Fri April 18, 2014
The Rundown: Poetry, Butterflies And Hard Realities
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.
Coming down to the wire
The Missouri legislature has just about a month to go before it adjourns. The next four weeks should speed by as the legislature takes up some of the most contentious issues.
Supporters of Medicaid expansion in Missouri continue to work on swaying opponents in the General Assembly over to their side. While it appears they have a long way to go, and the clock is ticking on the legislative session, some key advocates say they may be close to turning the tide, at least when it comes to a scaled-back expansion that would be paired with reforms.
With roughly a month left to go before adjournment, many of the Missouri General Assembly’s big issues remain unresolved. That’s not too surprising. Big-ticket legislation often passes – or dies -- in the last weeks of the session. With about a month to go before the final gavel falls, the verdict is still out on some major bills.
East West divide
Chesterfield, one of our region's largest, most prosperous and dynamic municipalities, is booming. St. Louis, the heart of our region, is trying to stem population decline and attract new residents and businesses. A healthy metro area needs both to thrive.
Chesterfield received plenty of attention recently when it snagged two high-profile festivals away from the city of St. Louis. But the hubbub over the Taste of St. Louis and Bluesweek’s exodus may be part of a larger story. Since its relatively recent incorporation in 1988, Chesterfield has boomed in population and established itself as a major commercial center. No longer a remote and largely rural community, Chesterfield has lured big corporations to set up shop and has established sizable retail developments.
St Louis on the Air talks with local architect Dan Jay, who is conducting a thought experiment: What would the city look like if it regained a population of 500,000? (That would mean an increase of 185,000 residents). It's an idea that has caught the attention of Mayor Francis Slay.
Power of one
These stories are a testimonial to individual vision. There's Aaron Williams who is using his eccentric passion -- croquet -- to help instill the wonder of poetry in young students, like eighth-grader Kalise Harris, who in turn is turning difficult experiences into art.
On Wednesday, 83 seventh-graders will perform an exercise in courage: reading their original poems at the Missouri History Museum in front of an audience. It’s the final event of the 7th Grade Poetry Foundation, called “Poetry on Their Own Terms.”
When St. Louis attorney recruiter Aaron Williams became interested in croquet 30 years ago, it was about partying, not poetry. Getting some friends together to play croquet in Forest Park was just “something to do.” But soon, croquet became a passion that grew to include collecting croquet-themed items. Now Williams hopes his assortment of 1,200 objects, including 275 framed pieces of art, can encourage middle-schoolers to put their feelings on paper. Williams is selling the collection to expand his 7th Grade Poetry Foundation.
The suspected killer in the shootings in Overland Park, Kan., had a long and well-known history of anti-Semitic writings and statements.
When Ellen Futterman heard the name of the man suspected of shooting three people to death at two Jewish agencies in suburban Kansas City, she thought back to a telephone interview she did in 2010. As part of her work on a series of stories about hate crimes published in the St. Louis Jewish Light and the St. Louis Beacon, Futterman, the Light's editor, spoke by phone to Frazier Glenn Cross, better known as F. Glenn Miller, an avowed anti-Semite, now charged in three hate-related murders in the Kansas City area.
A better way
Here's a brilliant idea -- treating the cause, not just the symptom.
Christian Hospital is revamping the way it handles 911 calls. Besides dispatching an ambulance to the site of a perceived emergency, the system requires that a specially trained EMS worker also go to the scene to learn more about the 911 call. These workers decide whether 911 callers need emergency room care, or if they can get by with less intensive care for non-emergency problems.
Depending on how tuition calculations for transfer students are figured for the coming school year, the Normandy School District — if it still exists — could end the next school year with a deficit of as much as $11.7 million, district officials said Tuesday. Addressing the latest meeting of a task force formed to determine options for Normandy’s future, Mick Willis, the district’s assistant superintendent of operations, presented four scenarios for the 2014-15 school year.
I'll never forget visiting Pismo Beach in California at the tail end of the Monarch's annual visit there. Thousands of butterflies were clustered in the trees -- and even back then park rangers were warning of the grand migration's possible end.
Every year, monarch butterflies undertake what seems like an impossible journey. By the millions, they leave their summer breeding grounds in the United States and Canada to fly thousands of miles to a small area of alpine forest in central Mexico. Ecologist Lincoln Brower, who has been studying monarchs for almost 60 years, talked about the monarch's remarkable migration and the threats that may cause it to disappear.
Politics & Issues