City of St. Louis | St. Louis Public Radio

City of St. Louis

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ budget committee on Wednesday approved the city’s $1.1 billion spending plan that is set to take effect July 1.

Members voted unanimously to send the budget to the full Board of Aldermen, a much different outcome than one last week when the committee deadlocked 3-3. The panel had to approve the budget this week in order for the full board to meet the deadline.

Cincinnati Health Department

The St. Louis Health Department could soon be looking for someone to replace director Melba Moore, who has led the department since 2015.

A Cincinnati board city board voted unanimously Tuesday to hire Moore as that city's next health department commissioner. According to the board’s chairman, the hire could be done as soon as the end of the week.

(L-R) Paul Crane, Irene Augustin and Cynthia Duffe talked about the issue of homelessness in St. Louis and the new local film "Living in Tents" portrayal of it.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Filmmaker Paul Crane didn’t know much about homelessness until he happened across a tent city while walking around taking pictures in downtown St. Louis.

The blue tarps set up along the Mississippi riverfront sparked Crane’s curiosity and eventually led him to direct the documentary, "Living in Tents.”

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about the new documentary film, which features the stories of homeless people in St. Louis and more broadly, the issue of homelessness in St. Louis.

Every day is an exercise in tight decisions for Corey Robinson. “If you only make $8.50, you gotta use your money wisely,” he said. “Do you feel like eating today, or do you feel like getting on the bus?”
Kae M. Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

On his first job out of college as a corrections officer for St. Louis County in 1984, Perez Maxwell noticed that no black men had social work roles. When he sought a promotion to social worker two years later — a position he said he had the education and training to win — he hit a wall.

That was just the first of several jobs where Maxwell observed that he and his black colleagues lost out on leadership roles that went to white counterparts with similar education.  

He can’t help but think that helps explain why many black people in St. Louis continue to be paid much less than white people. Black households made 49 percent of what white households made in St. Louis, based on median incomes in the most recently available census data, which detailed how the nation changed in 2016.

The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership

Fairfield Processing, the manufacturer known for its Poly-Fil brand of synthetic stuffing material, will bring more than 100 jobs to St. Louis’ North Riverfront neighborhood. Wednesday’s announcement came after the manufacturer moved its facility from Granite City to St. Louis last summer.

The relocation brought 50 full-time jobs with it, but company officials said they plan to add another 100 jobs in the next five years.

An illustration of a group of four people sitting around a table.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen last week took a big step toward adopting one of the recommendations in the Ferguson Commission report.

By approving the Office of Community Mediation on a 26-0 vote, the city is embracing the idea that with a little help, communities can handle some disputes on their own, rather than relying on the police or the judicial system.

Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books, stand next to the ResiSTL display table.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

The protests in St. Louis over the last three weeks have topped the news almost daily.

Even for those who stay up on what’s happening, there may be questions about how this came to pass again, just three years after race-related protests in Ferguson.

Delving into St. Louis’ history of racial division and relations between police and black people can seem overwhelming. St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman set out to make a reading list with recommendations from people who are used to being asked.

Matt Ridings | Flickr

 

Tower Grove Park in south St. Louis will see some renovations and improvements over the next few years. Park officials are unveiling a 20-year master plan on Wednesday.

The park’s new master plan includes expanding and enhancing some of the more popular areas of the park, including the farmer’s market.

The park’s executive director, Bill Reininger, said more than 200 people attended an open house in January and over 1,200 people have made suggestions for the park’s renovations through an online survey.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson just passed the mark of 100 days in office as mayor.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

July 27 marked the 100th day in office for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.

She joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in-studio for the full hour on Thursday, discussing her accomplishments thus far, missed opportunities and what challenges she foresees ahead.

While on the program, she addressed:

St. Louis' Civil Courthouse - May 2017
Maria Altman / St. Louis Public Radio

Businesses in St. Louis will have to pay their employees at least $10 an hour starting Friday, rather than the state's minimum of $7.70.

A circuit court judge lifted an injunction against a city ordinance on Thursday, a little over a week after the Missouri Supreme Court declined to reconsider its February ruling upholding the law

Mexican immigrants participating in English and Citizenship classes for new immigrants organized by the YMCA Industrial Commission. There was additional programming, like, apparently this trip to Forest Park.
State Historical Society of Missouri

Fewer than 4 percent of St. Louis city and county residents are Latino. While the Midwest as a whole has a reputation for very small Latino populations, St. Louis County Historian Daniel Gonzales says it wasn’t always on track to be that way.

Gonzales has been focused on uncovering forgotten narratives since he started his job about a year and half ago. One such story is the subject of an academic publication he's working on. It relates to the 19th and 20th century Mexican immigration to St. Louis, how the community was encouraged to blossom, and then pushed out.

LED light beside a decades old bulb-based streetlight fixture.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

An initiative to update streetlights could save the City of St. Louis more than $150,000 a year. Installation of new LED technology is already underway and the city says the effort should improve lighting, especially in some dark areas on local roads.

The initial phase involves nearly 5,000 LED fixtures that will replace current high-pressure sodium light bulbs on major routes like Grand Boulevard and Kingshighway.

Mayor Francis Slay signs the benchmarking ordinance in Feb. 2017 that will require buildings that are at least 50,000 square feet to track and share their energy use.
Photo provided by Office of Mayor Francis Slay

A new ordinance requires owners of St. Louis buildings of at least 50,000 square feet to track their energy use. The practice, called benchmarking, is expected to save local residents and businesses nearly $8 million annually in energy costs by 2025.

It could also address the city's contribution to climate change, removing greenhouse gas pollution that's equal to what 15,000 cars would emit. 

"Seventy seven percent of our [carbon] emissions are coming from buildings," said Catherine Werner, the city's sustainability director. "So why not target those buildings to reduce those emissions?"

An energy efficient light bulb.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Nearly 80 percent of St. Louis' greenhouse gas emissions comes from buildings, according to 2015 data from the city's sustainability office. A new partnership with a national energy efficiency initiative could help St. Louis address the impacts its buildings have on the environment. 

The city recently joined the City Energy Project, a joint initiative by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation, which provides funding and resources to cities to create programs that improve energy efficiency in buildings. St. Louis expects to receive over $500,000 in assistance from the project. 

"In tackling our greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings, a program that focuses on existing buildings is going to help us achieve some of our climate protection goals and objectives," said Catherine Werner, the city's sustainability director.

courtesy PayIt

St. Louis residents can now pay their property tax, water and trash bills from their phone or other mobile device.

The city’s Collector of Revenue office is among the first to work with PayIt, a mobile technology startup based in Kansas City. The app went live this week.

Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly said convenience is important, especially when getting people to pay their taxes.

Patrick Brown was recently named St. Louis' new chief resilience officer.
File photo | Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay recently announced that his deputy chief of staff, Patrick Brown, would become the city’s first chief resilience officer.

Mow to Own
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

The parcel next to Eltorean Hawkins’ home looks like his side yard.

He’s been mowing the grass and cutting the weeds since he bought his house two years ago, even though the land belongs to the city's Land Reutilization Authority.

Now all Hawkins has to do is pay $125 and keep mowing for another two years, and the deed goes to him.

It’s called Mow to Own.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

This is a developing story and will be updated. Mayor Francis Slay is not seeking a fifth term in office.

The longest-serving mayor in the city's history made the announcement Friday at a hastily called press conference at City Hall. He was first sworn in in 2001.

"I will not be a candidate for mayor next year," Slay said. As recently as March 28, he had indicated he would be seeking another term, and said as much on our Politically Speaking podcast.

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.

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.

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