Public Insight Network | St. Louis Public Radio

Public Insight Network

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.

2 St. Louis schools closing in June; a third gets reprieve

Dec 20, 2016
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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