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Politics & Issues

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File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A retired pastor and current chaplain for the Joplin police and fire departments is suing Gov. Eric Greitens for removing him from Missouri's State Board of Education.

The Republican governor appointed Tim Sumners this month. Greitens withdrew the appointment the day before a closed-door meeting last week, the purpose of which was to consider a removing state Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump points to protesters that he tells to "get out," during his speech at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 11, 2016.
File photo, Bill Greenblatt | UPI

As President Donald Trump makes a pitch Wednesday for a federal tax overhaul, he plans to cast the city of St. Charles as an example of the “Main Street economy’’ he wants to help flourish across the country.

That’s the word from senior White House officials, who briefed regional reporters ahead of time on Trump’s key topics during an address Wednesday afternoon at the St. Charles Convention Center.

 The final forum co-hosted by St. Louis Public Radio was held before an audience on Nov. 16 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to adress the budget crisis in Illinois.
Nice Bogdanovich

NPR Illinois (WUIS) in Springfield hosted a series of public forums in 11 locations around the state to address the continuing fallout over the budget impasse in Illinois.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we aired excerpts of the final forum co-hosted by St. Louis Public Radio to take a look at the issues and how the state can move forward. It was held before an audience on Nov. 16 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

The panel was moderated by WUIS news director Sean Crawford and included:

James Fisher, a professor of marketing at Saint Louis University, said economic boycotts can be effective.  Nov. 21, 2017
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson | St. Louis Public Radio

While protests continue since the Sept. 15 verdict in the Jason Stockley case, activists have also launched an economic boycott in St. Louis. They said it’s in response to the treatment of African-Americans, who they believe are disproportionately experiencing economic and social disparities.

Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome St. Louis Alderwoman Sarah Martin onto the show for the first time.

Martin represents St. Louis’ 11th Ward, which takes in parts of the Boulevard Heights, Holly Hills, Patch, Mount Pleasant and Carondelet neighborhoods. It’s also home to the Carondelet YMCA, which Martin affectionately nicknamed the “South City Country Club."

Donald Trump leaves the stage after a March 2016 speech at the Peabody Opera House.
File photo I Bill Greenblatt | UPI

President Donald Trump will promote federal tax cuts on Wednesday during an afternoon event at the St. Charles Convention Center.

This will be his first visit to the St. Louis area – and his second to Missouri — since taking office almost a year ago.

Steve Conway, who represented St. Louis' 8th Ward for 27 years, resigned Monday to become the city assessor.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:25 p.m. Nov. 27 with comments from Conway — A 27-year veteran of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen has resigned to become the city’s assessor.

Krewson’s office announced Monday morning that Alderman Steve Conway, D-8th Ward, would replace St. Louis assessor Freddie Dunlap, who recently retired. The assessor determines property values in the city.

Flo Groberg was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2015 and is the author of the new book, "8 Seconds of Courage."
(Courtesy of the publisher)

Host Don Marsh talked with retired U.S. Army Captain Florent “Flo” Groberg, a recipient of the Medal of Honor and author of the new book, “8 Seconds of Courage: A Soldier’s Story from Immigrant to the Medal of Honor.”

The discussion was recorded on Tuesday, November 21 in the Community Room at UMSL at Grand Center, the home of St. Louis Public Radio and will air on Friday, November 24 at noon and 10 p.m.

Benjamin Moore of Fontbonne University holds a book with photos of Muslims who lost their lives during the Bosnian War. Moore runs the Bosnia Memory Project.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

The guilty verdict on Wednesday of genocide and other war crimes against Ratko Mladic is reverberating throughout the world and particularly, within the Bosnian community in St. Louis.

About 70,000 Bosnians live in the St. Louis area. That’s the largest concentration of Bosnians anywhere in the world outside of Bosnia.

Updated at 8 a.m. ET

After a 5 1/2-year trial, the former Bosnian Serb military commander blamed for orchestrating the murders of thousands of ethnic Muslims has learned his own fate.

Frankie Freeman, family, and bronze statue. November 2017.
Kae M. Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

More than half a century ago, civil rights attorney Frankie Muse Freeman became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. At that point, she’d already opened her own private legal practice and helped end legal segregation of public housing in St. Louis.

Since that momentous day in 1964, she has continued to fight for civil and human rights. At 100, she’s still active in civic affairs.

On Tuesday, the St. Louis City chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People dedicated a bronze statue in her honor at Broadway and Chestnut Street, near the Old Courthouse.

Melanie Adams (L) and Amanda Doyle (R) are the authors of the new book, "Standing Up for Civil Rights in St. Louis."
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

A new book designed for upper elementary students shares the stories of ordinary men and women in St. Louis who fought for equal rights.

Amanda Doyle and Melanie Adams are the authors of “Standing Up for Civil Rights in St. Louis,” a publication of the Missouri History Museum Press.

“I really look at this book as our opportunity to educate the next generation on civil rights history,” Adams said.

Adams previously worked at the Missouri History Museum though now works for the Minnesota Historical Society.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court has set March 20, 2018, as the execution date for a Cape Girardeau man who shot and killed a romantic rival in 1996.

Russell Bucklew, 49, had previously been scheduled to die in 2014. But days before the execution date, he sued in federal court, arguing that he has a medical condition making lethal injection cruel and unusual punishment. The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution so the case could heard through the legal system.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Linda Braboy explained her method for trapping feral cats, as she pushed her walker down an alley near Fairground Park on a chilly November Saturday.

She uses the wheeled walker to help her get around, but it also comes in handy for this mission. She has stuffed the pouch with cat food and stacked a couple of wire traps on top.

Congressman John Shimkus, November 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back U.S. Rep. John Shimkus to the show for the third time.

Shimkus is a Collinsville Republican who was first elected to the U.S. House in 1996. He represents the enormous and heavily Republican 15th congressional district, which encompasses a big chunk of southern Illinois. In fact, since redistricting went into effect in 2012, Shimkus says his district appears to be the largest – area-wise – of any district east of the Mississippi River.

Attorneys Michael-John Voss, Bill Freivogel and Mark Smith joined host Don Marsh as part of our monthly Legal Roundtable.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with three legal experts about some of the latest issues of local interest pertaining to the law.

Joining him for the discussion were:

  • William Freivogel, J.D., Professor, School of Journalism, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
  • Mark Smith, J.D., Associate Vice Chancellor of Students, Washington University
  • Michael-John Voss, J.D., Co-Founder, Director of Operations, ArchCity Defenders, Inc.

Topics addressed by the panel include:

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 2:10 p.m. Nov. 20 with comments from Chief O'Toole — The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to investigate whether the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department violated the Constitution in the way it has handled recent protests demanding more police accountability.

Jeffrey Jensen, the federal prosecutor in St. Louis, announced the review in a brief statement Monday. It is based on a request made by Mayor Lyda Krewson and others, including U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-University City.

Reedy Press owner Josh Stevens talks about the damages done to his business from a warehouse fire.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, a warehouse five-alarm fire near 39th Street and Park Avenue caused substantial damage and losses. Among the warehouse’s tenants is Reedy Press, a local book publishing company.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Reedy Press owner Josh Stevens about the damages done to his business from the fire. He said the experience has been traumatic. 

Beyond Housing's Chris Krehmeyer stands in a vacant unit inside Rosie Shields Manor in Pagedale. Krehmeyer's group has developed a number of projects using the low-income housing tax credit.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens cast a key vote Friday to block state spending for its low-income housing tax credit program, saying such development efforts “sound nice, but don’t get results.”

The Republican governor is among the state officials who sit on the Missouri Housing Development Commission, which oversees construction projects that receive state assistance, primarily through state tax credits.

Mazy Gilleylen (standing in front), a transgender girl from Overland, cemmemorates lives lost with her brother Seth and parents Amber and Donte Gilleylen, on the 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance at the Transgender Memorial Garden.
File photo | Provided | Yuting Jiang

So far this year, at least 25 transgender people have been murdered across the country, two in Missouri, one  of which was in St. Louis.

On Monday, supporters in the St. Louis area will pay tribute to those victims as part of a national effort, the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The annual event is held every Nov. 20.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken speaks Saturday at the Truman Dinner in St. Louis. The Minnesota senator was the keynote speaker for the Missouri Democratic Party event.
Courtesy of the Missouri Democratic Party

Less than two weeks after U.S. Sen. Al Franken headlined the Missouri Democratic Party’s biggest event of the year, the Minnesota Democrat is back in the news over a groping allegation that is stirring up the state’s U.S. Senate race.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. and a longtime friend of Franken’s, announced Thursday that Missouri food banks will be getting $30,000 from her – representing the campaign aid she has received from Franken’s political action committee since 2006.

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Gov. Eric Greitens is facing growing opposition from lawmakers for possibly ousting Margie Vandeven as Missouri’s education commissioner, who oversees K-12 schools across the state.

Greitens’ five appointees to the State Board of Education — Claudia Onate Greim, Doug Russell, Eddy Justice, John “Tim” Sumners, and Marvin “Sonny” Jungmeyer — could vote next week on whether to fire Vandeven.

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

After spending eight years as executive director of ArchCity Defenders in St. Louis, Thomas Harvey will move to California to take on a much bigger role.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Harvey about his career and what work he hopes to continue. Harvey will move to Los Angeles at the end of the year to establish a national organization that will bail out people held in jail who cannot afford their temporary release.

Contributed Photo / Leila Sadat

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to local professor, Leila Sadat, about her work on finding a global solution to prevent and punish crimes against humanity.

Sadat is the James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law and Director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University School of Law.

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

UPDATED Thursday, Nov. 16, with U.S. House vote:

Top Missouri and Illinois officials in both parties are becoming increasingly active in the fight over proposed federal tax cuts, which now have a health care component.

Missouri’s two U.S. senators – Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Roy Blunt – illustrate the opposing sides. He’s for the latest version of the bill, while she’s against it.

The U.S. House version passed Thursday, with Rep. Ann Wagner of Ballwin among all six Missouri Republicans voting for it.  The state's two Democrats -- Lacy Clay of St. Louis and Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City -- opposed the bill.

A street medic assists a protester after St. Louis police officers sprayed checmicals into a crowd of demonstrators near Busch Stadium on Sept. 29, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 15 at 2:00 p.m. with comments from ACLU, Mayor Krewson — A federal judge has ordered the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to alter tactics its officers use to respond to protests, especially demonstrations aimed at changing law enforcement policies.

In a 49-page opinion issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry blocked the department from ordering protesters to disperse unless there’s an immediate threat of violence. Perry also limited when officers can use chemical agents like pepper spray or mace.

Crews with Rosenbloom Monuments Company lift headstones back onto their bases in February, 2017.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The number of hate crimes reported in the United States rose for the second year in a row, according to an FBI report released on Monday.

Law-enforcement agencies reported more than 6,100 hate crimes in 2016, about a 5 percent increase from the previous year. Jews and Muslims were most likely to be targeted, and more than half of all reports were motivated by either race or ethnicity.

Missouri reported 88 hate crimes last year, down from 100 in 2015. Illinois reported 111 hate crimes in 2016, up from 90 the previous year. Some observers say many hate crimes likely go unreported by authorities and victims.

St. Louis city police officers detain protesters downtown on Sept. 15, 2017 after the acquittal of Jason Stockley was announced.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen are weighing whether to put new limits on the way the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department interacts with protesters.

The Public Safety committee on Tuesday heard two hours of testimony in support of the bill sponsored by Alderwoman Megan Green, D-15th Ward. It’s modeled on an ordinance in place in Washington, D.C.

Lara Hamdan / St. Louis Public Radio

A recent three-part series on local VA healthcare included a lot of criticism of the Department of Veteran Affair’s healthcare services.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh addressed the criticisms raised by local veterans with representatives from the VA St. Louis Health Care System.

 “We’re not perfect…we have come a long way but we’ve got a long way to go,” Keith Repko, medical center director at the VA St. Louis Health Care System, said.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger (second from left) argues with Councilman Sam Page during a meeting of the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Page sponsored a bill halting construction at the site of an ice center.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is pledging that “county government will not increase taxes or cut services,’’ and accuses St. Louis County Council Chairman Sam Page of inaccurately asserting otherwise.

At issue is Stenger’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins Jan. 1. Although it is a proposed balanced budget for 2018, Page is pointing to projections in the budget document that indicate the 2019 budget might face a deficit of $18 million.

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