Mary Delach Leonard

Work/Life Reporter

Mary Delach Leonard is a veteran journalist who joined the St. Louis Beacon staff in April 2008 after a 17-year career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she was a reporter and an editor in the features section. Her work has been cited for awards by such organizations as the Missouri Associated Press Managing Editors, the Missouri Press Association and the Illinois Press Association. In 2010, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis honored her with a Spirit of Justice Award in recognition of her work on the housing crisis. Leonard began her newspaper career at the Belleville News-Democrat (in Illinois) after earning a degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where she now serves as an adjunct faculty member. She is partial to pomeranians and Cardinals.

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Icon For Sale
3:08 am
Wed July 30, 2014

The World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Could Use A Hand

The sale of the World's Largest Catsup Bottle has drawn interest from near and far. An Instagram post on the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile account spread hope Tuesday that the company might be interested in the landmark.
Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

Fans of the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle snapped keepsake photos of the iconic water tower in Collinsville Saturday morning and noted the sign posted beside it: Property For Sale. And Bottle.

“I just hope they can keep it — that someone buys it who will take care of it,” said Adam DeLeon, a Jesuit seminarian who was on a road trip to St. Louis when he heard the news that the catsup bottle was for sale.

DeLeon is a fan of roadside attractions. “These things are significant to us,'' he said. "It’s funny. It’s classic Americana.’’

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Consumer News
10:18 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Promises, Promises: Scammers Target Student Loans, Unclaimed Property And Government Grants

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Credit Wikipedia | government photo

Keep your guard up, gentle consumers. There are anglers among us.

Here are four recent alerts worth noting:

1. Illinois Attorney General Sues Student Loan Debt Relief Companies

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has sued debt relief companies that she says exploit people struggling to repay student loans. Some of the marketing strategies are reminiscent of the way scammers duped vulnerable homeowners facing foreclosure during the mortgage crisis.

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Sold! For $227,000
11:38 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Since You Missed That Nike Missile Base, Perhaps We Could Interest You In A Missouri Stonehenge

The former launch site near Hecker, Ill., is weather-worn, but the underground missile bunkers are intact and the elevators work.
Credit Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

That old Nike missile launch site that’s been in the news lately could have been yours for $227,000, but since you missed that real estate gem, perhaps broker Wayne Keller could interest you in a Show-Me State version of Stonehenge.

Keller, whose buy-a-farm.com usually sells farms with silos that hold grain not Hercules missiles, says he’s marketed some unique properties in the past -- including a kitty litter plant. But selling a Cold War relic has been a blast.

“It’s certainly been the highlight so far,’’ he said.

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Fighting Food Insecurity
11:20 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

For The Kids: Volunteers In Granite City Deliver Free Sack Lunches -- And Smiles

Twigs volunteer Rosina Denkyirah set up her folding chair and cooler on a vacant lot in Granite City owned by the city. The little girl was with her mother.
Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

It takes just a moment to hand a child a sack lunch, but it is THE moment -- the one that matters – for the volunteers with Twigs, a program that feeds children from financially struggling families in the summertime in Granite City.

You’ll find the volunteers in their bright yellow shirts at 11 designated spots -- street corners, parks and churches -- from 11:30 to 12:30, Monday through Friday, rain or shine, starting the day after school lets out for summer vacation and until it opens again.

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St. Louis And The Cold War
4:50 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Nike Missile Launch Site In Southern Illinois Can Be Yours For The Highest Bid

The launch area of an old Nike missile base near Hecker, Ill., will be auctioned July 12. It was part of the St. Louis Air Defense System from mid-1959 to early 1969.
Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

Real estate broker Wayne Keller is showing another curious “looky loo” around an unusual property: the launch area of a Nike missile base that was constructed more than 50 years ago in the countryside of Southern Illinois.

From atop this peaceful hill in Monroe County, the U.S. Army once kept eyes on the skies, ready to blast Hercules missiles at Soviet bombers headed for St. Louis, about 30 miles to the northwest.

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The Blooming Artists Project
10:06 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Art Show Will Feature Work of Lindbergh Students And Their Mentors

Lindbergh High student Madi McClain and artist Rob Dreyer pose with one another's paintings for The Blooming Artists Project.
Credit Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

A unique art show that opens Friday at the Clayton Fine Art Gallery shows what can happen when young art students get a chance to work with St. Louis art professionals.

“The Blooming Artists Project” will display student artwork side by side with the work of their mentors — local jewelers, sculptors, painters, fiber artists and photographers.

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Cormorants and ducks
8:30 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

The Big Bird Cage: Where The Saint Louis Zoo Took Flight After The 1904 World's Fair

A great egret strikes a pose in the Flight Cage at the Saint Louis Zoo.
Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The residents of the big birdcage aren’t as flashy or exotic as many of the 19,000 animals at the Saint Louis Zoo, but they do put on a show.

At ground level, a row of small ruddy ducks with bright blue bills follow the leader, making rippling curlicues in a swamp-like pond. Double-crested cormorants hang out on a wooden bridge, striking a pose with their outstretched wings, as visitors reach for their camera phones.   

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Memorial Day 2014
5:55 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

St. Louis Group Plans Memory Wall To Honor Missourians Killed In Iraq And Afghanistan

Sgt. Amanda Pinson
Credit Provided by the family

Several days before Army Sgt. Amanda Pinson of Lemay deployed to Iraq, she visited with her cousin Jennifer Jerome.

They chatted about many things, but Jerome says one comment stands out in her mind from that conversation: “Amanda said, ‘If something were to happen, what if people forget me?’ ’’

Jerome assured Pinson that nothing would happen, but she also made a promise.

“I told her, ‘I will never let anyone forget you.' ’’

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Local History
5:17 am
Wed May 7, 2014

These Historical Photos Show How Much St. Louis Has Changed

1909: Balloons being inflated for the St. Louis Centennial balloon race, the signature event of a week-long celebration that marked the 100th year of the city's incorporation.
Oscar C. Kuehn / Missouri History Museum

To mark the 100th anniversary of St. Louis’ incorporation as a city, an imposing array of “gasbags” assembled at the edge of Forest Park in 1909 for the St. Louis Centennial balloon race.

(A bunch of politicians were there, too.)

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Scams Update
9:34 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Law Student Tackles Fraud Online; BBB Says It’s Time To Shred

Credit Proided by Nathaniel Carroll

Our recent reports about assorted consumer scams brought an interesting response from a Saint Louis University law student who is developing an online website to help centralize efforts to fight fraud.

Nathaniel Carroll and his associates came up with a catchy name — Burn Whistle — and eye-catching graphics for a blog they’ve launched. Their slogan is “Fight Fraud With Fire.”

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