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

Ferguson courthouse
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

Updated August 13 at 2 p.m. with comments from the city and auditor — A new report from state Auditor Nicole Galloway finds the city of Ferguson has made important changes to its municipal court.

But the audit released Monday also found city officials still have not taken action to secure and repair damaged court documents.

Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, stands near the memorial to her son on August 10, 2018 to announce that she will run for Ferguson City Council. Aug. 10, 2018
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Brown’s mother says she wants to transform the pain of losing her son four years ago into political action.

Lezley McSpadden stood in front of the memorial to her son on Canfield Drive Friday, surrounded by the family’s attorney and supporters, to announce a bid for Ferguson City Council.

Wesley Bell celebrates with his supporters at La Mexicana in St. Ann on August 7, 2018. He drew on a broad coalition of voters to beat Bob McCulloch 57 percent to 43 percent.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Wesley Bell’s victory in the Democratic primary for St. Louis County prosecutor demonstrated an ability to construct a broad coalition of support while also turning out voters in traditionally African-American areas of the region.

Bell, who beat seven-term incumbent Bob McCulloch by 17 percentage points Tuesday, will be the first African-American to hold the post.

Wesley Bell, who defeated the longtime St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch, addresses an exuberant crowd at La Mexicana in St. Ann on August 8, 2018.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

In a stunning upset, Wesley Bell easily beat longtime St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

With no Republican running, Bell’s primary win essentially clinches the office, which will make him the first African-American to hold the St. Louis County prosecutor’s post.

Candidate signs outside a polling place in St. Louis' Shaw neighborhood on August 7, 2018.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Here's how tonight's live blog is going to work. We'll update this post with the latest numbers, insight from our reporters in the field, and other interesting tidbits we see along the way. The feed is in reverse chronological order, which means the newest information will be at the top of the post. Scroll down to see all our earlier coverage.

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell, left, is challenging seven-term incumbent Bob McCulloch, right, in the Democratic primary for St. Louis County prosecutor.
Jason Rosenbaum and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bob McCulloch won a seventh term as St. Louis County prosecutor on Aug. 5, 2014. Four days later, 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson.

Brown’s death at the hands of a white police officer brought the racial disparities in the region’s criminal-justice system to the forefront and made national figures of both McCulloch and his opponent in the Democratic primary, Wesley Bell.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger confers with Councilman Pat Dolan at a Dec. 19, 2017, meeting of the St. Louis County Council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s Politically Speaking takes a look at three competitive elections in St. Louis County. It comes as relations between St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and the St. Louis County Council have deteriorated.

Stenger is facing an expensive bid for re-election against businessman Mark Mantovani. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch is engaged in an increasingly high-profile race against Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell. And two Democrats are challenging Councilman Pat Dolan’s bid for re-election.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Photo taken July 24, 2018 for his Politically Speaking appearance
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch joined the Politically Speaking team to talk about his bid for re-election to an eighth term.

McCulloch is one of the longest-serving elected officials in Missouri. He’s squaring off against Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell in the Aug. 7 primary. Because no Republican filed for the position, the winner of the August contest is all but guaranteed a four-year term.

Ferguson Councilman Wesley Bell
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell comes back to the Politically Speaking podcast to talk about the race for St. Louis County prosecutor.

The Democratic official is taking on incumbent St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, one of the longest serving local officials in the entire state. Because no Republican signed up to run, the winner of the Aug. 7 primary will serve a four-year term.

Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny speaks after being introduced as the team's 49th manager on November 14, 2011. The Cardinals fired Matheny on July 14, 2018 after six and a half seasons.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated July 15 at 1 p.m. with comments from Cardinals officials and interim manager Mike Shildt — Mike Matheny, a former Gold Glove catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals who would go on to become the team’s manager in 2011, was fired Saturday night after a loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said at a press conference Sunday that the decision to remove Matheny was made Friday. Team officials fired Matheny the following evening. The Cardinals also fired hitting coaches John Mabry and Bill Mueller.

File Photo. Alderman Terry Kennedy says the delay in naming a St. Louis poet laureate could stretch into next year.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters of a measure that would reverse a planned reduction in the number of aldermanic wards in St. Louis will use the Board of Aldermen’s summer break to get more support lined up for their bill.

Aldermen adjourned Friday until Sept. 7 without giving final approval to two charter changes. One would eliminate the residency requirement for most city employees — the other would put the 2012 ward reduction back in front of voters.

St. Louis Alderman Shane Cohn, D-25th Ward, in a picture taken June 27, 2018
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, Rachel Lippmann and Jo Mannies talked with St. Louis Alderman Shane Cohn, D-25th Ward.

Cohn, who grew up in Clayton, represents the Dutchtown, Mount Pleasant and Carondelet neighborhoods in south St. Louis. He was first elected to the Board of Aldermen in 2009 and is in his third term in office.

Ferguson-Florissant parent Redditt Hudson (left), attorney Dale Ho, and past school candidate Willis Johnson at a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the Ferguson-Florissant schools on December 18.
Diane Balogh | ACLU of Missouri

Updated at 2:25 p.m. July 3 with comments from the ACLU — A federal appeals court in St. Louis has ruled that the way the Ferguson-Florissant School District elects its board members violates the rights of black voters in the district.

A three-judge panel on Tuesday determined that Ferguson-Florissant’s at-large election means black voters have “less opportunity to elect their preferred candidate than other members of the electorate,” even though three-fourths of the district's students are black. The decision upholds a 2016 lower court ruling.

Gerard Carmody has been named a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of perjury associated with the prosecution of the Eric Greitens criminal case.
Carmody MacDonald

A St. Louis judge on Friday named a local attorney to oversee the investigation into a former FBI agent who worked with prosecutors on the Eric Greitens case.

Judge Michael Mullen agreed with the city that Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner had a conflict of interest when it came to the agent, William Tisaby, and appointed a special prosecutor. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating allegations that Tisaby lied under oath, and Gardner is a potential witness.

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 gave its approval to a $1.1-billion spending plan that includes more money for vacant-building demolition and help for the homeless.

The 22-2 vote, with one alderman abstaining, marked the end of what had been a difficult budget process. Aldermen had to find ways to close a $14-million gap, despite several new sources of revenue, and the city’s budget committee often had trouble holding meetings because not enough members showed up.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, in a photo taken at St. Louis Public Radio on June 28, 2018
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft – who’s in the midst of a flurry of pre-election activity.

A Republican, Ashcroft was elected during the state’s GOP election landslide of 2016. That year, Missouri voters also approved a photo-ID requirement at the polls.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley appeals a judge's ruling to block two abortion restrictions in the state.
WP PAARZ | FLICKR

The city of Ferguson says it plans to keep prosecuting about 1,500 municipal court cases that attorneys filed before 2014 — a decision that bothers advocates who point out they were the product of a policing system the federal government found unconstitutional.

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.

Pages