Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Rachel Lippmann

City Politics and Criminal Justice Reporter

Rachel Lippmann covers courts, public safety and city politics for St. Louis Public Radio. (She jokingly refers to them as the “nothing ever happens beats.”) She joined the NPR affiliate in her hometown in 2008, after spending two years in Lansing covering the Michigan Capitol and various other state political shenanigans for NPR affiliates there. Though she’s a native St. Louisan, part of her heart definitely remains in the Mitten. (And no, she’s not going to tell you where she went to high school.)

Rachel has an undergraduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism, and a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. When she’s not busy pursuing the latest scoop, you can find her mentoring her Big Brothers Big Sisters match, hitting the running and biking paths in south St. Louis, catching the latest sporting event on TV, playing with as many dogs as she possibly can, or spending time with the great friends she’s met in a decade in this city.

Rachel’s on Twitter @rlippmann. Even with 240 characters, spellings are still phonetic.

Ways to Connect

A kit containing the opioid overdose antidote naloxone.
File Photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Preliminary data from the community health agency NCADA show the number of opioid-related deaths in the St. Louis area rose again last year, as they have since 2007.

Nearly 760 people died due to opioids in 2017, a 5 percent increase from 2016. That was a relative improvement from the dramatic spike between 2015 and 2016, when deaths jumped from 517 to 712, or a 38 percent increase. The total includes deaths from things like driving under the influence of opioids as well as overdose deaths.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ budget committee on Wednesday approved the city’s $1.1 billion spending plan that is set to take effect July 1.

Members voted unanimously to send the budget to the full Board of Aldermen, a much different outcome than one last week when the committee deadlocked 3-3. The panel had to approve the budget this week in order for the full board to meet the deadline.

The Missouri Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of former state Sen. Mike Kehoe, pictured here on the Senate floor, as lieutenant governor.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 19 at 2:50 p.m. with comments from Attorney General Josh Hawley and additional background — The Missouri Democratic Party is challenging Gov. Mike Parson’s appointment of Mike Kehoe as lieutenant governor.

In a lawsuit filed Monday night on behalf of a World War II veteran, attorneys for the party say Parson had no authority to name Kehoe, a former Republican state senator from Jefferson City, to the office. The lieutenant governor is, by law, an advocate for seniors and by tradition an advocate for veterans.

Former St. Louis County police chief at his campaign kickoff for St. Louis County Council
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch – who’s jumping into the political arena.

Fitch often made headlines in his former job. He didn’t hesitate to go public with some of his concerns, even when it put him at odds with then-County Executive Charlie Dooley.

Paul McKee on March 28, 2018.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Original story from 06/13/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 06/15/18.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. June 13 with comments from NorthSide Regeneration — The state of Missouri has sued developer Paul McKee, accusing him of misusing tax credits for his 1,500-acre NorthSide Regeneration initiative.

Northside Regeneration owns much of the land in the TIF. Looking north from the intersection of Cass and Jefferson Avenues, the future site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is visible at right.” 4-10-2018.
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10 p.m. Tuesday with comments from NorthSide Regeneration — After nearly 10 years, the city of St. Louis wants to cut ties with developer Paul McKee and his NorthSide Regeneration initiative.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announces on June 8, 2018 that she will not charge former Gov. Eric Greitens with any crimes.
Elle Moxley | KCUR

Updated at 5:15 p.m. June 8 with comments from Jean Peters Baker — A special prosecutor has decided not to charge former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in connection with an affair he had before he became governor.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks during a news conference after the end of the 2017 legislative session. Greitens used this opportunity to compare lawmakers to third graders for not passing enough bills.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10:45 a.m. June 7 with comments from Greitens' attorney — Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens admitted as part of a deal with St. Louis prosecutors that they had enough evidence to take him to trial over the use of a charity’s donor list for his campaign.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office on Wednesday released the full agreement that led to Greitens stepping down last week. Two paragraphs of that deal had originally been redacted. St. Louis Public Radio and other news outlets had filed requests under Missouri’s open records law to see the complete document. Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office ruled on Tuesday that it was an open record.

Protesters sit at the intersection of Maryland and Euclid for a moment of silence on Friday night.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 8:50 p.m. Wednesday with a copy of the lawsuit — A former St. Louis police officer acquitted of murder last year for an on-duty shooting has sued the prosecutor and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for even bringing the case in the first place.

Jason Stockley, who is white, shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith, a 24-year-old black man, after a car chase in 2011. He was charged with murder in 2016, after then-circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce said she had new evidence.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, along with County Executive Steve Stenger, unveil the department's Special Response Unit on June 5, 2018.
Abigail Censky | St. Louis Public Radio

Two-officer cars, special training, and a focus on community policing are the hallmarks of the St. Louis County Police Department’s Special Response Unit.

The unit began operating last week. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, County Executive Steve Stenger and members of the unit officially unveiled it Tuesday, at its new headquarters in north St. Louis County.

Gov. Eric Greitens walks back into the Civil Courts Building in downtown St. Louis after delivering a statement to reporters. May 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann reflect on Gov. Eric Greitens’ decision to resign from office.

The move marks a stunning end to what appeared to be a fast-rising political career that began with presidential ambitions and ended with a wave of scandal.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner speaks to the Ways and Means Committee on May 31, 2018.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner told the city’s budget committee Thursday that her decision to charge Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens with two felonies did not take away from her office’s ability to fight violent crime.

Gardner was the final city department head to speak to the Ways and Means committee, which will start making changes to the next year's $1.1 billion budget  on Monday. It must get final approval by June 30.

St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner announces on May 30, 2018, that her office will drop a felony computer-tampering charge against Gov. Eric Greitens.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Eric Greitens’ resignation was part of an agreement reached with prosecutors to dismiss charges that the governor misused a charity donor list during his campaign.

Judge Rex Burlison on Wednesday accepted the deal reached between St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and attorneys for Greitens. The state will not be able to refile the computer tampering charge, but the agreement has no bearing on the decision of a special prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker, whether to refile invasion of privacy charges. The governor could also face other state or federal charges.

ONE TIME USE ONLY - DO NOT USE AS A FILE PHOTO
Robert Cohen | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who once aspired for national office, has announced he will resign after months of swirling controversy surrounding an extramarital affair and subsequent investigations about his campaign finances.

Greitens said Tuesday afternoon from his office in Jefferson City that he will step down at 5 p.m. on Friday. The move will elevate Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, a former Republican state lawmaker, to the governor’s office.

"I came to office to fight for the people of Missouri, to fight for the forgotten," Greitens said. "I love Missouri. And I love our people. That love remains."

Gov. Eric Greitens walks away from reporters after making a statement outside the Circuit Court building. May 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Rachel Lippmann and Jo Mannies detail a dramatic week in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ legal and political saga.

This was supposed to be the first week of Gov. Eric Greitens’ trial for felony invasion of privacy. But as jury selection trudged along at a glacial pace, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office shocked many observers by dropping the case.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen Friday delayed a final vote on changes to the city’s residency requirement for workers and the number of aldermen.

Supporters of reversing a 2012 public vote that cut the number of wards from 28 to 14, and of eliminating the residency requirement for most city employees, did not have the votes to send the measures to Mayor Lyda Krewson. She had already pledged to veto the ward reduction reversal.

Gov. Eric Greitens, at top, faces a state House committee investigation. The panel members are shown in clockwise order: Rep. Jay Barnes, Rep. Don Phillips, Rep. Kevin Austin, Rep. Jeanie Lauer, Rep. Gina Mitten, Rep. Tommie Pierson Jr, Rep. Shawn Rhoads.
Office of Missouri House of Representatives, File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens has sued two political groups connected to the governor demanding they turn over documents.

“The Chair of The Committee, as a member of the House of Representatives, ‘has an absolute right to have a subpoena issue(d) to obtain evidence concerning an offense over which the House of Representatives has jurisdiction,” attorneys for the committee wrote in the suit, filed Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City. “The impeachment of an executive officer of Missouri, including a governor, is an offense over which the House of Representatives has jurisdiction.”

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens walks out of the Civil Courts Building in downtown St. Louis after his felony invasion of privacy charge was dropped. May14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In a stunning move, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has dropped the felony invasion of privacy charge against Gov. Eric Greitens — short-circuiting the unprecedented trial of a sitting Missouri chief executive.

While Gardner’s office is promising to refile the case with a special prosecutor, the governor’s attorneys are confident that another prosecutor won’t touch the case.

Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum leaves the Civil Courts building in downtown St. Louis on May 10, the first day of jury selection in Governor Eric Greitens' felony invasion of privacy trial.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Opening arguments in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' felony invasion of privacy trial have been pushed back until at least Wednesday, as jury selection is taking longer than expected.

Attorneys will spend a third day Monday questioning potential jurors about how much they have heard about the case, and whether they've formed any early opinions.

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison speaks with a reporter as St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts escorts him into the courthouse on May 10, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Rachel Lippmann, Marshall Griffin and Jo Mannies break down all of the developments this week in Gov. Eric Greitens’ political and legal saga.

This week’s episode gives a preview of the governor’s felony invasion of privacy trial, which is slated to get started next week. We also get an update on whether legislators will impeach the governor — and the status of Greitens’ second felony charge for computer data tampering.

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