Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

Through the Positive Ticketing Program (first started in Canada), North County police will reward kids doing good or showing good behaviors with "tickets" for free food or tickets to events.
Courtesy of Royal Canadian Mounted Police - Wood Buffalo

Under a new program, police in north St. Louis County are handing out "tickets" to young people — for doing good deeds.

The "Positive Ticketing Program" recognizes and rewards young people for making contributions to their community and showing good behavior. In addition to police issuing the "tickets," members of the public, school administrators and clergy can also nominate a young person who has done good works. 

Detours for drivers using interstates to get around downtown St. Louis this weekend
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

MODOT will close sections of I-55 and I-44 south of downtown this weekend. For more details, our original report follows:

Some drivers headed into downtown St. Louis are in for a complicated route beginning this weekend.

A major closure off the Poplar Street Bridge will affect downtown traffic.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Transportation

Some drivers headed into downtown St. Louis are in for a complicated route beginning this weekend.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is closing the westbound Poplar Street Bridge ramp leading to Interstate 55/44 south for a month, starting Thursday night.

One demonstration garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden gives city-dwellers inspiration for plants that do well in small lots.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Whether your garden needs a little TLC or needs to be planted in the first place, the St. Louis area has some unique gardening hacks to help even the brownest thumb among us.

With resources like the following at the tips of your gardening gloves, St. Louis makes it easy to get your garden on.

What to plant

One of the studies suggests many Missouri women might be choosing between keeping their jobs and caring for family members.
Courtesy of GSCSNJ | Flickr

Two new reports on women's political participation and representation and work-family supports for women are giving Missouri middling rankings.

The studies are part of a larger series by the nonprofit Institute for Women's Policy Research on the "Status of Women in the States."

The Saint Louis Zoo's curator of birds Michael Macek works to conserve Humboldt penguins in Punta San Juan, Peru.
Courtesy of Saint Louis Zoo

The St. Louis Zoo is spotlighting its efforts to save threatened wildlife Saturday with educational activities and a children's scavenger hunt during its 10th annual Endangered Species Day.

Zoo CEO Jeffrey Bonner called the institution a leader in animal conservation, but he acknowledges that many people don't know about its vital role in saving wildlife.

Thirteen-year cicadas will begin emerging in southeastern Missouri in mid-May.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

They’re ba-a-ack. Those noisy cicadas with their bright red eyes and dark bodies soon will emerge again in Missouri and Illinois after years underground, poking holes in the soil starting in mid-May.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds families with higher levels of education attain more wealth, and that the wealth gap between educational attainment levels is growing.

But the authors also stress that education alone does not explain the differences in these outcomes.

Photo of police car
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Do police do enough to de-escalate encounters with people who may be mentally ill? Why do police use guns against a person with possible mental health issues who is armed with only a knife?

These are questions that seem to crop up after any incident in which police use deadly force against someone who seems to suffer from mental health issues. They arose last week after the fatal police shooting of a man with a history of mental illness in Jennings, and after the death of Kajieme Powell last year in St. Louis.

A group of activists say Andre Cole didn't receive a fair trial nor a proper defense. They're asking Gov. Nixon to halt Cole's execution Tuesday.
Courtesy of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

A group of activists is calling on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to put a hold on Tuesday's execution of a black man they say was unfairly convicted by an all-white jury.

In addition, a letter they sent to Nixon asks him to establish a special board of inquiry to "investigate whether the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office has intentionally and systematically excluded African Americans from jury service in capital cases." 

The Harambee Youth Training program, which teaches kids tuckpointing skills, received a HUD-funded community development block grant from the St. Louis city's community development administration in 2014.
Courtesy Harambee Youth Training Program

St. Louis highlighted accomplishments this week that it made using millions in federal grant money. These include funding 13 youth programs, developing about 325 new or rehabbed housing units, and hosting other programs for low to moderate income residents last year.

Red and violet hues are seen in discoloration on the Gateway Arch, as an engineer and scientist from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., studies its exterior.
Courtesy of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

The stains on the Gateway Arch's steel surface are not due to significant structural distress, deterioration or corrosion, according to the results of a comprehensive study on the monument's structural health released Thursday.

St. Louis Public Library's Central Library, which opened in 1912, was funded through monies from Andrew Carnegie. Five of the library's neighborhood branches funded by Carnegie are still in use today.
Courtesy of St. Louis Public Library

As of its sesquicentennial year, the St. Louis Public Library boasts 17 neighborhood branches and more than 2 million annual visitors.

Steakpinball | Flickr

The Missouri Supreme Court is asking members of the public to write in about their experiences, both good and bad, at municipal courts around the state.

The Missouri National Guard says it is focused on recruiting and retaining more minority soldiers so that its units more closely reflect the communities they serve.
Missouri Army National Guard Recruiting Office | Facebook

The Missouri National Guard reports it has diversified its ranks by 25 percent over the last year, even as some law enforcement agencies around the state have struggled to do so.

Missouri needs more internet service producers to connect underground fiber networks to customers to increase high-speed internet access, a new FCC report says.
Dan Chace | Flickr

Nearly a third of Missourians - or about 1.8 million people - lack access to high-speed internet, according to a report last month from the Federal Communications Commission. That means Missouri ranks 15th among all states for the highest percentage of residents not served by fiber networks that can deliver such high speeds.

The St. Louis region grew slightly in 2014, but the city dropped by about 1,000 people, according to new Census data.
U.S. Marine Corps Flickr page

The latest U.S. Census Bureau data shows the St. Louis region has grown little in population since 2010, but also has remained fairly stable.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

The outcome of East St. Louis’s mayoral election next month could play a major role in the city’s efforts to boost economic development and public safety. One key issue in the race involves the operating hours of the city’s late-night clubs and liquor stores.

Two-term incumbent Alvin Parks Jr. wants to allow the businesses stay open until at least 6 a.m. to generate extra tax revenue. Parks' name has been taken off the ballot by a court, but he's still running.

via Flickr | Alex Ford

A new report is criticizing many local governments in the St. Louis area for a lack of transparency.

As documented in the nonprofit organization Better Together's "Transparency Report," the group attempted to obtain basic financial and operational information from dozens of area municipalities that should be publicly accessible under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

Longtime Ferguson resident Ruffina Farrokh Anklesaria chants "Give Peace a Chance" at a pro-Ferguson and pro-police rally outside the Ferguson Police Department.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

About 75 police and Ferguson supporters demonstrated outside the city's Police Department Sunday afternoon, protesting against hostility toward police and calls for the city’s mayor to resign.

A new initiative aims to increase St. Louis youth's exposure and service at public outdoor spaces, like the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (pictured), through programs, job opportunities and summer camps.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

St. Louis is one of 11 cities participating in a new federal initiative to get more young people to play and, one day, possibly work or volunteer on public lands. 

Judy Baxter, via Flickr

A new study shows low-income children in Missouri will have a harder time getting ahead compared with their wealthier peers than those in past decades.

Found to be in critical shape, MoDOT closed the I-44 Outer Road bridge over the Gasconade River in Laclede County back in December due to deterioration.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Transportation

Thirty-eight bridges in the greater St. Louis area are just "a step or two from being closed" due to deterioration, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

They are among the nearly 600 bridges statewide that officials say are currently rated in poor to serious condition, but aren't funded in the state's five-year plan for improvements. 

New Life Evangelistic Center director Larry Rice (center) said the emergency homeless shelter will seek an injunction against a city deadline to reduce its overnight beds.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:45 p.m. May 28

Rev. Larry Rice, city of St. Louis attorneys and neighborhood stakeholders are continuing with mediation that could allow his homeless shelter downtown to remain open and avoid going to trial this September.

According to a spokeswoman for New Life Evangelistic Center, the parties met for 9 hours on Wednesday in Clayton, but reached no final agreements.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay (center) signs into law the Veterans Preference Bill, giving veterans extra points on applications for city jobs. The bill was sponsored by 22nd Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd (right).
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Veterans now will get preference when they apply to work for the City of St. Louis, after Mayor Francis Slay signed the measure into law Monday.

After passing a civil service exam, veterans will be given an additional five points on their applications. Disabled veterans will get another five points on top of that, for a total of 10 points.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has put out a call for trooper applicants, while it acknowledges it has struggled to attract minority recruits. The agency's 99th recruit class graduated in December.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Public Safety, Flickr

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is trying some new tactics to attract more minority candidates as it opens the application process for its next recruit class.

Paul Sableman | Flickr

A rare, mid-19th century, triangular type of house known as a "flounder" is the subject of a survey being conducted by the city of St. Louis.

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch delivers a keynote address at a Saint Louis University law school  symposium on policing after Ferguson on February 20, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

In a speech interrupted three times by protesters, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch gave a full-throated defense Friday of the way his office handled the case of former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. 

St. Louis landowners can apply for MSD grants to build "rainscaping projects" like rain gardens. The Old North Rain Garden (pictured here) was part of MSD's pilot rainscaping program.
Courtesy Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is offering as many as 50 new grants to encourage local landowners to install rainwater collection systems on their properties.

The grants of up to $3,000 would fund projects like rain gardens, rain barrels, green roofs, pervious pavement and other methods that collect rainwater, known as "rainscaping." 

Ameren Missouri's largest coal-fired power plant in Labadie, Missouri.
File photo | Veronique LaCapra I St. Louis Public Radio

Ameren is asking for more time and pitching an alternative plan to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to cut power plant carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

The EPA's Clean Power Plan would require states to meet incremental goals starting in 2020, to measure progress toward the final target reduction. 

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