City of St. Louis

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.
via Flickr | pasa 47.

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.

Flickr | DIGITIZEDCHAOS

St. Charles County remains the fastest growing county in the St. Louis region, according to U.S. census data released Thursday.

New numbers from the 2014 American Community Survey show that the population of St. Charles County has grown by about 5 percent since 2010, from an estimated 361,602 to an estimated 379,493.

Demographics analyst and Saint Louis University professor Ness Sandoval points to the county’s relatively low cost of living as the cause of the growth.

St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones diverges from Knowles and Curtis when it comes to how municipal courts affect predominantly black cities.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones is following through with her campaign promises to help reduce the number of St. Louisans without a banking account and increase the number of St. Louis children who go to college.

Through a partnership with national nonprofit Operation Hope and five area banks, the treasurer’s office is hiring a financial counselor to offer St. Louisans free advice on how to improve their credit scores, buy a home and start a business.

Steakpinball | Flickr

Defendants in St. Louis municipal court who face the risk of being arrested because they didn’t pay a fine or fee are getting a second chance.

The city announced Wednesday it is cancelling a total of 56,000 warrants that had been issued to individuals who failed to pay. Those 29,000 people will get a letter offering them a new court date and a chance to explain why they did not pay the initial fines and court costs.

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. 

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.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis will no longer require job candidates to disclose previous felony convictions on their applications.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced the shift in hiring policy during a press conference at City Hall Tuesday.

“We’re really not changing our approach to who we hire. It’s just how we do it,” he said.

The change means potential employees will not have to check a box on their applications if they have a felony conviction.

via Flckr/JeannetteGoodrich

With more than 50 percent of its citizens overweight or obese, the city of St. Louis has set a goal of reducing obesity in the city by 5 percent by 2018. To help meet that goal, the city’s health department has set up an online portal for St. Louisans to get involved.

The online “Jump N2 Shape,” portal gives nutrition and fitness advice and calls for St. Louisans to join the weight loss movement. Once signed up, individuals can log the exercise they complete and the pounds they lose.

St. Louis Public Radio

Local architect Dan Jay is conducting a thought experiment: What would the city of St. Louis look like if it regained a population of 500,000? (That would mean an increase of 185,000 residents).

After decades of population decline in the city, Jay wants to think big about what a population increase would look like—and what it would take to get there.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

The Missouri Court of Appeals heard arguments today over whether or not the city of St. Louis' new pension plan for firefighters will hold. Officials say the plan will save St. Louis almost $4 million a year. The union representing the firefighters doesn't dispute the cost savings, but says the city had no right to pass the plan in the first place. 

Downtown Streets Add Old French Names to Street Signs

Feb 16, 2014

Visitors to downtown St. Louis will soon see different names - very old names - identifying downtown streets. Eight streets will receive new street signs featuring the roads' original French names in addition to their current English names.  

The signs were unveiled at a city hall event Saturday marking the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis. 

(via Flickr/functoruser)

Updated at 5:15 Friday with city' plan to turn cameras back on.

Red light cameras in St. Louis City will be turned back on. Friday, a circuit court judge stayed his order from earlier in the week.

In that order, he blocked the city from enforcing its red light camera ordinance, following a lawsuit filed late last year by two women who received tickets for running red lights in St. Louis.

(via Wikimedia Commons/J. Pelkonen)

Check out your neighborhood's crime stats with the interactive map below.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department presented their crime statistics to the city's public safety committee today.  And even though the raw numbers show overall crime was down in 2013 compared to 2012, some aldermen say their residents don't care about the numbers if they don't feel safe.

(Via Flickr/Mandalit)

St. Louis is one of seven cities that the Obama administration chose in the second wave of its Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative.

As a result the city will get a full-time federal employee who will work out of Mayor Francis Slay’s office for at least a year.

A team of federal employees and fellows also will provide technical assistance and inter-agency support.

The goal is to push economic development forward in struggling cities.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated at 5:50 p.m. Monday with information from latest city briefing

As previously reported by St. Louis Public Radio, management of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officially returned to the purview of the City of St. Louis on Saturday.  After the at times contentious process to regain control, and a 152 year run under state management, the city can now look ahead to the impact local control will have on St. Louis.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated at 4 p.m. with comments from red light camera opponents.

A memo to those who have gotten caught on camera running red lights in the city of St. Louis - you'll want to pay those fines, or take them to municipal court.

(via Flickr/digitizedchaos)

Updated 2:19 p.m. This live chat was from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. CT on June 10. Thanks for joining us!

This weekend - with the publishing of an opinion piece  in the New York Times entitled "Loving the Midwest," St. Louisans, once again, showed their concern with how the Gateway City is viewed and portrayed on the national level.

Slay Says STL-TV Is Luxury City Can't Afford

May 12, 2013
St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will resume discussions next week of the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The budget presented to the board by Mayor Francis Slay totals $985 million.

Among the cuts to the budget that Slay is proposing includes essentially eliminating the city’s cable TV channel, known as STL-TV.

The cut was rejected by the board of estimate and apportionment, but Slay says he remains confident that the Board of Aldermen will see that STL-TV is a luxury the city can’t afford.

(via Flickr/ChrisYunker)

Visitors to Forest Park can expect to see some upgrades over the next five years, thanks to an agreement signed Friday between the city of St. Louis and Forest Park Forever.

(via Flickr/functoruser)

The Missouri Court of Appeals heard oral arguments today in constitutional challenges to three red light camera ordinances in the St. Louis area.

(via Flickr/taberandrew)

Updated at 4:52 p.m. to correct judge's name.

A judge in St. Louis city has halted enforcement of the city's new foreclosure mediation ordinance.

Robert Dierker issued the temporary restraining order today, which prohibits any city officials from enforcing the ordinance. Dierker does take care to note that voluntary participation in mediation is still allowed.  A hearing on a preliminary injunction is scheduled for March 20.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Non-profits who want to influence political races in the city of St. Louis may soon have to disclose their donors.

A bill that would force those organizations who put more than $500 into a contest for mayor, comptroller, Board of Aldermen president or a ballot issue sailed out of committee today with a 6-0 vote. Five of the 11 committee members were absent, and a quorum wasn't reached until just before the vote.

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis has beefed up the number of attorneys targeting problem properties in the city.

Private lawyers from firms throughout St. Louis, working for free, will supplement the efforts of city attorneys to take the owners of those properties to court.

Those are the buildings that are so structurally unsound they pose a safety risk, or where police get numerous complaints of nuisance crimes.

Asian carp solution will have downstream impact

Sep 17, 2012
Kelly Martin / Via Wikimedia Commons

The issue of keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes has implications for a variety of industries.  Midwest officials are weighing a range of options, including severing the connection between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins.  This last option comes with a list of potential economic implications for the shipping and manufacturing industry.

For instance, the 70-mile stretch of Mississippi River at St. Louis is one of the busiest inland ports in America—a place where grain, aggregate and steel are loaded and shipped up and down the river.

(via Flickr/ellie)

A south St. Louis alderwoman says she wants her legislation that would require a prescription for the common decongestant pseudoephedrine to start a conversation about combating the methamphetamine problem in Missouri.

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