Rachel Lippmann

Reporter

Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.

Ways to Connect

Money gift
Flickr

With a week left to go, Missouri’s four Republican candidates for governor are engaging in a final money-raising – and spending – frenzy.

Just since July 1, the four – former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and businessman John Brunner – combined have raised almost $6 million and spent more than $10 million.

Most of that spending is for the mass of TV ads that are flooding Missouri homes.

William Bailey | St. Louis Planning Department |Provided

After a two-day delay, a new homeless shelter in St. Louis is back on track to being ready to operate.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment on Friday approved a $360,000 contract with St. Patrick Center, which will run the facility at the old Biddle Market north of downtown. Mayor Francis Slay and Comptroller Darlene Green voted to approve the funding; board president Lewis Reed maintained his opposition from Wednesday.

Marty Murray, a candidate for 7th Ward committeeman, talks to Stacy Kistler while knocking doors in the Lafayette Square neighborhood of St. Louis on June 10, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated July 21 with additional Mobilize Missouri endorsements. — The biggest races in August are getting all the attention. But a group of seats on the St. Louis Democratic Central Committee could prove to be just as important in the long run.

Candidates from across the city have their sights on being committeemen and committeewomen, in an effort to push for change in the party now and at future elections.

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr

No one is quite sure when St. Louis began charging $35 to cancel a municipal court warrant. But a deal reached on Monday between the city and thousands of defendants who paid the fee over a seven-year period means it will never be charged again.

Ballwin Police officer Mike Flamion
Ballwin Police press release

Updated July 18 with news on Flamion's condition — The Ballwin police officer shot during a traffic stop on July 8 is paralyzed from the neck down.

The bullet that struck 31-year-old Michael Flamion caused "catastrophic damage" to the spinal cord, Ballwin Police Chief Kevin Scott said on Monday. Flamion remains on a ventilator to help him breathe.

Come January, there will be a new prosecutor in the city of St. Louis for the first time in 16 years.

The election to replace Jennifer Joyce as circuit attorney comes as the city is struggling to get homicides and other violent crime under control. Relations between law enforcement and some communities remain strained as well, with Joyce herself having been the target of protests.

Legislation on Mayor Slay's desk would encourage the use of bump-outs, such as this one at Chouteau and Mississippi, to calm or slow down traffic.
Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio

Traffic calming is the use of street design, or construction like speed humps or bump-outs to control speed on residential streets. And legislation awaiting Mayor Francis Slay's signature would bring a comprehensive policy on traffic calming to St. Louis for the first time.

Ethical Society of Police president Sgt. Heather Taylor speaks to a forum on disparities in the St. Louis police and fire departments on July 7, 2016. Her organization has called on chief Sam Dotson to resign.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

The organization representing black police officers in the city of St. Louis is demanding that St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson resign.

Sgt. Heather Taylor, the president of the Ethical Society of Police, made the demand Thursday night at a forum set up to tell people about the disparities in the police and fire departments.

cigarette
seannaber | Flickr

A Missouri appeals court will hear arguments Thursday in a case that could result in a proposed cigarette tax increases being kicked off the November ballot.

An infrared photograph shows a water main leak in Webster Groves. Water utility companies photograph roads at night to determine which pipes may be in need of repair.
Missouri American Water | Provided

The Missouri Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Missouri American Water can keep charging its St. Louis County customers an infrastructure fee, despite a drop in the county's population.

Since 2002, the utility's 340,000 customers in the county have paid an additional $3-a-month infrastructure replacement surcharge, which allows Missouri American to replace old water mains before they break. But in March, a state appeals court ruled that the utility could no longer collect that surcharge because St. Louis County's population had dropped below the required 1 million people.

credit cards
Frankieleon | Flickr | http://bit.ly/293yef2

A St. Louis alderman wants to give the city's municipal court a way to cover the cost of processing credit card payments.

It is much more convenient to pay a fine on a credit card all at once, rather than dropping off a payment in person or going to court every week. But the convenience comes at a cost for the court, because credit card companies charge for each transaction.

The full Board of Aldermen is expected to take up the stadium funding plan next Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Do not fear, lobbyists — your place on the floor of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is safe for the foreseeable future.

The city's rules committee on Wednesday voted down a piece of legislation sponsored by Alderman Megan-Ellyia Green, D-15th Ward, that would have banished lobbyists to the hall, the galleries, or the side rooms at City Hall. Just one committee member, Alderman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, voted yes.

Vinita Terrace trustee Mary Tevlin speaks in favor of a proposed merger with Vinita Park at a public hearing on May 24, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 29 with ballot approval - The St. Louis County Boundary Commission had approved a proposed merger between Vinita Park and Vinita Terrace. The issue now goes on the ballot in both towns. No one who spoke at a public hearing in May opposed the idea.

Vinita Park already provides a number of services, including policing, for its smaller neighbor.

Bloomsberries | Flickr

Prosecutors in the city of St. Louis are taking their push to protect witness information to the public.

The circuit attorney's office is holding a community forum Wednesday night at the headquarters of the local branch of the NAACP to "talk about how important the participation of victims and witnesses is in the criminal justice system and how we all play a role in supporting them." But it's nearly a guarantee that an usually obscure state Supreme Court rule will come up.

s_falkow | Flickr

Four St. Louis-area residents are among hundreds across the nation facing charges of federal health care fraud.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the allegations on Wednesday. All told, more than 300 people in 30 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have been accused of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. The Justice Department called it the largest crackdown in history, both in terms of number of defendants and the amount of fraud alleged.

Kim Gardner
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome back state Rep. Kim Gardner to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat is one of four Democratic candidates for circuit attorney. We are running shows featuring each of the candidates this week. (Gardner was a guest on Politically Speaking before she  announced her bid for the job.)

Patrick Hamacher
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Patrick Hamacher to the program.

Hamacher is one of four Democrats running for St. Louis circuit attorney. Incumbent Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce is not running for re-election, which likely contributed to the larger-than-normal field. The winner of the Aug. 2 primary will likely be Joyce’s successor, since St. Louis is heavily Democratic.

A statue of Jesus and a lake greet visitors to  Lake Charles Park Cemetery on St. Charles Rock Road.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A few years ago, Betty Zweifel Eberley started tracing her family's history.

"I can't go back any further than 1816, my dad's great-grandfather," she told St. Louis Public Radio. "They came from Germany. I don't have a lot of stories to tell, but I have a lot of the pertinent information."

Steve Harmon
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann are pleased to welcome circuit attorney hopeful Steve Harmon to the program.

Harmon is one of four Democratic candidates competing to succeed St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, who has decided against running for re-election. And since St. Louis is a Democratic stronghold, the winner of the Aug. 2 primary will likely become Joyce’s successor.

Patrick Hamacher (standing) addresses a crowd gathered at Saint Louis University on June 18, 2016 for a forum with the Democratic candidates for circuit attorney.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A two-hour debate about the root causes of crime and disparities in the system helped some St. Louis voters better understand the Democratic candidates for circuit attorney.

Mary Pat Carl, Kimberly Gardner, Patrick Hamacher and Steve Harmon gathered Saturday for the forum, sponsored by Decarcerate St. Louis.

Mary Pat Carl
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome circuit attorney contender Mary Pat Carl to the program.

Carl is one of four candidates running to succeed Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, who is not running for re-election. We taped shows with all four circuit attorney candidates last week, and we are posting the shows throughout this week.

    

St. Louis Alderwoman Donna Baringer, D-16th Ward, is considered an ally of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. But she says voters should have a say in whether to extend bonds for the new stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A commission that would accept ethics complaints against elected officials in the city of St. Louis could have its duties expanded.

The commission is part of Alderman Scott Ogilvie's, D-24th Ward, measure capping campaign contributions $10,000 for both citywide and aldermanic races. As the bill is currently written, members of the panel would investigate complaints about financial disclosure or conflicts of interest.

Even though the school transfer issue aroused passionate debate last year, the issue still isn't resolved.
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

A Missouri appeals court has ruled that the the Missouri State Board of Education acted outside of its authority when it  changed the accreditation status of the new Normandy Schools Collaborative.

Budget director Paul Payne gives a presentation at a public hearing on the city's 2017 spending plan on May 18, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

For the past two weeks, the heads of city departments have come to the Ways and Means Committee asking the aldermen for additional money to cover their needs.

On Monday, it was the aldermen's turn to have their say on the spending plan for 2017.

Lawmakers in St. Louis are limited in how they can affect the budget. The city's budget must be balanced, so any addition to one department has to be balanced by a subtraction from another area.

Dennis Ball-Bey, Mansur Ball-Bey's father, hugs Shonettda Ball, Mansur's cousin, on the steps outside St. Louis city court Thursday afternoon.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:15 p.m. with comments from the family and prosecutor Jennifer Joyce. - Two St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers will not face criminal charges for the August 2015 shooting death of a young man in the Fountain Park neighborhood.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson takes questions from Alderman Sam Moore (in hat), D., 4th Ward, at a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on June 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Aldermen in charge of St. Louis' budget heard more requests Wednesday from department officials who say they can't do the jobs they should without additional staffing.

Representatives of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the circuit attorney's office and recorder of deeds Sharon Carpenter all asked members of the Ways and Means Committee to find the money for additional positions. The St. Louis Fire Department made a similar request last week.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

St. Louis aldermen used a meeting of the city's Public Safety Committee on Tuesday to blast the crime-fighting policies of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson.

"It is important that we make a distinction between criticism of the chief and the leadership and criticism of the officers on the streets," said Alderman Antonio French, D-21st Ward, and the vice chairman of the public safety committee. "Officers on the streets are just as frustrated. They can't say it publicly, but we hear it as aldermen."

e-MagineArt.com | Flickr

Updated May 31 with bill signing — St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay went to St. Louis County today to sign the bill setting up the city's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. The bill allows the city and county to work together to form a cohesive system. The mayor and county Executive Steve Stenger are pledging to bring down drug overdoses.

Paul Sableman | Flickr | bit.ly/1sdAKc5

Domestic violence cases in Madison County will be handled a bit differently starting June 1.

The county will become the second in Illinois to establish a domestic violence accountability court, hearing all levels of cases between intimate partners. Two civil and two criminal judges will handle the docket, allowing for better coordination among criminal cases and orders of protection.

Chad Sabora of the Missouri Network for Opioid Reform and Recovery answers question from the public safety committee on May 24, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The public safety committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved Tuesday a measure that supporters say will reduce the number of fatal heroin overdoses in the city.

The so-called "good Samaritan law" would give heroin users immunity from drug possession charges if they call 911 for someone who has overdosed. They could still be arrested for other crimes, or if a warrant has been issued against them.

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