We know that you listen to us on air and check our website for news and information about our region. We hope that you look at our website every day, but we know that's not always possible. So, once a week, on Friday, we will highlight some of the website's top stories.
Making the grade
How can we get our kids to improve academically? That question motivates much of our education coverage. This week in our ongoing series "Accounted For," we look at whether on-site school health clinics can help boost attendance -- and performance -- as experience in other cities suggests. We also look at the expansion of a successful charter school program in our area.
Last year about half of the students at Roosevelt missed at least three and a half weeks of school, enough to be considered chronically absent. This year, administrators are on track to cut down that number by around 10 percentage points. They see a health clinic as a key part of the reduction — and are planning to do research to measure whether its services are improving attendance and classroom success.
Like many rural areas in Missouri, a trip to the dentist can be an hour or more each way. That’s hard on poor families who lack transportation and the ability to take time off from work to see a dentist who accepts Medicaid. Northwest’s Superintendent Paul Ziegler saw the dental clinic as an opportunity to help his students. “Having a tooth ache is not something that’s going to lend itself real well to paying attention and focusing in school,” Ziegler said.
The charter school operator is opening a new location for kindergarten and first grade in north St. Louis this fall and plans to have six schools in St. Louis five years from now. KIPP Victory, which expects to open with 220 students in kindergarten and first grade, will be the second location for the highly regarded nationwide charter school operator, following the opening of KIPP Inspire, a middle school, in 2009 in south St. Louis. A high school could come later; all of the schools will be sponsored by Washington University.
St. Louis on the Air explores the difficult issue of child abuse: Thirty-four children died in Missouri in 2012 because of abuse or neglect. Seven of them were in St. Louis. All told, more than 13,000 reports involving almost 20,000 children were filed in the St. Louis region in 2012. About 900 of those reports were substantiated, with almost 50 percent of the cases receiving some sort of services.
Welcome to Birdland
Forget red states, blue states, purple states. There's only one color that means anything this time of year -- Cardinal Red.
Cardinal baseball is probably the closest thing you can get to a government-sanctioned religion without running afoul of the First Amendment. It is a passion that unites a city from April to September and beyond.
Is history on the verge of repeating itself? Then-U.S. Sen. John Ashcroft helped make his national reputation with his opposition to Judge Ronnie White's nomination to the federal bench.
Nearly 15 years after the U.S. Senate rejected his nomination to be a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Ronnie White is getting a second chance. President Barack Obama has nominated him again for the same type of judgeship. His chances of confirmation appear more favorable than 1999, but some conservatives are raising similar issues — White’s opinions on death penalty cases — that derailed him before. Is his nomination in trouble again?
Wide, wide world of art
One of the best things about the arts scene in St. Louis is its diversity, quality and unpredictability. Here are but two examples of how it goes beyond the conventional.
Metro's “Unsorted” premieres for public audiences Saturday at Wydown Elementary School in Clayton. Created as a play about gender differences, it’s now being touted as a production that says all differences are OK. The commissioned work by New York playwright Wesley Middleton stars personified clothing or “Clothings,” as they’re called, including competitive Skirt and cozy Sweater. They resist being sorted into two different piles, as a character named Jacket demands they must.
As home to works such as Eero Saarinen’s “Gateway Arch” and Richard Serra’s “Twain” and to places such as Laumeier Sculpture Park and CityGarden, St. Louis has established itself as a formidable player in the public sculpture arena. This reputation is likely to be bolstered by the Monument/Anti-Monument Conference here from April 10-12. It is part of the Sculpture City St. Louis 2014 initiative.
Rest in peace
Two prominent local elected officials lost their courageous battles with cancer this week.
Democratic state Rep. Ellinger, who never lost the zeal that thrust him into activism, died at his home in University, on April 9, of a rare and aggressive form of liver cancer. A longtime resident of University City, he was 72.
St. Louis County Councilwoman Kathleen Kelly Burkett has died at the age of 68. Burkett, D-Overland, was diagnosed with cancer last year while serving as chairwoman of the St. Louis County Council. She continued to serve as a councilwoman while undergoing chemotherapy, but she had been absent from meetings the past few weeks