Mary Delach Leonard

Work/Life Reporter

Mary Delach Leonard is a veteran journalist who joined St. Louis Public Radio in December 2013 when it merged with the St. Louis Beacon. She had been a reporter for the Beacon since 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.

Ways to Connect

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.   

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.' ’’

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.)

burn whistle logo
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.”

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

The blues will spill out the open front doors of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis on Good Friday evening as local performers join in a service that blends religion with music rooted in city tradition.

The Very Rev. Mike Kinman, dean of the Episcopal cathedral, says blues will be incorporated throughout the program. The service will begin with a dramatic reading of gospel accounts of the passion of Jesus Christ and will conclude with a live concert.

Robert Holmes

St. Louis foodies Barbara Bryant and Betsy Fentress have been at it again, blending food history and healthful facts with luscious recipes and gracious hospitality. Their new book -- Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture (2014 Gibbs Smith) -- is an ode to one of nature’s finest treats.

Did you know, for example, that almonds are a “superfood” packed with protein, Vitamin E and magnesium?

Or, that the teen-aged Leonardo da Vinci sculpted figures of marzipan, a paste of almonds and sugar?

(Shula Neuman/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster today announced criminal charges against a St. Charles man accused of falsely collecting donations for the Wounded Warriors Project, a national nonprofit organization that assists wounded American veterans. | creationc

Reporting on scams is like pulling weeds. Report on one, and two new ones pop up in its place. Here are some new scam alerts for area residents:

The Jury Duty Scam

A person pretending to be a St. Louis police officer has been calling St. Louis residents and claiming they missed jury duty, according to the St. Louis Circuit Court of Missouri.

Michelle Corey
Provided by Ms. Corey

Add tax return scams to the ever-growing list of ways crooks are ripping off people, warns Michelle Corey, president of the St. Louis Better Business Bureau.

In recent years, identity thieves have been filing bogus tax returns and collecting refunds, said Corey who advises consumers to regularly check their financial and credit reports for signs of wrongdoing.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Ring ... Ring ... This is a very important message about your current credit card accounts. This is your second and final notice to lower your credit card interest rate and payments. Press 1 now to find out the terms, conditions and associated changes before the next billing cycle. Again, this is your final notice as it relates to the financial stimulus. So press 1 now to take advantage of this today ...

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

At The Griot Museum of Black History, the storytelling doesn’t depend on a designated month. February is usually an important month for the organization, but the lessons are taught whenever a person or group comes in.

The little two-story brick museum in north St. Louis celebrates the accomplishments of African Americans and their connections to the region. It also presents how slaves were transported.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

The little bowling alley at the Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center is a lively place on Thursday afternoons when patients from the spinal cord injury unit are bowling and shooting the bull with local veterans who volunteer at the lanes.

On these six wooden lanes -- amid the victorious clatter of strikes and the thud, thud, thud of gutter balls -- men and women with life-altering injuries find cheerful encouragement while learning how to use adaptive bowling equipment to knock down the tenpins.

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

A new display in the atrium of the Jewish Federation Kopolow Building may be small in size, but it packs punch with its disturbing news clippings and artifacts detailing the response of the St. Louis Jewish community to extremism and discrimination of all types after World War II.

At left, Craig Remsburg sits with his son Cory during the State of the Union address along with a photo of the Army Ranger during rehab with President Obama.
Enhanced White House stream of State of the Union Address

Dear Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg:

St. Louis says, “Hi.”

With tweets and Facebook posts and all manner of website shout-outs, St. Louisans have been sending well wishes to Sgt. Remsburg, the Army Ranger who was lauded for his determination and courage by President Barack Obama during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Provided by Roni Chambers

Roni Chambers, who led the now-shuttered GO! Network, is practicing what she used to preach to white-collar professionals who turned to her nonprofit for help after they lost their jobs during the Great Recession.

White House photo

As St. Louisans gather Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Christ Church Cathedral is inviting the community to join a day-long reading of his speeches and letters from the ornate pulpit where he delivered a Lenten sermon 50 years ago.

This is the fifth year that Christ Church has held the community reading but the first time that participants will stand in the pulpit where King stood, said the Very Rev. Mike Kinman, dean of the cathedral, who believes in the power of “everyone’s voices.”

Courtesy Susan Grigsby

Local children’s authors, who explore topics ranging from Thomas Jefferson to tattletales, will be on hand to discuss and sign their books at two sessions this month at the St. Louis Central Library.

unshoveled walk
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

Despite a persistent myth that seems to surface every time it snows, homeowners don’t increase their liability in "slip and fall" cases because they cleared the snow and ice from their sidewalks, say local attorneys.

Snow and ice are considered a normal hazard of living -- and clearing off your sidewalk is the right thing to do, said Stephen Ringkamp of the Hullverson Law Firm.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio and The Beacon

The year ended as it began for Hazelwood city leaders who in 2011 backed a British startup that plans to build energy-efficient delivery vans: They’re still waiting for Emerald Automotive to find about $160 million in private funds.

David Cox, Hazelwood’s economic director, said he remains optimistic that the project will eventually happen. Hazelwood has loaned Emerald $3 million, and the Missouri Technology Corporation kicked in another $2 million.

house leaning against dollar

U.S. households have come a long way in regaining wealth lost in the Great Recession, but the pace of recovery remains uneven largely due to the housing market, say researchers from the St. Louis Federal Reserve.