Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

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 Data compiled by Bryan Noeth, policy analyst at the Center for Household Financial Stability at the St. Louis Fed
Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Five years after the U.S. financial crisis, the stock market has rebounded and risen to new heights, but analysts say the majority of U.S. households are still struggling to regain the financial footing they lost during the Great Recession.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The local housing market, which hit bottom after the U.S. financial crisis in 2008, is continuing its slow but steady recovery, says the head of the St. Louis Association of Realtors

Through August, home prices have edged up this year in St. Louis County and St. Louis, and it’s taking about a month less to sell them, said Donna Zerega, president of the Realtors trade group, which has about 8,000 members.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Marketing analysts and consultants are talking a lot these days about the U.S. economy’s new hour-glass figure: Heavy on top and bottom; trimmer in the middle.

When the Goldenrod was moored at St. Charles
Historic Riverboat Preservation Association / Goldenrod Showboat

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - The Goldenrod Showboat, a historic vessel that delivered lively theater and music to Midwestern river towns in the early 20th century, now waits at an Illinois river bank for salvation -- or the salvage yard.

Though the clock is ticking, a small nonprofit group has renewed efforts to save the grand old vessel and return it to the St. Louis riverfront.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The former executive director of the now-shuttered GO! Network says she will find a way to launch a new organization to assist St. Louisans with their career transitions.

“I’m not finished with this. There’s too much work to be done,’’ said Roni Chambers after the nonprofit held its last weekly session on Aug. 27 at the St. Patrick Center downtown, where it had met since 2009.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: While fast food workers continue their push for a $15 hourly wage, polls find that a majority of Americans would support an increase of some type in the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 an hour since 2009.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Is $15 an hour to flip burgers or toss pizzas a realistic demand? When was the last time the federal minimum wage -- $7.25 per hour -- was adjusted? Who are America's minimum-wage workers? What is a living wage?

The lake at Chesterfield Valley, which was the pit formed when the Monarch Levee was reconstructed after the flood of 1993.
Chelsea Embree | Beacon intern | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Just beyond the noise and traffic of the Chesterfield Valley -- past the big levee behind the Taubman Prestige Outlets mall -- is Chesterfield’s newest nature park, set to open this fall.

Despite its proximity to a retail center, the 188-acre site is a surprisingly secluded and quiet spot. It's a place to watch for white-tailed deer and migratory birds, a place to ponder the beauty of the Missouri River floodplain.

Development in Chesterfield Valley since the flood: Blue structures existed before the flood; yellow structures were built after the flood.
Base: USGS, Info: City of Chesterfield

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: During the early days of the 1993 disaster that left businesses, homes and farmland awash on 4,000 flooded acres of the Chesterfield Valley, the possibility of rebuilding always seemed not a question of "if" but of "when."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: From the Tuesday morning Twitter feed of Tommy Sowers, assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, we gleaned the following facts:

  • Veteran-owned small businesses employ more than 1.8 million workers and bring in $1.6 trillion in revenue.
  • Of the 26 million small businesses in the U.S., 3.6 million are owned by veterans.

Rock City development Valmeyer, Ill
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Among the twists and turns that Valmeyer has taken since the Great Flood of ’93, the coolest -- as in 58 degrees year round -- is Rock City, a warehousing facility constructed in an old limestone quarry that the flood-ravaged village acquired during its quest to move to the bluffs.

A view of the floodplain from Valmeyer's Rock City development.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dennis Knobloch, then the mayor of Valmeyer, said he didn’t grasp the magnitude of the flooding that had engulfed his village in those first days of August 1993 until he and Monroe County officials surveyed the scene by helicopter.

"It was like flying over an ocean,’’ he said. "It was water from the Illinois bluff to the Missouri bluff, which is 4 miles apart here. It is hard to comprehend.’’

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon:Most springs, nature sends a reminder to the residents of the St. Louis region that they live at the confluence of the Mississippi and the Missouri, two major American rivers that have the potential to rise up and storm the levees.

Dennis Knobloch stands in the field where his house was before the flood of 1993.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Lush, green soybeans now populate the plot of good earth where Dennis Knobloch’s house once stood on Main Street in Valmeyer, Ill. -- before the Mississippi River busted through a levee and swallowed the town whole during the Great Flood of ’93.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Panera Bread Co. has stopped offering its "meal of shared responsibility,” an initiative to combat food insecurity that had been introduced in March at its 48 St. Louis Bread Co. cafes. The program had allowed customers to set their own price for turkey chili served in a bread bowl.

Oliver Dahm said his medals, including the Purple Heart, arrived one day in the mail after he returned home from serving in Korea.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Korean War veteran Oliver Dahm, 89, ran his index finger through his snow-white hair to locate the scar above his left ear that earned him a Purple Heart 62 years ago.

"I was hit on Feb. 12, 1951,'' he said matter-of-factly.

Kate Antonacci
Provided by Panera

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Three years after Panera Bread launched an innovative social experiment to help feed hungry Americans, the Saint Louis Bread Co.’s nonprofit café in downtown Clayton remains a work in progress, says Kate Antonacci, who directs the corporate initiative.

The bottom line is that the doors remain open, and Panera remains committed to the endeavor, she said.

In this photo from 2010, a truck from the St. Louis Area Food Bank makes a delivery at a rural southern Illinois church that was holding a food fair for low-income residents.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - More than 300,000 Missouri children are "food insecure,” and summer brings challenges for the programs trying to help feed them, according to two hunger studies released this week.

Those are just two of the local findings from national research on food insecurity – a problem that is not subsiding, four years into the nation’s economic recovery.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Chances are, a university would not be the first location you’d think about if you were setting up a food pantry to assist the needy in the farm belt of the Midwest.

So hats off to a group of enterprising students at the University of Missouri at Columbia who recognized that there were members of their campus community who couldn’t afford to buy food -- and then did something about it. The student-run Tiger Pantry, which opened its doors on campus last fall, has provided free food to 1,300 needy students and employees so far this year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Mississippi River’s rampage through the St. Louis region this week is a “fairly big event,” though it doesn’t come close to approaching the historic crests recorded in 1993, said hydrologist Mark Fuchs of the National Weather Service.

“We haven’t seen it this high in 18 years, and that by itself is significant,” Fuchs said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Although foreclosures still account for one in five U.S. residential sales, the numbers continued to decrease in the first quarter of 2013, and short sales were also declining, according to an online marketer of foreclosed properties.

For Andrew Habsieger's mother, an area in Festus is simply Andy's Park.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Every day is Memorial Day at the little park in Festus named for Army Pfc. Andrew J. Habsieger, 22, who was killed in 2008 in Iraq.

Its official name is Andrew J. Habsieger Memorial Park, but his mother calls it "Andy’s park.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Former residents of Pinhook, Mo., will gather from near and far Saturday at the American Legion hall in Sikeston to share memories of the community they lost in May 2011 when the Army Corps of Engineers opened the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway to alleviate flooding on the Mississippi River.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Historian Christopher Morris will be at the Missouri History Museum Wednesday evening to discuss his extensive environmental history of the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The book is a little like the meandering river: It spreads over a wide expanse -- five centuries -- and fills in all sorts of nooks and crannies along the way.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Congrats, 2013 grads!

(Pause)

Who has a job?

Emily Huck does. Huck, 22, who will graduate next weekend from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, said she is relieved to have found a job. She will be returning to St. Louis to work in business management at a fitness center.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Veterans advocate Terri Odom says that 25 years after she was brutalized by a trusted Navy colleague, she is finally getting on with her life -- by advocating for the nearly 20,000 U.S. servicewomen and servicemen who are the victims of military sexual assault every year.

Odom, 48, says it’s time for the military to change the way it handles sexual assault cases because rapes are rarely prosecuted and victims are often punished for reporting the crime. She believes that little has changed since she was tortured and raped -- and ultimately forced out of the Navy with an honorable discharge without her case ever being investigated.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For the disabled women veterans profiled in the documentary "Service: When Women Come Marching Home,” the transition from active duty to civilian life holds special challenges -- for them, for their families, for their communities and for the Veterans Administration, which is responsible for providing their long-term care.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: On Tuesday, Steven Peterson of Belleville received a check for $2,000 -- his portion of a $3.6 billion settlement reached earlier this year between lenders and federal regulators that replaced a failed foreclosure review process.

"I would call it a down payment on justice,’’ said Peterson, whose mortgage struggles started when he was laid off in 2009. "We’ll see if they want to pay the rest of the tab. I know I already have.’’

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The executive director of Saint Louis University’s new state-of-the-art Center for Workforce and Organizational Development understands that the world of information technology stands still for no one. 

So even as she’s hosting an open house at her new training facility Thursday afternoon, Katherine Cain is already talking about the agility of the curriculum and how it will be evolving in the months ahead.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Saint Louis University needs new leadership, say nearly three-fourths of the faculty members who responded to a survey taken by the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

In a news release Thursday morning, the faculty group said its survey validated earlier “no confidence” votes on the leadership of SLU President Lawrence Biondi taken by faculty and student government groups.

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