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

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Grand Glaize facility
Screenshot | Google Maps

Updated on Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 1:30 p.m. with information on more evacuations and road closures.

Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard on Tuesday to help rain-weary communities deal with near-record flooding.

Nixon said in a statement that the guard would provide security in evacuated areas and direct traffic around closed roads. Forty roads remain closed due to flooding in the Missouri part of the St. Louis region, out of 225 statewide.

This photo of Coldwater Creek flooding was taken from the Dunn Road bridge on Monday.
Paul A. Huddleston

Update 2:30 Dec. 29 with guard activated - Floodwater from Coldwater Creek in north St. Louis County is not radioactive, but it could still pose a health risk.

That’s according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is testing and cleaning up contaminated yards and parks along the creek.

The only law enforcement agency licensed by the FAA in Missouri or Illinois to operate drones uses two UASs units.
Provided by Illinois State Police

The Illinois State Police drones have flown nearly 50 missions since May, and the department says they are fulfilling the goal of making police work more efficient.

The state police was the first law enforcement agency in Illinois to get permission to use unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles. They’ve mostly been deployed at accident scenes, for a total of 48 hours of flight time.

Runners pass the Confederate Monument in Forest Park.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Mayor Francis Slay wants a memorial to Confederate war dead out of Forest Park — a move that means the 101-year-old granite statue will likely head to storage.

s_falkow | Flickr

Two small Missouri cities are drawing heat from the state auditor for charging court fees that aren’t allowed by state law.

Democrat Nicole Galloway found that the municipal courts in St. Ann, and Foristell, in St. Charles County, were both generally well-run. But in reports released Tuesday, her office said both charged fees that were not authorized by state law.

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Mathematical algorithms power almost everything these days, from trades on the New York Stock Exchange to your Facebook feed. Now, the St. Louis County police department is betting it can reduce crime by using something called predictive policing.

After heated debate, Alderman Sharon Tyus, D-1st, left, voted against the stadium funding bill, while Aldermen Antonio French, D-21st, center, and Jack Coatar, D-7th, voted for.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday with Board of Estimate and Apportionment vote - St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green voted against the stadium financing deal Wednesday afternoon as expected.

The comptroller is a member of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, along with the mayor and president of the Board of Aldermen. Mayor Francis Slay and President Lewis Reed both voted for the deal.

Screenshot | ashleymadison.com

Remember Ashley Madison?

It's the website owned by a Toronto-based company that promised a discreet place for men and women to arrange affairs.

But any veneer of discretion -- and of security -- went out the window in August when a group calling itself the Impact Team released the personal information of all 37 million Ashley Madison customers. That data included the usual -- names, e-mail addresses, credit card numbers -- but also more intimate details like sexual fantasies.

The hack predictably resulted in a multitude of lawsuits against Avid Life Media, the parent company. And it'll be up to a St. Louis-based judge with the Eastern District of Missouri to sort it out - at least at first. 

David Noah Bell, the new nominee for the civilian oversight board's 3rd District, chats with mayoral staffer Patrick Brown after Bell's confirmation hearing on Dec. 9
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The new civilian oversight board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is a step closer to full membership.

The city's public safety committee on Wednesday gave unqualified approval to David Noah Bell, a registered nurse and resident of the 26th Ward. 

Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The city’s comptroller says she has a way to get the St. Louis Fire Department the equipment it needs, without raising taxes.

Darlene Green has asked aldermen to pass a $25 million general obligation bond issue so the department can purchase at least some of the new trucks it needs. All of its vehicles are at least 10 years old, and back-up equipment was built in 1989.

This artist's rendering shows an aerial view of the massing model of the new football stadium, looking southwest.
HOK | 360 Architecture

The fight to force a vote on funding for a proposed new football stadium in the city will now be fought solely in the courts.

The Convention and Tourism committee on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have put the proposed financing plan on the March ballot. The vote was 5-3 in opposition.

August 2014 St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

The organization representing African American officers of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department says it has lost confidence in chief Sam Dotson.

"We are tired," said Ethical Society of Police president Sgt. Heather Taylor, at a Tuesday press conference. "We're exhausted with some of the internal practices under chief Sam Dotson. We feel undervalued as officers."

police car lights
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Updated 5 p.m., Nov. 24, with medical examiner findings -- An official autopsy report on the death of Amonderez Green, 18, in Normandy last month concludes that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Mayor Francis Slay and attorney general Chris Koster listen to speakers at a second accountability meeting for politicians on Nov 23.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

In a major policy shift, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has announced that he could support giving the new civilian oversight board subpoena power, and moving it from the umbrella of the public safety department, under certain circumstances.

The announcement came at a second "accountability meeting" arranged by a variety of activist groups as a platform for politicians to announce exactly what steps they will take to fulfill the recommendations of the Ferguson Commission. Slay was unable to make the first meeting, on Nov. 1.

Protesters outside St. Louis County headquarters on Feb. 2, 2015 call for reforms of the municipal court system.
File photo by Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

About a year ago, Missouri attorney General Chris Koster sued 13 municipalities in St. Louis County who weren’t complying with the state’s law on traffic revenue.

It was one of a series of cases at the state and local level filed against cities for the way they operate their municipal courts. And the architects of the strategy say it's working.

Supporters of legislation that would force a public vote on funding for the new football stadium show the results of a city-wide poll on the use of public dollars.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to force a citywide vote on public funding for a proposed new football stadium north of Laclede's Landing remain alive at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, but future forward progress will be difficult.

Members of the city's Convention and Tourism Committee heard two hours of testimony on 15th Ward Democrat Megan-Elliya Green's bill Monday without taking a vote.

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed signs legislation creating a civilian oversight board for St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Applicants should have their resumes in to be considered to head the newly formed Civilian Oversight Board.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signed legislation creating the board back in May. Its seven civilian members will oversee the internal affairs investigations of complaints made about the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and can in certain circumstances launch its own investigation.

Officer Phil Green, an instructor in the St. Louis Police Academy and chief Sam Dotson present to the subcommittee on police use of force on Nov. 19, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly six months after he first asked for the authority to do so, Alderman Antonio French has started his review of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s use-of-force policies.

French's subcommittee on police use of force held its first meeting Thursday. He had originally hoped for a special committee that would study officer-involved shootings, but the legislation authorizing that committee never passed. A subcommittee can be created without a vote of the Board of Aldermen.

(all photos via Missouri Department of Conservation)

Though it's generally well run, the Missouri Department of Conservation has had trouble following directions.

That is the conclusion of a report released Friday by auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat.

Members of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment conduct a silent protest during a public hearing on municipal court reform on Nov. 12, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the working group created to study and propose reforms to municipal courts in Missouri heard from three main camps at a public hearing on Thursday, which stretched for nearly three hours.

One believes the system is fine, and many of the problems identified are being addressed. Another acknowledges there are problems, but wants to keep reforms local. The third, and largest by far, wants the Supreme Court to force the consolidation of municipal courts.

Jeffry Smith drinks a bottle of water inside the Saint Louis Zoo while wearing an empty gun holster on Saturday, June 13, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Over the next few days, gun-rights activists will challenge the limits of the Missouri’s gun laws in different ways.

On Friday, an attorney for Ohio activist Jeffry Smith will ask St. Louis circuit judge Joan Moriarty to allow Smith to bring a handgun into the St. Louis Zoo, despite signs declaring it a gun-free zone.

Clockwise from top left - FF. Jeff Weffelmeyer, FF. Jessica Jackson, Capt. Garon Mosby, FF. Chris Tobin and Capt. Larry Conley.
UPI | Bill Greenblatt

Five members of the St. Louis Fire Department are on their way to Kenya.

Captains Larry Conley and Garon Mosby, and fire privates Chris Tobin, Jeff Weffelmeyer and Jessica Jackson will join 20 other firefighters from across the U.S. and Canada for the first-ever All-Kenya Fire Academy. The academy, a project of Africa Fire Mission, will bring together firefighters from across that country to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, for 10 days of classes.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

On Nov. 6, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen officially accepted federal funding to help the circuit attorney's office develop a program to help certain individuals avoid a felony gun conviction.

Images from St. Louis International Film Festival

This year St. Louis Public Radio is reviewing films from The St. Louis International Film Festival that relate to prominent issues facing our city.

In this installment, St. Louis Public Radio looks at films that offer a multitude of perspectives on race as it affects culture on a local, national and international scale: "Four Way Stop," "Goodbye Theresienstadt," "Finding Bosnia," "My Friend Victoria," "Korla!" and "Aram, Aram."

Alderman Scott Ogilvie, D-24th Ward, is also on board with the business licensing streamline effort.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Small business owners in St. Louis who work exclusively out of their homes will get some relief from regulations under a measure expected to pass the Board of Aldermen on Friday.

Images from St. Louis International Film Festival

This year St. Louis Public Radio is reviewing films from The St. Louis International Film Festival related to prominent issues facing our city.

Yesterday we reviewed films that dealt with crime and crime prevention. Today we’ll provide reviews of select movies that tackle different perspectives on quality of life issues.

It's a broad topic, so it's a big list: "T-Rex," "The Invitation," Good Ol' Boy," "Keeping Rosy," "Unlikely Heroes," "Frame by Frame," "Radical Grace," "Echo Lake," "24/7/365," "Bounce" and "I Can Quit Whenever I Want."

Footage of cell phone video of the Aug. 20, 2014, death of Kajieme Powell
Video provided by St. Louis Metropolitan Police

Updated at 5 p.m. Tuesday with comments from prosecutors. Two St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers will not face criminal charges in the death of a 25-year-old man who was killed less than two weeks after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Kajieme Powell was shot and killed outside a convenience store in the city’s North Point neighborhood on Aug. 19, 2014, after he advanced with a knife on officers who had responded to a disturbance call. 

Here at St. Louis Public Radio we know our listeners rely on us for to provide context, quality storytelling, and deep dives into the characters behind today’s news. We’re applying this approach to bring you reviews from this year’s St. Louis International Film Festival organized by the issues facing St. Louis and the surrounding area.

Each day reviews will be organized by issue as explored in select films from the festival. These categories are not literal representations of how these topics manifest in St. Louis but maintain a broader look into the various perspectives we use to address these concerns.

(Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio)

A statewide group that advises the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says the federal government needs to be gathering a lot more information about police tactics in Missouri and across the country.

The brief report summarizes two days of public hearings the Missouri Advisory Committee held last year in Kansas City and St. Louis. Members will have until Jan. 11 to comment on the summary. A full report is due in April.  

Maya Angelou's birthplace, at 3130 Hickory St. in the Gate District.
| City of St. Louis

A 127-year-old brick two-story in the Gate District is the city’s latest landmark.

The house at 3130 Hickory St. was the birthplace of author and activist Maya Angelou, who was born Marguerite Johnson in April 1928. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved the designation as a city landmark on Friday, limiting the alterations the owners can make to the property.

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