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.

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.

STL Youth Jobs will offer paid summer work to 450 young people over the next several months, but hopes to increase that number to 500.
STL Youth Jobs

STL Youth Jobs launched the first day of its 2016 summer work program Wednesday, while also announcing it has received a financial boost to fund more positions.

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss greets residents outside the Ferguson Police Department hours after being sworn in as chief.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson's new police chief said he and U.S. Justice Department officials are "on the same page" about moving forward with reforming the city's police department, following their first in-person meeting Wednesday.

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

Voters may get a do-over in a couple municipal races after the April 5 election saw major ballot shortages at more than 60 polling places throughout St. Louis County.

The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners voted Tuesday to instruct its lawyers to ask a court whether those ballot issues justify new elections for the mayor of Berkeley and the 2nd Ward alderman in Sunset Hills.

President Harry Truman signed this official portrait during his first term in office. The autograph reads: To the Key Club, a great organization in a great city, St. Louis, with best wishes and happy memories. Harry S Truman
Harry S Truman Library & Museum

If you're surprised to find some courts and state offices in Missouri closed Monday, you might not know about Truman Day — an official state holiday celebrating the president who was raised in Independence, Mo. 

The Kursk Root Icon is annually venerated at Orthodox parishes across North America.
St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church | Facebook

Several Orthodox Christian churches in the St. Louis area are hosting a centuries old icon over the next few days.

The Kursk Root Icon is a painting of the Virgin Mary, known as the Theotokos, that is said to date to the 13th century in its namesake town in Russia. The icon, associated with miraculous healings and events, annually travels to the North American parishes that are part of the Russian Church Outside of Russia (which is now a reconciled part of the Russian Orthodox Church).

Devin Lawson of south St. Louis County works to dry out the boilers in the Wabash, Frisco and Pacific Railroad Association's 12-inch gauge steam engines.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The volunteer crew at the Wabash, Frisco and Pacific Railroad Association in far west St. Louis County is back on track after it was almost derailed by severe floods along the Meramec River late last year.

The ridable miniature railroad in Glencoe opens for the season this Sunday, the first time it will run for the public since the flooding. 

The Conservative movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards recently decided that abstaining from legumes during Passover is more of a long-standing tradition and not a rule.
Gilabrand | Wikipedia

Barbara Shamir’s Passover table may get one new addition this year, to accompany the tender brisket, rich potato kugel, gefilte fish with a horseradish sidekick, and ubiquitous flourless chocolate cake.

It's tehina -- also called tahini -- once banned, now welcome at her table, thanks to a rabbinical dispensation.

In previous years, Shamir, of Olivette, would not allow her husband, Amos, to prepare or serve this sesame seed-based sauce during the holiday. That’s because the condiment contains “kitniyot,” foods that include legumes, certain seeds and peas. For many Ashkenazi Jews, or those of Eastern European descent, kitniyot is not kosher to eat during Passover.

Fifteen-thousand newborns will get free books and a tote bag of swag as part of the St. Louis County Library's expanded "Born to Read" program.
Pixabay

A St. Louis County Library program that gives books to newborns to boost early childhood literacy is doubling in size this year.

Designed by Arcturis Inc., the expanded Civic Center Transit Center in downtown St. Louis will include bigger bus bays, a new building, bathrooms, digital arrival time boards, and concessions.
Metro Transit

Passengers who use the busy Civic Center Transit Center in downtown St. Louis will have to pick up their MetroBuses at a different site starting Monday, as work on an expansion project begins.

This fall, U.S. Census Bureau workers will come to St. Louis to verify, using in part smartphones, the agency's address lists, compiled using a new method. Those lists will help the Bureau conduct the 2020 Census.
U.S. Census Bureau

If you've ever wondered how the U.S. Census Bureau prepares to count the nation's population every 10 years, a new test being done in St. Louis offers some insight.

Bulldozers and dump trucks are what's in store for the vacant mall most recently known as Crestwood Court as redevelopment plans are in the works. Thousands of residents came to say good-bye at a food truck festival held Saturday.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Santa Claus. That’s the first thing Carol Feldman thinks of when she recalls her childhood memories of the mall known then as Crestwood Plaza off Watson Road.

Zika virus, here shown as a digitally-colorized transmission electron micrograph, can be transmitted by mosquitoes or sexually.
Cynthia Goldsmith | Centers for Disease Control

A research team at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is using genetically modified mice to be able to test possible vaccines and treatments against the Zika virus.

A worker for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources collects a soil sample as part of testing for radioactive contamination around West Lake Landfill.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Updated at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, with information from the EPA:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will clean up radioactive contamination confirmed to be found in soil on private property adjacent to the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. 

Delrish Moss
Provided by the Miami Police Department

Ferguson has selected a veteran of the Miami police department to be its new police chief.

The North America Outgames in St. Louis would have featured several running events, including half and full marathons, as well as softball and swimming.
Courtesy STL Equality Games, LLC

The 3rd North America OutGames, which was to be held in St. Louis around Memorial Day weekend, has been canceled due to low registration numbers and lacking financial support.

Applying for a passport or renewing one can be done in person or by mail, but will take weeks longer than it used to.
Stowe Boyd | Flickr

Getting a new or renewed passport in the next several months will take longer than usual, as the U.S. State Department's Passport Services expects it will soon get a glut of applications.

Eric Fey, St. Louis County Board of Elections director, demonstrates how to select an audio ballot versus the large-print option on the iVotronic system.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio.

Election officials in St. Louis and St. Louis County are reassuring the public that accommodations are in place so people with disabilities can easily vote in Tuesday's presidential primary.

Republican Presidential candidate Dontald Trump points to protesters that he tells to "get out," during his speech at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 11, 2016.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Donald Trump brought his wild Republican presidential campaign to St. Louis on Friday, attracting waves of fans – and some loud foes.

The billionaire businessman’s speech in the Peabody Opera House came as voters are focusing on next Tuesday’s primaries in Missouri and Illinois. The contests could solidify Trump’s spot as the unlikely GOP frontrunner for president – or throw the Republican scramble for the White House into more turmoil.

Archbishop of New York and St. Louis native, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, drew on the papacies of popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis to discuss how religion can play a role alongside politics.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archbishop of New York, was back in his hometown of St. Louis Wednesday to give a lecture at Washington University's John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.

The number of island foxes living on the northern Channel Islands in California were crashing before ecological efforts to save them began in the 1990s.
Tim Hauf | Flickr

A Saint Louis Zoo scientist is partly to thank for the recovery of three subspecies of foxes native to the Channel Islands off the coast of California.

Dr. Helen Caldicott (right), an anti-nuclear activist and expert on radioactive waste, discusses how exposure to radioactive contamination could have impacted Hazelwood resident Mary Oscko's (left) lung cancer, alongside Just Moms STL's Karen Nickel.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio.

An internationally recognized anti-nuclear activist and Australian physician said the radioactive contamination in north St. Louis County is "worse than most places" she's investigated.

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

A north St. Louis County park is now clean of radioactive material from the nearby contaminated Coldwater Creek, now that remediation by the Army Corps of Engineers is complete. 

Ameren Missouri's coal fire power plant at Labadie.
Veronique LaCapra I St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to designate the area around Ameren's Labadie coal-fired power plant in Franklin and St. Charles Counties as exceeding federal air quality standards.

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