Francis Slay

St. Louis on the Air
6:14 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

What Would St. Louis Look Like With A Population Of 500,000?

Credit (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.

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The Rundown
10:33 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Economy & Innovation Rundown: Imagination And Startups

The Victoria building stood at the corner of Eighth and Locust streets. It has since been demolished. This photograph was taken in 1940 when St. Louis had more than 800,000 residents.
Credit (Historic American Building Survey at the Library of Congress)

On Friday, Arch Grants announced the finalists for its 2014 Arch Grants Business Plan Competition. The field has been whittled down to 46 entrepreneurs. Twenty of those finalists will win $50,000 each along with business support services to help them launch amazing businesses. In exchange for winning, they have to locate, or relocate, to St. Louis for at least a year.

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Minimum Wage
4:50 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Pi Pizzeria Owner Won't Wait On Congress To Raise His Minimum Wage

Pi Pizzeria and Gringo owner Chris Sommers talks to a television reporter at one of his locations in Downtown St. Louis. Sommers will now pay all of his employees at least $10.10 an hour.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Chris Sommers is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to the minimum wage. 

Sommers is the owner of six Pi Pizzerias restaurants and Gringo in the Central West End. Instead of waiting for Congress or the Missouri General Assembly to act, he’s heeding President Barack Obama’s call for business owners to voluntarily raise the minimum wage his employees.

Starting on April 1, everybody who works at one of Sommers’ restaurants will make at least $10.10 an hour. It’s a move Sommers said will help entry-level workers make a decent living.

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Firefighter Pensions
9:50 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Legal Battle Resumes Over Changes To Pensions For St. Louis City Firefighters

Firefighters battle a blaze at the Admiral riverboat on Jan. 21, 2012. The boat was being dismantled for scrap at the time.
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri Court of Appeals will hear arguments tomorrow on whether the city of St. Louis had the right to make changes to the pension benefits it offers its firefighters.

In lobbying for the changes in 2012, Mayor Francis Slay cited the financial burden pensions were beginning to place on the city. Its budget for fiscal year 2013 included a $31 million contribution to the system, up from $23 million the year before.

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City-County Merger
5:20 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Lugar: Combining Governments Can Bring New Life To Urban Communities

Former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, speaks on Friday at St. Louis University Law School. Lugar was the keynote speaker at a conference about merging St. Louis with St. Louis County.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Monday, March 3, 2014 to include audio from St. Louis on the Air.

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar remembers a time when his home city was described by travel writers as “Indianapolis No Place.” 

When the Indiana Republican became mayor of Indianapolis in the 1960s, the city was mired in a “mediocre, flat situation.” He said it received “very little interest to anybody outside who was not involved parochially.”   

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City-County Merger
2:50 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Combination Can Invigorate A Region, Lugar Tells Conference On City-County Merger

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, speaks at a St. Louis University Law School symposium on whether to merge St. Louis City with St. Louis County.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 1:30 p.m. on Friday)

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar says bringing local governments can strengthen the health – and brighten the future -- of urban communities. 

The Indiana Republican was the keynote speaker for a St. Louis University Law School symposium on merging St. Louis and St. Louis County. He was a key figure in banding together city of Indianapolis with Marion County in the 1970s.

Lugar says merging the two governments had skeptics. But he says it attracted jobs, sports teams and tourists – and reinvigorated civic life.

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Politically Speaking
5:23 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Politically Speaking: Comptroller Green On Money Matters, Power Plays And Political Possibilities

Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics. 

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green joins the podcast this week. Green is the city's chief fiscal officer and one of the longest-serving comptrollers in modern history.

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Urban Development
2:36 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Market Values Analysis Could Provide Roadmap For Development Funds

The market value analysis looks at a broad range of issues in St. Louis' real estate market, include the range of home sales prices.
(courtesy of Housing and Urban Development department)

City officials are bullish about a comprehensive data analysis aimed at providing guidance to steer money more strategically for housing and community development programs.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released a "market value analysis" of the city of St. Louis. It’s a snapshot that provides detailed information about foreclosures, housing prices, construction permits and commercial development around the city.

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Weather
6:14 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

St. Louis City Streets Director Gets Earful From Aldermen Over January Storm

St. Louis City Streets Director Todd Waelterman testifies before the Board of Aldermen's Streets Committee.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

St. Louis’ streets director faced a harsh reception from aldermen for how the city responded to a January snowstorm.

During an appearance before the aldermanic  committee,  Streets Director Todd Waelterman faced a torrent of criticism for how the city responded to the January snowstorm.

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Politics & Issues
2:39 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Proposal To Bar Tax Breaks To Energy Firms Makes St. Louis' April Ballot

Peabody Energy's St. Louis headquarters
Credit (UPI)

Barring a last-minute legal challenge, St. Louis voters will be asked on April 8 to decide the fate of a proposed amendment to the city charter to bar tax breaks for Peabody Energy or any other firm involved in “unsustainable energy production.”

“We know for a fact that it’s going to be on the ballot in April,’’ said Mary Wheeler-Jones, the Democratic elections director for the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. The only roadblock would be if a lawsuit successfully knocks the proposal off the ballot, she said.

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