Stephanie Lecci

Newscast Producer

Stephanie Lecci comes to St. Louis Public Radio from WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio, where she was coordinating and web producer of the news magazine show, "Lake Effect."

Her previous radio experience includes freelance producing and reporting for WBEZ Chicago Public Radio and serving as associate producer for the nationally syndicated political radio show, "Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont." Stephanie hails from Long Island, N.Y., and graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

A mob stops a street car during the East St. Louis race riots, which started on July 2, 1917. An estimated 500 people were killed over the course of two days.
University of Massachusetts-Amherst Libraries

One hundred years after the 1917 East St. Louis race riots a permanent monument to victims will be dedicated, and educational programs, musical and theatrical presentation, and other events will be held.

The East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission and Cultural Initiative announced its plans Wednesday. Commission vice chairman Edmond Brown, president of ELB Enterprises, said the monument will “commemorate those lost during that time, to act as a point of education as well as for healing of the community.” Commission chairman, the Rev. Joseph Brown, a professor of Africana studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, said there will also be “rituals taking place around East St. Louis to respect the places where we know people were murdered.”

Students linked arms to demonstrate unity during a planned walk out on Thursday afternoon. (Nov. 17, 2016)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 18 with corrected information about incidents — The St. Louis County NAACP is planning to host another town hall meeting to address fall-out from recent racist incidents at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, while district administrators are reaffirming their commitment to address the issues.

An energy efficient light bulb.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Nearly 80 percent of St. Louis' greenhouse gas emissions comes from buildings, according to 2015 data from the city's sustainability office. A new partnership with a national energy efficiency initiative could help St. Louis address the impacts its buildings have on the environment. 

The city recently joined the City Energy Project, a joint initiative by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation, which provides funding and resources to cities to create programs that improve energy efficiency in buildings. St. Louis expects to receive over $500,000 in assistance from the project. 

"In tackling our greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings, a program that focuses on existing buildings is going to help us achieve some of our climate protection goals and objectives," said Catherine Werner, the city's sustainability director.

Riverview Gardens Superintendent Scott Spurgeon said he is optimistic the district will return to provisional accreditation, following a recommendation from the state department of elementary and secondary education board on Nov. 23, 2016.
Kimberly Ney | Riverview Gardens School District

Riverview Gardens School District should regain provisional accreditation, according to a recommendation from officials with Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

The department released its endorsement Wednesday to upgrade the district that has been unaccredited since 2007. The state board of education will make its final decision based on the recommendation at its Dec. 2 meeting.

District administrators called it "a day of celebration."

International Institute staff and volunteers serve a Thanksgiving meal to new refugees and immigrants to the St. Louis area on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.
Hannah Westerman | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 23 with corrected numbers – Thanksgiving came a little early for hundreds of refugees and immigrants who gathered for a meal with all the trimmings Tuesday afternoon at the International Institute in St. Louis.

The Institute, which serves as the region’s “Welcoming Center for New Americans,” said it has served more than 1,000 new refugees in the last year, from countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and Iraq.

“We’re pleased that it’s an all-American holiday that has meaning all around the world,” said President and CEO Anna Crosslin.

The Rev. Brian Fallon urges high schoolers from around the St. Louis area to keep and open mind during the Come and See retreat weekend at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury on Nov. 18.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Even though he's only 16 years old, Matthew Mora of Oakville is pondering a pretty mature question: whether he should go into the seminary and, possibly, become a Catholic priest. 

To help him consider this decision, he is attending the fall "Come and See" retreat this weekend at the St. Louis Archdiocese's Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury along with more than 40 other young men from the St. Louis area. 

St. Louis resident Imre Jokuti, who fought in the Hungarian resistance, drinks a toast to those lost during the 1956 failed revolution against the Soviet Union during a commemoration Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Friday marked the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union's crackdown that ended the Hungarian revolution. 

Imre Jokuti of St. Louis fought with the resistance before he fled. He shared the memories of his escape from Budapest:

Imre Jokuti, who escaped from Hungary while fighting in the revolution, sings the Hungarian national anthem at St. Mary of Victories Church on Nov. 4, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Wearing a ribbon with the Hungarian flag’s red, white and green colors attached to his lapel, Albert Futo sang a hymn in his native tongue with the St. Mary of Victories Church choir in St. Louis Friday morning.

For Futo, this special Mass commemorating the 60th anniversary of Hungary’s uprising against the Soviet Union has personal significance.

Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones says though Ferguson is getting more attention, his city suffered more damage in Monday's riots, and he wants to make sure it gets the resources to rebuild that it needs. Nov. 28, 2014 file photo.
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

A Dellwood auto parts store is back in business after it was damaged two years ago during violence that broke out during protests in neighboring Ferguson, marking another sign of progress for the city.

Monarchs are starting their annual migration through the region. This butterfly was spotted at Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park on Sept. 24, 2016.
Robert Peterson | St. Louis Public Radio

The next two weeks will offer Missourians peak opportunities to see monarch butterflies as they make their way through the state on their annual migration, even though reports indicate a shrinking population.

The Kabbalah Centre St. Louis opened five years ago, but has outgrown its space. It will hold a grand re-opening Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016.
The Kabbalah Centre St. Louis via Facebook

A St. Louis spiritual center that is only the second facility of its kind in the Midwest is growing, even as its students say many people in St. Louis don't know about it.

University of Missouri students protest a series of racist incidents on the Columbia campus in this photo from Nov. 9, 2015.
Bram Sable-Smith | KBIA

The University of Missouri is investigating a report by two black female students who said other students yelled racial slurs at them on its Columbia campus.

St. Louis area Catholics and other residents pause to pray at the corner of Delmar Boulevard and Sarah Street in St. Louis, during the Crossing the Delmar Divide pilgrimage.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

About 250 St. Louis area Catholics and other residents symbolically walked across Delmar Boulevard, the street signifying the city’s racial and economic divides, as part of what they called a “pilgrimage” Saturday.

Benton Park resident Alexis Forman didn't know what a flounder house was before she bought her rehabbed home four years ago.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Alexis Forman’s rehabbed Benton Park home has everything a typical house has: a living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms.

But every now and then, she’ll find strangers out on the street, staring up at the exterior of her brick house — and its dramatically sloping roof.

Little Sisters of the Poor local Superior Mother Gonzague Castro described on Wednesday her "mixed emotions" about the order's decision to withdraw from its St. Louis facility, as provincial Superior Mother Maria Christine Lynch looks on.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

After nearly 150 years of ministering in St. Louis, the Little Sisters of the Poor will stop operating its residence for low-income elderly individuals in the city’s St. Louis Place neighborhood.

Forest Park Forever president and executive director Lesley Hoffarth said public input will help guide future changes and upgrades at the city's most well-known green space.
Flickr |ChrisYunker

A new MetroLink station and improved bike lanes are among nine possible long-range strategies being considered to transform how people get around St. Louis’ Forest Park.

St. Louis officials and Forest Park Forever, a nonprofit group, reviewed the results of public input over the course of nine months, including 1,300 responses to an online survey and comments from open house meetings. They publicly presented the refined list of suggested improvements during an open house Thursday.

St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners Democratic Director Eric Fey presents before a committee of the whole meeting of the County Council on how April 5's ballot shortages happened.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on Aug. 11 with judge's ruling – Berkeley residents will not have a do-over election for mayor.

The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners asked a judge in May to order a new election in the north St. Louis County city. It was one of many county municipalities that experienced ballot shortages during elections earlier this year

The St. Louis Aquarium's main attraction will be  a 385,000-gallon shark tank.
Lawrence Group

Developers are planning to build a $45 million aquarium is Union Station near downtown St. Louis and they say it will feature one of the largest collections of sharks in the Midwest.

Courtney Curtis
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum is joined by colleague Stephanie Lecci and St. Louis American reporter Rebecca Rivas. The trio welcomed state Rep. Courtney Curtis to the show for the first time.

The Ferguson Democrat won a competitive primary last week for re-election. Because winning the Democratic primary in his north St. Louis County-based district is tantamount to election, Curtis will likely get to serve a third term in the Missouri House after 2017.

St. Louis' Catholic Archdiocese held a "Mass for Peace and Justice" on August 20, 2014, shortly after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The Archdiocese's Peace and Justice Commission is continuing its work with a lecture on "Black Lives Matter."
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis is hoping to help people unpack the meaning of the “Black Lives Matter” movement and recruit more members to its Racial Equity task force during an event Monday night.

Metro Transit's Jessica Mefford-Miller and Reliance Bank's Allan Ivie IV unveil the Adopt-a-Stop signage. The bank is committed to cleaning the bus stop regularly for one year.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

MetroBus passengers may notice some cleaner bus stops around the St. Louis region in the coming months.

Metro Transit is launching an effort to keep its bus stops tidy by partnering with businesses, community groups, non-profits and even individuals in St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Clair County. 

Local children eat the meal they got from Operation Food Search's mobile food truck. The free meal program makes sure kids who rely on free and reduced-price school meals get food during the summer months.
Susan Gregory | Operation Food Search

New food trucks rolling down St. Louis streets this summer are not selling tacos or burgers, but instead are bringing free meals to hungry kids. 

A crowd gathered at Ferguson police headquarters Wednesday night to stand in solidarity with Alton Sterling's community in Baton Rouge and continue to demand racial equality and police reform.
Lawrence Bryant | The St. Louis American

Near a Save-A-Lot in south St. Louis, two young men stood on Jefferson Avenue on Thursday, selling DVD’s and discussing two other men who died many miles away.

Ikane Smith, a wiry man who wore a large blue T-shirt and jeans, bounced from foot to foot. Derrek Haggins wore a white button down shirt and a black bowtie.  Both were painfully aware of the thin line separating their lives from the lives of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Younger children, like 11-year-old Tanya Raja, don't have to fast during the month of Ramadan like older Muslims do, but many start practicing at an early age.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, with its daily sun-up to sundown fasts, increased prayer and focus on charity, is drawing to a close. That means there are only a few days left for young Muslims to try to fast for the first time.

Jean Beaufort

A program started last year to make locally-produced fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable for low-income St. Louisans is planning to expand into area grocery stores.

Gymnasts prepare for the P&G Championships at St. Louis' Chaifetz Arena this weekend, during podium training on Wednesday.
USA Gymnastics | John Chen

Several of the world's top men and women gymnasts will compete at St. Louis' Chaifetz Arena this weekend, and for some, dreams of going to the 2016 Rio Olympics will be made.

CAIR-St. Louis executive director Faizan Syed said this year's Sharing Ramadan event will be the biggest yet.
Council on American-Islamic Relations-St. Louis

As many as 500 St. Louis area Muslims and non-Muslims are expected to share in food and faith traditions Thursday for a "Sharing Ramadan" event, but this time, security measures will be in place. 

The FDA must first approve updates to donor history questionnaires and donor education materials before blood centers can start taking donations from gay and bisexual men.
Canadian Blood Services | Flickr

Originally reported Thursday, March 3 and updated Wednesday, June 15 with updated timeline details — Six months after the Food and Drug Administration eliminated a decades-long ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, the restriction is effectively still in place in St. Louis and across the country.

Outgoing SBC president Ronnie Floyd (center, sixth from left) leads the panel discussion on racial unity, including two St. Louis pastors.
Van Payne | Southern Baptist Convention

Updated Wednesday, June 15 with presidential election results – The Southern Baptist Convention has selected Steve Gaines, a Memphis pastor, as its next president. 

Church representatives, or messengers, voted twice Tuesday after a close count caused a runoff election. By the next morning, North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear dropped out of the race to keep the convention "united."  The announcement came the day after the convention representing the country's largest Evangelical Christian denomination notably called on its members to "discontinue the display of the Confederate Battle Flag."

The Meramec Caverns near Stanton, Missouri have been open to tourists since 1933.
Marcin Wichary | Flickr

Updated June 9 at 6:30 p.m. - Meramec Caverns will re-open Friday morning, months after it stopped cave tours because federal regulators measured high levels of a toxic chemical known as trichloroethylene, or TCE.

The popular tourist attraction in Franklin County installed air-lock doors and ventilation, and on Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said tours in "the upper levels of the caverns" could resume.

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