Public Insight Network | St. Louis Public Radio

Public Insight Network

Protesters walk down Olive Street in downtown St. Louis after the People's Town Hall event. Sept. 28, 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Mary Ann Tisdale’s 20s lined up with the peak of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the struggle for black empowerment.

Tisdale didn’t participate. She said she was scared of getting hurt, but she followed the movement closely — reading “everything there was to read.”

“You could say physically, I’m a coward, but I know what’s going on,” she said.

Signs held by demonstrators at a Sept. 6 rally in support of the DACA program outside the St. Louis office of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. The photo was taken by Eddie Albarran who spoke at the rally. He is studying photography.
Provided | Eddie Albarran

Eddie Albarran recalls being nervous — but also very determined — as he waited to address about 60 people gathered outside the St. Louis office of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill last month.

Albarran, who grew up in St. Louis, was about to acknowledge publicly a fact of his life that he usually keeps to himself: He is one of nearly 700,000 young immigrants who have temporary protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Obama administration created the DACA policy in 2012 for  children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents.

Puerto Rico National Guard members distributed water to the communities of Utuado, Puerto Rico, in late September.
Puerto Rico National Gaurd

Two weeks after Hurricane Maria’s 155 mph winds pummeled the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, many residents remain without easy access to electricity, food or running water. Cell phone service is limited, and mail service has not been fully restored.

September 22, 2017 photo. Some Oktoberfest revelers in St. Charles' Frontier Park weren't happy to see protesters in a Sept. 22 demonstration.
Ryan Delaney| St. Louis Public Radio

People protesting daily against what they see as systemic police violence against African-Americans aren’t the only St. Louis-area residents who say they want to be heard.

Many white residents don’t support the protests. They can’t understand why demonstrators are pinning their protests to the not-guilty verdict for Jason Stockley, a white, former St. Louis police officer who shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, in 2011. Smith was 24.

A view of Highway K in O'Fallon in 1970.
Jim Karll

To grasp St. Charles County’s dramatic growth, one only needs to view two photos taken 47 years apart by Jim Karll.

Both show Highway K in O’Fallon, just south of Interstate 70. The first photo, taken in 1970, shows a remote road amid farmland and woods. In the second, Highway K is packed with traffic and flanked by shopping centers and businesses.

St. Charles County’s population skyrocketed from 90,000 in 1970 to almost 400,000 today — a pace unmatched anywhere else in the state. It also has the second-largest bloc of GOP voters in the state and attracts lots of businesses. But a few things threaten its upward trajectory, namely public transportation and a lack of diversity.

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal addresses the media in August 2017 in Ferguson. Senators could consider expelling Chappelle-Nadal from the Senate during next week's veto session.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens won’t call a special session to coincide with next week’s veto session — a decision that may save state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal from expulsion.

The bipartisan appetite to oust the University City Democrat over an Aug. 17 Facebook comment, in which she wished for President Donald Trump’s assassination, must now come from state lawmakers themselves.

Union members gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall on Aug. 8, 2017, to notarize and turn in petitions to force a statewide vote over Missouri’s right-to-work law.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri labor unions were successful in getting enough signatures to all but guarantee the state’s new right-to-work law won’t go into effect a week from now as Gov. Eric Greitens had planned.

But the real battle is just getting started. Come November 2018, voters around the state will determine whether to kill or keep the law, which bars unions and employers from requiring all workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues. Ten percent of Missouri workers are in a union.

A total solar eclipse in 2006.
Franz Kerschbaum

Like any other day, the sun will rise on Monday. But close to noon in Missouri, the moon will start to cover the sun.

“You’re going to start to see little bits of the sun start to disappear, like someone slowly taking little bites out of a cookie,” said Anna Green, planetarium manager at the Saint Louis Science Center.

The sky will start to go dark quickly, like someone dimming the lights in a room. The air will also become colder, said Angela Speck, astrophysicist at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday, Aug. 9 marks the third year since the police shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, which set off a wave of protests and activism in the St. Louis region and across the nation.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed how these events have changed (or not changed) St. Louis in the three years after. We heard from myriad listeners through tweets, emails, voicemails and calls about the changes they've seen in their lives. You may click through some of their reflections in the slideshow above.

Historian Anne Walker is surrounded by family photos in the living room of her home in East St. Louis. June 2017
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Residents of East St. Louis will gather on Sunday to remember the victims of the bloody 1917 race riot with a solemn processional to the Eads Bridge.

On July 2-3, 1917, mobs of white people, angered over labor issues, roved through the city, assaulting African-Americans and burning their homes and businesses.

Although the official death toll was 48 — 39 blacks and 9 whites — historians believe more than 100 people died and hundreds were injured, including women and children.

David Mueller, 31, picks up his three-year-old daughter Marjorie from daycare on May 4, 2017. She has a rare form of cystic fibrosis, and Mueller worries the Republican health plan will affect the family's ability to pay for her care.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio.

A Republican proposal to gut the Affordable Care Act narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives and now the U.S. Senate is crafting its own bill to reshape the nation’s health care system. Elected officials have held few town halls to hear from constituents in the St. Louis area about what they want in a health care bill, sparking demonstrations outside representatives’ offices.

Officials are considering the addition of turnstiles to the MetroLink system.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Two homicides on or near MetroLink trains less than a month apart this year put crime on the transit system back in the spotlight, to the point that officials set aside $20 million for public safety and changed how the system that spans the Metro East and the St. Louis area is policed.

Those efforts and talk of adding turnstiles will mean nothing, however, if the people who ride the rails and buses don’t feel safe. Plus, closing off the system by adding turnstiles will take millions of dollars and several years.

Meet Linda Lockhart, Public Insight Network Guru!

Apr 27, 2017
Linda Lockhart
Brent Jones | St. Louis Public Radio

Linda Lockhart has spent her journalism career asking people questions, researching topics, and digging deeper into issues. We sat down with her this month to learn more about how St. Louis Public Radio reporters find insight from “everyday people.”

So, you’re in charge of the Public Insight Network at STLPR. Can you explain what that means?

 A right-to-work law could result in less money for unions — and that could weaken their political power, critics say.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Organized labor was able to stop “right to work” in Missouri for decades, most notably when voters rejected a 1978 ballot item. But their luck ran out last month when Gov. Eric Greitens, who says it’ll spur job creation, signed right to work, which bars private-sector unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues.

The true economic impact of the law on Missouri’s estimated 260,000 union members, which goes into effect Aug. 28, probably won’t be clear for some time. And some unions are trying to challenge the law’s passage. But according to responses to St. Louis Public Radio’s Public Insight Network, many of Missouri’s union members don’t see a lot of reasons to celebrate the policy’s implementation.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

With Missouri facing slower income growth, Gov. Eric Greitens isn’t sparing the state’s Department of Agriculture from proposed budget cuts. 

The agency will receive about $14 million dollars less in the coming fiscal year, which new agriculture director Chris Chinn says is more like "belt tightening." But she made it clear that farmers and ranchers will receive the same level of services they currently see.

Faizan Syed, Jessica Mayo and Anna Crosslin joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the local impact of President Trump's executive orders on immigration.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Last week, President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders that sent the lives of many into chaos — in St. Louis and across the world.

Eighth-graders watch President Donald Trump's inaugural address during class at North Kirkwood Middle School.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Eighth-grade students at North Kirkwood Middle School began an extended social studies class today, Inauguration Day, with a bit of political therapy. Teachers had them write down everything negative about the 2016 presidential campaign and election. There was no sharing, though peeks over shoulders gleaned key words like emails and racism.

Then the tearing began.

From left, Victor Hill III, Zainab Oyebamiji and Gary Arbesman are feeling cautious, puzzled and bright as Donald J. Trump takes over as president of the United States.
Photos provided

As Donald J. Trump is sworn in today as the 45th president of the United States, St. Louis-area voters are expressing moods ranging from afraid and alarmed to optimistic and upbeat.

For all of their disparities, Republican, Democratic and independent voters are united on one point: All are watching closely to see just how Trump will lead the nation.

Norris Roberts,  Lonni Schicker and Stephanie Rohlfs-Young discussed Alzheimer's disease and caregiving on "St. Louis on the Air."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This segment originally aired on ​St. Louis on the Air on Sept. 8, 2016. It will be rebroadcast at 10 p.m. on Jan. 20, 2017.

Norris Roberts’ mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease nine years before she died. Over that time period, Roberts and his father tried to do everything right.

Every other week, they’d take her to the beauty shop she always went to so she could socialize. They bought her similar-styled clothes when the old ones no longer fit. They even kept up her tradition of Sunday night family dinners.

As Eric Greitens is sworn in today as Missouri’s 56th governor, he’s pledging to support the state’s constitution and to serve the more than 6 million people living in the Show Me state.   

Shortly after Greitens was elected in November, his spokesman, Austin Chambers said,  “… the governor’s priorities for this first session are jobs, ethics reform, public safety and education reform."

St. Louis Public Radio recently asked listeners and readers to share their priorities  for the new governor. In addition to issues Greitens has already raised, some of his new constituents cite discounts and tax breaks for older homeowners.

Tanya Raja, with her family, of Wildwood, talks about observing Ramadan
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Throughout the year, people like you have helped St. Louis Public Radio report news and events that matter to you.

From music lovers mourning the death of David Bowie, to individuals who shared reflections on the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, many of you contributed to 27 St. Louis Public Radio stories in 2016. With your help, through our Public Insight Network (PIN), we produced news stories with added depth and context.

Langston Middle School in the Wells Goodfellow neighborhood is one of two schools the district is closing at the end of 2016-2017 school year.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

When two public schools in northwest St. Louis release their students for summer break in June, they’ll be closing their doors for good.

St. Louis Public School’s Special Administrative Board unanimously voted Tuesday to close Cote Brilliante Elementary in the Ville neighborhood and Langston Middle School in the Wells Goodfellow neighborhood.

A photo of the prisoner of war camp at Weingarten, MO.
Courtesy David Fiedler

Sunday, Dec. 11, marks 75 years since the United States declared war on Germany and Italy. That was four days after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed 2,403 Americans, and three days after the U.S. declared war on the Empire of Japan in retaliation.

The United States had officially entered World War II. With that entry, few realize that the nation would open its borders to house prisoners of war from the Axis powers for the remainder of the war.

From 1942 to 1945, more than 400,000 Axis prisoners were shipped to the United States and detained in camps across the nation. Missouri figured into this equation, housing some 15,000 prisoners of war from Germany and Italy inside state lines.

Pearl Harbor survivor Bill Johnson reads the list of names inscribed in the USS Arizona Memorial.
Chief Journalist David Rush | U.S. Navy

Walter Schoenke was 9 years old when he survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Schoenke was not an active military member at that time, though he would go on to serve in the Air Force during the Korean War, but his father was. His father, Raymond, had moved to Hawaii to help construct the Schofield Barracks at Pearl Harbor, one of the targets of the attacks and Walter was born on the islands.

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

In the weeks since the General Election, both those who voted for Donald Trump and those who didn't have been processing what many saw as a surprising outcome.

Some have expressed concern about how policies from the Obama administration will be affected: What will happen to the Affordable Care Act? What about immigrants and Muslims? Others are more fearful, or even angry in response to apparent race- or religious-based acts of aggression, carried out, presumably, by Trump supporters.

But, especially in Missouri, where Trump won the state’s 10 electoral votes, there are many people who voted decidedly for him, and those who were more strongly motivated to vote against Hillary Clinton.

Artist William Burton Jr. talks with Black Rep founder Ron Himes as he works on a mural on the side of the theater company's office building on October 31, 2016.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

In the mid-1970s, Ron Himes started a St. Louis theater company to tell the stories of African-Americans.

This week, Himes and the Black Rep are marking a milestone — the company’s 40th anniversary — with a fundraising concert, and the launch of a mural project. Both are designed to draw attention to the company, which is emerging from years of turmoil.

In this election year, much of the dialogue between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump has been particularly harsh. Both candidates for president of the United States have taken turns hurling accusations of illegal or immoral behavior at one other.

The verbal assaults, frequently discussed in decidedly “adult language," have left some likely voters wondering what ever happened to common decency and common sense.

What, then, are parents supposed to do, when their children hear talk and see actions that in no way set examples of how reasonable people should behave?

In just about a month, Election Day 2016 will be here. By the end of Nov. 8, Americans will most likely know who will be the nation’s next president.

But will they be happy?

Probably not, based on what many sources in our Public Insight Network have told us.

The Rep, The Muny, Stages St. Louis

Stages St. Louis hopes its current production of “Sister Act” will do what the Whoopi Goldberg character in the movie did for her Catholic convent choir: Shake it up — at least where its audiences are concerned.

The theater company’s patrons are not very diverse. Executive Producer Jack Lane, describes the Stages St. Louis audience this way: “suburban, white.”

Attracting more theater-goers of color, while addressing important social-justice concerns on the front burner in St. Louis right now, is important to St. Louis’ larger theater companies, which include the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Muny and Stages. Adding more minority patrons could help with the perennial issue of aging subscribers and donors. But it’s also a way to stay relevant at a time when St. Louis is more riveted than ever on race.

Throughout this presidential election year, St. Louis Public Radio has been assessing the political mood of likely voters.

In a recent query — What is your political mood, now? — we learned that voters still have very strong — and mostly negative — emotions. A review of the reasons behind those moods shows that among those who responded to a Public Insight Network query, many were equally unhappy with the Democratic and Republican nominees.

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