Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Rachel Lippmann

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 every dog she possibly can, or spending time with the great friends she’s met in more than nine years in this city.

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

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Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

The decision by a St. Louis grand jury to indict Gov. Eric Greitens for felony invasion of privacy has raised a number of legal issues.

We’ve looked at what it means politically, and what happens next in the court process. We’ve also tried to answer some of what you want to know. Here, we try to explain some of the legalese.

Gov. Greitens' booking photo from Feb. 22
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Feb. 22, 2018

Updated Feb. 23 at 9:10 a.m. with  additional comments from Kim Gardner — A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Gov. Eric Greitens for felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman without her permission. Greitens was arrested Thursday afternoon, but was released without having to post bond. 

One of his attorneys, Edward Dowd, said in a statement that he plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges.

“In forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this. The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent,” he said.

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen will wait a few months before voting on a bill that would change the city’s residency requirement.

A committee heard public testimony on Alderwoman Carol Howard’s bill earlier this month but did not take a vote. The current session of the board essentially ends in March, and Howard, D-14th Ward, now says she will wait until lawmakers come back after the break for a new session in April to get a different version approved.

Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri.
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Feb. 21 with St. Louis on the Air conversation with reporter Chris McDaniel

Original story from Feb. 20 — A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that a St. Louis-area compounding pharmacy with a troubled safety history has provided execution drugs to the state of Missouri for the last four years.

Sources told BuzzFeed News reporter Chris McDaniel that Foundation Care, based in Earth City, supplied the drugs for 17 executions since February 2014. Foundation Care denied its participation in executions to McDaniel, and did not respond to requests for comment from St. Louis Public Radio.

A fire rages out of control in a warehouse after walls collapsed during a five-alarm fire in St. Louis last Wednesday. Nearly 200 St. Louis firefighters battled the warehouse containing numerous paper products and nearly 200,000 candles.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

St. Louis voters will decide this summer whether the city should borrow about $50 million to buy new fire equipment, upgrade electrical panels at City Hall, install permanent air conditioning at the city jail known as the Workhouse, and other projects.

Aldermen sent the bond issue to Mayor Lyda Krewson on Friday. Her signature will place the borrowing on the August ballot, when it will require a two-thirds majority to pass. The bond issue will not increase taxes.

Alderwoman-elect Annie Rice
Carolina Hidalgo | 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 Alderwoman-elect Annie Rice to the show.

Rice defeated 8th Ward Democratic Committeeman Paul Fehler on Tuesday to represent the ward in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The 8th Ward takes in the Shaw, Southwest Garden, Tower Grove South and Tower Grove East neighborhoods.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis protests outside Planned Parenthood on Forest Park Avenue.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Protesters trying to speak to patients getting care at Planned Parenthood’s clinic in the Central West End would have to do so from farther away under a bill approved Wednesday by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s public safety committee.

Abortion rights advocates, including NARAL Missouri and Planned Parenthood, have been trying to pass a so-called buffer zone for nearly 14 months. The full board could take its first vote on the legislation next week.

Annie Rice, the independent candidate for 8th Ward Alderwoman
Rice campaign via Facebook

Updated Feb. 13 at 10:05 p.m. with quotes from Rice — An immigration attorney who is also a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement will join the Board of Aldermen later this month as the representative of the 8th Ward.

Annie Rice, who ran as an independent candidate, beat the Democratic nominee, Paul Fehler in Tuesday’s special election 60 percent to 40 percent in unofficial results. She will serve the remainder of Steve Conway’s term. Conway resigned in November to become the city’s assessor. Turnout in the ward, which covers parts of the Shaw, Tower Grove East and Southwest Garden neighborhoods, was about 28 percent.

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in St. Louis’ 8th Ward will go to the polls on Tuesday to pick their new alderman. The seat has been vacant since November, when long-time alderman Steve Conway resigned to become the city’s assessor. The ward covers parts of the Shaw, Tower Grove East and the Southwest Garden neighborhoods. 

Two candidates — Democrat Paul Fehler and independent Annie Rice — are vying to fill the rest of Conway’s term. Whoever is elected can run for a full term in 2019. Here are some key things to know about Tuesday’s election.

Greyson and Darth Vator roam in the St. Louis Carriage Company stables paddock. There are seven horses currently at the stable, said office manager and driver Jenny Holzum, while 11 others are at a farm taking what she described as a vacation.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has suspended, for now, an effort to ban carriage rides on city streets.

Aldermen on Friday were expected to give first-round approval to a measure sponsored by Joe Vaccaro, D-23rd Ward, that kept horses from city streets unless they were part of a parade or a police detail.

Courtesy of the city of St. Louis

Updated at 12:45 p.m. Feb. 8th with audio — Voters in the 8th Ward, around Tower Grove Park, will go to the polls on Tuesday — Mardi Gras — to pick their new representative at City Hall.

The seat opened up in late November when Steve Conway, who had served as alderman for 27 years, resigned to become the city assessor. The winner will be the ninth new member of the Board of Aldermen elected since April.

George Allen and his mother Lonzetta Taylor speak to reporters on Nov. 14, 2012 after a judge threw out Allen’s 1983 conviction for rape and murder. His family has settled a federal civil rights lawsuit for $14 million.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

The city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri will pay nearly $14 million to the family of a man wrongfully convicted of the 1982 rape and murder of a St. Louis court reporter.

George Allen died in 2016. His sister Elfrieda and his mother, Lonzetta Taylor, agreed to a settlement in the the federal civil rights lawsuit in December, although the case was not officially dismissed until last week. The first payment of $5 million was due in January.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden poses for a portrait in his office at police headquarters on Olive Street.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

2017 was a violent year in the St. Louis region. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department handled 205 homicides. St. Louis County detectives investigated 55 more.

Getting the 2018 numbers down is a priority for law enforcement at all levels, and the team leading that effort looks much different than it did last year.

city hall with flowers
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in 10 years, Missouri’s auditor is going to take a closer look at the way the city of St. Louis operates.

The city is required to undergo a financial audit every year. But the review announced Wednesday by Auditor Nicole Galloway will also look at whether the city is following its own rules and policies when it comes to things like budgeting, contracting and open meetings.

Speaker of the House Todd Richardson (L) and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson (R) listen as Chief Justice Zel Fischer delivers his State of the Judiciary address on January 24, 2018.
Tim Bommel | House Communications

Missouri Chief Justice Zel Fischer wants the state’s lawmakers to help him expand the reach of the state’s drug court program.

“Right now, there are 15 counties with no access to any type of treatment court,” Fischer told legislators Wednesday morning in his State of the Judiciary speech. “Individuals addicted to opioids and other substances in these areas are restrained by county lines they cannot see.”

Missouri Supreme Court building
David Shane | Flickr

Can a woman who disagrees that life begins at conception exempt herself from Missouri’s informed consent laws around abortion?

The state Supreme Court is considering that question following oral arguments on Tuesday. But first, they have to consider whether the woman, identified as Mary Doe in court documents, has made a strong enough legal argument to avoid having the case thrown out.

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger said his transition into his new office is going much more smoothly than last week.
File photo | Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's attorney general has accused St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger of multiple violations of the Missouri Sunshine Law.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Josh Hawley, a Republican, accuses Stenger, a Democrat, of failing to respond to records requests by the deadline set in state law. Stenger’s office is also accused of failing to have one person handle all records requests.

A view looking out on the rotunda from the second floor of St. Louis city hall.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

An effort to change the city of St. Louis charter and eliminate the residency requirement for city employees is underway.

Aldermen on the city’s legislation committee heard about two hours of testimony on the measure Wednesday night. A vote by the committee and the full Board of Aldermen will come on later dates. Because it’s a charter change, eliminating the residency requirement would also take a 60-percent vote of the people.

Chief John Hayden said police believed the rash of killings over the weekend  to be drug related in a press conference on Monday.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

A plan by the top two public safety officials in St. Louis to battle crime by directing more resources to higher-crime areas has the backing of aldermen on the public safety committee.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden and public safety director Jimmie Edwards spent more than two hours addressing questions from committee members on Wednesday. Both pledged to come before the committee as often as needed to update its members on the progress of the plans, but asked for help from the lawmakers as well to meet their goals.

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

A St. Louis alderwoman wants to lift the requirement that St. Louis employees have to live in the city.

Carol Howard, D-14th Ward, said she introduced the measure after hearing from the director of personnel that requiring people to move into the city was making it hard to fill vacant positions.

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