Francis Slay

(UPI file photo)

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay had said nothing publicly about Amendment 1, the “right to farm” proposal, until thousands of city and St. Louis County residents received a robocall featuring the mayor on Monday, the day before the vote.

“Hi, this is Mayor Slay,” the robocall said. “I'm calling about an important issue you will see on the ballot tomorrow: Amendment 1, the Missouri Farming Rights Amendment. I support the 'right to farm' to keep food costs affordable for all Missourians. Please join me in voting ‘Yes’ on Amendment 1.”

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated with comments from the press conference, reactions.

St. Louis, St. Louis County and about a dozen social service agencies plan to seek federal money to provide temporary shelter and care to some of the thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America crossing the southern border of the United States.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Ann Walker works for McCormack Baron Salazar. Not only does she work for one of the companies that helped develop the North Sarah Community, she’s also a resident.

“The kids in the neighborhood know me. I have a little dog that I walk,” Walker said. “They always want to see if the dog can come out and play.”

(via Flickr/iChaz)

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is unlikely to vote on a $200 million bond issue until after the August primary election. That's because Board president Lewis Reed put a temporary kibosh on bill by tabling any discussion of the issue.

Reed cited a litany of reasons for the delay, including the need to continue negotiations with the mayor's office and fine-tune the bill. 

City of St. Louis

St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter, the city’s longest-serving current citywide official, is stepping down from office amid a probe into whether she violated the state’s nepotism law.

But Carpenter is expected to seek election to a new term in a few weeks – and she still has the endorsement of Mayor Francis Slay.

The nepotism ban only applies to her current term, which ends in December. It does not bar her from seeking the office again.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A $200 million dollar city bond issue that would include some money for residents to repair their homes is on its way to the Board of Aldermen. But those funds likely won't be there for long.  

The whole debate started last week, when board president Lewis Reed unveiled a version of the bond issue that included a specific list of projects, such as $10 million in home repair funds.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Tod Martin wasn’t going to let 20 words keep him from marrying David Gray.

While it took more than 20 years, St. Louis officials last week issued Martin and Gray a marriage license. They’re among eight people who are testing the state’s nearly 10-year-old, 20-word ban on gay marriage.

Bill Greenblatt/UPI

(Updated 11:40 a.m. Friday, June 27)

Just a few weeks ago, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster  was publicly exhorting Missouri Republicans to change their party’s platform, which endorses the state’s 10-year-old constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

via Wikimedia Commons

Last updated 3:59 p.m.

Mayor Francis Slay issued marriage licenses to four same-sex couples Wednesday night, in a direct challenge to Missouri's ban on such unions. 

"St. Louis is a city that doesn’t tolerate discrimination," Mayor Francis Slay said in a statement. "We are sending a message on what’s right, and I can’t think of anything more right than this."

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

In many ways, breaking ground on St. Louis's first Ikea store is a lot easier than putting together the Swedish furniture maker's latest bookshelf. For Mayor Francis Slay, he just needed a shovel and speech. 

“Fortunately for a groundbreaking, you don’t need an Allen wrench or instructions,” Slay quipped. 

(Parth Shah/St. Louis Public Radio)

Over the next several months, the city of St. Louis will spend $276,000 to tear down 26 vacant, crumbling buildings in the Vandeventer neighborhood. 

"We have two goals," said Mayor Francis Slay as he stood Monday at the first two demolition sites in the 4300 block of Evans Ave. "First, we want to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for the people and families who live here. Second, we want to prepare the neighborhood for new private sector development."

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis area leaders squelched any doubts last week about how they want to spend money from a transportation sales tax. 

Sure, some of the regional projects funded with the .75 percent sales tax increase would bolster mass transit service or bike trails. But that's the exception rather than the rule: Most of the roughly $1.5 billion worth of requested projects would go toward roads, highways and bridges.

/Via Flickr/ KOMU news, Manu Bhandari

The city of St. Louis and St. Louis County have plans for nearly $1.1 billion worth of transportation projects if a statewide sales tax increase passes this August. 

St. Louis and St. Louis County officials revealed their wish list of projects that would be funded with the .75 percent sales tax increase.  If the transportation tax passes in August, St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin counties and  the city of St. Louis, are expected receive about $1.49 billion over a 10-year period from the state’s transportation commission.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews)

If you had $1.49 billion for transportation projects, how would you spend it? Would you repair highways? Bolster mass transit service? Enhance bike lanes?

This isn’t some academic exercise. The St. Louis region’s political leaders are considering how to divide the potential proceeds from a 0.75 percent sales tax increase for transportation. These decisions could have a transformative impact on how St. Louis area residents get around.

But here’s the twist: You have to make this decision very, very quickly.

Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is asking businesses in the city to help put 500 young people to work this summer through a program called Stl Youth Jobs.

One corporation stepped up Wednesday.

JPMorgan Chase announced a $100,000 donation, and the company is asking other businesses to help.

"It is very important for this city that we build that base, that base of people that understand how to work, love to work and want to be part of this community," said Scott Bush, a managing director and market leader with the firm.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

A major river commerce group endorsed a plan Tuesday to increase container-on-barge traffic on the Mississippi River. 

The Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals Association supports shipping goods in containers on barges up and down the Mississippi River. That’s seen as an alternative to using trucks or rail. The group made the announcement at its annual conference in St. Louis.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The mayors of St. Louis and Kansas City traveled to the the Missouri Capitol Monday to speak out against legislation to nullify federal gun laws within the Show-Me State.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, a Democrat, calls the legislation  "absurd, embarrassing and reckless."

Lincoln Brower

The City of St. Louis and several partners are launching a project to help monarch butterflies.

It involves encouraging area residents to plant milkweeds -- a plant with large fruit pods that release fluffy seeds in the fall.

The Saint Louis Zoo is one of the partners in the “Milkweeds for Monarchs” initiative, along with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The zoo's curator of invertebrates, Edward Spevak, says milkweeds are critical to the monarch’s survival.

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.

(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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