Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

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

Basketball players take advantage of the Fox Park courts in April 2017.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

Jeffrey Perry doesn’t mind having to leave his St. Louis neighborhood to shoot some hoops with friends.

“It’s not the hoop, it’s the company,” Perry said as he and Calvin Lonzo played a little one-on-one in Fox Park recently. But he remembers when he didn’t have to go as far away from his home in Shaw to find a court in a public park.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to law enforcement officials Friday morning at the Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. (March 31, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been more than a week since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he wanted to review all agreements between the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and local police departments — a move that could have a major impact in Ferguson.

If the consent decree that came after the August 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown goes away, there would be no independent monitor to oversee the significant changes to the police department’s training and operations, including a new use-of-force policy. It’s not clear who would pick up the accountability baton.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner takes the oath of office at the Old Courthouse on January 6, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner  is wrapping up 100 days in office this week as the first African-American to hold the position.

Gardner, who is the city's top prosecutor, has used most of her first weeks trying to improve the relationships between law enforcement and people of color.

MetroLink train at station
File photo | Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

Officials are considering "all options" to make the MetroLink system safer after the second fatal shooting on the light rail system in two months, the head of St. Louis' public transit agency said Thursday.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles speaks to reporters in February 2016 after a City Council vote to amend the Department of Justice consent decree instead of approving it outright.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In an apparent vote of confidence, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles won re-election Tuesday over City Council member Ella Jones.

Knowles, who has been the face of the municipality since Michael Brown’s fatal shooting in 2014 by an officer thrust it and its racial divisions into the international spotlight, barely missed having to face a recall election in 2015. He beat Jones, who would have been the city’s first African-American mayor; unofficial results show the vote was 2,133 to 1,594.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to law enforcement officials Friday morning at the Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. (March 31, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Pledging money, research and expertise for local law enforcement, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions brought a face to the Trump administration’s pro-police message during a speech Friday in St. Louis.

He also made general mention of the 2014 unrest in Ferguson after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white officer, and the tensions between police and African-Americans.

File photos | Kelly Moffitt and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Tuesday’s election is the first in 16 years in which St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is not on the ballot and a Republican is running for the office.

Democrat Lyda Krewson and Republican Andrew Jones have been knocking on doors and meeting with voters for months now. Here’s a brief recap of who they are and where they stand on the big issues facing St. Louis.

Ferguson police officers record protesters on W. Florissant Avenue on Aug. 9, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Shortly after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer in August 2014, the department’s on-duty officers started wearing body cameras while on duty. And the federal government’s consent decree, which came in response to Brown’s death, mandated Ferguson officers wear them.

But a group of Ferguson residents wants to put the use of cameras into the city charter as a means of ensuring it continues long after federal oversight is over.

New Life Evangelistic Center founder Rev. Larry Rice, left, speaks at a press conference denouncing the bill that would regulate giving to the homeless Wed. July 6, 2016 as his son Chris Rice looks on.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis voters will have six mayoral candidates to choose from when they go to the polls April 4.

Aside from Democrat Lyda Krewson and Republican Andrew Jones, the list includes Green Party nominee Johnathan McFarland, Libertarian Robb Cunningham and independent candidates the Rev. Larry Rice and Tyrone Austin.

Ferguson Police Department
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It's been nearly a year since the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Ferguson signed a consent decree to reform the city's police department and municipal courts. And both sides acknowledged Wednesday that they aren't as far along as they should be.

Webster Groves fire Capt. Jason Simpson puts a sign in the yard of a Proposition R supporter on March 12, 2017. Prop R is one of several public safety tax increases on the St. Louis County ballot in April.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in St. Louis County, various municipalities, and in St. Clair County in Illinois are being asked to open up their wallets during the April 4 election. Up for approval: a series of tax increases to boost spending on public safety.

There’s general agreement that the police and fire departments need the extra money, but requests by both specific municipalities and St. Louis County could confuse voters. Here’s a look at each ballot measure:

JCC St. Louis via Facebook

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating another bomb threat, this one made Tuesday, against the St. Louis Jewish Community Center. 

It's the second one in less than two months, and also comes after more than 150 headstones were toppled at a historic Jewish cemetery in University City in February.

Someone emailed the threat on Tuesday night, according to St. Louis County Police Sgt. Shawn McGuire. K-9 units responded to both the Creve Coeur and Chesterfield JCC locations for protective sweeps around 9 a.m. Wednesday, though no one was evacuated. 

Juan Thompson portrait from The Intercept
The Intercept

A St. Louis man charged with making bomb threats against several Jewish institutions will remain behind bars until his trial.

Juan M. Thompson, 32, is too much of a threat to the community to be released without any restrictions, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Noce ruled Monday.

Kacey Cordes | Twitter

A St. Louis judge will not force the city's Board of Election Commissioners to put an independent mayoral candidate on the April ballot.

Kacey Cordes paid the required $1,318.20 fee when she filed for office on Feb. 13. But because she was running as an independent, she did not submit any signatures, claiming she was not required to do so as an independent candidate. The Board of Election Commissioners rejected her filing, and St. Louis Circuit Judge Joan Moriarity upheld that decision in a short ruling issued Monday.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10:30 a.m. March 9 with comments from Michael Barrett — A new lawsuit alleges the state of Missouri routinely violates the rights of people who need public defenders because of those attorneys’ large caseloads.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday alleging that public defenders cannot pay enough attention to their clients, who have been charged with crimes ranging from stealing to murder. That, the ACLU claims, violates the state and federal constitutions.

Campaign workers encourage passers-by to vote for 19th Ward incumbent Marlene Davis. (March 7, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Let the turnover at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen begin. Voters in Tuesday's primary election chose their preferred Democratic candidates for five open seats and turned out one of six incumbents up for re-election.

The evening's upset was Dan Guenther, who won the 9th Ward with 64.2 percent of the vote. He beat longtime Alderman Ken Ortmann, who had the backing of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

Lyda Krewson thanks her supporters, family and campaign staff after winning the Democratic mayoral primary election by 888 votes.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson emerged from a crowded field of candidates, many of them well-known city leaders, to win Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary. 

With all precincts reporting, Krewson had 32.04 percent of the vote to city Treasurer Tishaura Jones' 30.38 percent — just 888 votes.

On the Republican side, utility executive Andrew Jones handily beat out his two competitors — one of whom, Crown Candy Kitchen owner Andy Karandzieff, had said he entered on a whim and didn't really want to be mayor. Both Jones and Krewson move on to the April 4 general election, where they'll face at least five candidates from other parties.

The St. Louis Children's Hospital's logo, which replaces the 'n' in 'Children's' with an image of the Gateway Arch, is printed all over the hospital campus, including the entrance off Kingshighway Boulevard. Spokeswoman Abby Wuellner said the logo represe
File photo|Nassim Benchaabane | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Children’s Hospital is working to help kids avoid being a repeat victim of violence.

Margie Batek, the supervisor of social work at the hospital, developed the program in 2014. She will publicly present three' years worth of data for the first time Tuesday.

Courtesy of the City of St. Louis

Tuesday’s primary election isn’t just the first step in choosing a new mayor for St. Louis, but also portends the beginning of significant turnover at the Board of Aldermen. In addition to five open seats, incumbents could be upset in a number of wards — including aldermen who have not faced serious opposition in more than 10 years.

 

Here’s a guide to the contested wards, the candidates and what they’re promising. Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot:

Lisa White Hardwick (L), Benjamin Lipman (C) and Brent Powell (L) are the three nominees to replace Richard Teitelman on the Missouri Supreme Court.
Supreme Court of Missouri

Two judges and a lawyer from St. Louis are the candidates for the open seat on the Missouri Supreme Court. The Appellate Judicial Commission, which interviews applicants for appeals court-level judges, announced the nominees Wednesday. Whoever is chosen will replace Judge Richard Teitelman, 69, who died in November. 

Jimmie Matthews, January 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome former St. Louis Alderman Jimmie Matthews to the program.

Matthews is one of seven Democratic candidates running to become St. Louis’ mayor.  We’re seeking to interview as many candidates as possible before the March 7 primaries.

Courtesy of the City of St. Louis

Tuesday’s primary election isn’t just the first step in choosing a new mayor for St. Louis, it also portends the beginning of significant turnover at the Board of Aldermen, which expects its largest freshman class since 1991.

 

Five aldermanic seats are open. Here’s a look at who is running and what they’re promising. Candidates are listed in order they will appear on the ballot.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signs an increase in the St. Louis minimum wage into law on Aug. 28, 2015.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:50 p.m. Feb. 28 — St. Louis' minimum wage can go up to $11 by 2018, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Its unanimous opinion ruled that a 2015 ordinance does not conflict with the state’s minimum wage of $7.65 an hour.

Janie Oliphant, left, fixes a LGBT rights flag held by Cody Copp and Samuel Taylor so they can have their picture taken at a rally and march in St. Louis on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017.
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Two of the three people arrested at Saturday's LGBT march in St. Louis were transgender women. And allegations made by one of them have raised questions about how transgender prisoners are treated in St. Louis.

St. Louis Public Radio could not independently confirm claims made by activists on social media that corrections officers threatened to put a transgender woman in a cell with men and deliberately used the wrong pronoun to identify her.

The transgender woman was never in a cell with men, said Maggie Crane, a spokeswoman with Mayor Francis Slay's office. The city houses prisoners based both on sexual identity and where they feel safest, not on biological sex, Crain said.

Andrew Jones, February 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis Republican mayoral candidate Andrew Jones to the show for the first time.

Jones is a utility executive and one of three GOP candidates vying to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. Andrew Karandzieff appeared on the podcast last week, while efforts to reach Jim Osher to appear on the show were not successful.

Tishaura Jones 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo 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 welcome back St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones to the show.

Jones is one of seven Democratic candidates running to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. All seven contenders in the March 7 primary have now taped an episode of the podcast.

Jones, the daughter of former St. Louis Comptroller Virvus Jones, made her first bid for public office in 2008, when she successfully ran for a state House seat  slice of eastern St. Louis.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been a violent couple of years in the city of St. Louis, one measure being the 188 homicides in 2015 and 2016.

A decrease in property crime drove the overall crime number down between 2015 and 2016, but violent crime was up more than four percent in 2016 compared to 2015.

All of the Democratic candidates for mayor know addressing crime will be a top priority if they’re elected. Most of them have very similar plans. Not all of them have faith in current Police Chief Sam Dotson to implement those plans.

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

There will be at least five new faces when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen returns in April — the largest freshman class since 1991. And depending on the results of the March primaries, as many as six others could join them.

That much turnover could change the way the Board works and the policies it passes.

Andy Karandzieff in 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome mayoral candidate Andy Karandzieff to the program.

Karandzieff is the owner of Crown Candy Kitchen, a culinary institution on St. Louis’ north side. He’s running as a Republican, though he freely admits his candidacy is more a publicity stunt.

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Bill Haas, January 2017
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas to the program.

Haas is one of seven Democratic candidates running to become the next St. Louis mayor. Each of the Democratic candidates have been interviewed on the podcast ahead of the March 7 primary election.

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