Kirkwood | St. Louis Public Radio

Kirkwood

Michael and Danielle Abril pose for a portrait in front of their home in Kirkwood's Meacham Park neighborhood. April 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael and Danielle Abril are active members of the Meacham Park Neighborhood Association. They show up at meetings. They volunteer. They help inform others in the community.

“Meacham Park is a blessing to us because it allowed us to be relatively close to my work and in a great place, a great community,” Michael Abril said.

The neighborhood is a mostly black area of Kirkwood that had been segregated from the rest of the city for years. But that’s changing.

Stephanie Powell Watts is the author of "No One is Coming to Save Us," this year's choice in the One Book, One Kirkwood program.
Stephanie Powell Watts

Largely absent from the canon of American literature are the experiences of African-Americans who live in economically disadvantaged regions of the country and who experience the last effects of segregation.

In her 2017 novel, “No One is Coming to Save Us,” Stephanie Powell Watts focuses on an extended African-American family and sets her story in a rural North Carolina town that has seen its furniture manufacturing largely evaporate.

After a meeting about Mackenzie Village's possible disincorporation, a few residents spoke about running to become village trustees. Village residents on Tuesday voted 18-15 in favor of dissolving the municipality.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

By a three-vote margin, residents of Mackenzie Village — a 72-year-old community in south St. Louis County — have voted to dissolve and become an unincorporated part of the county.

Tuesday’s vote was 18-15. The 33 votes represent roughly a quarter of the village’s 134 residents.

The village is the third small town in St. Louis county to dissolve or merge since 2011. The decision was among the most closely-watched issues on Tuesday.

Kirkwood City Hall was the scene of fatal shootings on Feb. 7, 2008.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ten years after Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton opened fire at Kirkwood City Hall, some residents hope the city is learning to empathize with the experiences of non-white people and encourage understanding across racial and socioeconomic lines.

Thornton shot and killed five people and wounded others at Kirkwood City Hall on Feb. 7, 2008. Two police officers and two council members were among those killed. Police killed Thornton at the scene.

Lights illuminate the commemorative plaques that line a memorial walkway near Kirkwood City Hall. The plaques honor those killed at City Hall 10 years ago. Feb. 6, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The choir will sing soothing words of hope when the community gathers Wednesday evening at Kirkwood United Methodist Church for a prayer service marking the 10th anniversary of a tragedy that time has not yet tempered.

“Peace fall like a gentle snow ... Fall fresh on the wounded heart ... Come blanket our every fear and let the healing start ...”

The church commissioned “Canticle of Peace’’ by Joseph M. Martin in 2009 and dedicated it to a community still healing from the City Hall shootings. On Feb. 7, 2008, Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton, armed with two handguns and a festering grudge against city officials, fatally shot two council members, the director of public works and two police officers before being shot and killed by responding police officers.

(L-R) Jeffrey Croft, Maggie Duwe and David Bennett talked about the effects of the fatal shooting at Kirkwood City Hall 10 years ago.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

The City of Kirkwood faced a tragic night a decade ago, when a gunman went on a shooting rampage at a city hall meeting, leaving six people dead and two others injured. The shooter, Charles Lee "Cookie" Thornton, was a disgruntled resident of Meacham Park, a predominately black neighborhood in Kirkwood.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the issues raised by the shooting at Kirkwood City Hall and how they may have been addressed.

Opponents to an expansion plan have launched a petition drive and put up signs in yards in the neighborhood around Aberdeen Heights in Kirkwood.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

The debate in a west St. Louis County suburb over the proposed expansion of a senior living community could be over early in the new year. That's when the Kirkwood City Council could make a decision on whether the owners of Aberdeen Heights can move forward with plans to add a multi-story apartment building on its 20-acre complex.

Owners say the expansion is needed to keep up with demand, while a group of neighbors has several concerns about the project.

Marsha Coplon and Jeane Vogel are working to collect oral histories from Meacham Park residents.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A year and a half ago, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Springboard to Learning and Webster Arts formed a collaboration to document and celebrate the history of Meacham Park.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by Marsha Coplon, education director for The Rep, and Jeane Vogel, executive director of Webster Arts, to discuss the Meacham Park Celebration that is the culmination of the collaboration.

School Illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

School districts across the St. Louis region sought more money from taxpayers in Tuesday’s election. Also, there were three seats up for grabs for the St. Louis Public Schools’ elected school board., though the state still has oversight.

Here’s the breakdown of what passed and what didn’t:

Kirkwood officials say there have been years where more than 540,000 visitors have gone through the station.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis County community is launching an effort to pay for massive renovation of a prominent landmark. The Kirkwood Train Station Foundation wants to bring in money to fix up the structure, which was originally built in 1893.

The goal is to raise $3 million.

A 1941 Packard 120 Convertible starts the Great Race in Kirkwood, Mo. Saturday, June 20, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Hundreds of people lined the streets of downtown Kirkwood Saturday to see 130 classic cars start an eight-day, 2,400 mile journey along Route 66.

The cars — and their drivers — are competing in the 33rd annual Great Race, a competition judged on arriving at set checkpoints at pre-ordained times. The Grand Champion will be awarded $50,000 after they cross the finish line in Santa Monica, Calif.

(Courtesy Zimmerman Campaign)

The tax status of a high-end retirement home in Kirkwood is no longer in limbo. St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman announced Friday that he has reached a settlement with Ashfield Active Living & Wellness Communities, which owns Aberdeen Heights.

The assessor’s office and the retirement home operator have agreed that 78.8 percent of Aberdeen Heights will be taxed—netting about $1 million a year for schools, fire departments and public works.

Zimmerman said $700,000 to $800,000 of that will go to schools.

Paul Sableman

Michael Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., are still waiting to bury their son, who was shot and killed on Aug. 9, by a Ferguson police officer. For them, healing probably seems like something that’s still a long way off.

But for the people of Ferguson, where peaceful protests turned violent in the week since Brown’s death, steps toward healing should begin as soon as possible.

Sarah Paulsen

On Feb. 7, 2008, Cookie Thornton, a resident of the Meacham Park neighborhood in Kirkwood, entered a Kirkwood City Council meeting and started shooting. Six people died, including Thornton.

Filmmaker Sarah Paulsen has recently produced an animated film, Elegy to Connie, that focuses on the story of Kirkwood Councilwoman Connie Karr, one of the victims, and her efforts to give greater voice to women and minorities.

Sarah Paulsen
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio Intern

The 2008 Kirkwood shooting that left six dead, including council member Connie Karr, stunned and forever changed the community. Now, artist Sarah Paulsen is finding deeper meaning in the tragedy.

Paulsen, 36, grew up in Kirkwood.  “Connie was a really good friend of my mother’s,” she said.

Dale Singer/St. Louis Public Radio

When Antona Smith saw her 12-year-old daughter, Kiden, walk into Kaldi’s in Kirkwood one afternoon last month, she knew right away that something was wrong.

“She got to me, and I held her,” Smith said in a recent interview at the Kirkwood Public Library. “She was quivering, but she couldn’t tell me at first. So all I could do was hold on to her and ask her what’s wrong, did something happen to you?

“And she was shaking her head yes, something did happen, someone did something to her, but she wasn’t ready to say it yet.”

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - The Rev. Ben Martin was against the war in Iraq, both of them, torture, the death penalty and any policy that made life more difficult for everyday people. Without hesitation and unstintingly, for more than six decades, he raised his voice for social and racial justice.

Courtesy of Auvelia Arnold

An exhibit now on display at the Missouri History Museum takes a look at the early history of the African American community in Kirkwood.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie Bierach spoke with Curator David Lobbig about the multimedia project that traces the first settlement before the Civil War to suburban development after World War II.

When you and your colleagues came up with the idea for “Kirkwood Roots,” what did you envision?

Defendant in Mo. sex slave case changes plea

Dec 20, 2011
(via Flickr/steakpinball)

A suburban St. Louis man has pleaded guilty to participating in the commercial sex trafficking of a woman whom prosecutors allege was coerced into being a sex slave.

Thirty-three-year-old Bradley Cook of Kirkwood entered the plea Tuesday in federal court in Kansas City.

The case revolves around a woman who said she was a teenager when she moved into the rural Lebanon, Mo., trailer of co-defendant Edward Bagley and his wife. The accuser said she was used as a sex slave for years and came to authorities only after going into cardiac arrest after a torture session.

Chesterfield has been named among the top-ten towns in the state by Missouri Life magazine.

Joplin was listed as the number one town, and was closely followed by Chesterfield, which ranked second.

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