chef, who will prepare soups, salads and sandwiches. 

Provided | Katy Jamboretz

A new project is providing on-the-go reading materials for Metro Transit riders in north St. Louis County.

The program, which launched this week, is a partnership between the St. Louis Promise Zone, St. Louis County Library, Bi-State Development, the Metro Transit and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. It will provide free books and other reading materials through “community library boxes” at four Metro Transit centers including: North Hanley, Wellston, Rock Road and North County.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth / St. Louis Public Radio

A new curriculum aims to simplify how students transfer general education credits from a Missouri community college into one of the state’s four-year public universities so that students don't have to retake general education courses.

CORE 42 was approved earlier this month by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education and will go into effect next fall.

St. Louis Community College

St. Louis Community College is adding its first new building on the Forest Park campus in 20 years.

The new Center for Nursing and Health Sciences will include up-to-date science labs, classrooms, a dental clinic and innovative teaching spaces.

Jeff Pittman, the chancellor of the college, said the goal of the new facility is not only to create more space for students — some of whom are on a waiting list for certain programs within the department — but also to address the overall health care shortage in the region.

BluePrint4SummerSTL

A St. Louis-based mobile app and website aims to help parents find summer activities for their kids, all in one place.

Blueprint4SummerSTL aggregates a list of wide-ranging activities for parents to choose from based on a child’s specific needs, including the cost, distance, interests, age, before and after care, as well as scholarship availability.

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson | St. Louis Public Radio

More than a dozen high school students from the Jennings School District brushed up on their job skills Thursday as part of a program through AT&T.

The company’s Aspire Mentoring Academy, in partnership with Jobs for America’s Graduates program, held its "Passport to Success" event at the company’s headquarters in Des Peres. The program allows students to learn essential job skills through mentorship.

Bayer says glyphosate is a key tool for farmers as they try to control weeds and produce enough corn and other crops to help feed the world.
File Photo | Adam Allington | St. Louis Public Radio

A bill in the Missouri House would bring back a ban on foreign ownership of Missouri farmland.

The ban was lifted by the Missouri General Assembly in 2013, allowing foreign ownership of up to one percent of farmland in the state. But Stephen Webber, the chair of the Missouri Democratic Party, said lifting the ban has given foreign corporations too much control in Missouri’s agriculture industry.

“They’ve got the ability to bully small family farmers [and] to manipulate prices and policies,” Webber said.

Eric Fey, St. Louis County Board of Elections director, demonstrates how to select an audio ballot versus the large-print option on the iVotronic system.
file photo | Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio.

The Democratic Director of Elections for St. Louis County, Eric Fey, is traveling to Russia this week as part of an intergovernmental group that will observe the presidential election March 18.

Fey is one of 420 short-term observers with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The OSCE, a group with 57 member nations, has observed elections since the early 1990s to help ensure free and fair elections.

Over the last decade, Fey has served as an observer in Ukraine, Belarus, Macedonia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. He said having an international organization observe the electoral process keeps governments accountable.

Pastor Gwenndolyn Lee of Spirit of Love Church wants to change the negative stigma surrounding HIV in the black community. Her younger brother died from AIDS nearly 14 years ago.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 50 percent of HIV cases in the St. Louis region are in the African-American community. That’s according to a 2016 report from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. But the stigma surrounding the virus in the black community makes it a challenge to address.

Local organizations like Faith Communities United have been working to break the stigma down by partnering with several faith communities throughout the region, including Spirit of Love Church in St. Louis, lead by Pastor Gwenndolyn Lee. For Lee, the fear of discussing HIV in the black community, and especially in the black church, is a personal one.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis, an anti-abortion group, waves as a car exits the Planned Parenthood parking lot on Forest Park Avenue. Volunteers hand out anti-abortion pamphlets to passers-by.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It soon could be harder for opponents of Planned Parenthood to get their message to people going to the St. Louis Central West End clinic.

On a 15-13 vote, St. Louis Aldermen gave the measure, sponsored by Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, first-round approval on Friday. It sets up an 8-foot buffer zone around health care facilities.

Saint Louis University's School of Business will be renamed the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business after a $15 million donation from Richard A. Chaifetz and his wife Jill Chaifetz.
Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University’s School of Business will be renamed the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. The university announced Tuesday that Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, the founder, chairman and CEO at ComPsych Corporation and his wife, Jill Chaifetz, have contributed $15 million to the school. The change is effective immediately.

Richard Chaifetz, a SLU alumnus and trustee, said while his gift contribution does not have set requirements, he hopes it will boost the reputation of the business school that is ranked ninth nationally in undergraduate entrepreneurship.

National Integrated Drought Information System

St. Louis' weather forecast this week is rain, rain and more rain, yet that's good news for a region that's in the midst of a drought. 

National Weather Service meteorologist Jayson Gosselin says a dry weather pattern began last summer. He says that dry pattern continued into the fall — typically the wetter part of the year in Missouri — creating moderate to extreme drought throughout the state. 

"In terms of precipitation deficits since that time, anywhere from 8 to as much as 16 inches below normal, for that six to seven months," Gosselin said.

The Rev. Winter Hamilton gives ashes to motorists along Manchester Road in Manchester. Feb. 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Millions of Christians throughout the world will fill church pews in observance of Ash Wednesday. The day marks the beginning of the time of fasting and repentance 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays.)

Around St. Louis, and elsewhere many churches will observe this first day of church season of Lent with a modern twist.

Manchester United Methodist Church in west St. Louis County is calling it Ash and Dash.

A proposed hyperloop transportation system would connect Missouri’s two major metropolitan hubs.
provided | VectorSTL

A proposed hyperloop would transport people between Missouri’s two major hubs in under 30 minutes.

A feasibility study will get underway in February to look at whether it makes sense to go forward with the route. The Missouri Hyperloop Coalition, comprised of public and private groups, raised the $1.5 million funding for the study and made the announcement Tuesday.

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson | St. Louis Public Radio

When Jazzmine Nolan was 12, her father was murdered by one of his friends. His death left her devastated and empty inside.

“I was so angry that I didn’t know what I was feeling,” she said.

Nolan became unsure of whom to trust. Her cries for help and understanding often fell on deaf ears of the people around her. But instead of going down the path of self-destruction, she turned to the dance form "step" as a way to cope.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

After a record number of influenza cases in St. Louis County in the last week of 2017, the numbers have dipped, but only slightly. 

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health reports 1,282 cases of influenza in the first week of January. That's compared to 1,304 in the last week of December, a record for the county.

The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership

Fairfield Processing, the manufacturer known for its Poly-Fil brand of synthetic stuffing material, will bring more than 100 jobs to St. Louis’ North Riverfront neighborhood. Wednesday’s announcement came after the manufacturer moved its facility from Granite City to St. Louis last summer.

The relocation brought 50 full-time jobs with it, but company officials said they plan to add another 100 jobs in the next five years.

Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine | Flickr

Airbnb, the popular home-sharing and rental website, announced Wednesday it will begin collecting Missouri’s 4.2 percent state sales tax for its hosts. 

The company reached an agreement with the Missouri Department of Revenue to allow Airbnb to collect and remit the state sales tax for the company’s bookings, starting Feb. 1.

via Flickr/pasa

After a week of below-zero temperatures, with some nights hitting lower than zero, people in the St. Louis region are struggling to keep warm.

For some, that’s because they just can’t afford the cost of heat.

“We thought this was going to be a normal, quiet Christmas,” said Heatupstlouis.org founder Gentry W. Trotter, whose organization helps pay utility bills of people in 16 counties in Missouri and Illinois. But the temperature dropped, and since Christmas Day, more than 900 people have asked the organization for help.

Randy Korotev , a research professor at Washington University, is a leading a count on New Year’s Day at the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in West Alton. It’s one of about 20 happening in the state.
Randy Korotev

The National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count is in full swing, with more than 2,500 counts taking place worldwide. Since 1900, bird enthusiasts have been tracking and counting the status of bird species in the St. Louis region and around the world and during the winter holiday season.

This year, the count is taking place on Dec. 14 to Jan. 5. In Missouri, roughly 20 counts are being conducted, including one in St. Charles County.

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