Public Insight Network

Vito Comporato, right, and another worker during the construction of the Gateway Arch.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Archives

The story of the engineers and ironworkers who built Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch never gets old, and Wednesday — the 50th anniversary of "topping out" day — might be one of the last opportunities for St. Louisans to meet the men and shake their hands.

Because a standard monumental shape — an obelisk, rectangle or dome — wouldn’t do for Saarinen, the Arch remains a one-of-a-kind monument built of 630 feet of Wow! His design was modern and bold:  a sleek and outsized arch of gleaming stainless steel on the St. Louis riverfront that would celebrate America’s pioneer spirit.

Flickr, Damian Gadal, creative commons

St. Louis native Danny Meyer recently rocked the restaurant world, making national news with his decision to eliminate tipping from his family of New York City restaurants.

Some have lauded Meyer’s decision as the first true step towards a more equal restaurant; others question its feasibility, predicting a mass exodus of servers and a reduction in service quality.

Originally published in St. Louis Globe-Democrat / Courtesy St. Louis Mercantile Library

For 50 years, the Gateway Arch has drawn visitors from around the world to downtown St. Louis. From presidents and pop stars, to school kids and church groups, millions of people each year have come to marvel at the monument.  But exactly how many people have visited in five decades? That depends on how they’re counted.

 2013 arch photo
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Beacon

The Gateway Arch reaches the big 5-0 this year, and is thus deserving of citywide celebration — not only for its beautiful, imposing design, but because the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is one of St. Louis’ top tourist sites, attracting more than 2 million visitors every year.

While many duck into the Old Courthouse or explore the Mississippi River on the Becky Thatcher or the Tom Sawyer, the big draw is the Arch itself — all 630 feet of it.

At their 2013 wedding, Bob and Jackie McNett displayed their baseball loyalty.
Photo provided by Jackie McNett

Jackie McNett has been a St. Louis Cardinals fan for as long as she can remember. Growing up, her family named their canine member Wrigley, because, as she put it, “at the time, the Chicago Cubs were the dogs of the National League.”

Then, in 2008, as a student at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Jackie met Bob. Spotting a Cubs poster in his dorm room, Jackie called it “disgusting.” But that didn’t stop her from wanting to get to know him better.

“I thought he was cute,” Jackie said in a telephone interview Friday. “So we kept talking.”

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Ikea's newest blue and yellow box store that opens Wednesday on Vandeventer Avenue in St. Louis is the biggest sign yet of a building boom that’s transforming what was once a relatively sparse neighborhood into a bustling part of town.

File photo of Pope Francis
Flickr | Christus Vincit

Dozens of St. Louis Catholics are headed to Philadelphia this week to see Pope Francis, who arrived in the U.S. Tuesday, and they bring with them a wide variety of expectations.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

The push to make life better for women inside the Missouri Capitol strikes a chord for people like Kelly Schultz. One of the main lessons she learned about dealing with harassment is the importance of having a structure in place.

Before she embarked on a 16-year career in and around the Missouri Capitol, Schultz worked at a central Missouri police station. There, Schultz faced sexual harassment from one of her male officers.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

At least at J. Pfenny’s sports bar, it’ll be business as usual next week when legislators return to the Missouri capital for their annual veto session. They’ll also be gathering for the first time since the furor over sexual misconduct allegations involving interns sent two top state legislators packing.

The alcohol will be flowing as several lawmakers, or hopefuls, hold simultaneous fundraisers at the popular watering hole, situated just a couple blocks from the Capitol building.

Images from zoo museum district entities
File photos and Wikipedia

The debate over charging nonresidents of St. Louis and St. Louis County for admission to the various free Zoo-Museum District institutions was reignited in St. Louis this month. “A small entrance fee of, say, $8 for non-city, non-county people would be fair and would help institutions terrifically,” said Ben Uchitelle, the former chairman of the board of the Zoo-Museum District.

Emanuele Berry
Provided by Emanuele Berry

This week's We Live Here podcast is something a little different.

Recently, we've been looking at health and the way that toxic stress can impact someone's ability to succeed and even to be healthy. We'll be transitioning to a new area soon, but we wanted to take a step back this week to allow Emanuele Berry to produce her own, unique show.

Clockwise from the upper left: John Powell, Greg Gibson, Amy Peach and George Lenard.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Part 4 of 5

The death of Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer in Ferguson brought the eyes of the world to St. Louis last August. But it’s the people who live in St. Louis who were impacted most directly.

Now that a year has almost passed, St. Louis Public Radio is inviting you to share how Brown’s death affected your life, as well as your thoughts about how the events that followed impacted the region as a whole. We’ll be asking you a different question every day this week.

Today’s question: Is St. Louis as a region moving in the right direction to bridge gaps of race and class? If so, how so? If not, what needs to be done differently?

From left to right: Jerry Benner, Greg Gibson and Amy Peach.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Part 3 of 5

The police shooting death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014 brought the eyes of the world to St. Louis. But it’s the people who live in St. Louis who were impacted most directly.

Now that a year has passed, St. Louis Public Radio is inviting you to share how Brown’s death affected your life, as well as your thoughts about how the events that followed impacted the region as a whole. We’ll be asking you a different question every day this week.

Today’s question: Are the racial divides in St. Louis better or worse than they were before Aug. 9, 2014?

Clockwise from upper left: Jerry Benner, Katie Banister, Dan Hyatt and Janice Thomas.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Part 2 of 5

The police shooting death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, brought the eyes of the world to St. Louis. But it’s the people who live in St. Louis who were impacted most directly.

Now that a year has passed, St. Louis Public Radio is inviting you to share how Brown’s death affected your life, as well as your thoughts about how the events that followed impacted the region as a whole. We are considering a different question every day this week.

Today’s question: What still needs to happen to resolve the issues brought to light this year?

Clockwise from the upper left: Janice Thomas, George Lenard, Greg Gibson and John Powell.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Part 1 of 5

The shooting death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, by a police officer in Ferguson brought the eyes of the world to St. Louis. But it’s the people who live in the St. Louis area who were impacted most directly.

Now that a year has nearly passed, St. Louis Public Radio is exploring how Brown’s death affected individuals and the region as a whole. We're discussing a different question every day this week, and we invite you to join the conversation. 

Today's question: What's changed for you since the death of Michael Brown?

The Missouri Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Within the outcry over state Sen. Paul LeVota’s resignation, one response in particular stood out.

It wasn’t from a Democratic heavy-hitter like Sen. Claire McCaskill or Gov. Jay Nixon. And it didn’t come from a pundit or a journalist. The most poignant reply came from Rachel Gonzalez, a 16-year-old student who is president of the High School Democrats of Missouri.

Flooded fields, an inability to plant, and the possibility of disease are all concerns Missouri farmers have due to recent rains.
Sonya Green | Flickr

Missouri's farmers are facing significant challenges as heavy rains from Tropical Storm Bill compound an already wet planting season.

About 250 Catholic bishops will be attending a meeting on key topics important to the Church in St. Louis this week.
Courtesy USCCB's Facebook page

As Catholic bishops from across the country gather in St. Louis this week for their annual Spring General Assembly meeting, many local Catholics are hoping church leaders discuss an array of issues.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

2016 will be the third year that Missouri goes without Medicaid expansion, as Republicans have stayed firmly against it in the General Assembly.

Rosie and Holly Nauheim stand outside their home in St. Louis on May 18, 2015.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

When her health insurance provider told Holly Naunheim that it wouldn’t cover her daughter’s stay in a residential treatment facility for an eating disorder, she was furious.  

“I was hysterical,” Naunheim said. “My husband and her therapist said, ‘We’re going to fight this.’”

Naunheim's daughter, Rosie, 15, had struggled with anorexia for three years, going in and out of doctor’s offices and a treatment center. In the eighth grade, she was so sick that she had to attend her graduation with a feeding tube taped under her nose.  

From left, SheRon Chaney helps her daughters Anandra and BrenNae with homework at their dining room table.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

This week lawmakers put a bill on Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk that’s supposed to fix the state’s student transfer law that doesn't include a hard cap on how much receiving districts can charge.

A lack of a tuition cap has rekindled concerns that the cost of student transfers will bankrupt the Normandy school district. And for the Chaney family, who St. Louis Public Radio profiled back in May of last year, it’s just the latest twist in what’s been a roller coaster ride.

Five-year-old Charlotte Pappan selects foam leaves for a sun painting at the Earth Day Festival on Sunday, April, 26, 2015. Her mother, Sara Pappan, looks on.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The sound of music, children, dogs and generators filled the air Sunday at the annual Earth Day festival in Forest Park. Food trucks and other booths needing electricity were fueled by propane generators that release half the emissions of standard diesel generators.

According to festival organizers, more than 50,000 people attended the event.

Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern

When Star Clipper closed this March, some people cried, others Tweeted their frustration. In its 26 years in business, the store had become a beloved cultural center, event space and small press distributor for lovers of comics, graphic novels and collectibles.

Steve Unverferth and Tony Favello responded in a different way. They took on the store’s name, bought its shelves and hired its staff.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

Hundreds of thousands of senior citizens in Missouri, Illinois and across the U.S., have fallen victim to a high-tech phone scam during this tax season, prompting the Senate Special Committee on Aging to conduct a tax-day hearing on the matter.

StockMonkeys.com | Flickr

Bryan Buck, a federal bank examiner from St. Louis, got a letter last week from Anthem Insurance saying that “cyber attackers” had executed a “sophisticated attack” on its data systems and that his personal information may have been compromised.

He wasn't surprised. He already knew someone else had used his Social Security number to file for a tax refund.

From bottom left: St. Louis area residents Bala Anant, Will Johnson, Derrick Hopgood and his daughter Skylyn. Anne Cody, Lisa Heimberger and Brandy Bold.
Photo of Gateway Arch from Francisco Diez | Flickr, additional photos from Joseph Leahy and Kaitlyn Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

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Let’s be honest, talking about race can be tough — even nerve-racking for some.  

Often the conversation comes with trap doors leading to potentially awkward moments. It’s that fear of a misstep, perhaps, that nudges people into sidestepping clear language about race.

Sherry Branham, 55, panhandles at the eastbound I-64 exit ramp onto Grand Blvd.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning rush hour brings lots of cars to the I-64/Highway 40 exit ramp on Grand Boulevard. Most pass Sherry Branham by without pause, unheeding of her cardboard call for help.

Working on new chandelier from "Phantom"
Nancy Fowler

A new chandelier, updated special effects and a sense that the main characters have spent some time in a therapist’s chair: these are all changes included in Cameron Mackintosh's new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz show off a drawing of a proposed stadium on St. Louis' riverfront.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

When Dave Peacock stepped before a crush of reporters at Union Station last week, his main purpose was to showcase the potential of a new football stadium on St Louis’ riverfront. 

Part of his pitch was economic, which is a typical tactic to gather support for expensive sports facilities. After all, a new stadium could lead to thousands of construction jobs and continued business for surrounding bars and restaurants.

But for Peacock, there were more intangible reasons for the city to pursue the project — something beyond just dollars and cents.

Kevin Rejent
Provided by Mr. Rejent

After the announcement last week of a plan to build a stadium on the Mississippi riverfront, pundits and politicians were quick to react with assorted pros and cons.

Likewise, St. Louis Public Radio followers were eager to share, through the Public Insight Network, just what the plan — introduced by a team appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon — means to them.

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