Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Stephanie Lecci

Newscast Producer

Stephanie Lecci came to St. Louis Public Radio from WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio, where she was coordinating and web producer of the news magazine show, "Lake Effect." She worked with the station from 2014 to 2017.

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.

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 largest coal-fired power plant in Labadie, Missouri.
File photo | 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.

Volunteers got a chance to enjoy drinks and snacks and socialize while volunteering at Operation Food Search's December Rap N Pack event.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Not all of the food at Operation Food Search one evening last December was going to needy families.

Rather, some were appetizers to be paired with wine and beer and enjoyed by the volunteers at the University City-based food bank, as part of its "Rap N Pack" event that mixes socializing with volunteering.

Co-founder of Just Moms STL Karen Nickel (at podium) said her group has the support of Missouri's U.S. Senate representatives in their efforts to meet with the EPA.
Just Moms STL | Facebook

An activist group of St. Louis area moms concerned about underground smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill plans to picket outside the Environmental Protection Agency's Washington, D.C. offices on Wednesday.

Flares at the Bridgeton Landfill are used to burn off smelly underground gases.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County health department said a health survey of residents living near the West Lake and Bridgeton landfills will begin in about two weeks, a year after its initial announcement.

This figure from the USGS West Lake Landfill groundwater report shows levels of radium in groundwater wells under and around the landfill. Red, orange, and yellow dots show radium contamination above the federal safe drinking water standard.
U.S. Geological Survey

In a move that environmental groups say they are “excited” and “pleasantly surprised” about, the Environmental Protection Agency said it plans to create a specific unit to study groundwater contamination at the West Lake Landfill Superfund site.

At a meeting of the West Lake/Bridgeton Landfill Community Advisory Group Monday night, the EPA also said it would conduct more testing to see if any radiological sediment had moved off the site during widespread flooding last year.

AUDIO LOG: 

Script: 
HOST INTRO: A St. Louis church hit during a string of arsons against predominantly black churches this past fall is now in a new building. St. Louis Public Radio's Stephanie Lecci reports.

This radiation warning sign is one of many posted on the chain link fence surrounding part of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
File photo | Sarah Skiold-Hanlin | St. Louis Public Radio

Residents near the West Lake landfill who have long sought a change in federal oversight are closer to getting part of their wish granted, with late Tuesday’s Senate passage of a bill that would transfer authority of the radioactive site to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Senate action came as a result of a bipartisan push by U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Ferguson court
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

Updated with details and comments from Rep. William Lacy Clay. — The city of Ferguson and the U.S. Department of Justice are approaching agreement on how to deal with the civil rights violations of the city's police departments and municipal courts.

Ferguson officials on Wednesday released a draft version of a consent decree. The city will accept written comments through Feb. 9, and at three City Council meetings. It must still be approved by the City Council and a federal judge — the agreement would end after the city completely complies with all agreement requirements for two full years.

Former Ferguson Brian Fletcher says the Pledge of Alligence before being inaugurated as a Ferguson City Councilmember last April. Fletcher died on Sunday at the age of 56.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 9:40 a.m., Jan. 12 with funeral arrangements -Brian Fletcher, a former mayor of Ferguson and a new member of the City Council, died unexpectedly Sunday. He was 56.

Fletcher served two terms as mayor from 2005 to 2011. He also served as a Democratic committeeman for 16 years, as a member of the Ferguson-Florissant School District board, as an alderman for Country Club Hills, and as a member of the Ferguson 4th of July committee and pension board.

A gun show in Houston, Texas, in 2007.
M Glasgow | Flickr

President Barack Obama detailed Tuesday his efforts to reduce gun violence nationwide, including requiring background checks, creating stricter licensing for firearms sellers, and increasing access to mental health care.

In his speech, Obama referred to Missouri, which has made headlines for its increasing homicide rate and its loosening of gun control laws. He said:

Brenda Clarke | via Flickr

For one time only, the St. Louis Public Library is giving book-hoarding patrons a chance to return their overdue items without having to pay a cent in fines. 

Ferguson City Councilmembers Brian Fletcher, Ella Jones and Wesley Bell take their oaths of office on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson city officials said they are "optimistic" that they will reach a deal with the U.S. Justice Department to overhaul the city's police department and change other policies.

The choir of United Believers in Christ Ministries opened the first service at the church's new building on Sunday with several worship songs.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

The yellow house at 8820 North Broadway in St. Louis looks like most of the others on the block, but the worship music wafting out onto the sidewalk signals this is the new home of United Believers in Christ Ministries

The windows and the glass on the door of the Planned Parenthood clinic on South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis were shattered by a vandal on Saturday.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated at 12 p.m. on December 12, 2015, with information on the arrest:

St. Louis police arrested a 43-year-old St. Louis woman in connection with an incident of vandalism at a Planned Parenthood clinic on South Grand Boulevard. 

New Life Evangelistic Center, 1411 Locust St. in downtown St. Louis.
Flickr | pasa47

Updated Dec. 9 with city permit denial - St. Louis has denied a request from the New Life Evangelistic Center to be exempted from two city code requirements as it applies for a new occupancy permit for its homeless shelter. Those city codes forbid shelters from being within 500 feet of a school, and require them to get the written support of local business owners and residents.

The Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis says a member recently received a threatening call from a man upset over recent shootings in California that authorities say were carried out by a Muslim couple.
Courtesy Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis

Updated at 9:28 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2015, with confirmation from CAIR-St. Louis:

A local Muslim leader said he received a threatening call that he then reported to the FBI.

Ground venison donated by Missouri hunters is ready to be distributed to Operation Food Search's 250 partner organizations and needy families in the region.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

Hunters can help their hungry neighbors by donating fresh deer meat through an annual Missouri Department of Conservation program.

One of the buildings of U.S. Steel's campus in Granite City, where production has been idled since around the end of 2015.
File photo | Davd Schaper|NPR

Updated at 1 p.m., November 24, 2015, to include comments from a union representative:

Dave Dowling, the sub district director for the United Steelworkers union, says he doesn't expect to know the date of the plant's idling for about two weeks.

Andre Anderson, the new interim chief of the Ferguson police department, listens as Mayor James Knowles announces his appointment to the job on July 22. City manager Ed Beasley is to Anderson's left.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Ferguson’s interim police chief is resigning after a little more than four months on the job.

Andre Anderson, a commander with the Glendale, Ariz., police department, was appointed to the department’s top post in July for a six-month contract. He became the first black police chief in the history of the city, which is two-thirds African American.

A large crowd gathers at the clocktower on the campus of Saint Louis University.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Saint Louis University is getting pushback over how long it is taking to meet diversity goals agreed to by President Fred Pestello and student protesters last year. 

Saint Louis University President Fred Pestello addresses students at the university's Clock Tower last August after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
Saint Louis University

Two of 13 initiatives from a controversial agreement between Saint Louis University and student protesters in the aftermath of Ferguson unrest aimed at improving opportunities for black students on campus have been "substantially completed" in the last year, according to a school administrator tasked with overseeing the progress.

Gary Pinkel is the winningest football coach in Mizzou history, and will retire at the end of the 2015 season.
Courtesy MU Tigers

Mizzou head football coach Gary Pinkel will retire at the end of this season.

According to a statement from the University’s Athletics Department this afternoon, Pinkel’s decision is "health-based." Pinkel, the winningest coach in Mizzou history, was diagnosed with lymphoma in May, but was able to continue his coaching duties as he was being treated.

Alton school board finance committee director Chris Norman said though negotiations went long, a teachers strike would have still been weeks away.
Courtesy Alton Community School District #11 Facebook

A teachers strike in the Alton School District has likely been averted, and a new two-year contract for teachers is one step closer to being approved.

At a special meeting Friday morning, the school board's finance committee tentatively approved a counter proposal from the Alton Education Association, which is representing district teachers.

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.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Forest Park Forever wants to hear from the public about how people enter, get around and access attractions at the green space in the heart of the city.

The Armenian viper is one of 30 endangered species of amphibians and reptiles in Armenia. A new crowd-funding campaign aims to start a new conservation center to save them.
Ray Meibaum | Saint Louis Zoo

The country of Armenia may be getting its first conservation center for reptiles and amphibians thanks to a crowd-funding campaign launched by the Saint Louis Zoo.

Pastor David Triggs (center) leads the New Life Missionary Baptist Church (soon to be United Believers in Christ Ministries) in prayer outside their burned building on Sunday.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Sunday service was a bit different this week at New Life Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis: it was held out on the lawn.

That's because the church building at Plover Avenue and Bircher Boulevard sustained significant damage following a fire on Oct. 17, one of a string of arsons against predominantly black churches in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County. 

Cloudy skies didn't keep away the crowds or stop the music at the Arch 50 Fest in Kiener Plaza marking the monument's golden anniversary.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Bubbles and music floated through the air in Kiener Plaza Saturday as crowds attended a festival to mark the Arch's 50th birthday.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

St. Louis police confirmed the city's 160th homicide earlier this week, a number that surpasses last year's murder total. 

The city is preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the final construction of the Gateway Arch, shown here from Luther Ely Smith Square in downtown.
Courtesy CityArchRiver Foundation

St. Louisans will have three opportunities to celebrate the Gateway Arch's 50th anniversary, which is one week from Wednesday.

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