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

A sampling of mailers sent by Reinvest STL, a committee supporting the city's $180 million bond issue.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Voters in St. Louis will go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether the city should borrow $180 million to take care of long-delayed maintenance and other capital needs.

The general obligation bond got on the August ballot at the last possible minute. If it passes, bonds will be sold in 2015, and again in 2017. The city estimates the owner of a $125,000 house would pay about $50 more in property taxes each year.

Stadium Approach from the Southeast
HOK | 360 Architecture

Updated with comments from Dave Peacock, John Ammann, and Mayor Slay - A St. Louis judge has ruled that city voters do not have a right to weigh in on public spending for a proposed new football stadium north of Laclede's Landing.

"Judgment shall be, and hereby is, entered in favor of Plaintiff Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority and against Defendant City of St. Louis on Plaintiff’s Petition for Declaratory Judgment. City Ordinance 66509, Chapter 3.91 of the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis, is hereby declared INVALID."

Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice
YouTube | Fair Housing conference

Updated 4:30 p.m. with comments from Civil Rights Division and react - A 20-month investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice has found the St. Louis County Family Court violates the constitutional rights of children in its custody.

Andre Anderson, the new interim chief of the Ferguson police department, listens as Mayor James Knowles announces his appointment to the job on July 22. City manager Ed Beasley is to Anderson's left.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

A 24-year veteran of the Glendale, Ariz., police department will take the reins in Ferguson for the next six months.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles announced Wednesday that Andre Anderson, who has led Glendale's Criminal Investigations Division, will take over the 50-officer Ferguson department on July 23. He'll have the job for six months, replacing Al Eickhoff, who took over after former chief Thomas Jackson resigned in March.

William Woods, the special agent in charge of the St. Louis office of the FBI, announces the Mission SAVE task force with chief Sam Dotson (L) and Mayor Francis Slay (R) Flanked by St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson.
UPI | Bill Greenblatt

One hundred five people have been killed in St. Louis so far this year, putting the city on pace for nearly 200 homicides in 2015. Many more than that have been shot or put in danger of being shot.

Now, city officials are looking to a new local-federal task force to slow the pace of violence in the city.

California Department of Corrections

Updated 1:25 p.m. July 17 with the third ruling.

A Missouri judge has ruled that the state Department of Corrections violated the sunshine law when it refused to disclose the name of the pharmacy that supplies drugs for lethal injections.

Leah Gunning Francis, second from left, locks arms with Rev. Karen Anderson, Betty Thompson, Rev. Traci Blackmon and Valerie Richmon of Austin, Tx at the front of the Mother's March on October 18, 2014.,
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is joining a legal fight to retain a criminal charge officials say is necessary to control the gun violence plaguing the city.

The city, the Archdiocese of St. Louis, SSM Healthcare, the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber are joining together in a amicus curiae brief (friend of the court) to the state Supreme Court. In three cases, St. Louis judges threw out unlawful possession of firearms charges based on their reading of Amendment 5.

Alderman Lyda Krewson has introduced a measure to change the name of Confederate Drive in Forest Park to East Cricket Drive.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

An alderman from the central corridor has launched an effort to remove a commemoration of the Civil War from Forest Park.

The full text of 28th Ward Democrat Lyda Krewson's measure is just nine lines long. It renames Confederate Drive, an approximate 600-foot-long road that runs past the Confederate memorial near the visitors' center, to Cricket Drive East.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
Sarah Kellogg/St. Louis Public Radio intern

A measure that would boost the minimum wage in the city of St. Louis for most workers got back on track Friday, following a contentious Board of Aldermen debate that lasted nearly an hour.

The bill appeared dead two weeks ago when the chairman of the Ways and Means committee, Alderman Joe Vaccaro, abruptly canceled all future meetings. He told reporters at the time he saw no way for anyone to achieve a "reasonable compromise" before aldermen went on summer break.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay wants to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. But the big could run into legal problems if Gov. Jay Nixon doesn't sign a bill authorizing increases before August 28.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Mayor Francis Slay is throwing his support behind a compromise proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage.

The measure unveiled Thursday is an effort to break a political logjam and pass the legislation in what appears to be a narrow window of time

Sam Dotson and officers listen to James Clark before a hotspot patrol in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Crime in the city of St. Louis continues to be higher in 2015 compared to the numbers from last year.

Statistics released Tuesday by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police show crime was up nearly 14 percent overall in the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, though the rate of increase has slowed each month. Every category of crime except rape and arson was up by double digits.

City of Pine Lawn website

The former mayor of Pine Lawn will spend 33 months in federal prison for extorting money from businesses in the tiny North County town.

Sylvester Caldwell pleaded guilty on April 13 to forcing the owners of a towing company and a convenience store to pay at least $2,600 to protect their businesses. He also admitted that he frequently took items from the convenience store without paying. The plea agreement included a recommended sentence between 27 and 33 months. 

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch delivers a keynote address at a Saint Louis University law school  symposium on policing after Ferguson on February 20, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 9:00 am Tuesday with a copy of the order.

A St. Louis County judge has short-circuited an effort to oust prosecutor Bob McCulloch from office.

Judge Joseph Walsh on Thursday dismissed what’s known as a quo warranto action filed by four North County activists. The group was asking Walsh to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the way McCulloch handled the Darren Wilson grand jury. That prosecutor could have officially challenged McCulloch’s right to hold office if misconduct was discovered.

Jamala Rogers (bottom left) and John Chasnoff (bottom right) after the civilian oversight board they have championed for 30 years received initial approval on April 15, 2015
Katelyn Petrin/St. Louis Public Radio

The process of getting the new St. Louis police civilian oversight board up and running has taken another small step forward.

An aerial view of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street.
(courtesy NGA) / National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, NGA

Legislation authorizing the city of St. Louis to borrow as much as $20 million to buy land to keep a major employer within the city's borders narrowly squeaked through preliminary approval on Thursday.

The Board of Aldermen approved the measure Thursday by a 13-11-1 vote amid confusion about the final outcome. It needs one more vote before going to Mayor Francis Slay's desk.

The Missouri Supreme Court is soliciting comments and suggestions from residents on how to improve municipal courts statewide.
Steakpinball | Flickr

Defendants in St. Louis municipal court who face the risk of being arrested because they didn’t pay a fine or fee are getting a second chance.

The city announced Wednesday it is cancelling a total of 56,000 warrants that had been issued to individuals who failed to pay. Those 29,000 people will get a letter offering them a new court date and a chance to explain why they did not pay the initial fines and court costs.

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, D-21st Ward, listens in at a recent hearing of the Board of Aldermen's Legislative Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

An effort by St. Louis alderman Antonio French to add an additional set of eyes to police policy is running into some headwinds.

French introduced a resolution on May 21 that would create a special committee to look at officer-involved shootings between January 2014 and the end of this year and recommend changes to policy or city law. The board's rules committee held its second hearing on the measure Wednesday without taking a vote. A third hearing of that standing committee is scheduled for next week.

(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a constitutional amendment that broadened gun rights in the state.

Voters approved Amendment 5 in August 2014 with 61 percent of the vote. It made the right to own firearms, ammunition and other accessories in the state "unalienable," and said any form of gun control should be subject to "strict scrutiny." The amendment also allowed the open carrying of guns.

(Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated June 30, 2015 with appeals court ruling - A Missouri appeals court panel has rejected an effort by St. Louis-based activists to limit the economic incentives by the city to Peabody and other energy companies.

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

Updated 9 a.m. Tuesday with news of Supreme Court's action - The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a challenge by Missouri death row inmates to the state’s execution protocol.

The high court on Monday denied a request from the inmate's attorneys to consider the case. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that in order to win their claims that Missouri's lethal injection cocktail amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, inmates had to show that a viable alternative was available.

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